As the global financial market continue to slide, so too are ratings for American television programmes in Australia.
Despite the recent cast member promo visit, last night’s premiere of Heroes‘ supposedly revamped series managed a rather paltry 878,000. A second episode took 785,000. At 10:30pm the new season of Prison Break tanked at a lousy 387,000. Thanks to its early evening shows, Seven will be pleased it still won the night in 16-39, 18-49 and 25-54 demographics.
These are shows that two and three years ago were hailed as shining beacons for Channel Seven.
It follows the lack of interest in another former hit, Ugly Betty, which is now bumped until summer.
But Seven is not alone is finding American shows are out of fashion. TEN’s new season of House is getting about half the ratings it once enjoyed. Kitchen Nightmares USA was so poorly received it’s gone too.
The American shows that are working are Two and a Half Men, NCIS, and Criminal Minds -precisely one for each commercial FTA network.
Meanwhile Aussie productions such as Packed to the Rafters, City Homicide, 60 Minutes are connecting with audiences. Australian Idol is TEN’s strongest local brand.
The ABC has better insurance against the US fatigue with its British components. Its Sunday, Friday and Saturday British dramas have a loyal following, with Midsomer Murders and Doctor Who having given the commercial networks a headache.
Many would argue the lack of interest in some of the American product is a complex equation. Some shows are ‘fasttracked’ too late. Some have poor lead-ins. Others have been damaged by too many repeats or not enough viewer awareness of its place in the schedule.
There is now considerable anger from viewers watching other shows ripped off air at a moment’s notice, which damages loyalty to the network. Today’s Daily Telegraph has picked up on the mood in this article.
TEN is particularly on the receiving end of viewer anguish right now. Its audience is particularly susceptible to the habit of downloading, regardless of whether it is legal or not.
How much of a U-Turn we have taken when a few years ago the big imports like CSI, Desperate Housewives and Lost consumed us. Now US stocks seem to have fallen in television too. At least we know they can rebound back overnight…