Sentimental Saturdays (Ignorance of Unreliable Programming and Timeslots on Australian Television)

australian channels

Can you tell me a time when you were first introduced to television? I know my first time- it was Sesame Street in around 1991 or 1992. I then outgrew that show, transitioned into programs such as Saturday Disney (Channel 7 around the years of 1995 til about 1999), Round the Twist (on ABC- my family and I watched all four seasons in the early 2000’s), and Monk (I started watching the Channel 10 program in 2005 with season 3 repeats). As most of these shows I was first introduced to I watched on Australian TV, I’d like to briefly talk about the current reliability of the Australian TV guide, in light of the shows I am now currently watching on American TV, online because of review purposes, considering most of what I am in the middle of right now hasn’t come to Australia yet…

It’s a well known fact that Australia needs to buy the rights to an international show to air it. And like all networks, I guess there is a salary cap. While in America, networks like CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and ABC are only concerned with their home-grown shows, and thus only fill their primetime hours with dramas, comedies and reality TV from America, Australia are much more inclusive in their lineup. On top of home-grown Aussie shows (of which there are a few), British, American, Canadian and New Zealand shows are shown on our screens as well, not to mention the foreign dramas on SBS. This means that not all American shows can be shown on Australian TV at around the same time as their American counterparts- with some American shows shown in Australian months after its American debut, but this is no fault of the Australian channels though. It’s a matter of priority, and I am sure that networks have their dream shows, and sadly other shows which are popular and are shown in the U.S or Britain, aren’t popular and aren’t shown in Australia.

Yet even with the already packed schedules on Australian TV, in the summer and in the autumn; shouldn’t this still mean a reliable schedule week in and week out in the two TV schedules in Australia, given that there are countless Australian TV channels? Not necessarily. In fact, right now, if shows are fast tracked from America to Australia, 9 times out of 10, the schedule changes every week, and shows are pulled in Australia, regardless of ratings, then reintroduced weeks or months later, re-branded as a new season even when it is only a continuation of the old season that mostly everyone has seen before. New shows from overseas are tossed by the wayside in favour of repeats of shows already cancelled or ended, or in favour of movies which have aired already in the same year, on the same or different channels, and dramas are ‘cancelled’ with reality TV dominating.

Now am I just having a gripe? What am I actually being sentimental about? Well, I’m being sentimental about the past, when I wasn’t privy to the knowledge of the current state of Australian TV, when I wasn’t exposed to the knowledge of the haphazardness of the fluid Australain TV schedule. Yes, I am sentimental and nostalgic for the time when I was ignorant of the Australian schedule. Why? That way I wouldn’t have been currently frustrated and angry about Australian TV and how it is treated. I am sure that right now, channels in Australia can be great if they followed the U.S. example, and tried to have weekly schedules rather than daily schedules; and hopefully in the future, things can change.

Until then, I will dwell upon the simpler times, when I knew a show was on week in and week out. Because many years ago, when I didn’t have access to the internet nor viewing shows online, the Australian TV schedule was reliable and dependable. What has changed? I’m not sure. But what I do know that with every progressing year, the schedule in Australia becomes more complicated. If the TV industry in Australia wants to survive, the quantity and quality of Australian shows needs to increase and then the schedule needs to change. Drastically.

What is your favourite show, and is the channel that it is airing on reliable and dependable? What ideas do you have for the rebranding of a channel so that our memories of the fun times are not tarnished and altered for the worse?

Let us know in the comments! Til next time!

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