Seven And Nine Call A Truce, Agree To Quit Copying Each Other’s Reality Shows

Last month, Channel Seven announced that they were straight-up pulling the new, already-shot season of their home reno show House Rules from the schedule, on the basis that it just couldn’t compete with Nine‘s similar show The Block.

Seven’s programming chief Angus Ross referred to the situation, perhaps generously, as “genre matching”, and said that putting their show in direct competition with Nine’s would not result in good outcomes for the network or its audience.
There has been so much “genre matching” going on between the two that Ross and his Nine counterpart Andrew Blackwell recently called a truce, admitting, more or less, that launching competing, copycat shows has not paid dividends for either. 
Earlier this year, in another fairly ugly ratings stoush, Seven and Nine programmed rival cooking shows Restaurant Revolution and The Hotplate against each-other. 
The Hotplate was so similar to Seven’s hit My Kitchen Rules, right down to the resemblance between judges Manu Feildel and Scott Pickett, that before it aired, they they actually tried to take Nine to court for copyright infringement
Nine’s Hotplate ultimately beat Seven’s Revolution in the ratings, then in an act of spite, Seven yanked their show from its timeslot and replaced it with a compilation YouTube cat videos, a ploy so successful they got away with it three times.
Nine’s Blackwell recently admitted that the network used Reno Rumble, a show from the makers of The Block and featuring several Block cast-members, deliberately to hurt Seven’s ratings for House Rules.
While Reno Rumble did manage to steal some of the House Rules audience, ratings were still not fantastic. Now, the two networks seem to have reached an uneasy peace, with both saying that the copying will end.
Blackwell said:
“We have to get to a situation as an industry where we stop fighting each other. Seven and Nine are not enemies. Our main challenge is to stop the audience fragmentation. We should make free to air TV the best product possible so we stop viewers drifting to pay TV, online and to the streaming services. While I’m not suggesting we should collaborate, we should not constantly work against each other. This constant head-to-head programming is damaging for all the networks. There are no winners out of it. I’d like to see it over. We certainly have plans next year to avoid this situation, and in the end, the viewers will be the big winners.”

The new season of House Rules will air at some point next year, in a non-Block dominated timeslot. What this means for the future of reality TV in Australia, we can but imagine.