Naughty ver­sus nice in the rat­ings stakes

They’re glam­orous and pop­u­lar, but that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily make TV stars a bank­able prod­uct ev­ery time, writes Colin Vickery

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NICE guys fin­ish first. That is what the lat­est bunch of celebrity pop­u­lar­ity sur­veys would have you be­lieve, any­way. Ac­cord­ing to the jus­tre­leased En­core Score, Hugh Jack­man is Aus­tralia’s most pop­u­lar per­son­al­ity and Packed to the Rafters star Re­becca Gib­ney is a close sec­ond.

Michael Ca­ton, Adam Hills, Eric Bana, Magda Szuban­ski, Olivia New­ton-John, Ge­of­frey Rush, Si­mon Baker and John Clarke round out the Top 10.

Aus­tralia’s most dis­liked list is headed by ra­dio shock jock and Aus­tralia’s Got Tal­ent judge Kyle Sandi­lands.

Matthew New­ton, Sam New­man, Ben Cousins, Brynne Edel­sten, Pauline Han­son, Bren­dan Fevola, Alan Jones, Deni Hines and Alex Perry com­plete the rogues’ gallery.

The En­core list is sim­i­lar to the most re­cent pub­licly avail­able Q Score re­sults.

That sur­vey was headed by co­me­dian and Gold Lo­gie win­ner Hamish Blake (Jack­man wasn’t in­cluded in the sur­vey).

Gib­ney, Ca­ton, Hills and Szuban­ski all fig­ured promi­nently along with An­drew Den­ton.

New­man, Ed­die McGuire, Daryl Somers and Matthew Johns topped the neg­a­tive list.

Here’s the rub.

Some of our most pop­u­lar stars have fronted big TV duds and many of our most dis­liked stars are crit­i­cal to the success of rat­ings hits.

‘‘ In the past we have seen peo­ple in the Most Pop­u­lar Top 10 but that hasn’t trans­lated into rat­ings,’’ a TV ex­ec­u­tive says.

‘‘ Peo­ple can be very pop­u­lar within an en­sem­ble show but take them out of that con­text and they won’t rate. Of­ten stars are pop­u­lar be­cause of the char­ac­ter they play. I’ve been in­volved in re­search where view­ers know the name of the char­ac­ter but don’t know the name of the ac­tor.

‘‘ Would Re­becca Gib­ney be as pop­u­lar if she wasn’t playing Julie Rafter in Packed to the Rafters? I don’t know.’’

Hills was mas­sive, along­side Myf Warhurst and Alan Brough, on Spicks and Specks but couldn’t buy a viewer for his Adam Hills in Gor­don Street Tonight chat show.

Szuban­ski was a hit playing Sharon Strz­elecki in Kath and Kim but bombed when she went solo to host Nine video clip show The Spear­man Ex­per­i­ment. Den­ton’s Ran­dling is one of 2012’s big­gest dis­ap­point­ments.

New­man is cru­cial to the on­go­ing rat­ings success of The Footy Show and Han­son has been a rat­ings wild­card — in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing view­ers to Danc­ing with the Stars and Celebrity Ap­pren­tice Aus­tralia.

The truth is that celebri­ties who are con­tro­ver­sial and di­vide viewer opin­ion can make com­pelling TV.

Sandi­lands’ man­ager la­belled the En­core re­sults ‘‘ a mas­sive load of s---’’.

‘‘ Kyle is the most lis­tenedto ra­dio pre­sen­ter in the coun­try and stars on one of the big­gest TV shows,’’ An­drew Hawkins says.

Ten CEO James War­bur­ton thinks so much of Q Score re­search that he re­cently signed its cre­ator, TV re­searcher David Cas­tran, to an ex­clu­sive agree­ment to help ad­vise on pro­gram­ming.

Cas­tran says rat­ings anal­y­sis tells you who is watch­ing a show, Q Scores tell you why.

His move to Ten comes af­ter a string of Ten flops in­clud­ing The Ren­o­va­tors, Young Tal­ent Time and Break­fast, fronted by Bren­dan Moar, Rob Mills and Paul Henry re­spec­tively. Cas­tran will be part of Ten’s new cre­ative de­vel­op­ment unit.

‘‘ He joins the team at a time when we are un­der­tak­ing a cre­ative re­newal of our con­tent,’’ War­bur­ton says.

War­bur­ton re­cently poached pop­u­lar Packed to the Rafters star Hugh Sheri­dan from ri­val Seven to host I Will Sur­vive.

War­bur­ton only needs to look at The Voice to re­alise that sign­ing Sheri­dan won’t guar­an­tee the success of Ten’s new tal­ent show.

Host Dar­ren McMullen is the least im­por­tant el­e­ment in The Voice.

The show’s mas­sive pop­u­lar­ity is a mix of an orig­i­nal for­mat, big-name coaches and im­pres­sive tal­ent.

No En­core Score or Q Score can pre­dict the power of spin­ning chairs or the pop­u­lar­ity of con­tes­tants Karise Eden or Rachael Leah­car, who were un­knowns two months ago.

Delta Goodrem has polled well in the Q Scores in the past but who could have pre­dicted the im­pact Keith Ur­ban or over­seas artists Seal and Joel Mad­den would have on Aussie TV view­ers?

‘‘ The success of The Voice is a com­bi­na­tion of many things,’’ the TV ex­ec­u­tive says.

‘‘ Re­search (En­core Score and Q Scores) is a tool. You shouldn’t take it as gospel.’’

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