Monday Night With Matty Johns casts a wide net

Mediaweek visits the set of Fox Sports’ flagship entertainment show: “You have to watch NRL to watch Monday Night With Matty Johns”, says head of television Gary Burns

Monday Night With Matty Johns is our flagship show on Fox Sports,” Fox Sports’ head of television Gary Burns told Mediaweek in a visit to the show’s Artarmon headquarters this week.

Along with Newcastle Knights legend Matty Johns, Monday Night With Matty Johns also features former NRL players Nathan Hindmarsh, Gorden Tallis and Bryan Fletcher, as well as Fox Sports’ Lara Pitt. Does Burns worry that the show is limited in its appeal? “It’s always going to skew a bit blokey, footy tends to be a blokey sport whatever code it is. That’s not a concern for us, but we do try to take the rough edges off it. There’s something in it for other people,” he said.

“You have to watch NRL to watch Monday Night With Matty Johns – if you don’t like NRL, you are unlikely to watch a show largely about it. But if we can get more viewers through creating general entertainment, then that might open it to more NRL fans and allow us to cast our net as wide as we can. [But] we can’t alienate our heartland audience either.”

Given how Monday Night With Matty Johns is going in the ratings, it seems likely that Burns and his team have managed to gain a wide appeal. The show’s 2015 episodes are averaging 168,000 viewers, a number that has consistently put it in the top five programs on Foxtel on a Monday night. The format is also the #1 regular sports entertainment program on subscription television this year. Of those figures, Burns said: “I’m delighted with the numbers. It’s a record-breaking show on sub TV in Australia – let alone on Fox Sports!”

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