Packered by the Rafters
What a week in telly. The departure of the Packer name from Nine, new channels, axed shows, resignations and a blast from the past. Are we there yet?
It was the week the Packer family parted ways with Nine causing David Gyngell to vow to prove James Packer wrong, TEN announced a new channel, Pay TV launched another three, Minister Stephen Conroy signalled support for increased ABC & SBS funding, commercial networks (briefly) found a conscience but upset David Leckie, WIN sat down at the gambling table, Kath & Kim (US) got a greenlight for a full season, Andrew Denton announced the end of Enough Rope, David Tennant set his exit from his iconic role, Rove visited Jay Leno again, TEN axed a local clip show, an Aussie soap got a second lease of life in the UK, another Big Brother housemate was on the wrong end of the arm of the law and Molly Meldrum revived Countdown for a day.
With the end of ratings now in sight, Seven looks set for a dream run from the Olympics to year’s end. Once again it won with 30.4% to Nine’s 27.2% and TEN’s 19.9%. The ABC had 17.4% and SBS 5.2%. Seven won all cities and demographics except 16-39 which went to Nine.
Packed to the Rafters was again #1 with 1.92m viewers. With Find My Family, The Zoo and All Saints it gave Seven an unbeatable Tuesday. The return of The Zoo at 1.7m contrasts with Seven’s loss of faith in Outback Wildlife Rescue –both factual series with animals. Will it ever return? The final eps of The Force and Border Security (the former now regularly tracking better than the latter) were big winners –can The Rich List match it in its former timeslot? City Homicide sees CSI knocking on the door, but still attracts strong audiences. Seven News and Today Tonight continue to pummel Nine News and A Current Affair (the latter with new WIN-produced editions in WA and SA). Dancing with the Stars picked up audience but opted not to boot a contestant (poor form given people are voting). Also strong for Seven were Criminal Minds, Home and Away and Better Homes and Gardens. But Heroes isn’t living up to its title for Seven, now pushed out to 10:30pm, causing Prison Break fans to have to wait a few weeks for its return. With lower returns in the same timeslot Seven keeps local production Out of the Question, presumably until the end of ratings to try to gain stronger word of mouth. Will a renewal be out of the question for 2009?
Another week for Nine, another repeat of Two and Half Men is their top show, netting 1.54m viewers. It was P.T. Barnum who was famous for giving audiences exactly what they wanted so while viewers keep swarming to Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer, Channel Nine will keep the reruns coming. This week it even goes back to the pilot episode. 60 Minutes pulled a big crowd once more, and even Bert Newton’s 20 to 1 won its slot with 1.25m, well up on the previous Battlefronts. CSI was strong on Monday and RPA stays faithful for Thursday. But Nine News and A Current Affair slipped under 1m on two occasions. Tracy Grimshaw’s exclusive with Greg Norman’s ex managed 1.2m on Monday. Not having The Mentalist on Sunday was costly, with local production on the Rugby League World Cup tracking lower than an American import. On Wednesday, the Simon Baker series is still 400,000 behind its Sunday audience. Losing Cold Case was also unwise, so it’s back this week. The Strip won its slot –just…
After a few weeks of slowly inching north, TEN fell back under the 20.0% barrier once more. NCIS was again its best with 1.19m, just ahead of Australian Idol’s 1.16m. No other show for the network passed 1m viewers, an unsatisfactory performance. Amongst its next biggest audiences were Rove, Rush and the Law and Order franchises. Idol’s Monday verdict show continues to underperform making it tough for Good News Week and Supernatural. The final Jamie’s Ministry of Food limped out the door, also giving House and Life little help. A repeat of NCIS on Sunday (663,000 @ 9:40pm) was better than Californication‘s last figure (543,000 @ 10:10pm). Fifth Grader started its season well but on 752,000 is probably no graduation certificate to 2009 –that said it’s well up on the Will and Grace lead in, hovering between low 400,000’s and high 500,000’s for the week. Some figures were lower than anything in memory in that timeslot, Friends, Taken Out, even Yasmin’s Getting Married. Is the sitcom audience all over at Channel Nine? Probably. Ice Road Truckers‘ 580,000 was slightly up on Download‘s 526,000 but costs a lot in loyalty and branding. No doubt TEN hopes it will track better with more promotion.
Spicks and Specks‘ 1.202m was just ahead of Enough Rope‘s 1.201m at the ABC –both local light entertainment shows. No Denton in 2009 will be a big loss to the broadcaster. Also tops were ABC News, The 7:30 Report, Menzies and Churchill at War, Australian Story, Taggart, Catalyst and Galapagos.
Top Gear Australia may have hit a new low of 435,000 but it’s still ahead of local shows First Australians, Swift & Shift Couriers and Bogan Pride for SBS.