The Chase ratings are great news for seven
Today marks a year to the day that Seven nervously unveiled its new game show, The Chase Australia, on the airwaves.
Replacing the struggling Million Dollar Minute, The Chase Australia had a pretty simple mission: beat Nine’s Hot Seat and increase ratings figures for Seven’s news.
Job done. With a 28.2 per cent share in its timeslot, the quiz show has almost 20 per cent more viewers than Hot Seat. Around 3.5 million viewers tune in to The Chase Australia at some stage each week, and its success has given Seven’s east coast news services a ratings bump of 15 to 23 per cent.
But Seven’s director of programming, Angus Ross, is a hard taskmaster.
He says he’s happy with The Chase but still wants more.
“I would never declare, like George Bush, ‘mission accomplished’,” he says.
“I’m a programmer and I’m greedy by nature, and we always want to do better for The Chase. We want the news to be winning every night in every market.”
One area in which The Chase doesn’t beat Hot Seat is in cash giveaways. Hot Seat has given away $5.5 million over the past year while The Chase has given away $2.2 million. And contestants walked away with cash on 191 Hot Seat episodes in the past year compared with The Chase’s 54 — and there were 143 where contestants won nothing.
But The Chase host Andrew O’Keefe doesn’t believe the size of the prize, or how frequently it’s won, is a major factor.
“One of the appeals of the show is that it’s not really about the money or the prizes,” he says. “In a sense, that’s secondary. Even for the (contestants) the primary aim is to match wits with great minds. It’s really lovely to have a popular format that celebrates knowledge.”
If there’s one area The Chase excels in, it’s blasting through questions and O’Keefe has asked almost 40,000 of them.
The contestants do well, averaging 67 per cent correct, but they’re totally outshone by professional quiz champs The Chasers — Matt Parkinson, Brydon Coverdale, Anne Hegerty, Issa Schultz and Mark Labbett — who get more than nine out of 10 questions right.
O’Keefe predicts The Chase will last at least another three years “and if it goes beyond that, marvellous”.
THE CHASE AUSTRALIA, SEVEN, WEEKDAYS, 5PM