A seemingly small programming change for Home and Away has resulted in full-blown doubt over the Australian soap’s future.
It all started with the decision to air My Kitchen Rules and Married at First Sight early.
MKR and MAFS kick off on January 28, meaning that your mates from Summer Bay are being pushed back until February 18.
Yep, another month.
But the change doesn’t stop there.
What should happen is that MKR sticks to 7pm time slot until the Big Bash cricket wraps up, then Home and Away should return to our screens at 7pm as per usual.
Rumours are swirling that if this suck-and-see experiment with programming is successful, MKR could remain at 7pm… meaning that by the time Home and Away returns, it may not return to it’s normal 7pm spot.
Best case scenario is that it airs 30 minutes earlier.
But here’s why this seemingly innocuous programming change is actually pretty significant.
This time slot shuffling could really be a low-key litmus test for the beachside soap.
Despite it being hugely profitable internationally and having consistently strong ratings for three decades, ratings declined significantly last year. New characters and storylines have reportedly been blamed.
Seven has options, though.
The idea of a later time slot for Home and Away has been thrown around, like 8.30pm, as well as moving it entirely to 7Two.
We’ll soon see how this one plays out.