Thursday, October 30, 2008

900,000 is the new million – Thursday 30 October 2008

Very very low rating night last night. The night belonged to Nine but there was nothing to crow about. Compare the barnstorming performance of Seven on a Tuesday which is a very competitive night, to Nine’s Thursday which is a night where virtually no-one is competing and you start to get a picture of the uphill battle that Nine faces in the year ahead.

In fact it’s a conundrum that must have the network programmers scratching their heads – what happened to Thursdays??

Throughout much of the 90s Thursdays were a one channel night – and that channel was Nine, the predictability and broad appeal of Getaway, The Footy Show, ER and This is your Life carried the night for the better part of a decade.

Eventually though ER aged and lost most of it’s original cast and Ten struck with Law & Order SVU quickly overtaking the aging hospital soap. In 2005 Seven found their game by Scheduling an “Amazing Thursday” with Lost and the Amazing Race holding back all comers and causing serious headaches for Nine and Ten, but as with a lot of younger skewing shows the fad didn’t last and the night again fell back to the oldies with Nine’s doco-soaps of RPA and Missing Persons Unit tussling with Ten’s Law & Order spinoffs.

Since this year we’ve had ABC enter as the third force on Thursday nights with the experimental panel political QandA in the first half of the year taking the shine of commercial contenders at 9.30 and in the last few week a series of well presented docos/dramatisations of Australian history.

Last week we were treated to the plight of vanishing PM Harold Holt, this week we got an account of Robert Menzies and Winston Churchill’s ongoing conflict in the early years of WWII, it was certainly an eye opener to see another Australian Prime Minister who spent more time overseas than Kevin Rudd!

What was more incredible was the colour film footage that Menzies himself shot – especially of London after one of Germany’s Air Raids. Full marks to the ABC for taking on these interesting historical subjects and talking points which quite frankly – you don’t learn about in school.

Apart from the dwindling Heroes and Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? Everything else on the schedule was fairly even with most shows achieving over 900,000 viewers. It used to be that if you scored over 1 million viewers in prime time your show was considered safe – I think that goalpost has well and truly moved.

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