The Blogosphere and Twitterverse in Australia is buzzing about the Ten Network’s decision to axe The Circle today. Now, I’ve never watched The Circle, but from what I hear, it was a popular show that, although still a light “morning” program, a lot of people enjoyed watching, especially women. I feel sorry for the on-air team and all the behind-the-scenes staff who have lost their jobs – and the news that Ten is replacing this home-grown show with imported products is something I can never support – but I’m not going to claim that this is a sign that Australian free-to-air TV is ignoring women. In fact, I think you could argue the opposite.
If Australian free-to-air TV networks are really ignoring Australian women, then wouldn’t Australian free-to-air TV be full of programs for blokes? If that’s true, I don’t see where they are. Sure, Channel 9 still shows a lot of Rugby League in winter, and Cricket in summer, but over at Channel 7, more and more of their AFL coverage is being pushed over to 7-MATE, the supposedly bloke-focussed channel.
Channel 7 is Australia’s most watched network, especially if you take away the State Of Origin Football ratings from Channel 9. Channel 7 is popular because it runs so many programs that attract a lot of female viewers – Downtown Abbey, Revenge, Once Upon A Time, Bones, Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy…that’s hardly a blokey line-up.
Over at Channel 10, there are shows like The Project, The Shire, Masterchef, The Biggest Loser, The Good Wife, Offspring and Glee…again, all popular with women. Even at Channel 9, where Footy and Cricket still rule, the biggest success this year has been The Voice, and they are soon going to be showing Big Brother…another show aimed at the female demographic.
As a male viewer, I have found myself watching much more programming on cable TV than free-to-air, whether it be sports, or harder-edge dramas like Broadwalk Empire and The Walking Dead (that was shown on Channel 7, but very late at night.) Even more male-oriented reality programming, like Mythbusters or Ice Road Truckers, are either relegated to free-to-air’s secondary channels, or cable.
Some might say that SBS has a good mix of programming for both men and women…but who watches SBS? Not many people. Same could be said for the ABC. But back to my main point. Yes, men have access to a wide range of male-oriented programming, both on the new additional free-to-air channels, and on cable, but apart from footy and cricket, the three main free-to-air channels are dominated by women’s programming, and the ratings reflect this. I actually watch and enjoy many of these programs, but I know I’m not the target demographic for these shows – you just need to look at what is advertised during Offspring or Downton Abbey to understand this.
So, yes – it’s sad that The Circle has been axed. But it wasn’t axed because Channel 10 hates women – it was axed because local programming is expensive, and imported programming aimed at the same demographic is cheaper to run. When local programming is successful enough, like Packed To The Rafters and Offspring, local programmers will run shows aimed at Australian female viewers…but if they’re not successful, foreign imports are always going to look more attractive to cash-strapped TV networks.
What do you think? Was Channel 10 right to axe The Circle? Do you think Australian free-to-air networks ignore women, or the opposite?
Image via Channel 10.
John James has written 203 posts.
JJ is a blogger who is bored with traditional opinion blogging. He is a co-founder and editor at KiKi & Tea. He also represents the grumpy middle-aged man demographic on KiKi & Tea. He is a writer by trade and a frustrated rock star / crime fighter by night, and blogs about music at newmusicrevue.com.
Follow on twitter: @JohnJamesOZ