It’s no secret that The Renovators is struggling. Network Ten’s big budget reality program, which had intentions of being the home renovation version of MasterChef, has failed to capture an audience the way its food predecessor has. It may only be in the first weeks of its first season, but the numbers aren’t looking good and viewer complaints are already adding up. We’re taking a look at some of the reasons why The Renovators isn’t quite living up to expectations.
1. It was over-advertised: In the lead up to its premiere, you couldn’t flick to a Network Ten program without seeing an ad for The Renovators. It played before most MasterChef episodes, and then in most commercial breaks, too. Lots of people felt they had seen most of the first episode — the 48-hour total home renovation challenge — before it aired.
2. It’s competing against The Block: Some argue that there’s no need for another renovation show when The Block is already doing wonders for the genre (and Channel Nine). The Block has been a Nine success story for years, and switching from once a week viewing on Sundays to every weeknight this year hasn’t hurt its numbers. The fact that the two shows also cross-over isn’t helping The Renovators.
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3. Backlash after the MasterChef grand final stunt: Twitter reactions in regards to Ten’s decision to screen an episode of The Renovators in between the MasterChef grand final didn’t go down well. Many complained that the flow of the grand final was jilted, while lots of young fans missed out on the winner announcement (around 9:45 p.m.) with school the next day. While The Renovators managed to hold an audience of about 1.269 million during that timeslot, in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a successful move.
4. Inconsistent scheduling: On Tuesday night Modern Family returned to Network Ten (cue lots of excited fans). It was advertised for 8 p.m. Then on Tuesday afternoon it was (quietly) announced that Modern Family would be airing at 7:30 p.m. with The Renovators taking the 8 p.m. timeslot. As a result, some people hoping to get their fix of the dysfunctional Prichett/Dunphy families missed out because of the last-minute change. And looking ahead at the coming week, it seems The Renovators will be moving to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays to accommodate Modern Family at 7:30 p.m. Yes, just a tad confusing . . .
5. Reality TV overload: OK, clearly we’re not over reality TV in general (judging from the ratings, we still love it). But committing to The Renovators means committing to another six nights of television a week. Are people who may be celebrating the end of MasterChef because it means a little more time on their hands willing to jump into another long-running series? From the looks of it, not really.
Network Ten will most likely see The Renovators through to the end of its first series — at such a huge cost (reportedly around $30 million) they can’t afford not to. Why do you think audiences have been steering clear of The Renovators? Do you think it will pick up once The Block ends on August 21? For an interesting read, Ten’s chief programming officer David Mott has penned an opinion piece for Mumbrella in regards to Ten’s MasterChef grand finale controversy.