• Finale of Hey Hey Its Saturday 2010 and a farewell to GTV
  • Finale of Hey Hey Its Saturday 2010 and a farewell to GTV
    Written by battye
    Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:52 am

    Last night Hey Hey It's Saturday bid farewell to the Channel 9 studios at 22 Bendigo Street, Richmond. Whether it was a farewell from television still remains to be seen.

    Earlier this year I looked at Hey Hey It's Saturday's comeback ratings, where the trend wasn't promising. Since then the show has been moved to its original home on Saturday night. In recent times Saturday night has been a poor performing night as far as television ratings go - most networks playing repeats of movies (especially in Australia) or airing reruns or burned off episodes for cancelled shows (the USA). So it was a bold move for Nine to bring live variety back to Saturday primetime - although given the below par ratings Hey Hey was getting on Saturday it was almost a forced move.

    Season 30 Ratings

    Hey Hey It's Saturday S30E01 - October 16, 2010 - 979,000 viewers
    Hey Hey It's Saturday S30E02 - October 23, 2010 - 878,000 viewers
    Hey Hey It's Saturday S30E03 - October 30, 2010 - 850,000 viewers
    Hey Hey It's Saturday S30E04 - November 6, 2010 - 774,000 viewers*
    Hey Hey It's Saturday S30E05 - November 13, 2010 - 665,000 viewers*
    Hey Hey It's Saturday S30E06 - November 20, 2010 - 679,000 viewers
    Hey Hey It's Saturday S30E07 - November 27, 2010 - 824,000 viewers

    * Pre-empted due to Rugby League in some states


    After starting out very strongly, the rugby pre-emptions made quite an impact. It's primary audience (Victoria) remained strong but without New South Wales and Queensland viewers the numbers took a hit.

    On the numbers alone a renewal for 2011 seems unlikely. But looking at the bigger picture Hey Hey It's Saturday could still be valuable to Channel Nine. Despite claims by critics of the show, Hey Hey should not be an expensive show to produce. Most of the musical guests are local artists and bands while the segments are largely subsidised by advertisers. The cast and crew doesn't appear to be excessive... when people claim Hey Hey is expensive, they mean relative to a movie repeat.

    The value of the show to Nine could come in a couple of forms. For a start, it could pay for itself over time if it is repeated on the digital sub-channels GO! and GEM. Whether Nine have the rights to pre-2000 episodes or not, they should have repeat rights for the 22 episodes aired since 2009. Given some of the absolute garbage aired during late night on those channels (ie. GEM on Wednesday at 10:30pm) I would be astounded if Hey Hey repeats didn't garner better ratings. It could even plug holes during daytime for a while. Other reasons include network image, Nine should be applauded for bringing live variety back to Australian screens and it doesn't hurt that Hey Hey is a family show. Finally, it serves as a platform to promote other network shows. In the last couple of weeks alone, Eddie McGuire and Leila McKinnon have stopped by an not-so-subtly had their shows plugged (National IQ Test and Weekend Today Show). With clever promotion and scheduling, there is no reason why it can't achieve reasonable ratings.

    I may comment about the entire last season of Hey Hey in a future article, but for now I just want to look at the finale. It started out in good but unusual fashion, with Daryl filmed entering the studio through the doors (which from memory only occured during the reunion and the Crazy Clobber special). May it have been some kind of symbolism? John Blackman's voiceover during the opening sequence sounded at best subdued and at worst disgruntled or depressed. As it turns out, he has laryngitis (or something like it).

    The whole show was conducted in great spirit, it was a good tribute to GTV9 - Nine were lucky to have someone has knowledgeable about the network as Daryl Somers hosting the show. There were hints that the show might return, such as the Red Faces sign-up promo. But there was pretty convincing evidence that the cast might have thought this was the final episode; Hey Hey and Daryl in particular both treat tradition and history seriously, so it was no surprise that the cast all got involved in the show in one way or another with a few more segments this week than usual. Livinia judged Red Faces (as she said, she also did this on her first episode of Hey Hey) while Danny Clayton was even brought back.

    Hey Hey ran overtime (in typical fashion!) and ended in a musical number by Daryl Somers. I'm sure the haters will put this down to ego, but as far as I'm concerned he looked like he was having fun on television - just as Conan O'Brien did when he played the guitar on his final Tonight Show unsure of what the future holds.

    "We'll see you real soon. Hopefully. Maybe. Perhaps. Ask a journo."

    "Lights, Camera, Party: Television City Celebrates" followed from the conclusion of Hey Hey. It was bordering on a 2 hour pat-on-the-back fest, but given GTV's contribution to Australian television it was warranted. The current state of television in Australia is quite poor (I exclude long running series which in my opinion have enough credits in the bank to escape unwarranted criticism) so the only way GTV could be honoured was by looking the archives.

    Bert Newton was a natural choice as host having been with GTV for so many years and joined forces with some of the biggest names of Victorian and Australian television (Graham Kennedy, Don Lane). Eddie McGuire - a former CEO and undisputed stalwart of the network in recent years - joined him. Eddie wasn't a bad choice, but as a long-serving member of the Nine family Daryl Somers might have been a more insightful selection. Logisitcally this might not have been possible though, but it was nice to see Daryl and Hey Hey It's Saturday honoured throughout the show.

    Overall, it was a good night of television. It's not often these days to see 5 straight hours of variety - let alone on a Saturday night. It was a good way to send off 22 Bendigo Street, Richmond (Television City). Now a new era begins in Docklands.

    Screenshots from the Hey Hey It's Saturday 2010 (Season 30) finale

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