The Nine Network has confirmed The NRL Footy Show will not return next year, after another year of disappointing ratings.
The show has struggled to find its place ever since Nine introduced regular Thursday night NRL games into the schedule. An experiment in airing the show on Wednesday nights in 2016 was a complete failure. As was a move to “modernise” the format in 2018 by dumping Fatty Vautin as host and slashing the programs budget.
The 2018 Grand Final edition of The NRL Footy Show attracted just 78,000 viewers in Sydney and 51,000 in Brisbane, as the program struggled to win back viewers from The Late Show with Matty Johns on Fox Sports.
In its place, Nine is promising to launch two new post-match shows in 2019 to follow Thursday Night Football and Friday Night Football, with Nine promising a “strong emphasis of being at the ground, and interacting with players, fans and coaches.”
The move to axe the NRL version of the Footy Show comes at a time when the AFL version is under intense pressure. Nine is expected to air an AFL program in the Thursday timeslot for southern state viewers, although the new show will also have a reduced budget and new hosts. DeciderTV understands a combination of Melbourne sports presenter Tony Jones, and former players Mathew Lloyd, Kane Cornes and Brendan Fevola is the most likely hosting combination for the new program.
Nine’s Director of Sport Tom Malone, confirmed the axing telling the WWOS website: "It’s been an incredible ride for The Footy Show. A quarter of a century of laughs, controversy and first-class footy analysis. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this amazing era of live sports-entertainment television – from producers, editors, camera operators, the players, guests and of course the legendary hosts.
"Fatty holds the record for the longest serving host of any prime-time Australian TV show – a tribute to both his understanding of the game, his authenticity, and not to mention his incredible comedic timing. In recent years, Erin has equally brought a new energy, perspective and showed her passion for the game."
After being dumped as host of the Footy Show, Fatty Vautin made the transition back into the commentary box in 2018, Nine confirming today Erin Molan will also take on a role in the Wide World of Sports team to help lead the coverage of rugby league, netball, tennis and cricket.
Malone said: "Erin is a star and a great broadcaster. She’s going to take an even more prominent role on Nine’s sports broadcasts going forward."