Twiggy the waterskiing squirrel in a scene from Pets Make You Laugh Out Loud.
Twiggy the waterskiing squirrel in a scene from Pets Make You Laugh Out Loud. Photo Contributed

TV is going to the dogs

FIRST cats and now dogs have taken over our screens.

Channel 7's UK import Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud, a last-minute replacement for the downsized Restaurant Revolution, shook up its TV ratings war with Channel 9.

The LOL cats clip show out-rated Nine's reality cooking show The Hotplate, which is at the centre of a legal battle between the rival networks.

And now its sister program, Dogs Make You Laugh Out Loud, has done the same thing, out-rating The Hotplate again this week by an even larger margin.

The LOL dogs, if there is such a thing, even cracked more than a million viewers across the five metro cities.

What's going on with free-to-air TV at the moment?

It feels like we're in the August doldrums as viral clips of funny animals that could just as easily be Googled on your smartphone are out-rating nearly everything else on our screens (bar the evening news).

It's no surprise Seven is backing up again next week with yet another internet clip show, Pets Make You Laugh Out Loud.

These shows are cheap to make, and buy, and if people are tuning in, why not give them what they want?

But what does this say about us and our viewing patterns?

Do we really prefer mind-numbing entertainment over factual content and crafted drama? I don't think so.

I believe more Aussies are making the switch to streaming services like Netflix so they can watch high-quality dramas and comedies when and where is most convenient.

Netflix already has more subscribers than pay-TV and just look at the recent success of the service's original series, Narcos and Wet Hot American Summer.

I just hope the slew of new shows expected to start on free-to-air next month (The Biggest Loser Families, The X Factor, 800 Words, The Block and Peter Allen: The Boy Next Door, to name a few) will bring a bit of healthy competition back to the 7.30pm timeslot.