In what appears to be an Australian first, Channel Nine has opted to show new episodes of the popular TV series Sherlock exclusively on its Perth channel. Season 3 premiered on STW Perth last night (Sunday 19 January) with additional episodes set to run on 26 January 26 and 2 February. No date has been set for the rest of Nine Network's stations, other than a vague reference to "later".
This unusual, ongoing scheduling quirk has been caused by Nine's One Day cricket coverage -- last night's Australia vs. England match concluded at around 9:30pm east coast time but three hours earlier in Western Australia due to timezone differences. Rather than fill the gap with some random movie, Nine decided to generate some good will by screening the first episode of Sherlock season 3.
"We thought we would showcase this outstanding series in prime time leading into the 2014 survey year," Nine Perth Managing Director David Mott said in an interview with TV Tonight. “...Sherlock will premiere at a later date yet to be advised on the other Nine Network stations.”
We think this is a bit of a useless move for several reasons. First off, it's currently non-ratings season in Australia which means Nine has essentially offloaded one of its high-profile shows for little payoff. Secondly, the decision is sure to annoy lots of Sherlock fans outside of Perth. And lastly, the third season has already completed its entire run in the UK -- you can even buy the DVD from online retailers.
In other words, even people who refuse to pirate have a way to watch the whole series before Nine's strategic broadcast; including viewers in Perth.
We don't mean to be party poopers, but this Perth-only "fast tracking" is a depressing reminder of just how far behind the ball free-to-air TV has become. An official Australian Netflix service really can't come soon enough.
[Via TV Tonight]