The gloss has worn off THE VERDICT somewhat in the last few weeks, and with ratings languishing there's still (somehow) two weeks to go for its first season. Yes - unbelievably - there will be another season in 2016.
The guest list has become repetitive (there's too many on the panel to start with, and some offer very little in the way of opinion and/or interest); the topics, meant to reflect the controversies of the day, have stagnated and moved towards generic outrages usually pulled off the shelf by AM talkback hosts on slow news days; and the most glaring concern is the program now barely rates above 590,000 viewers*.
But the worst thing to happen to the program - one that trades on outrage, controversy and the behaviour of its panel - is that it has committed TV's biggest sin.
The Verdict has become plain boring. Dull. Uninspired. Predictable.
The Verdict ratings (Total People, 5CM, Regional)
Even Mark Latham, hired only to create controversy & court the ratings that usually follow, seems entirely disinterested with the charade swirling around him. Tonight's inclusion of Pauline Hanson did nothing to improve the show's fortunes as all the repeat-political candidate could offer was the same tired rhetoric (despite her "revelation" she smoked marijuana in her youth).
Despite host Karl Stefanovic's best efforts to maintain energy throughout the hour it has become painfully obvious the choice to pre-record the show is a significant mistake. The obvious cuts by a post-production editor has made for a less exciting and, at times, incomprehensible program, lacking any urgency or interest.
For The Verdict to see any increase in 2016 Nine needs to drop the shackles and telecast it live, not only delivering the edge it sorely lacks but also allowing viewers to take part in a national conversation by leveraging their soon to launch 9Now livestreaming (& catch-up) platform.
With two more episodes to air after tonight and then season 2 already called by Nine, questions need to be asked around the strategy in supporting this ratings flop.
*Total people - Five city metro + regional, average for the 8:30pm hour, first airing only.
Co-Creator of DeciderTV, Steve Molk is sharply focused on the business of TV in Australia across all its formats - FTA broadcast, commercial, subscription, catch up & SVOD.
Based in Brisbane he's a passionate advocate for Australian-made programming, particularly drama and comedy. He loves podcasting, gaming & watching too much TV.
Twitter - @SteveMolk
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