Nine’s ‘The Briefcase’ Like Watching “Seagulls Fight Over A Chip”

Nine’s ‘The Briefcase’ Like Watching “Seagulls Fight Over A Chip”

Viewers of Nine’s newest show The Briefcase aren’t exactly impressed with the way the episode played out, despite Nine urging audiences to not judge the show by its teaser.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

The program aired its first installment last night to an audience of 733,000 across the five metro cities, per OzTAM figures. And while it came in at the fifteenth most watched show of the night behind the likes of MasterChef and Love Child, viewers were still shocked by its contents, with one Twitter user comparing it to watching seagulls fight over a chip.

The premise revolves around giving two desperate families struggling to make ends meet a briefcase filled with $100,000. They can keep the lot, give it to the other unknown family or split it in a way they see fit. The twist, however, is that the family has no idea that other family is grappling with the same situation.

The first family we meet is a family of five, where mother and wife Mandy McCracken barely survived a terrible illness that left her a quadruple amputee, not to mention mountains of costs in healthcare.

The other family are Jim and Jenny Carter and their two daughters, whose property in the Grampians was ravaged by bushfires, leaving them with no cash flow and living in a caravan.

Over three days, the families must decide what to do with the money, as they slowly learn more about the other family, even visiting their empty homes and seeing evidence of their hardships.

The families miraculously both arrive at the same agreement – to give the entire $100,000 to the other family – and subsequently both end up with the cash. But not every episode will end so generously, one can imagine.

And according to new reports, the families believed they were going on a different show to the one they ended up on.

According to Fairfax, managing director of programming and production at Nine, Andrew Backwell, said, “We told people we were doing a show called Making Ends Meet, in which we were going to come and speak to them about their financial situation and provide some financial advice”.

Backwell told Fairfax he bought the rights to the show from the US creator Dave Broome, who also came up with the concept for The Biggest Loser, before the show even hit the televisions of America. And while the US version was condemned for pitting a White extremist family against an African-American family, Backwell said the Aussie version was far less severe.

“In America it was more a freak show,” he said.

“We’ve tried to go with average families that have fallen on hard times. Not by being slack or lazy or not giving a shit, but through no fault of their own. You’re going to look at them and feel some compassion.”

But despite this attitude, viewers didn’t take a huge liking to the new program.

Nine hadn’t responded to B&T’s request for comment at the time of publishing.

The Briefcase screens 7.30pm Monday nights on Nine.