Last Monday night Can of Worms dropped to its lowest audience to date this season, pulling 591,000 viewers in the 9:30PM time slot. The week-on-week drop in viewership was through no fault of its own but due to the Ten programming department scheduling the Renovators at 8:30PM and putting Can of Worms back to 9:30PM. This begs the question will the audience return to Can of Worms once Masterchef finishes and The Renovators takes up the 7:30PM slot? Presumably Can of Worms will slot back into its 8:30PM home on a Monday night. Below is Can of Worms’ OzTAM ratings for the four episodes that have gone to air so far.
Scheduling by the free-to-air networks has been an issue for viewers over recent history with numerous shows being moved around on a weekly basis. The result of rescheduling by the networks is usually a drop in viewers. A good example is the Seven’s former police drama City Homicide. A strong performing drama in its first couple of seasons it became a casualty of time slot movement by the Seven Network. The network initially built a strong audience for the police drama in the 8:30PM timeslot on Mondays. However the program was moved in subsequent seasons to Sunday nights and eventually to Wednesday nights. Each time the program was moved the audience shrunk.
Ten also has recent form on moving programs across its schedule, think Offspring and Ten News. The first season last year of Offspring owned the 8:30PM Sunday timeslot before this year having its second season take the Monday 8:30PM slot. Generating around 900,000+ audience figures on Monday, Offspring was then for about two weeks run on a 2-night strategy (Monday & Wednesday) in order to accustom viewers to the shift to a Wednesday night only slot, this move was to accommodate Can of Worms on Mondays at 8:30PM. By the end of the second season Offspring was not hitting our screens until around 9PM thanks to Masterchef’s ‘team challenge’ episodes growing in length as the finals approached (it is noted that Offspring held its audience well this season across the time slot change (and may have even built) but it did retain Masterchef as a lead-in across both slots).
When Ten’s much-hyped new news strategy was implemented at the start of the year, its well-known 5PM national weekend bulletin was axed and replaced by 6PM local news in each metro market. During this time Nine cleverly installed a first at five 5PM bulletin on Saturdays to fill the void left by Ten. When Ten redeployed its 5PM national weekend news (in conjunction with a 6PM weekend local news presence) after the new strategy failed, viewers have not returned in the same numbers.
With The Renovators generating similar ratings to what Can of Worms had achieved in its 8:30PM Monday outings, if Can of Worms does return to the 8:30PM timeslot with The Renovators as a lead-in, this lead-in audience for Can of Worms will be substantially lower than the helping hand which it received from Masterchef where the viewing audience has been up to 1.7+ million on Monday nights.
Both this week and next week will be a test for Can of Worms and the programmers at the Ten Network. Whether the Can of Worms brand has been damaged by rescheduling only the OzTAM ratings will reveal, but for a show that was generating strong press coverage and holding a strong base audience week-to-week with a good mix of guests and content, the decision by Ten to run the Renovators for two-weeks with Masterchef as its lead-in may prove to be a mistake by the network as the audience for Can of Worms may not return.
Will you be watching Can of Worms this week or next? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Can of Worms is on Ten tonight at 9:30PM (according to guides) with James Mathison, Lawrenece Mooney and Julie Goodwin joining Dicko in the studio.