Producer disappointed by Power Games ratings

“None of us can understand what happened," says producer John Edwards after Power Games' disappointing ratings.

PG6-5-13 369 LProducer John Edwards has admitted he is disappointed and bewildered by the poor showing for Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch War.

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.

39 Responses

  1. @muscledude_oz – Dead right. As I commented elsewhere, I’m >70 and was around at the time. From what I saw it was factually wrong in many places. Was p’d off having to wait and wait for the start, was very bad timing scheduling a thing on Murdoch immediately after his trashing of the government prior to the election, and 99% of viewers are simply not interested in ‘Frank who’ and someone who sold his citizenship in the interests of money.

  2. I enjoyed watching the show, and will definitely be tuning in again to view part 2. I did find the last 20 minutes or so quite rushed, and was surprised when it ended. I do agree with the comment on the female characters. More focus on them would have made it more interesting in regards to family dynamics from the females perspectives. Also, I do believe the show was not promoted enough via a variety of means. People weren’t aware of the show being on at all. The extended promos that were shown were during programs such as Big Brother – so perhaps targeting the wrong audience? Is the encore being promoted for those that missed out? Not everyone has internet access to watch it online. I know I would rather watch a historical Australian drama like this than the endless and meaningless reality shows that have taken over our screens. Exceptional performances from the cast! Well done!

  3. You’re right about losing audience trust. After Squizzy not starting anywhere close to starting time each week. I didn’t even bother with this one.
    I don’t have the time or the inclination to sit their waiting and wondering when a program will start.

    Even if I decide to PVR it, I still miss out because even with the PVR set to record an extra 15 mins there’s a good chance I’ll miss the end,

  4. Hmmm – after 5 weeks of biased reporting from the Murdoch media , the public were dying to watch a show about a guy who made Tony Abbort our PM?

    If he can’t figure out why the Power Games bombed then I suggest he find another job.

  5. The problem with this show is that it is inaccurate. Rather than being in cut-throat competition with each other, the Packers and Murdochs have always been allied with each other and have always joined forces against the common enemy, the Fairfaxes. Even today Jamie Packer and Lachlan Murdoch are close friends and are together involved in several business ventures.

  6. In an industry filled with backstabbers, it’s lovely that John Edwards is so loyal to his actors and endeavours to keep them employed, but in this case, with Lachy Hulme, it might have bitten him on the bum. I saw the promos for PGs and seeing Lachy highlighted made me feel l had seen this show before and there’d be nothing new to it. But having said that there were lots of factors that sunk it- the election, footy finals and the sense that Channel 9 aren’t doing anything new. Howzat did 2mill- great, leave it at that, don’t try and repeat the performance.

  7. it was a bore. these telemovies can’t be done without something to hook viewers in before the first ad break. it required too much concentration for a sunday. i watched it for about 40 mins, couldnt keep my mind on it, couldn’t remember which character was which so lost interest and flicked channels.

  8. @Brekkie, perfectly said. The ego in TV drama in out of control, and Edwards leads the charge.

    And if this show can be picked up halfway through, why bother with the first. Tighten it up and stop being self indulgent. We’ve overtaken you.

  9. I don’t watch X Factor / AGT / MC / BB etc, and purely tuned in to FTA for Power Games. However, I nearly turned off before it even started because I thought it had an 8:30pm start time, and it didn’t begin until about 8:42pm.

    Then there was the 2 & 1/2 minute trailer of the show that was played before the actual start of the show itself. What the heck was that? I already know I’m going to watch it, but that’s just annoyingly stupid.

    I ended up sticking with watching it all – brilliant performances by all, but I was over Murdoch due to his hand with the election.. so I nearly turned off. Maybe they should’ve shown it before the Election started.

  10. It was well done, but it didn’t help that there’s no sympathetic characters in it, apart from brief female appearances, most of whom don’t even seem to have names.

    And as wonderful as Lachy Hulme is in portraying various Packers, it’s confusing having him now playing Frank, with someone else portraying son Kerry. Having said that, the makeup on Lachy is extraordinary – all that mottled skin!

  11. Channel 9 hasn’t been doing well on Sunday and drama watchers are in the habit of watching stuff on the ABC, Seven and Ten.

    And it is getting late in the year to start new dramas. People are staying late at work and going out.

  12. Exactly, a case of TV Networks becoming so self obsessed that they forget about their main currency – their audiences !! You can only frustrate people for so long before they look else where – great show, but bad timing (election) plus drawn out promos tired people of their enthusiasm for what is actually a very good production.
    Wake up networks, tailored/low cost or even free content is becoming more and more available – stop bludgeoning audiences with an excess of promotion and work on engaging, local content

  13. I didn’t even know it was on…but then, I don’t really watch any Channel 9 these days while they have 1.5 hours of Big Brother every other day. When you have a dud taking up so much screen time, there’s very few other opportunities to get people to see the promos!

  14. 2 reasons I feel, maybe 3: 1) Aussie public is much more interested in cricket than 2 rich guys fighting each other over millions; 2) another Packer drama on Nine is seen as a bit self indulgent, and 3) I don’t think Aussie public hates Murdoch (or loves Packer) as much as they thought. Election results kinda proved that.

  15. Same withe the first and second Underbelly series, it was topical at the time and everyone wanted the background info in an alternate format. Then 9 got greedy and kept going back in time covering less topical periods to milk the franchise.

  16. I think Howzat was perfectly timed with talk of the cricket moving to 10 and everyone wanted the backstory on how 9 got it in the first place. Have no idea what this one was about so I never tried it.

  17. Maybe if it hadn’t started late?

    I recorded it adding at least 10 minutes to my settings but it still missed the end, so will have to wait until tomorrow night to catch it.

    People have just stopped trusting Nine when it comes to program start times.

  18. I think the fact they haven’t got a clue why people aren’t watching probably best sums up why people aren’t watching. A classic case of the media eating itself up and not actually realising that outside of those circles people just aren’t as interested.

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