Ten plucks Kiwi's Breakfast nest
Financial woes continue at Network Ten with the latest round of cuts falling on Paul Henry's Breakfast show.PT1M9S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-297x6 620 349 November 12, 2012
TEN'S embattled Breakfast program survived a disastrous rush to launch, low ratings, the loss of one of its three presenters and a change of programmer, but in the end it couldn't survive its own blood-spattered balance sheet as Ten's management moved to staunch the bleeding by axing a costly live TV show which was giving very little back.
After 10 months of humiliatingly low ratings, Ten has confirmed Breakfast will finish at the end of the month, capping off a ratings year in which it failed to make any impact whatsoever.
Few people will react with surprise, except perhaps to wonder how it has taken Ten's management almost a year to work out what the audience, and the media, had worked out very quickly: Breakfast was a dud.
Matter of time ... the cast of Breakfast, Magdalena Roze (left), Paul Henry, Andrew Rochford and Kathryn Robinson. Photo: Supplied
Ten launched the show in February with much fanfare. It trumpeted a fresh take on the genre, pitting its show against Sunrise and Today.
When they lost co-presenter Dr Andrew Rochford several months later, Ten was left with two hosts perched on a couch - New Zealand broadcaster Paul Henry and news journalist Kathryn Robinson, pictured.
It was confirmation of what we already knew: Breakfast had failed to deliver.
There is no question Ten has taken a hiding on Breakfast. Its ratings were abysmal from the outset: with Sunrise and Today commanding between 350,000 and 400,000 viewers apiece, it has clung to between 20,000 and 40,000 viewers - around one-tenth of its rivals.
It also had to endure the humiliation of falling behind the ABC's breakfast offering.
Interestingly, Ten has signalled its intention to return to the breakfast genre. Cancelling Breakfast is, for Ten, not an admission of lack of interest in the genre, but more of an admission that the format they had was unworkable, and unable to shed the baggage it was carrying from being a ratings failure.
In the short-term, Ten's balance sheet will sigh with relief. Paul Henry, who boasted of his million dollar-plus salary when he was hired, was an expensive acquisition and holding onto him, at a time when Ten is shedding some of the best talent on TV, notably Melbourne newsreader Helen Kapalos, beggars belief.
But in the longer term, Ten needs to manage its message better. At present, it is commanding headlines for cutting, slashing and burning. Audiences, historically, are not moved by financial ruthlessness. They prefer innovation, invention and originality. Until Ten can deliver those, it will find the path to recovery impossible.
Ten Breakfast finishes production on November 30.