Risk leads to “Dream start” for Nine

The Australian Open and MAFS gave Nine confidence to make key changes to its schedule this year. But there were never any guarantees.

With the end of Q1 in sight this Saturday, Nine is sitting in the box seat.

2024 has seen key changes to Nine’s schedule which have paid off, underpinned by the strength of the unstoppable Married at First Sight.

“We’ve made quite significant changes replacing Hot Seat which had done a brilliant job for us for a very long time by putting in Tipping Point Australia,” Hamish Turner, Director of Programming and 9Now tells TV Tonight.

“hange comes with inevitable risks. The other big move obviously was in (Nine News) Melbourne with putting Tom (Steinfort) and Alicia (Loxley) as the doubleheader. We had a blessed run through the tennis.”

Indeed, the Australian Open and Nine’s annual reality juggernaut have become an unbeatable programming duo.

“It provided a great promotional platform into our strip, Married at First Sight, and the shows that sit on the back of it. It gave Tipping Point a great opportunity to succeed. It’s grown over the last few weeks so it was the dream start.”

Nine refers to 2024 as its best ever Q1 growing key shows year on year when comparing 2023 to 2024 VOZ results, with MAFS up 3.1% in braodcast and 16.2% in BVOD.

“To be able to grow Total TV in its 11th season, off the back of seasons that have been very noisy is a phenomenal result. This year, it’s kind of found it’s comfort zone, but also managed to deliver storylines that we haven’t seen before. Someone said this is the ‘realest’ version of Married at First Sight we’ve seen and I think what you’re seeing is this texture of relationships with older players,” Turner suggests.

“Some of the backstories are so harrowing, that it’s raw and authentic. We haven’t seen this type of content in the show before.”


Nine is yet to topple Seven News and Today still trails Sunrise, but the introduction of Tipping Point, with new host Todd Woddbridge, has paid off in a 5pm slot.

“It just allows you to flow that audience through into your nightly news. It sets you up nicely. I mean, ACA is a show that just keeps on delivering…. Ally is doing an amazing job there and 60 Minutes is up year on year against both broadcast and BVOD.”

Turner says MAFS will continue “for a few more weeks” while Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars will join the schedule next week, and thereafter the return of Lego Masters.

“That’ll come after Easter and then we’re kind of into Olympics territory,” he explains.

Paramedics will be back. We’re doing five sports documentaries which we’ll be announcing 100 days out, which is April 18, I think. Travel Guides will be back pre-Olympics. So we’ve got quite a bit but 60 Minutes powers away each week so it will continue through. Then you’ll start seeing more Olympic and Paralympic themed content hitting the schedule.”

If there is any foot off the pedal over Easter, it will be minimal.

“We don’t have non-ratings anymore. It’s 52 weeks of the year. Maybe we switch off for the Christmas week but at the end of the day you’re going after eyeballs and audiences don’t switch off. We go all the way through.”

11 Responses

  1. How is replacing news anchors in one city a big risk for entire network? How does that affect viewership for the rest of the country,if Seven is Sydney centric then Nine will always be Melbourne centric.They were forced to to change to Tipping Point.

  2. Oh they are drama queens a little… a very calculated risk was taken in light of Hot Seat failure and the ongoing strength of the UK Tipping Point at 3pm. It was obvious the format resonated and with age not on The Chase’s side- the chances of success were greater than the chances of failure in my opinion. By a sizeable margin. The MAFS growth surprises me , but Seven are saying Idol has grown too. The new ratings system must be giving more accurate figures.

    1. They tried out the UK version of Tipping Point in the afternoon, and evening and then it took a couple of years before making their own Australian version. Given that Hot Seat was struggling all that time they didn’t really take any risks until they had to. I only watch Pointless, though will check out Jeopardy! UK and Australia with Fry.

      The only reason Nine poached the Tennis was that wanted it to promote MAFS. Seven was getting the tennis cheap and never managed to boost MKR that much with it, just enough to annoy Nine.

  3. Somewhat amusing that the nicest thing Hamish Turner says about the Australian Open is that it allowed Nine to promote MAFS. Rather fitting then that the (men’s) event was won by a bloke called Sinner!

      1. They replaced one experienced (soon to retire) news reader with two others – in one part of the country. That’s nothing.

        A risk would be axing MAFS and The Block and reinstating weekly programming.

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