On Sunday the show rated 793,000 viewers in overnight ratings. It’s a huge drop from Howzat!‘s 2 million viewers last year. But it’s on par with Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, albeit on the lower-rating ABC broadcaster.
Power Games dramatised the early rivalry between media barons Sir Frank Packer and a young Rupert Murdoch (Patrick Brammall, pictured).
“We’re still reeling from the ratings,” Edwards has told Fairfax. “None of us can understand what happened. We’re smacked over. We don’t get it.
“We were expecting more than double that frankly. We all thought it was so much better than Howzat!”
He said the election may have diminished interest in such a serious topic, but “the fact we had no News Corp coverage didn’t help. A million little things like that add up and perhaps we’re all sick of Packer stories.”
Other factors coming in to play were undoubtedly the might of Seven’s X Factor. Howzat had no such competition from Seven last year, airing against a Criminal Minds episode -although it did have a MasterChef finale which it doubled.
But I also believe the Aussie public has a fascination with Kerry Packer, not Sir Frank Packer. And Howzat! had cricket to draw in male viewers.
But Nine has also fiddled with its dramas on Sunday nights, not screening Underbelly: Squizzy until as late as 9:15. This also impacts on audience trust.
That said, we’re all programming experts with the benefit of hindsight.
Power Games was another well-produced and well-performed slice of recent history. Nine is repeating it on Friday and Saturday nights in various cities this weekend.
But it’s clear audiences have also had their fill of Packer yarns.
Despite this, I am still recommending the conclusion if you watched Part 1.
“The way it ends has got a little kick in it and there’s a couple of other things that are a bit more confronting. But I don’t know if you can come to it halfway through,” says Edwards.