2017 has proven to be a tough year for the AFL Footy Show, and it could be about to get a lot whole lot worse with the Seven Network preparing to launch a fresh attack against Nine’s tired looking panel format.
This Thursday night will see Seven air The Front Bar in the Thursday 9pm timeslot after MKR, a move that will put it head to head with the Footy Show for the first time.
It’s a move that will have Nine’s management nervous. The Footy Show’s ratings in 2017 have been dismal, with viewers complaining about a lack of chemistry between the new hosting line-up of Craig Hutchison and Rebecca Maddern. Sam Newman’s segments have increasingly become self-indugent, poorly produced rants, lacking in punch lines. While other segments on the show such as ‘Open Mouth’ are just tedious to watch.
The Front Bar (originally titled Friday Front Bar) is hosted by Mick Molloy, Sam Pang and Andy Maher. The show has built a strong cult following after originally launching as a weekly web series on the AFL website in 2015. Seven obtained rights to the show in 2016, and this year moved the show to a new studio based live format.
Produced by Molloy Productions the show is tightly scripted and full of jokes to keep viewers entertained. The Front Bar also contains considerable advertorial content for Carlton Draught and Sportsbet making it a very cost effective show for Seven to produce.
Last week The Front Bar had an audience of 209,000 viewers across Melbourne, Adelaide & Perth airing after the Thursday night footy at 10:15pm. That compares well to the 252,000 viewers who tuned in for The Footy Show on Wednesday night at 8:30pm.
Seven has had numerous attempts at defeating The Footy Show in the past and has always come up short, but Nine’s ageing giant has never been more vulnerable than it is today.