Are we there yet?
The 2008 ratings year is ending its weeks as they began, with a closer finish between the two top networks. But one is warehousing some of its shows knowing it has the year already sewn up.
It was the week that everybody said they had new toys to unwrap, TEN declared the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Aussie producers gathered on the Gold Coast for their annual gab-fest just as Nine decided not to revisit the only drama set there, TiVo dumped one of its key partners, the last original member of Hi-5 chose to retire, the axe fell on several shows in the US, network programmers tried to defend late amendments, Seven apologised for comments made by one of its stars, Nine was revealed as wanting “no pubic hair” in Underbelly 2, Pay TV told the government to hurry up with its anti-siphoning list review and Tracy Grimshaw said ACA should re-word its “coming up next” teasers.
And while it was another week for Channel Seven, Nine was a strong second. The 2008 year is ending as it began, with the top two networks in a closer tussle.
Seven finished the week with 29.1% over Nine’s 28.5% and TEN’s 19.5%. The ABC had 17.7% and SBS 5.3%.
Nine won the key demographics 16-39, 18-49 and 25-54.
Seven’s unstoppable drama Packed to the Rafters topped the week once more with 1.95m viewers –confidently ahead of shows on rival networks. Also glorious for the network were Find My Family, The Zoo, Seven News, Today Tonight, All Saints, Home and Away and Better Homes and Gardens. Dancing with the Stars waltzed to a cool 1.45m -its previous final was 1.68m when it owned Tuesday nights. On the downside, Seven’s audience was smarter than the network, shunning a City Homicide repeat. Criminal Minds dropped to 1.1m, beaten by Spicks and Specks. Make me a Supermodel was beaten by Getaway, while Thursday’s Bones was outdone by Law and Order: CI. The Rich List was third in its slot, beaten by the ABC. But Seven is travelling so comfortably it is warehousing better shows for 2009 and copping the Monday losses on its chin.
Nine had a competitive week. Monday’s Domestic Blitz was its biggest audience with 1.67m viewers. Seems the audience can’t get enough of feelgood, makeover shows –an encouraging sign with The Block supposedly due to return in 2009. Once again Charlie Sheen’s 8pm Wednesday repeat was a whopper with 1.45m viewers. This week the network takes a risk by dropping the show in favour of re-launching The Big Bang Theory. Good luck with that. Other returns were delivered by 60 Minutes, 20 to 1, Twenty/20 All Stars Cricket, This is Your Life, Two and a Half Men, CSI, Getaway and RPA. Despite the strong cricket night on Friday both Nine News and ACA slipped under the 1m mark. Nine banished The Strip to 10:30pm and so did the audience. The Chopping Block continues to slip under the 1m mark. At 7:30pm Nine doesn’t tolerate those figures –why is it making an exception here? Nine has also been very quiet on news of its 5:30 weekday timeslot. It needs to remedy this by February. Tuesday’s Andre Rieu concert on Today took it to within 48,000 viewers of Sunrise. A day later the difference had widened to 112,000 in Seven’s favour. And at the end of its 18th year, Australia’s Funniest Home Videos is still the second most popular show on a Saturday night. Amazing.
NCIS led the week for TEN with 1.15m viewers, just nudging ahead of Australian Idol’s 1.12m and Law and Order CI‘s 1.1m. No other shows managed to raise over 1m viewers with TEN limping out the year with another week under the 20% radar. It ended the week with four nights behind the ABC. Wednesday’s lazy susan of interchangeable shows didn’t help new Futurama, with just 583,000 viewers. The night was so disappointing, Neighbours was its biggest drawcard. House just can’t seem to gain any traction with this mess. It’s worth noting however, that Life held almost all of Dr House’s audience. Good News Week bettered Idol before it. Californication‘s 534,000 so late on a Sunday indicates it still has a strong fanbase. A big story on Rush didn’t manage to push the numbers up, while Kenny’s World appears to have stretched out one idea for too long. Fifth Grader is indeed lucky to get a renewal on its so so figures. Would it benefit with a 6:30 Sunday slot next year? Will and Grace is so paltry the network is clearly holding its breath til non-ratings than risking another switch. Friday’s world premiere of The Informant was a humble 622,000 viewers. With a change in drama execs it isn’t proceeding to a series.
The perennial Spicks and Specks leads again for the ABC with 1.26m viewers and a timeslot win, just ahead of Enough Rope’s 1.24m for the Dawn French interview (note to networks, Australia hearts Dawn French). Also strong were ABC News, 7:30 Report, Media Watch, Taggart, Australian Story, The New Inventors, Stupid Stupid Man, Catalyst, The Bill and Rough Diamond. Tuesdays remains a comparatively modest night in the network schedule, although Sunday was also down this week.
Top Gear Australia’s 612,000 viewers seems to have levelled out at a now consistent audience for those who enjoy the local version. The UK original, which gets about another 30% is back in a week. Swift and Shift Couriers (371,000) is up on its premiere episode two weeks ago (306,000).
Just two more weeks to go gang….