Channel 10 faces financial ruin after it was forced to axe its latest iteration of I’m a Celebrity: Get me Out Of Here reality TV series after a test audience failed to identify any of the so-called celebrities.
The program’s axing will cost the struggling network millions as the first show hosted by Julia Morris and Dr Chris Brown (pictured above) was due to have screened on January 3 and station programmers believe MASH has long passed its use-by date in a prime-time slot.
My spies tell me the test audience at Fox Studios in Moore Park last night was so bored by the screenings of the first couple of episodes of the show that they streamed out of the studios early and went for a drink at the nearby Bat and Ball Hotel near the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The shock and then despair shown by the Ten network executives to the audience’s negative reaction are easily explained: although the seventh season of the show has been shot in Australia for the first time – in northern NSW in fact – it has cost the struggling network millions to produce.
Ten had high hopes that the show would be a rating winner for 2021. A classy promo featuring the two hosts in a clever tribute to great Aussie films of the past is said to have cost close to a million to produce and has been running for several months.
I’m told network executives were close to tears as the test audience shouted “Who the fuck were those no-bodies?”, “Celebrities? Yeah, right! Pull the other one!”, “One of the blokes looked a bit like Karl Stefanovic only fitter and with a personality” and “I thought Bud Tingwell was dead”.
The Ten Network hierarchy are putting on a brave face but one station executive broke ranks overnight and told me: “We started to run out of celebrities around season three. We’ve got to face facts: Australia is a shitty little country really and there’s probably no more ‘celebrities’ out there than there are in the entire ‘glitterati’ of so-called Sydney society.
“The show should have been put out of its misery back then. It’s been a turkey for years.”
But I’m told marketing experts that the panicked network has called in believe all is not lost.
They want to rebrand it as a bit of a reality TV spoof under the title: Who the hell are these has-been who never weres?: Let’s hope they all get carried out of here in a box.