Money for your runs: Revenue generator. Photo: Getty Images
A bit of a laugh, they said. Just a hit and giggle. Twenty20 cricket couldn't last; it wasn't the same. Audiences have proved the naysayers wrong - and hasn't it made TV executives smile?
Starting just before Christmas, T20 Big Bash League (Ten, 7.30pm) has been a delight, not just for players cashing in on increased demand for their talents but for the bosses at Channel Ten, who have been waiting months for a hit that didn't take several weeks to build (Hello, The Bachelor).
Coming to free-to-air after a couple of years on Foxtel, Big Bash is an extra choice for sports-hungry viewers in a very busy period. Yes, there's the Ashes, but this is cricket for the time-poor, or those who can't commit to a whole day.
Tuesday's clash is between fourth-placed Perth and sixth-placed Hobart, with Hobart needing a win to shore up a stronger ladder position before February's finals.
Ten executives will be smiling all the way to the bank because of the wads of extra advertising revenue from stellar summer ratings; some matches are reaching more than 1 million viewers. Ten's only programs in the past year to have that many viewers were the finals of MasterChef, The Bachelor and a couple of episodes of Offspring.
With a star-studded commentary line-up, including former captain Ricky Ponting and vice-captain Adam Gilchrist, Ten's coverage (3½ hours most week nights) has been described as ''strangely addictive'' by some Test purist colleagues of mine.
With little else on the box in the bleak summer viewing time, Big Bash has been exposed to a wider audience this summer and it has shown there's plenty of appetite for the shorter form of the game.
There's still another month of matches to run, leading in perfectly to Ten's Winter Olympics coverage, beginning on February 8.
You would expect both broadcasts to attract new audiences to Ten, which is an opportunity to promote the rest of the year's schedule. Ten needs several of its new shows to fire, and fire strongly.
It is also a reasonable night for films on TV. Australian classic The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Go!, 9.30pm) is good for a laugh or five, and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting (Nine, 8.30pm) is a powerful drama. Something to suit any mood.