Poor Baggage handling

Poor Baggage handling

Posted February 5th, 2012 by debritz

Feb 7 update: The Nine network has reportedly moved Excess Baggage to its Go! multichannel.

Channel 9's Excess Baggage is reportedly facing the axe, or demotion to digital channel Go!, within a week. Now I know hindsight is a wonderful thing, but EB has presented itself as a textbook example of how to get the creation, marketing and programming of a show terribly, terribly wrong.

The concept probably looked good on paper. The idea was to do to weight-loss programs what Nine had successfully done to the Apprentice format -- spice it up with the addition of once-were and wannabe celebrities. (Genuine celebrities, of course, don't need to go on reality shows.)

The broader plan was for Excess Baggage to be the first of a series of programs, including Big Brother, The Block and a new season of Celebrity Apprentice, that would be "stripped" at 7pm, thus claiming that timeslot and gluing viewers to the station throughout the primetime schedule.

But the problems for Baggage began before it was even screened.

Mistake No. 1: Nine over-egged the show, running an extended "sneak peek" so often that even people well-disposed towards the program would have felt that they'd already seen it. For the rest of us, it just confirmed negative sentiments.

Mistake No. 2: Programming it against the similar, but already well established, The Biggest Loser, thus only ever being able to divide a finite potential audience. Crucially, TBL is a program that viewers don't hate, so why should they jump ship? (Also, as the Seven juggernaut Home And Away is also female-skewed, it placed three shows targetting a similar audience in the same timeslot. Nine should have gone the other way.)

Mistake No. 3: Removing the wildly popular US sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, from the 7pm slot, which it had made its own over the summer. Big Bang repeats were regularly trouncing first-run episodes of other shows on other channels. Nine was on a good thing, and should have stuck to it.

Mistake No. 4: Debuting Excess Baggage in a week when they knew it would be interrupted by the cricket. Of course, Ten cleverly forced Nine's hand there, by launching its 2012 schedule early. I guess that's more a misfortune than a mistake.

Mistake No. 5: Flogging it to death. One night last week, the show ran for 90 minutes. Viewers balk at committing that amount of time to a movie, let alone an untested new show.