Some fantastic news from the Ten Network today, confirming what has been believed to be happening for some time. Andrew Bolt, the Herald Sun columnist, MTR1377 presenter, Ten contributor, and former ABC TV ‘Insiders’ contributor and Nine contributor, is expanding his role at the Ten Network. No longer will he be relegated to the utterly ridiculous role of being the guy at the end of the desk making Twitter-length observations on The 7PM Project (one wonders if they use this format because they think that their core-demographic won’t understand anything longer, or because they think their core-demographic is so obsessed with Twitter that they won’t listen to anything longer), Andrew will now have his own show on Sunday mornings on Ten .
The Bolt Report will premiere on May 8, and will air at 10am. The show will provide a lead-in to Ten’s existing Sunday morning show Meet The Press which moves from its existing 8am timeslot to a 10:30am timeslot.
The timing for the decision couldn’t be better. Earlier this week, Nine’s veteran journalist Laurie Oakes announced that he will relinquish his role of providing the Sunday morning interview for Weekend Today…and quite frankly, whoever takes on this role (if anyone) will not have the same clout and respectability of Oakes, so Oakes’ departure from Sunday television leaves a void…Seven don’t have a serious political discussion or interview program on Sunday morning (they do muster up the occasional interview on Weekend Sunrise, but it is very unusual, and it only works when Andrew O’Keefe isn’t it “silly mode”) so that just leaves ABC TV and Ten.
ABC’s Insiders continues at 9am sans Andrew Bolt, but will presumably still keep other conservative commentators such as Piers Akerman and Gerard Henderson, and it’s a well-known fact that people who watch Insiders and hate the likes of Bolt, Akerman, Henderson and co. are more engaged in the program when they are on…so presumably the plan is to get people to switch over from Insiders at 10am to Bolt at 10:30 and then probably stick around for Meet The Press at 10:30.
It strikes me as clever programming, and Ten have seen that Bolt engages the audience on 7PM Project regardless of their opinion of his views, so this could very well be a winner. At the very least, it puts Ten’s political programming on at a more sensible time…Meet The Press was wasted at 8am up against the unstoppable fluff machines of Sunrise and Today. Ten are much better off counter-programming with youth-oriented music programming in the early hours and putting the serious stuff on at 10am after the adults have finished watching the news (and news-esque) programming on the other channels.
I’m looking forward to The Bold Report, and will make sure that I don’t miss a second of it.