Audiences flock to quality
Week 31 belonged comfortably to Seven, but it was the ABC that issued a lesson to commercial networks as audiences flocked to a supposedly niche show, United States of Tara.
This week the ABC delivered commercial networks a bit of a lesson as US cable series United States of Tara swooped with 1.27m viewers in a 9:30pm timeslot. It highlighted the fact that audiences will flock to supposedly niche stories, if they are accessible. Even subscription television had passed on this one, but the ABC was able to win the slot with Toni Collette.
Once again, however, it was Seven’s week, scoring a very strong 29.3% over Nine’s 24.3% and TEN’s 22.4%. The ABC had 17.6% and SBS 6.3%.
Seven won 18-49 and 25-54 while TEN took 16-39 and a clean sweep of all 5 cities. It also won Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Nine won Monday and Thursday, while TEN had a Sunday win even without MasterChef Australia or Rove.
Seven’s best for the week was Seven News (Sunday) with 1.97m just ahead of Packed to the Rafters on 1.92m, another impressive return. Also strong were Dancing with the Stars, World’s Strictest Parents, Today Tonight, Surf Patrol, Better Home and Gardens, Airways, Home and Away, All Saints and Desperate Housewives. Saturday’s movie Finding Nemo was popular. Seven’s new comedy pair Double Take, TV Burp unsurprisingly lost a little ground in their second outing. The final Prison Break petered out on 181,000 and Lipstick Jungle on 150,000. After a soft return for Las Vegas eps, Seven opted not to keep the show on Mondays too (the eps are so old, and it was hardly a bumper show in its time). The might of All Saints at 1.26m behind Rafters should not be overlooked. This could join Always Greener as another drama axed while performing.
Nine may have lifted from third to second place this week but there were only a few reasons to be happy. Nine News (Sunday) was also its top rating show on 1.4m viewers. Elsewhere the finale of Sea Patrol did well, while Getaway and Random Acts of Kindness were its next best. Two and a Half Men fluctuated from a strong Monday night to a softer Tuesday. Alarmingly, 60 Minutes fell below 1m viewers -even without MasterChef around. Its Sunday movie Oceans 13 took half the crowd of TEN’s earlier family flick. But it was Tuesday night that was a fatal blow. Appearing out of nowhere, The New Adventures of Old Christine was soundly rejected in a line-up that dragged the network below 20%. The second ep of Australia’s Perfect Couple proved almost as dire, and should have been moved by now. What happened to the philosophy that ‘if you’re going to fail, fail fast?’ There’s better news for Today, which beat Sunrise on Thursday for the first time in six years, excluding Good Friday. Eddie’s Hot Seat is holding firm.
Without its reality juggernaut TEN now has to contend with its regular shows led by Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation at 1.61m. But it managed to win Sunday with its movie Night at the Museum and Merlin. The return of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? was respectable while Rush, NCIS and a new Simpsons were strong. The 7PM Project had another light week as it continues to tweak its format. Rules of Engagement is soft for a 7:30pm slot -odd that TEN plans to keep repeats in place soon. ONE’s FIA Formula One World Championship pulled 199,000.
The ABC’s Wednesday line-up could do no wrong. Spicks and Specks was the week’s best with 1.45m, a figure retained by the final Chaser episode. The 1.27m for Tara surprised everyone, defeating all in its path and it lifted At The Movies. The other top shows were Australian Story, ABC News, Four Corners, The 7:30 Report, Grand Designs, Cassowaries, Media Watch and Whatever! The Science Of Teens. East of Everything dipped slightly to 749,000. Thursday’s Q & A remains soft. Maybe viewers aren’t aware it’s back yet.
Top Gear was tops on 767,000 for SBS. Liberal Rule lifted from Insight but didn’t raise beyond 241,000. Food Investigators took a stronger 405,000. Friday was its best night thanks to the 2009 Ashes Series.