Opinion: Saturday Night Rove, the little show that couldn’t

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Saturday Night Rove fails to connect with audiences. Source: https://10play.com.au/saturday-night-rove/about

I’m not surprised Saturday Night Rove was axed after just two episodes. I mean, who watches television on a Saturday night? I’m assuming not their target audience …

Saturday Night Rove should have been Rove McManus’ triumphant series return to Australian television, but it was axed by Network 10 after just two week’s on air.

Regardless of being any good or not, I believe the comedy series was doomed from the beginning – because of its time slot, content and the changing TV audience, not because of the host. After all, McManus has had success before. His show Rove Live was a ratings winner during its nine-year run from 2000 to 2009, taking home a total of 16 Logies (including three Gold Logie wins for McManus) throughout its time on the small screen. And recently he delightfully filled in as host on Celebrity Name Game, due to Grant Denyer’s health issues.

Saturday Night Rove showed promise when it was commissioned for six episodes as part of Pilot Week in 2018, but ultimately failed to connect with audiences and ratings dropped from 240,000 on its August 24 debut to a woeful 140,000 the following week.

Speaking to TV Tonight after the axing, McManus said: “It was clear looking at the numbers that the audience we hoped would find a free-wheeling live show on a Saturday night just weren’t there.”

A Network 10 spokesperson said: “Unfortunately Saturday Night Rove hasn’t resonated with viewers the way we had hoped, so Rove and 10 have made the decision to remove it from the schedule.”

Saturday evenings are the lowest rating nights of the television week for free-to-air. And, with more than two-thirds of Australians now having access to Pay TV or streaming services and Netflix continuing to be an industry leader, statistics show Australians aged 18 to 35 are watching 20% less broadcast television than this time last year.

Saturday Night Rove also received negative reviews on the highly-popular Googlebox series. Furthermore, viewers were unimpressed by its adult content and constant swearing during its 7.30pm family friendly time slot, preferring to watch a rerun of the 1993 film Mrs Doubtfire on Channel 7 instead.

With this year’s Pilot Week offerings airing last week, I just hope Network 10 doesn’t make the same mistake of scheduling the wrong content on the wrong night in the wrong time slot.

Tell us what you think.

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