David Gallop has thrown his support behind the new concept and the NRL boss knows that success for the new program will only add more weight to the bid from Channel 7 when the free-to-air rights are up for grabs in the coming years.
Channel 7 has already expressed their interest in the sport and by snaring Matt Johns, have the chance to really overtake the Channel 9 Footy Show given its poor ratings for several years now.
Most viewers crave more serious Rugby League talk, something the Channel 9 Footy Show has been unable to provide.Â Its been more like a variety show for a long time now, featuring skits by the panelists and basic audience interaction for prizes in the studio.
Matt Johns and Channel 7 have confirmed they want some humour, but the strong focus on footy will really give them the upper-hand. The same format has been done brilliantly by the Foxsports team, with the NRL of Fox Wednesday night show featuring Warren Smith, Laurie Daley, Gary Freeman and Gordon Tallis really stitching up all the serious NRL fans.
The sticking point for Channel 7 might be access to the Channel 9 footage and archives. While a small snippet of each weekends games must be made available for ‘news’ purposes; large chunks of game footage could either be charged for or restricted by Channel 9.
NRL boss David Gallop doesn’t believe Channel 9 would horde or restrict the footage to other networks, if they shut-up shop – then it could come back and bite them should they lose the rights in a few years and the NRL would look poorly on them if they refuse other networks access to footage.
The filming has already started for Matt Johns and the team, with producers joining the Bulldogs for their recent trial game down in Dubbo. With Andrew Ryan heading up the story, the Channel 7 show will give an insight into the Bulldogs, Ryan along with their game and preparation in Dubbo.
As we near kick-off, the chance for Channel 7 and Johns to nab viewer market share is huge. Plenty of viewers will tune in initially to check out the new program and the original Channel 9 Footy Show doesn’t lift their game quickly – Matt Johns will have an army of viewers locked in for life.