Kath & Kim: articles

U.S. turns off Kath and Kim

TELEVISION network NBC has rolled out a massive advertising and billboard blitz for the U.S. version of Kath and Kim but it appears Americans do not really care about the foxy morons.

In the latest blow to the sitcom before its October 9 debut in the U.S., a survey of potential American viewers has given the show a big thumbs down.

NBC hoped the ratings bonanza it scored with the exclusive U.S. rights to the Beijing Olympics would provide a launching pad for Kath and Kim and other shows on its autumn schedule, including Heroes, The Office and game show Deal or No Deal.

The network aired ads for Kath and Kim and the other series in breaks between Michael Phelps' dominant performance in the pool and Usain Bolt re-writing the sprint record books on the track.

New York-based research firm, Frank N Magid Associates, conducted a survey to discover the impact the ads had on potential viewers.

The survey found while 45 per cent of TV viewers of NBC's Olympic coverage could recall seeing Deal or No Deal ads, Heroes (44 per cent) and The Office (38 per cent), only 31 per cent said they remembered seeing ads for Kath and Kim.

The survey gets worse for the sitcom.

Of the 31 per cent who remembered seeing the Kath and Kim ads, just 13 per cent said they were likely to watch the show from October.

The other shows fared much better.

The survey showed 31 per cent said they were likely to watch Deal or No Deal and Heroes while 28 per cent said they were likely to switch on The Office.

The poor results follow another disappointing survey for Kath and Kim, released in July by another New York research firm, Horizon Media.

The analysis pointed to Kath and Kim being one of the flops of the U.S. autumn schedule.

NBC executives have gone out of their way to give Kath and Kim, set in suburban Florida and starring American actresses Selma Blair and Molly Shannon, a chance to survive the cut-throat U.S. TV market, where shows are axed after just one or two episodes if the ratings are dismal.

The series was originally slated to air on Tuesday nights but NBC switched it to its Thursday night comedy block with The Office, 30 Rock and My Name is Earl.

NBC also ordered 13 Kath and Kim episodes up front, a risky and expensive gamble.

The network is pumping millions of dollars into promoting the sitcom, which is being executive produced by the stars and creators of the original Australian series, Jane Turner and Gina Riley.

Across the U.S., billboards have been put up featuring Blair and Shannon in character with silly quotes, such as: "What's paparazzi? Duh, pizza topping!" and "Rodeo Drive? I love cowboys!".

In Los Angeles, buses carry large Kath and Kim ads, the monstrous West Hollywood shopping mall, the Beverly Centre, features 30m tall billboards, while an intersection on iconic Sunset Blvd has three billboards on opposing corners.

While promoting her new action film, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Blair, who plays Kim, said it may take a while for American audiences to get the feel of the show. "The tone will take a little to get used to," she said.

By Peter Mitchell
August 27, 2008
The Advertiser