In the week Rove McManus has spent spruiking the return of Saturday Night Rove after a pilot last year he has found all people hoping the show would work. “There’s a lot of love for it.”
Even former foe Kyle Sandilands warmed to the idea of actually sitting down and watching it during a KIIS FM interview on Thursday morning.
Finding a non-sport TV format that works on commercial TV on Saturday nights has been a challenge for programmers and producers over the years.
“It does feel like there is a hole in the market for it,” Rove told Mediaweek. “You could argue there hasn’t been an audience for a show like this because there hasn’t been anything offered to them. If we can do that and get it right we might be able to eventually become part of people’s regular Saturday night viewing habits.”
Rove admitted he doesn’t know how long it might take to adjust those habits. 10 has given him six weeks to try and convert enough viewers to make the program a regular part of the 10 schedule.
September means Saturday night AFL and NRL finals around Australia, something Rove and 10 were very mindful of when scheduling the show. “Running it later in the year would have meant the weather is getting warmer and the days longer with people perhaps more inclined to go out on a Saturday night. As to football, we hope we can find enough people who would rather be watching something else.”
While Rove has spoken with long-time producer and Roving Enterprises business partner Craig Campbell about Saturday Night Rove, the show’s executive producer is Jo Long. She comes to the program after working with Charlie Pickering on both The Weekly and The Yearly. Long also worked with Rove on his US series for Foxtel, Rove LA.
“Jo has made the move up from Melbourne with her very new, seven-month-old baby and I am very happy to be working with her.”
The Network 10 EP working on the show is the very busy Sarah Thornton. “Sarah is fantastic and I am very appreciate of the time and effort she is putting into the show. I really respect her opinion and she has good creative ideas and she will listen to ours and I enjoy working with her.”
Rove has assembled a team that deserves to attract an audience. “Judith Lucy is our voice-over person plus we have Alex Lee and Alex Jae (both from the pilot). Justin Hamilton has also been added to the cast.”
Lee and Jae are also on the writing team along with Hamilton. “For this season we have The Chaser’s Chris Taylor as our head writer. We have never worked together before and collaborating with him has been very good. It was almost awkward when we had our first meeting – it was a bit like a first date – ‘I’m interested if you are’. But it has been working really well.”
Saturday Night Rove will again feature live crosses as in the pilot, but Rove said there will be less of them. “We won’t rely on them as heavily as we did in the pilot.”
Guests on the first episode of the series include Jessica Mauboy and Luke McGregor.
Rove is hopeful the show will generate enough viewer interest to grow into something regular. “For the moment we are focussing only on these six episodes.”
He suggested anything is possible and he noted that with Hughesy, We Have A Problem, the first season of his show at 10 was extended.
“If there are any future episodes it is open for discussion about how many there could be. While weeknight 7.30pm slots are all accounted for pretty much during the year, it’s not as if there’s just one small window available for Saturday nights.”
Top Photo: Rove with the Alex and Alex during last year’s 10 Pilot Week