Channel Seven and Channel Nine heads of programming Angus Ross (Seven) and Andrew Backwell (Nine) have called a cease-fire over the rival network’s copycat TV show war.
Ross and Backwell have promised viewers the networks won’t be bickering in 2016, instead they will focus on the rise of Netflix, Stan and other streaming services.
This year, Seven lodged a case against Nine and its new reality cooking show The Hotplate, claiming the show was a rip-off of Seven’s My Kitchen Rules. The networks went to court this week where Seven argued to have The Hotplate taken off-air.
The list of copycat TV shows includes: Nine Reno Rumble, from the makers of Nine’s The Block was created as a rival to Seven’s House Rules. In 2014, Seven launched talent show The X Factor against Nine’s Australia’s Got Talent. Back in 2009, Seven launched current affairs show Sunday Night to battle against Nine’s 60 Minutes.
Ross and Backwell told a News Corp publication that the battle must stop: “I don’t think the genre matching that has occurred this year has helped anyone — it has been a disappointing year,” Ross said.
“As a programmer you want to offer alternatives and that was always the intention this year. It didn’t work out that way. They (Nine) rolled out Reno Rumble (against House Rules) and that is when the genre matching began — and the rest is history.
“I’m not going to do it again.”
“We have to get to a situation as an industry where we stop fighting each other,” Backwell said.
“Seven and Nine are not enemies. Our main challenge is to stop the audience fragmentation. We should make free to air TV the best product possible so we stop viewers drifting to pay TV, online and to the streaming services.
“While I’m not suggesting we should collaborate, we should not constantly work against each other. This constant head-to-head programming is damaging for all the networks. There are no winners out of it. I’d like to see it over.
“We certainly have plans next year to avoid this situation, and in the end, the viewers will be the big winners.”