Seven’s noughty problems

:joy: Your Life on the Lawn was possibly the worst show commissioned that year. Absolutely slaughtered by Backyard Blitz. Think it only lasted three weeks.


Some shocking shows commissioned that year.


Who could also remember “Australia’s Worst Driver”? One memory I have from that show was that the “loser” would have his or her car crushed by this car-crushing machine on live TV at the end of the series, but would receive a year’s free public transport as consolation.

2003, however, brought about the emergence of Sunrise which started to challenge Today in the breakfast ratings, the reformatting of The Mole (adding “in Paradise” to the end of the show’s name) and the debut of Deal or No Deal, which struggled against the might of 60 Minutes and Australian Idol but was later condensed into a Monday-Friday 5:30pm show.

Also, ATN removed Ross Symonds and Ann Sanders in favour of Ian Ross, who would lift Seven News from the doldrums to the top of the ratings by 2005. Mark Beretta and Adam Digby were also gone from the 6pm newsdesk, replaced by Matthew White (now back at 10) and Nuala Hafner, respectively.

If I remember correctly, Better Homes and Gardens was moved to Saturdays in 2004, and that move backfired spectacularly. I think it was the following year that it moved to its current Friday night timeslot.

Overall the 2002-04 period was a very dark one for Seven, which had lost the AFL rights prior to 2002. The unbeatable Nine lost only six weeks during that period.


With no AFL from 2002-04, Seven languished in the ratings sometimes finishing 3rd.

The on-air presentation wasn’t consistent and David Leckie arrived in mid-2003 with his aim to turn the station’s fortunes around and to challenge 9 in the ratings.

However, Sunrise began to challenge Today as Australia’s #1 breakfast show. It wasn’t until 2005 when 7 was competitive again with shows such as Desperate Housewives and Lost giving 7 a great start that year.

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Sadly, I do remember that show! From memory it aired at 6.30pm on Sunday nights, probably up against the very successful first season of The Block on Nine.

Not sure if it’s right to say that Ann Sanders was sacked, given that she still retained a position at Seven News and remains part of their Sydney-based news team to this day.

That sounds about right, but can someone remind me whether it before or after the move to Friday nights that the transition from Noni Hazelhurst to Johanna Griggs happened?


Reworded to ‘removed’. While Sanders remains a recognizable face to Sydneysiders today, Symonds has had no further involvement in television apart from a brief appearance on The Daily Edition a few years back.

And of course, Mark Beretta went on to bigger and better things, now presenting the sport on Sunrise.


I think Talking Footy remained until it was axed in 2004, only to be revived in 2013.

You could also thank Lleyton Hewitt for the strong start Seven enjoyed in 2005, as Desperate Housewives and Lost both launched on the back of him reaching the Australian Open final at the start of the year.


Split from the on air presentation thread - Seven’s problems in the early 00s deserve their own thread.


Always Greener started off strong with its first season, but a decision to premiere its second season during the lower-rating Easter period followed by several time-slot changes sealed its fate.
The show ended in June 2003 after only 50 episodes.


This is the Seven News Melbourne report from when the network lost the AFL rights in January 2001 (though they would still broadcast that season before Nine and Ten picked up the sport from 2002). Seven cited that the money could be better spent on “top-rating” Australian TV dramas like Blue Heelers, which would falter in the ratings leading to its axing in mid-2006.

Credit: matt01video


Glad it has it’s own thread. The early 00s after the success that was the Sydney Olympics wasn’t a good time for 7


Noni’s last episode was in 2004, and I seem to remember that going out on a Friday night at 7.30. However, Wikipedia states the show moved to Fridays in 2005 (which could possibly be wrong).

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Lol, complaining about rights costs going above $90 Million! :joy:

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Speaking of Desperate Housewives, Seven’s decision to show season 2 against Nine’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games from Melbourne in March 2006 backfired, and the drama’s ratings declined from there, losing its timeslot often to The Mentalist.

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Nine just won the 2006 ratings season thanks to that.

But much like Seven’s problems post-Sydney 2000, the year 2007 saw Nine slide into oblivion for over a decade before reclaiming its position as Australia’s most-watched television network in 2019.

Not directly Seven’s fault, but who could remember this from April 2005, when a blackout at the Docklands studios in Melbourne knocked the whole network off air?

This happened sometime around 9:00pm on Wednesday 13 April 2005, during Blue Heelers (in Perth, it was Home and Away that was interrupted).


Seven’s problems weren’t really confined to the 00s.

For most if not all of the 1990s, they were a distant second to Channel Nine. They simply couldn’t compete with Kerry Packer and his wads of cash, he was prepared to spend anything to win the ratings.

Back then, Seven were often called “Channel Second” given how far ahead Nine often was.


Yes I remember this. I recall BCM stations (metro) went to black. The Sydney backup failed to kick in apparently.

I was watching on Prime Victoria and they just ran ads for about an hour as they were played out of Canberra at that time but still lost the clean feed from BCM.

The Blue Heelers episode was repeated the following week.

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A lot of Seven’s woes were blamed on the low ratings in the two biggest markets, Sydney and Melbourne. I jokingly referred to those two cities as “the bad boys of Australian television ratings” given how much they dragged down Seven’s averages during this time.

Also recently, Seven News’ ratings woes in the middle part of the noughties was put down to the 100K+ deficits against Nine News in those two cities.

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Are you implying that Nine should’ve always been on top of ratings as a right?

Pretty sure no network has that kind of a rightful position. It all depends on how audiences react to their shows in terms of ratings. Some of Nine’s shows back then (and even now) were horrific and viewers didn’t respond very well. Just because Nine was historically first doesn’t mean they have inherited rights to always be first.

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