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
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.”