'What's going on?' Nine's new-look Footy Show suffers embarrassing debut
After Nine announced its brutal production cuts, NRL fans would've expected a scaled-down version of its flagship Footy Show.
But Thursday night's season debut was laughably threadbare.
In an embarrassing hiccup, Beau Ryan was left hunching by the all-new panel, after the show forgot to give its favourite star a place to sit.
"Couldn't get me a chair, or what? What's going on?" the former Tiger quipped as he hovered halfway off-set.
"That's a little bit awkward," embarrassed host Erin Molan laughed.
She tried to persevere, getting the questions going as Ryan took a knee by panellist Ryan Girdler. But he couldn't resist another stab.
"Am I actually meant to be on the show?" he joked. "Can I seriously get a chair? I'm on all the promos!"
It's not the 'business-as-usual' start Nine had been promising for the embattled show.
The network had sparked criticism in October when it announced it was dropping veteran host Paul Vautin, and re-jigging the Logie-winning show's formula after 24 years on air.
Last month, new executive producer Andy O'Brien had promised a show "which honours the Footy Show's rich heritage whilst reflecting the game and its fans in 2018 and beyond."
Instead, viewers were treated to a budget re-do more along the lines of its Sunday morning format: no high-energy opening, no live band, and a set filled with the dour grey tones of a tax agent's waiting room.
"Who needs sleeping pills when you've got the new Footy Show?" a viewer's viral comment on the show's official Facebook page read.
Ryan later returned with his usual funnyman antics, Joey Johns introduced a new feature on his hard-partying adventures, and Darryl Brohman – originally a casualty of Nine's cuts – was on-hand with his crowd-pleasing Small Talk segment.
But Ryan uncomfortably hit on viewer sentiment when he joked: "I've been watching out the back... [The show's] actually quite boring."
"You’re doing a great job," he told Molan. "I just think, too much footy."
Why doesn’t Beau Ryan get a seat on the #NRLFootyShow? I’m confused. Budget cuts?— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottliebFOX) March 8, 2018