Will SAS Australia prove too close to unfolding news events for viewers?

Will SAS Australia prove too close to unfolding news events for viewers?

In the game of television programming sometimes forces beyond your control collude against you.

How often have networks had to pull titles that are suddenly awkward timing with news events: plane crashes, shark attacks, disasters, true crime events.

10 was also forced to delay MasterChef following the tragic death of Jock Zonfrillo earlier this year.

It’s a parallel arguably now encircling Seven as events in the Middle East suddenly feel horribly similar to scenes in SAS Australia.

Daily Mail in a lengthy headline reported “Viewers slam Channel Seven’s ‘poor timing’ as SAS Australia airs horrifying depictions of terrorism following Hamas attack in Israel that killed 700 soldiers and civilians: ‘Too soon!’”

“The enemies are depicted as Middle Eastern radicals garbed in dark, heavy clothing with black turbans around their heads,” it reported.

“Recruits were then expected to run into a room where hostages were being held and ‘rescue’ them by quickly identifying and ‘killing’ the terrorists.”

Seven’s series was filmed earlier this year in Jordan with some dramatic scenery. There’s no question that the challenges simulate war and terrorism, which won’t be to everybody’s tastes given actual vision in news reports is truly horrific.

Stan comedy C*A*U*G*H*T, which centres around Australian hostages, has also had to respond to conflict by cancelling a planned showcase at MIPCOM in Cannes. It’s a brutal outcome for the series to which writer / actor / director Kick Gurry has devoted years of creativity.

Unlike most reality shows SAS Australia, now in its 4th celebrity edition, doesn’t have any tangible outcome for its participants -no prize, no actual selection into the SAS, but character-building for those who participate and action / entertainment for viewers. After all, celebrities could sign up for any number of character building and motivational courses without the need for Reality TV cameras.

Seven wanted the series to screen in Q4 to give it plenty of space in between its last season.

In January Brook Hall,  Seven’s Head of Scheduling said, “We’ve actually run three SAS series in 12 months and it might have fatigued. But it will be nearly two years since it aired, in late 2023 and -it’s in the Middle East.”

Nobody could have forseen how news events would time with the stunts it portrayed.