'Uncancel Jono & Ben': Backlash after TV show cancelled

Author
Megan Harvey,
Section
Spy News,
Publish Date
Friday, 12 October 2018, 11:59AM

The decision to axe the comedy television show Jono and Ben was made a long time ago by MediaWorks, however most Kiwi fans say the change in time slot is to blame for the cancellation.

Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce announced their comedy series Jono and Ben is coming to an end after seven years on the air.

According to NZ on Air, they didn't receive an application for funding for another season.

Jono and Ben. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

The cancellation, announced during Thursday night's episode, comes after the show's TV ratings dropped to an all-time low last month, with an average audience of 61,000 viewers (25-54) tuning in.

That's just half the number of viewers who were watching three years ago when the series screened on Friday nights at 7.30pm.

Despite the low ratings, petition on change.org has surfaced online with two Kiwi fans calling for the un cancellation of the comedy show and changing the time programme's timeslot.

"Jono and Ben are icons of New Zealand television and it would be a shame to cancel their show," James & Noah wrote.

The men believe changing the time of the programme may salvage the show.

"Many Kiwis across the country have enjoyed watching their show for years now. Changing the timeslot of the show to Friday 7.30pm would encourage more people to watch it because more people are home with their families on Friday nights," they wrote.

"MediaWorks should reinstate Jono and Ben at the Thursday 7.30pm timeslot or move it to Friday 7.30pm."

The petition, which was made last night, has already reached over 5000 signatures, with the goal of getting 7500.

Positive comments have been left on the change.org page, with one woman saying how Jono and Ben helped them through her week.

"These guys have helped me with my battle against mental illness. I turned to the show at the end of the week and would forget about everything going on around me," Stacey Carr wrote.

Jono and Ben has come to an end.

"I then turned to there radio podcasts and have since made a habit of listening to the podcast everyday on my way into work. I love these two, I'm honestly so gutted."

"Best show on NZ TV," Heath Duff wrote.

However, comments on the NZ Herald's Facebook page reveal mixed reviews on the news of their departure.

"Well I, for one, am not so 'gutted'," one user wrote.

"Good bye Guy Williams - good riddance, ya killed J & B. Only reason I never watched it anymore - can't stand Guy and his ring in whanau," another wrote.

However, the changing of Jono and Ben's timeslot became a common consensus for people switching off the programme.

"I watched them every friday night last year with my dad but when they changed it to Thursday it became inconvenient and when it aired I wasn't with him. Love the show, gonna miss it!," a person wrote.

"Love these guys, but was never as good as Jono and Ben at 10 was. They had more freedom then. Was hilarious and unscripted. Stopped watching when it moved to 'family' viewing times," another said.

MediaWorks says the show came to "the end of its cycle," which "isn't new for a TV series - especially after this long".

"The good news is that Jono and Ben will very much remain part of the MediaWorks family."

Jono and Ben. Photo / Norrie Montgomery.

Pryor and Boyce say the show has been "a huge part of our lives".

"We're gutted it's ending, although to be honest it went six and half years longer than we ever thought it was going to," they said. "We put it down to the incriminating photos we have of some MediaWorks management.

"Over the last 7 years, we've made over 200 episodes… We've put our dignity and at times our bodies, on the line all in the name of sub par comedy. But we've loved every minute of it.

"We're so proud of the whole team who have work so bloody hard on the show - apart from the times Guy got heaps of parking tickets in the work vehicle this year."

It's not yet clear what will replace Jono and Ben in the 7.30pm Thursday slot, though MediaWorks says there are "lots of discussions taking place at the moment".

The core production team of Jono and Ben is made up of 25 contractors. Mediaworks says it "expects to recontract many of them on future projects".

The final episode of Jono and Ben will air on Thursday, November 15.

Jono and Ben have been on our screens together since 2012, when Jono and Ben at 10 took over the late night Friday slot, bringing together elements from the stars' solo shows The Jono Project, Wanna-Ben and also Boyce's Pulp Sport.