Gang drama 'Underbelly' shunted into late time slot

By Eloise Gibson

Aussie gang drama Underbelly has been dumped from its time slot just weeks after TV3 decided to give it a second chance.

The network axed the show after the first three episodes, but reversed its decision when angry fans swamped it with complaints.

Now the show has been moved from its Sunday 9.30pm time slot to Tuesdays at 11.15pm.

TV3 senior publicist Nicole Wood said the show had failed to win new viewers in the Sunday slot. "When we took it off air we were inundated with fans saying 'please don't pull it'. Based on that we gave it a second showing, but it still didn't rate."

Underbelly was popular with critics here and rated strongly in Australia, despite not screening in Victoria, where it was banned because of legal issues. It arrived on our screens in March amid much fanfare.

Last week, a message on TV3's website said the show would now screen at 11.15pm on Tuesdays, with Criminal Intent to screen in its place in the Sunday night slot. The series is based on a factual book by journalists John Silvester and Andrew Rule about Melbourne's infamous gangland killings, which started in 1998 with the murder of Alphonse Gangitano.

Underbelly's maker, Australia's Nine Network, is understood to have approved a second series of the 13-part show based around earlier real-life events in Melbourne's underworld.

Ms Wood said TV3 had no plans to screen this second series.

Episode seven screens in its new time slot for the first time tonight.

- NZ Herald

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