«If you’re launching what you’ve described as a new and revamped show at the start of the AFL season in Melbourne and your week two figures are [more than] 20 per cent lower than week one figures, that to me would be a big worry,» he said.
«Of course, it’s early days. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of discussions going on internally at the moment to say, ‘What do we have to do to get back that 20 per cent?’»
Walton said it would be a «brave course indeed» for TV bosses to do nothing about the latest figures.
Fellow media analyst Steve Allen agreed, describing the ratings shift as a «dramatic» drop.
«Clearly people came and visited and they didn’t come back the second week,» he said. «That’s a danger sign. But it’s more about what happens in week three or four. You … always have to watch what the competitors have done.»
Walton pointed out that hit reality show Married at First Sight, also on Nine, which owns this masthead, is busy decimating the competition, but says that is «more the exception rather than the rule».
«MAFS can’t go on forever,» he said.
A Nine spokeswoman said the network wasn’t worried about the decrease in the Footy Show‘s Melbourne audience.
«We are excited by the feedback we have from players and those inside the game on the show and we are committed to this outstanding line-up of hosts,» she said. «The Footy Show is an important and valued part of our schedule and we know as the audience sample it, they will stick with it.»
Broede Carmody is an entertainment reporter at The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald