The Games Programmers Play

Despite abysmal ratings for TV3′s premiere of Homeland on Monday, TV2 must think there’s still a chance it can find a home in viewers’ hearts.

Why else would the network make last-minute changes to its weekend schedules?

As late as midday Friday, a TV2 publicist alerted media of key billing changes on Saturday and Sunday nights.

The first — and most significant — was the addition of Revenge at 9.30pm Saturday.

It’s a repeat of Monday’s premiere and pushes back the movies, I Hate Valentine’s Day, An American Carol and Fun With Dick and Jane, to 10.25pm, 12.15am and 2am respectively (Wonder Woman and Jeremy Kyle have been dropped from the overnight schedule).

The second change is replacing the previously scheduled re-run of Revenge, at 11.10pm on Sunday, with a re-run of of the season-eight premiere of its HD stablemate, Desperate Housewives.

In making these changes so abruptly, TV2 is willing to risk the ire of viewers to sabotage Homeland’s fledgling prospects.

TV3 announced Wednesday it would repeat the Golden Globe-winning drama on Saturday after the season finale of The X-Factor Australia, clearly in the hope it would deservedly find the audience that overlooked it on Monday — when, of course, it screened opposite Revenge and, in TV3′s target demographic, 25-54 year-olds, drew half as many viewers.

TV2′s strategy is twofold: it’s trying to insure lightning will strike twice by starting Revenge 15 minutes earlier than Homeland, straight after a two-hour edition of crowdpleaser American Idol; and it wants to maximise Housewives’ sampling because from Monday, the aging warhorse will go head-to-head with Homeland.

Disastrous ratings for its own veteran procedural, CSI, has prompted TV3 to push it back to 9.35pm Mondays, so it doesn’t clash with Criminal Minds on TV One and bring Homeland forward an hour so there’s a more distinct choice at 8.30pm: a sophisticated, modern drama that’s as good as the genre gets versus a lurid procedural and an increasingly desperate soap that are well past their prime.

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One Response to “The Games Programmers Play”

  1. I think putting Revenge against Homeland for a second time is stupid. Since most people watched Revenge the first time, they don’t need to see it again, and will give Homeland a go. And I hope they do.

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