Nothing can renovate the damage Ten has done
If you ever needed a lesson in why network television is a huge, lumbering and particularly stupid dinosaur, thrashing around, and dying, in a particularly dangerous tar pit, you could do no better than Ten's treatment of last night's MasterChef finale.
We're used to the networks dicking us around with the big events, of course. The endless padding to squeeze in more and more and more commercials. The relentless and unsympathetic placement of those ad breaks. The cluttering of on screen real estate with cross promotional dross for other, less successful ventures. And now last night's outrage, the forceful, non consensual penetration of the Masterchef final by the stinking travesty that is The Renovators.
Winner ... Kate Bracks is congratulated by Michael Weldon. Photo: Channel Ten
(For the slower children, this means Ten stopped the show, for an hour, to insert an episode of The Renovators, before returning to the four hour long MasterChef final.)
There's no need to marshal figures or research or even grab a couple of indicative quotes from Twitter to amplify just how unpopular this decision was. Some truths are just self evident.
More interesting though is why Ten thought it was a good idea, or even a bad idea that was worth the pay off.
Renovators ... ratings concern for Channel Ten..
It's not like it was that hard to side step their ridiculous manoeuvre. Anybody with a digital box, or even an old VCR, needed only to record MasterChef from its 6.30pm kick off, and start watching at the usual time of 7.30pm, to avoid having their retinas offended.
Even easier, of course, would be to switch channels, possibly never to return. The ABC's Grand Designs was sitting there, waiting demurely for someone to notice that a much better home improvement show was on at 7.30pm.
The punters' patience with MasterChef had already been strained this year by a comparatively lacklustre selection of entrants, the sometimes grating vaudeville bad guy antics of the judges, and the increasingly calculated cruelty of the producers.
I guess some programming maven somewhere in Ten figured that our attention spans are so short we'd forget this outrage by the time the next series rolled around. And, to some extent that's true.
But last night's shenanigans were just another incitement to find alternatives to the networks and as such an example of wanton stupidity from a dying industry.
Of course I'm bitching about Ten and Masterchef, but really we could be talking about any of the networks and any show. They seem to be working under the delusion that nothing has changed. That the whole country still sits down at six o'clock every night to dutifully stare at whatever is laid in front of them. But we don't. That world is dead. It's dead for print media. For radio. For publishing. For music. For everything. And especially for television. So maybe that's it. Maybe the dinosaur analogy was wrong. This isn't about dinosaurs. It's about the shambling dead.
The Zombie networks.