BAT­TLE ROYAL

The com­mer­cial net­works said 2009 would be the tough­est year yet – and they weren’t wrong. It has been a real arm wres­tle and that’s at a time when ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue is fast dry­ing up. Seven, Nine and Ten all promised they had the hits that would in­crea

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

UN­DER­BELLY: A Tale of Two Cities got 2009 off to a bang for Chan­nel 9. The sec­ond se­ries of the un­der­world crime drama had a huge launch – 2.58 mil­lion view­ers. Af­ter that, Nine had mixed for­tunes.

Stal­warts 20 to 1 and Two and a Half Men con­tin­ued to rate but Wipe­out Aus­tralia, You Saved My Life, Trou­ble In Par­adise, Do­mes­tic Blitz, Com­mer­cial Break­down, Miss­ing Pieces and What’s Good For You were all thrown at the wall and none stuck.

Aussie Ladette to Lady launched big but quickly shed view­ers.

And don’t even men­tion Home­MADE, which was quickly cut to one episode a week. THIS Af­ter­noon was a short-lived em­bar­rass­ment. CHAN­NEL 10 has been the big risk­taker of 2009 – and so far, all those risks have paid off.

Ten’s au­di­ence is up 5.3 per cent com­pared with last year – a huge in­crease in the cur­rent TV land­scape. It’s also winning its cher­ished 18-49 de­mo­graphic as well as 16-39. So You Think You Can Dance and the cou­ples edi­tion of The Big­gest Loser started the year with a onetwo punch. Bondi Vet, hosted by

So what worked? Cus­toms, a cheap Bor­der Se­cu­rity knock-off, rated big and Sea Pa­trol was sturdy. Ran­dom Acts of Kind­ness and the re­turn of The Farmer Wants A Wife were other win­ners. Hot Seat was solid. An­other shin­ing light has been 60 Min­utes. It has built strongly in re­cent months.

Nine’s new lo­cal action drama Res­cue: Spe­cial Ops is its big hope for the sec­ond half of the year.

Nine Mel­bourne pro­gram di­rec­tor Len Downs says: “I think we still have to work on 6pm to 7pm (Nine News and A Cur­rent Af­fair).” Dr Chris Brown, was a stayer and will be back for a sec­ond se­ries.

Ten re­ally shone af­ter Easter. No one could have pre­dicted that MasterChef Aus­tralia would be­come a fully-fledged phe­nom­e­non. Ten’s other huge suc­cess was Talkin’ ’ Bout Your Gen­er­a­tion, which was only com­mis­sioned be­cause Seven poached Thank God You’re Here.

An­other big win­ner was the fan­tasy Mer­lin. CHAN­NEL 7 should win the over­all rat­ings year. The net­work has al­ready posted steady gains across all the ma­jor au­di­ence de­mo­graph­ics.

Seven started the year with the re­turn of Packed to the Rafters. It has av­er­aged a whop­ping 1.88 mil­lion view­ers na­tion­ally.

Other big win­ners in­cluded Bor­der Se­cu­rity, Find My Fam­ily and The Zoo. It had great re­turns from US crime dra­mas Crim­i­nal Minds and Bones.

Still, Seven has had its dis­ap­point­ments. Big-bud­get cur­rentaffairs show Sun­day Night is be­ing rested for three months. The switch of City Homi­cide from Mon­days to Sun­days also failed to pay real div­i­dends.

And Rove has scored its best-ever rat­ings in re­cent weeks.

The next few weeks will be a cru­cial test for Ten, with its just-launched The 7PM Project and the sec­ond se­ries of Rush. It also has a lot rid­ing on the re­turn of Aus­tralian Idol.

Ten’s pro­gram chief David Mott says: “Some­times you’re only one or two shows from be­ing No.1. The trick is try­ing to come up with shows.”

Seven’s other big hope was Thank God You’re Here. Seven would have to be dis­ap­pointed that the com­edy se­ries couldn’t build on the 1.8 mil­lion view­ers it av­er­aged on Ten.

Seven has al­ready launched new shows Air Ways and Surf Pa­trol and has sketch com­edy Dou­ble Take as well as TV Burp in the wings.

They are all part of a plan to bring younger view­ers to the net­work.

Seven pro­gram chief Tim Worner says: “Some of th­ese shows will at­tract a younger au­di­ence. That over­rid­ing strat­egy gov­erns what ends up on our pro­duc­tion slate.”

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