The Drama Top 20

Underbelly dominates the biggest TV scripted audiences since the beginning of OzTAM in 2001.

2011’s Underbelly: Razor starring Danielle Cormack and Chelsie Preston Crayford as King’s Cross vice queens Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh pulled a massive 2.79m viewers for its first episode.

Kath & Kim is Seven’s biggest local scripted title at 2.51m viewers, just pipping Packed to the Rafters.

FriendsTwo and a Half Men, Desperate Housewives are amongst the biggest US drawcards.

Underbelly: Razor Nine (2011) 2.79m
Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities Nine (2009) 2.58m
Friends Nine (2001) 2.54m
Two and a Half Men Nine (2011) 2.52m
Kath & Kim Seven (2007) 2.51m
Packed to the Rafters Seven (2010) 2.48m
Desperate Housewives Seven (2005) 2.48m
Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities Nine (2009) 2.48m
Friends Nine (2002) 2.41m
Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities Nine (2009) 2.4m
Revenge Seven (2012) 2.38m
Howzat: Kerry Packer’s War Pt. 1 Nine (2012) 2.37m
Desperate Housewives Seven (2005) 2.36m
Underbelly: The Golden Mile (Nine) 2.36m
Underbelly: Razor (2011) 2.35m
Lost Seven (2005) 2.35m
Howzat: Kerry Packer’s War Pt. 2 Nine (2012) 2.34m
Kath & Kim Seven (2007) 2.34m
Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities Nine (2009) 2.33m
Desperate Housewives Seven (2005) 2.33m

The Chaser’s War on Everything tops ABC’s list at 2.29m in 2007.

House in 2006 was TEN’s biggest drama crowd at 2.14m.

FIFA World Cup in 2006 SBS’ only audiences over 2m -no scripted titles.

Molly was the last big drama audience at 2.22m viewers in 2016.

© OzTAM Pty Limited 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM. Amended.


  1. So true.Most dramas would be lucky to rate half a million in Australia these days.It’s bad news for producers of local drama,who put a lot of time and effort into their work,only to see it ignored by the public.

    • Hi Esther, I post fairy regularly on how Drama titles perform well in Timeshifting. If you have ever watched a drama in your own time, and not on the night it premiered, then be aware it’s happening across the country. Numbers are posted under the Timeshifting section (Ratings), thx.

      • Yes,that’s a good point,David.But I imagine even with the time shifting figures,the the figures would still be well down on what they were ten or 15 years ago.I imagine this would have a lot to do with the fracturing of the tv audience, with the development of multi channels,pay tv,and especially streaming in recent years.There are so many ways people can watch tv these days.

  2. These were the best years for Australian television in my opinion. From Desperates to Lost to Friends, we were spoilt back then with consistent airdates, start times and continuity!

  3. Thanks David, Great to look back on the high rating dramas. This year top rating dramas have so much more competitive as options and viewer habits fragment and change.

    • I was thinking the same thing, there are so many alternatives now for those willing to pay for their entertainment and of course there is the age of reality TV which could have moved shows like Lost and Desperate Housewives to 7Flix or 7Plus.

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