So Last night Ten took a big-time shot at news and current affairs with its exclusive Douglas Wood interview.
I didn't watch it. And most people I spoke to today didn't see it either. And according to several reports today, lots of other viewers were as equally nonplussed, preferring both Nine's Backyard Blitz and Seven's Guinness Book of Records to the much hyped Wood special.
Third in a three-horse race between the commercial networks is an ordinary result at the best of times, but especially when you've paid something like $400,000 for the privilege. So what went wrong?
It's pretty simple really, in attempting to position itself as a big time player in news and current affairs, Ten strayed too far away from what it stands for its key brand message if you like; the youth demographic, 16-24 year olds. Tens core competency is doing things like Big Brother, Australian Idol, The Simpsons, The OC, and similar programs. Not news.
And as I said last week, scheduling the program on a Sunday night in between The Simpsons and Big Brother was just dumb.
So what did we learn from the Wood interview?
"There were lots of tears, but not much about why Wood was in Iraq, why he'd been apart from his wife for two years, and why he felt it necessary to go to such a dangerous place to make money in his early 60s. Nor were there questions about whether he'd placed himself in danger by going to Iraq, and whether any of his work in Iraq had increased the risk. Wood also displayed a lack of understanding as to why some Australians would object to his taking Ten's money after the $3 million the Australian government had spent on his recovery. His brothers and wife seemed far more empathetic people. They provided plenty of tears, as did Doug when his grandchildren appeared. So Ten and Sandra Sully can at least rest easy on that score: they achieved the goal of all current affairs efforts – to get on-camera emotion from the main talent. But the interview aroused limited sympathy for Wood, at least for this viewer. It was disappointing that he didn't thank the Australian people and the special also felt strangely out of date – it really should have gone to air last Tuesday or Wednesday night."
From that and other reports, it seems as though the Ten questions showed little evidence of research and it's disappointing that there's no transcript available on the Ten website.
It would seem as though Ten blew their $400K, but if anyone did see it and has a different opinion... well you know where to find the comments section