The moronic TV scheduling of same-type programs

What is wrong with the network TV programmers these days? Are they all just a bunch of morons with a lack of imagination to dare try anything new? I’m talking about how they seem hell-bent on putting the same-type shows on against one another and think that is somehow clever competitive programming. There’s nothing clever about it, it’s idiotic and a frustration to viewers.

There are ample examples of what I mean.

At 5pm on Saturdays, both TV1 and TV3 both show the ONLY fishing shows currently on schedule at exactly the same time.

7:30pm that same night and both TV1 and TV3 have renovation shows.

Tuesdays at 7:30pm, not just two, but THREE networks – TV2, TV3, and Prime all have cooking shows on at the same time.

Does it not occur to the stations that they are actually shrinking the potential audience by appealing to the same interests in these time slots? Doesn’t it occur to some of them to swap it up a bit and mix things around so there’s more variety, thereby actually increasing the overall number of viewers all round?

There was another annoying clash a couple of years ago – when Ghost Whisperer was up against Medium – the same type of supernatural show. One station changed the night and would you believe the other changed theirs to the same night and so the clash continued. No imagination see.

In the second half of the 1970s, the golden era of television in NZ, the rule was “competitive but complementary” programming – no clash of same genre allowed – and it worked really well. Did no one learn from this?

The final insult, or ultimate utter stupidity of pointless programming, which is what finally prompted me to write this, is the memorial servce this afternoon, Granted it’s a sad event for the country but could you tell me what the point was of THREE networks all broadcasting exactly the same live feed of the event? TVNZ had some sort of sole right of camera access; therefore the feed was identical on TV1, TV3 and Prime. It’s not like the other stations could show the service from a different camera angle at least. Oh no. So what was the point of the other channels feeling under some sort of obligation of simulcasting the same thing? What was the point? Did it never occur to them that not everyone wanted to watch it? Perhaps there were some that found it too sad, or that it wasn’t something worth wallowing in. My point is, TV3 and Prime should have stuck to their regular programming. They weren’t going to get any more viewers by doing what they did since just about everyone who wanted to watch the memorial would have been tuned to TV1. There was absolutely no point in them simulcasting the TVNZ signal. What a waste of broadcasting air and yet one more example of moronic program decision making.

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About the author

Hi. I've been an avid NZ TV fan for many years, having been brought up in the single channel, black and white days. I don't like some of the unnecessary changes for the sake of "competition" over the years and the bad attitude of some broadcasters that has been the cause or result of this, nor the loss of innocence in program content. This is where I am or will be coming from in at least some of my blogs.
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  • Jeffrey

    One argument for broadcasting on all channels would be that some areas have issues with reception of one or more of those channels. Though in this day and age of Freeview it probably isn’t a good argument

  • Rick

    It seems to me that programmers are simply moving with the times.  More people have PVR’s than ever before; those with Freeview can watch TV3+1 and get the programme an hour later; and many of the broadcasters’ programmes are available through their “On Demand” sites.  Actual scheduling of a programme is much less important to the viewer now than it used to be.  Live viewing is only one option.  You talk about the second half of the 70’s being “The Golden Age” of television.  That would be when there were two state owned channels…and that’s all.  Of course there was cooperation, they both had the same owner.  I would suggest the golden age of television is still arriving, with more choice, better programming, more New Zealand content and more options to watch those programmes.

  • somebody

    Is it acase of TVNZ trying to get more viewers from TV3, the fishing show has been on TV3 at that time for the quite a few years (gone fishing with Graham Sinclair since 1993) and grand designs has also been on TV3 for the last few years. As for tuesday nights programming im not sure.

  • reece_555

    Arent the fishing shows on TV One & TV2 “sponsor driven” type shows that essentially buy the slot from the broadcaster. Tuesdays however is a bit different for the Kitchen Job on 3 as its not a cooking show as such its about revamping all aspects of a food business.

  • bobscoffee

    I absolutely agree with your point about the other two stations taking on the feed from TVNZ for the memorial service. No point at all.

  • regan

    Rick, if what you suggest is correct and scheduling is no longer important, then that’s a real quick race to the bottom.  Just because people are able to use their PVR’s and ondemand that shouldn’t suggest at all to programmers that there is no need to provide the best content in prime time.  Failure to do so will simply continue to drive viewers to alternatives, resulting in less ad revenue.  

  • somebody

    The service was on shine as well.

  • Rusty Viewer

    On Shine as well? Pointless, except for Christians who are too afraid to watch the “secular evil” networks, they ONLY watch “christian” stations you know. Well then, I guess they’d have missed the service otherwise. Anyway…

    These clashes started right back when TV3 first began. The rather bad decision to go head to head with the news and a dating show was doomed from the offset. TV3 went into receivership five months later though, in fairness to them, it wasn’t all their fault. They were first with the decision to have a six o’clock bullentin but were preempted before they went to air by TVNZ changing their news from 6:30 to same time. Also, it was TV3 that first announced a dating show at 5:30 so the next minute TVNZ announces their own dating show on at exactly the same time. Once TV3 had been killed in the ratings, BOTH dating shows disappeared into the sunset, never to be seen again.

    General rule of thumb, if there are two same-type programs clashing in the schedule, the state broadcaster always wins. Sad but true.

  • noname

    The answer in short to your quandry is simple. If you look at TV3 vs TVNZ there is a desperate need for Ratings. TVNZ is under constant threat of being sold, and TV3 is under constant threat from Ironbridge. Neither networks can afford to put money into risky programs on the offchance they get a winner. When a network like TVNZ attracts viewers from say Ramseys Kitchen Nightmares, TV3 will commission a program similar to it say “the Kitchen Job”.

    Successful programs like Masterchef, X Factor and Next Top Model are a sure fire winner having proved themselves with the cheaper bought in overseas series, so the networks are not playing a too risky buisness when they commission a NZ version. 

    TV3 and TVNZ will always compete and watch each others scheduling because every person counts to gain advertising and keeping the business alive. 


    As for Prime and Maori Television, they are not driven by Ratings. Maori TV is aimed at indigenous an is in part state funded, it therefore is able to commission new and innovative programming (even if this is on a small budget)

    Prime has a wider initiative. It is there to help Sky gain its free to air contracts for sport (allegedly!!) and also to showcase the Sky platform. It doesn’t need to worry about ratings becasue its funding comes from subscription to the sky network.

    I suspect TVNZ will try to claw back its Friday night viewing by giving us more comedy having been trounced continually in viewing figures,  for over a year with the tv3 lineup… I’m guessing we will see more and more bought in comedy and cheap loal comedy being pushed onto our friday night tv. 



  • Rick

    Regan, your point is well made, but I was pointing out the viewer alternatives.  Certainly, programmers should schedule for the maximum audience, and they do.  Sometimes that will mean viewers have 2 programmes in the same time slot that they want to watch, and now there are viewer alternatives. Good for the viewer, I would say.

    As far as a race to the bottom, certainly not.  Broadcasters are monetizing their on line offerings all the time through ads contained within them,  tV3+1 gains credit for its viewers to that channel, as all the ads run on it, and PVR viewing will be counted in the very near future.  Remember, PVR viewing is additional to live viewing, so viewers are watching more television, thus increasing the potential for more revenue.  The industry will continue to grow. 

  • theidolwhorocks

    I suppose that TVNZ are trying to make money off other sorts of programming for them to make more shows. And employ more staff.

  • theidolwhorocks

    That’s a good point noname. I mean, that’s one of the major issues that both networks are facing. But then again, if that’s the case, why aren’t they fundraising for the money? That’s what I’d do if I were TVNZ.

  • noname

    @theidealwhorocks… Most money comes from NZ On Air, and so all networks are constantly fundraising by getting the funding. Why do you think Outrageous Fortune was pulled? It was partly because the funding was taken away as NZ On Air gave funding for development, once it was successful with viewership, the funding was taken away. (according to some sources!!!)  

    A prime example of fundraising is the competition between Q&A and The Nation… both programs are fundamentally the same, both trying to attract the same viewer and money from NZ On air. The Nation won’t exist if NZ on Air puled the funding, luckily both survive a second series. 

    However, Networks are in big big trouble at present. PVR’s and Ondemand has taken off hugely and the likes of TV3 are well behind on their Ondemand sites. TVNZ has pushed alot of its advertsing budget into Ondemand (you can see this with the number of prime spot billboards around Auckland that TVNZ used to have being taken over by other products and networks). In the case of TV3, it is stuck in the 1990’s where it believes television programing is key because NZ On Air has the handouts. This will ultimately, I think, be TV3’s demise.

    What happens when Sky launches iSky… ultimately nothing apart from the advertising revenue will get spread even further. It is definitely tougher times ahead for the networks and so programming will only be more of the same cheap rubbish we’ve seen to date as that is ultimately all the networks can do. The question is, will the likes of Ironbridge (for TV3) be prepared to stick it out and invest even more money or will they liquidate their assests? and has TVNZ invested in the right future of television?