Following TEN’s announcement several weeks ago that it had bought the rights to the new reality TV show Don't Stop Believing, which is to begin airing in 2011, the executive body will have been eagerly watching the reaction to the UK version that went to air last weekend.
And they won’t be happy.
After a barrage of publicity before its premiere on UK station Channel 5, viewing figures for its first three episodes have had a decidedly downward-facing trajectory that shows no sign of a resurgence.
Despite securing a relatively high-profile presenting and judging team, including Emma Bunton and Anastacia, and an estimated budget of £6 million, the most recent viewing figures released by Broadcaster's Audience Research Board (BARB) show that the talent show attracted less than 600,000 viewers in its most recent episode -- only 2.4 per cent of total viewers.
Channel 5 programmers have since made the decision to pull the show forward several hours in the scheduling, to 5.45pm each Sunday, in the hope that it will dodge other family-friendly programs that have sapped Don’t Stop Believing’s share.
With similar formats such as The X Factor easily garnering over 12 million viewers per episode in the UK, Channel 5 and TEN execs are going to be hanging their heads in despair.
The program itself is very earnest and "old school" in its structure, with little criticism of the acts by the judges, which largely stemmed from ensemble groups of 40+ individuals -- where do you start?!
And while the production values in the set, backing tracks, choreography and costumes are high, the quality of the acts is not. With one duff singer in a huge group able to bring down the quality of the whole act, the performances, unfortunately, often feel like a poor man's holiday camp entertainment.
They look like they’re having fun though.
TEN has several months to address issues before it goes to air, but what flexibility does a format like this offer?
Do you think this format would be a success in Australia? Or should TEN count its losses and flee?