Top rating TV of the decade

Adam Liaw’s win on Season 2 of MasterChef Australia in 2010 has finished the decade as the single biggest audience of the last 10 years, at an astronomical 4,029,000 metropolitan viewers.

Liaw defeated Callum Haan for the title, $100,000 and a publishing deal.

The series finale was so anticipated it even forced an election debate between Julia Gillard & Tony Abbott to a different time slot due to a fear of low ratings.

Adding in regional viewers it climbed to 5.29 million -around 1 in 4 Australians at the time.

Liaw tells TV Tonight back then the show filmed a winner announcement in the afternoon and kept the cast on set until it had broadcast later that night.

“The cooking aspects of the finale were filmed over 3 days around 2 weeks before broadcast, and then the winner announcement was shot on the day at around 4pm and the entire set was in lockdown for about 6 hours until the result finally went to air. It was a tiring day, so for years afterward the production moved to a model of shooting multiple endings and airing one. These days I think they only shoot a single ending and just trust that people won’t leak it,” he said.

“The strongest memory for me was the contrast. It was the very early days of MasterChef where the filming period was very long (nearly a year all up) with strict lockdown and media blackout conditions, so we’d been in relative isolation for months with no access to newspapers, TV or radio. Then all of a sudden we were dropped back into a situation where there was a lot of public attention. It was quite overwhelming to go from extreme solitude to extreme exposure literally overnight.”

One footnote is that Royal Weddings did accrue bigger audience numbers but only when adding broadcasts across multiple networks: William & Kate 6 million in 2011, Harry & Meghan 4.09m in 2018.

Reality TV & Sport dominate the biggest ratings of the decade, with just one drama, Underbelly: Razor, in the Top 30 shows. But TV ratings have changed a lot since 2010 with the rise of Streaming, Pay TV, Catch-Up and Multichannels.

The biggest metro audience of 2019 was the AFL Grand Final at 2.22m.

1MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA – THE WINNER ANNOUNCED1025/07/20104,029,000
2MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA – FINALE NIGHT1025/07/20103,594,000
3THE BLOCK -WINNER ANNOUNCEDNine21/08/20113,370,000
4SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONSSeven25/09/20103,358,000
5THE VOICE GRAND FINAL -WINNER ANNOUNCEDNine18/06/20123,325,000
6MY KITCHEN RULES-WINNER ANNOUNCEDSeven28/04/20133,270,000
7SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONSSeven29/09/20123,222,000
8SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONSSeven01/10/20163,201,000
9THE BLOCK SKY HIGH -WINNER ANNOUNCEDNine28/07/20133,160,000
10SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: SYDNEY V WESTERN BULLDOGSSeven01/10/20163,081,000
11THE BLOCK -WINNER ANNOUNCEDNine01/07/20123,063,000
12AUSTRALIA’S GOT TALENT-THE WINNER ANNOUNCEDSeven02/08/20112,980,000
13SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: HAWTHORN V SYDNEYSeven29/09/20122,962,000
14MY KITCHEN RULES-WINNER ANNOUNCEDSeven27/03/20122,892,000
15SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: SYDNEY V HAWTHORNSeven27/09/20142,828,000
16THE VOICE -SUNNine22/04/20122,814,000
17THE VOICE GRAND FINALNine18/06/20122,810,000
18UNDERBELLY: RAZOR -EP1Nine21/08/20112,794,000
19THE VOICE -MONNine30/04/20122,771,000
20SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: COLLINGWOOD V ST KILDASeven25/09/20102,768,000
21THE 2012 MELBOURNE CUP CARNIVAL: MELBOURNE CUP-THE RACESeven06/11/20122,767,000
22MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA – THE WINNER ANNOUNCED1007/08/20112,745,000
23THE BLOCK -AUCTIONNine21/08/20112,736,000
24SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: ADELAIDE V RICHMONDSeven30/09/20172,723,000
25SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: PRESENTATIONSSeven30/09/20172,722,000
26SEVEN’S AFL: GRAND FINAL: HAWTHORN V FREMANTLESeven28/09/20132,718,000
27MY KITCHEN RULES-WINNER ANNOUNCEDSeven29/04/20142,712,000
28THE 2010 MELBOURNE CUP CARNIVAL: MELBOURNE CUP-THE RACESeven02/11/20102,707,000
29STATE OF ORIGIN RUGBY LEAGUE QLD V NSW 3RD – MATCHNine04/07/20122,694,000
30SEVEN’S TENNIS: 2017 AUSTRALIAN OPEN – MEN’S FINALSeven29/01/20172,689,000

Yet despite the win bringing instant fame, Liaw says MasterChef hasn’t really changed his life.

“The idea that winning a reality TV show changes your life is a trope that I’ve never really subscribed to. I loved my life before TV and love it now just the same. I’m hugely grateful for the opportunities that being on MasterChef afforded me. It was certainly a huge stepping stone in the early years and helped to facilitate a career change.

“I’d say Destination Flavour being commissioned by SBS was probably the most life-changing thing to happen in my career so far. Without that I think my career would look very different today. We got to make 6 seasons of award-winning TV over the last 8 years with SBS and that’s something I found truly exhilarating.”

Meanwhile Liaw looks to 2020 with multiple projects in Australia and abroad.

“I have few projects in the works both in Australia and overseas that will be released in 2020 but they aren’t quite ready to announce yet. I’m continuing writing for Good Food for Nine, which I absolutely love. I’m also on the board of the Australia-Japan Foundation, which is a government body assisting the cultural and diplomatic relationship between the two countries and with the Olympics in Tokyo next year I am spending a little more time abroad, but hopefully not too much.”

© OzTAM Pty Limited 2019. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM. Ranking information is for individual episodes. Includes 28 Day Consolidated data.

13 Comments:

  1. Nothing from 2018-19 is in the top 20 – seems like these TV numbers will just keep tumbling.
    It’s very likely that we’ll never have a TV event ever again which rates any more than 3 million…

  2. interesting to see Underbelly Razor in there since I think a lot of people including myself regard it as one of the worst series of the franchise, most of the acting was appalling.
    I suspect it might have just been highly anticipated therefore many people tuned in for episode 1, I don’t suppose we know what the ratings were for say episode 5?

  3. Adam Liaw can be proud of his achievements, as well as Callum Haan, where it should also be noted that Callum was given a regular presenter role on the show SA Weekender after MasterChef.

    Something that stands out is that most of the top rating shows of the decade were in the early half of the decade. Hopefully, the new decade will bring some new shows, concepts or new formats for older shows that can reinvigorate the television audiences and industry.

  4. I watch mainly ABC and SBS, but I do watch streaming (I have Disney+ and Netflix) and I go to YouTube for music. I also listen to podcasts for news and current affairs.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  5. Wow. Exceptional figures for MCA Finale 2010. 10 won at least one rating week during that year (IIRC). 10 were at its peak during the decade with AFL (but lost the rights in late 2011).
    Next decade, I guess we will never see a 3 million figures again. There are a lot of options like streaming, Catchup apps, YouTube, Social Media. Next year, Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be on 7. Do you think that they will have a standalone 7Olympics CHannel on 7Plus during the Games?

  6. What an interesting top 30 list of the decade. I also can’t seeing similar numbers for the next decade.

    Also, “Winners Announced” appeared 9 times in the top 30, with “AFL Presentations” making it 4 times. Hmmm.

  7. Seems like an odd Comment to me. I’d say if Adam didn’t win master chef then he wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to host a show on SBS. Perhaps he should be a little more grateful for where he came from…

  8. Only 5 of the top 30 shows of the decade were in the last 5 years. I’m positive TV is still relevant, but these numbers show that FTA TV is clearly no longer the preferred watching platform….

  9. Doubt we will ever see those kind of numbers again. Diversity of options today is so vast. I have Fetch, All Access, Netflix and Catch up apps plus other things like You Tube, etc. Viewing comes in many forms today.

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