Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brand Power - Wednesday 17 December 2008

A bit of a weird night caused by a test cricket match in Perth which has skewed channel nine’s lineup and it’s figures as a consequence. It would be encouraging to believe that CSI, ER and Gossip Girl all lifted by 109,000 89,000 and 71,000 respectively – and hey it could’ve happened – but we won’t know until they release the adjusted figures next week.

Notwithstanding the performance of it evening lineup Nine’s cricket coverage had the bizarre side-effect of driving regular ACA viewers to Today Tonight – making it the night’s top show!

Clearly all those years of consumer advocacy has taught the viewers to recognise when one brand offers essentially the same features as another and so people had no trouble switching brands for the night. Nine would want to hope it doesn't become a more permanent switch.

That and the performance of How I Met Your Mother was the end of the good news for seven – the rest of their lineup suffering badly at the hands of the cricket – as did ABC whose older male skew doesn’t help on night’s like last night!

Ten was about the same week on week although that’s not saying much.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sudden Drop - Tuesday 16 December 2008

There was a massive week on week drop in viewership last night.

Nine’s reality double looked hot last week but lost some of it’s sheen last night thanks to reduced overall numbers with about 160,000 less viewers tuning in across the hour.

Everything on Nine dropped week on week by around 100,000 viewers, ABC experienced a slight drop across the night while for seven Eli Stone and Ghost Whisperer both dropped while their 7.30 and 10.30 hours improved.

Seven’s decision to limit Ugly Betty to one night a week in favour of yet more animal flavoured reality has paid a dividend with Wild Vets and Coastwatch both lifting their audience by an average of 70,000 viewers in the slot.

Prison Break improved week on week by 30,000 viewers.

Ten showed slight a slight loss for The Simpsons (down 13,000 viewers) but a slight life for Rules (up 29,000 viewers. Last week Rules’ retention was 83%, last night it was up to 88% which is a good sign.

NCIS improved week on week by 7,000 viewers and In Plain Sight now coming in at a more manageable hour length was up 117,000 viewers retention improved from 51% to 60% an improvement but it will need to improve more over the coming weeks to secure a berth in this slot.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blame Big Brother - Monday 15 December 2008

You know sometimes networks make weird decisions, the last few weeks channel ten has been in a state of panic worse than a Wall Street broker with all his money tied up with Lehman Bros.

Whatever they try on Mondays it isn’t working.

In the 90s US network CBS had a great slogan “If its Mondays – It must be CBS” well it certainly isn’t Ten. Big Brother has effectively their Monday Nights in 2008.

If we look at the early part of the year Ten were riding high on Mondays with So You Think You Can Dance and Good News Week, this pair of shows were posting healthy figures throughout.

When Dance came to an end in stepped 7 year veteran Big Brother. Big Brother has always been a force on Mondays – the show killed Nine’s Monday comedy hour after Friends departed with the pithy and often exciting Nomination shows both entertaining fans and frustrating others with their constant overruns screwing with their TV viewing.

In 2008 Ten changed the game and came unstuck. In an effort to revamp BB they ditched the traditional Nomination-Elimination structure of the show – for this season viewers would ring to protect their favourites and the three with the lowest votes were up for eviction with the housemates having the final say.

On paper it looks like a refreshing change to the old formula which often proved frustrating for followers of the show when nomination was in the hands of the housemates.

But in practice it removed that vital Monday Nominations a great opportunity to get into the housemates heads and see how they tick, there was also some real suspense involved to see who would be up that week and the previous night’s evictee was invited along for special comments.

In 2008 this was dropped and instead the Daily Show at 7pm was extended to an hour with a new import ‘How to look good naked’ filling out the hour.

It was a ratings disaster and the absence of Nominations was, I believe, one of the factors behind Big Brother’s rapid decline in 2008.

While BB and Carson Kressley were driving viewers away from the resilient Good News Week, the 9.30 show, Big Brother Big Mouth with proven showkiller Tony Squires gave whoever was left at that time a good excuse to try another network.

Thanks to this awful show a lot of people developed new TV habits on a Monday night. One of those habits was Bones over on Seven which was last night the top prime time show!

With Big Brother out of the way Idol came back and after a brief surge of interest for the auditions wrestled with a new hourlong verdict show that dragged on and on bleeding viewers along the way, Good News Week did well enough to keep it’s head above water at 8.30 especially in the face of competing real news over on the ABC with a resurgent 4 Corners.

At 9.30 Ten started playing dangerous games with a low-rated (US Cable) actioner with a very vocal fan base – Burn Notice couldn’t resuscitate Ten’s woeful 9.30 hour, nor could Supernatural a onetime megahit for ten scrounging for 1/3 of its original fanbase despite being fast tracked.

The year ended with Ten trialling the spin-off of 90210 (CW) first at 8.30 then eventually at 7.30. When an 8.30 debuts with less than 700,000 viewers you know the jig is up, Ten had managed to destroy Monday nights.

Now it’s summer and already there’s been 2 schedule changes (one that never made it to air!), first was pulling the planned screening of failed US drama Swingtown replacing it with another failed US drama The Ex List – after two weeks at 9.30 The Ex List was pulled new drama Army Wives moved to it’s slot and a second hour of Law & Order CI added, all the while ignoring the elephant in the room…

Carson Kressley is watchable and after the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (well for about a year anyway) Ten could certainly expect a turnout for his new show. Indeed in it’s debut the show did fire pulling 1,227,000 viewers but the numbers quickly fell away after the initial look.

Ten left their line up in place for two weeks, in week one it was clear that the Naked show was struggling against formidable competition at 7.30 but Army Wives lifted at 8.30

The Second week was worse – although Naked grew, Wives dropped from it’s lead in, a disastrous result, although it was the final night for The Howard Years which was significant summer competition. The Ex list fell into no-mans land under 500k – once that happens the plug is pulled.

Which leaves us with last night – Law & Order was brought in to shore up 8.30 – it didn’t do much of a job, perhaps the promotion was insufficient, perhaps people feel they’ve had enough law and enough order without adding a third night, perhaps it’s the third cop show in the timeslot creating a drain on the audience. Whatever the case it didn’t help much and Army Wives moving to 9.30 was a failure itself falling into the under 500k dead zone – will we see it next week?

My advice to Ten, Give Carson the flick and put a nice long movie on, or show a test pattern – can’t do much worse!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rubbish to the Rescue - Sunday 14 December 2008

If I heard the TV announcer declare that coming up was a romantic comedy starring Greg Kinnear and Ashley Judd I would reach for both the remote and a bucket and use whichever I could grab first, clearly last night a lot more people were closer to a bucket than their remote controls which explains why ‘Someone Like You’ gave the much more entertaining Die Hard 2 a run for it’s money.

Of course there is no explanation as to what possessed Nine to screen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2, the original fine (and it will be played at some stage you can guarantee it) but this offcut of a sequel starring Randy Quaid??

Quaid is at times brilliant, but he’s best in small doses, as a supporting player he can steal the show but if he is ever the star of anything, then run for the hills.

Bizarrely Nine chose this for it’s lead over the much funnier ‘Friday After Next’, which itself is not as funny as the original ‘Friday’ which is my all time fave movie bout the ‘hood!

Note to Nine re Battlefronts – its not them, its you. Please forward the same note to Ten re Top Model. Both 6.30 shows cost their 7.30 followers big time, in the order of roughly 100-200,000 viewers week on week.

Viewers still can’t get enough of this fly on the wall BS and so Seven raked in the rewards at 6.30 and 7pm and tool the 7.30 hour just for good measure.

I don’t even think Battlefronts itself is the problem – I just think viewers are savvy enough to spot a dead duck when they see it – here’s a show that’s on for four weeks before being mysteriously yanked and suddenly resurfaces in summer. They average Joe may not read MediaSpy or TV Tonight but they’re smart enough to recognise a turd when it float to the surface, why bother to be interested in a show that’s likely to be gone in a few weeks, sorry Nine this goose is cooked.

As for Top Model – here’s what I like to call the import paradox and you read it here first…

Rule 1. In the United States as broadcast networks rapidly lose audience share to cable, more and more high quality series are being made for cable networks.

Rule 2. Nothing originating from any US cable outlet will ever achieve widespread mainstream success in Australia.

Rule 3. In reference to the above rules, please note that the CW enjoys an audience share comparable to a US cable network.

So there you go, Next Top Model is a dead horse, ten need to stop beating it. The last CW (or UPN, WB) series to achieve any success here was Supernatural which has been diminishing in viewers for several years now, I can’t think of any cable series that has achieved success with Australian auds except for the brief fling with Californication, once on 9.30 Mondays with 1 million viewers now languishing on late night Sundays with only 332,000

The list of US Cable dramatic series which have been successful in their homeland reads like a who’s who of Australian failures:
The Shield (FX): very quickly banished to 10.30 Saturdays
Nip/Tuck (FX): Brief success and summer series but eventually yanked, now Foxtel has first dibs
Battlestar Galactica (SciFi): a spark of hope with the mini-series but the regular season quickly flamed out on Wednesdays, second season didn’t even bow on the network
The 4400 (USA): First Season of 5 episode condensed over two nights and sold to Aussie viewers as a Mini Series had the goods, the second season was a complete bust.
Monk (USA): They have tried this again and again to no avail.
Burn Notice (USA): Vocal fans have kept this on the air and no doubt there’ll be another tryout in 2009 – it’s a good show but the general public don’t seem interested.
Psych (USA): Very quickly retired to TenHD.
The Larry Sanders Show (HBO): Remember the hype surrounding this in 1995, every TV journalist and their dog was salivating over this series complete with all the swearing coming to prime time, it had a very short prime time run
Dream On (Showtime): From the people who would go on to create Friends, this was one of the few US sitcoms with frequent nudity – Ten chose to screen the sanitized version – ‘nuff said!

And the mini-networks…
Star Trek Voyager (UPN): By today’s standards would be a massive hit – but Nine very quickly booted it to 11pm – except in Perth where it fared well against the competition and remained in prime time for a while longer.
The Sentinel (UPN): instant 10.30 status for this UPN action hour
Girlfriends (UPN): Was an early morning mainstay for Nine several years back
Reba (The WB): Foxtel absolutely loved this sitcom which was shunted to daytime on Seven
Grounded for Life (The WB): Ditto
Everybody Hates Chris (UPN/CW): Let me just say Everybody hates David Mott because this could still work dammit!
Felicity (The WB): One good summer does not a series make…
Smallville (The WB): Ten put in a superhuman effort to resurrect the man of steel from Nine’s scrap heap and they even got him to 1 million viewers – then did what every dumb network would do and switch timeslots midseason rendering the whole exercise pointless, first run right now sit with Fox8.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB): They barely tried, slotting it on Fridays before retreating to 10.30 – after a while it became the hottest show out of prime time.
90210 (CW): This year’s saddest case a show which had everything going for it except it’s US network which ensured it wouldn’t be watched on these shores.
Reaper (CW): See above although even worse because seven have promoted this show and simply not bothered to make good on their promotion – it still sits on the shelf gathering dust.
Gary & Mike (UPN): this claymation series was the original ‘Reaper’, heavily promoted by ten in 1999 only to never surface.
Do Over (UPN): As I recall this time travelling sitcom did alright in Australia but was done in by US audiences.

It could be worse - Satuday 13 December 2008

How many times has The Santa Clause been rerun now? I’ve lost count – it used to be every Christmas Seven would haul out that extra-long Dudley Moore movie where he plays an elf, well now Tim Allen is their go-to guy with this movie continuing to rake in the punters time after time.

Given the Seven has a deal with Disney I expect them to have the most clout over the holiday season.

With The Bill keeping all the elderly glued to ABC1, it’s like no-one else showed up to the party.

McLeod’s Daughters is having a horror run on it’s way out the door. This brings up the question, why on earth did Nine loudly announce in 2007 that the 2008 season would be McLeod’s last? I can see announcing that sort of thing mid-way through a season, but before the next one – it’s just madness – what they’ve done is given hordes of the show’s fans an excuse to kick the habit and they kicked the remaining fans in the teeth by their inane scheduling, kudos Nine for fucking up what was once an excellent performer.

Of course it could be worse, just look at Canal Road…

The Kids are Alright - Friday 12 December 2008

Credit where credit is due, Seven knows how to program effectively. Holding off the premiere of Madagascar until summer might seem bizarre, but it was perfectly timed to take advantage of the sequel’s theatre release. Clearly big family movies are an important draw on Friday nights as has been proven in recent weeks with the Harry Potter series and Ten’s Nanny McPhee.

If this proves anything it’s that now more than ever you have to program to the audience available. Using Fridays to burn off adult films is no longer a good option. During the year the older audience has been split up all over the place with only the ABC (by virtue of having regular series after 8.30) commanding a consistent audience on the night.

To Ten’s credit they have decided to hedge their bets, Family hour for kids, post 8.30 with Crime Dramas. It will take some time for the young skewing ten to attract some older viewers on this night but it’s a worthy experiment and we’ll keep checking back here to see how it goes.

Better for Ten was the performance of The Simpsons which is pulling a better number in that slot than anything since the demise of Friday Night Games. Perhaps Ten should give this hour over to it's animated comedies and not bother experimenting with niche cable formats in the future.

Nine was the flunky of the night with appalling turn-out for Australian Geographic, you know it’s bad when you could be beaten by Ice Road Truckers. One wonder whether it will be in the schedule next week. Their choice of Movie, The Last Samurai, was unsuited to Friday night – back to the drawing board guys.

Law & Order: Interchange Bench - Thursday 11 December 2008

A very good Thursday for all networks with the numbers very even across primetime. After 7.30 Nine seemed to fare the best with older skewing original programming.

Cold Case continues to be the most popular series on Thursday nights. Having said that it’s also the series that lost the most viewers week on week with 100,000 deserters, The Closer had 60,000 folks bail. This kind of precipitation can be expected in December, but the other network’s shows stayed pretty even week on week.

Now onto one of the more baffling network moves, what is channel Ten doing? They got scared that CI took a beating from Cold Case so they did they swap-a-roo with SVU.

Last week Criminal Intent at 8.30 got 742,000 viewers, this week SVU at 9.30 got 745,000 viewers – a 3K gain.

Last week SVU at 9.30 got 829,000 viewers versus CI this week getting 821,000 so they lost 8K, that’s a net loss week on week of 5,000 viewers for their trouble.

Law & Order is so interchangeable it doesn’t seem to matter to viewers which show is where – they’ll tune in if nothing better is on, hence why the 9.30 hour with less competition (Reality and a US Cable Drama) is stronger than an 8.30 hour against two first run US Dramas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let’s get specific – Wednesday 10 December 2008

At this time of year the viewing figures are so low it’s difficult to read anything into the numbers, however Nine would be encouraged to stick with CSI Miami in this slot next year.

The reason it’s rating so well at the moment probably has a great deal to do with the amount of moving it’s done in the past two years. In 2007 and 2008 this show was all over the map, even having split broadcasts with Melbourne viewers getting the show in lieu of the banned Underbelly.

It was a solid performer in Melbourne at that time as well it should be noted, although it was being beaten by House which is now floundering even with less competition.

It’s a good bet that Ten will stick Rush at 8.30 Wednesdays at some point in the new year, whatever ratings it’s garnering in it’s quick turnaround are obviously too embarrassing or depressing for anyone to put in print at the moment, so it’s likely that unless Ten can find a way to sell the show to a bigger audience then it’s natural level would be approx 800,000 - 1 million folks.

How I Met Your Mother is starting to become the dominant commercial player at 7pm which some people will put down to the better lead in but I give viewers more credit than that – last night while watching Heroes I spied two separate promos for How I Met Your Mother, neither of them was generic, they were in fact episode based.

Seven is spending money and time putting together promos for a strip sitcom, something ten should seriously consider, all ten has to do is pick a 10 second moment out of that night’s episode of Friends and pump it at daytime and late night and viewers will eventually be drawn to the show – just showing the same generic promo over and over is useless – you may as well just go back to voice-overs over the end credits if you think it makes any difference.

Generic promos just let people know that shows are on, they are solely for the benefit of folks who would watch the show anyway – they do nothing whatsoever to attract new viewers to a show – that’s when episode-specific promos are needed.

Right now Seven is doing a better job of this than anyone, when you’re number 3, teetering on the edge of number 4 you should look at your market leaders and learn from their success.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Star system holding television back

As has been widely reported this week alleged funnyman Trevor Marmalade was dropped from Nine's footy show.

This morning on 3AW Peter Ford reported that the reason for the departure was over Salary. According to Ford, Nine had told Marmalade that they would only have him back if he took a pay cut down from 300K to 150K, it was a take it or leave it deal and Marmalade apparently left it.

Now I'm no financial whiz, but if they were paying him $300,000pa to tell 3 jokes a week on a show that only plays on one of Nine's O&Os (and 4 affiliates) representing less than half of the total Australian aud, they're weren't exactly getting their money's worth were they?

I’d want some more bang for my buck – truth be told. One of the things that seems to be broken with the TV business model is the idea of star salaries. This is where people are kept on the company payroll and yet there’s no role for them.

It’s very reminiscent of the whole Hollywood Star System where studios would employ actors on a full time basis and assign them to their movies as they see fit.

Old time movie buffs will wax nostalgic about this closed shop but really in terms of finding the best people for your movie it was holding the whole system back. You only have to compare the vanilla films of the studio era to the more memorable films of the 60’s, 70’s and beyond and you’ll see that while it may maintain a competitive advantage for the biggest player, it often locks out good new talent and keeps talented people away from the movies that would suit them.

So it is with television.

The most glaring example of this is Eddie McGuire, what has he actually done this year? Has been on TV? I think he hosted ACA at one point. Could anybody have imagined years ago that McGuire could host ACA? I couldn’t, it seems bizarre but there he was for a week earlier this year.

How come, well because he’s getting paid anyway, so they may as well have him do something. This is just weird, surely you wouldn’t run a business like this.

McGuire’s stock in trade is AFL and Game Shows, Game Shows are all but extinct after a surge in the early part of this decade and Nine not only doesn’t have the rights to AFL but it’s Melbourne Footy Show has had an all new team in place for two years since McGuire made the improbable leap to ring-in CEO.

While Nine’s problems with having so many faded stars on the payroll have been biting them over the past two years, Seven has been amassing a huge employee base of it’s own, poaching people left right and centre from the other networks.

They’ve been doing it since 2004 when they lured Ian Ross (Rosco) from Seven and Ian Dickson (Dicko) from Ten, and ever since then have been coaxing folks from the other three nets with alarming regularity.

Having all these people on the payroll is great when you’re riding high, suddenly your network becomes a destination for viewers to see their favourite stars or newsreaders, Nine used to be like this – in the 90’s but slowly bit by bit the wheels come off the star factory and you’re stuck with highly paid people being warehoused, or twiddling their thumbs after their shows have been cancelled.

We then get the embarrassing situation where the network starts trying to come up with ‘star vehicles’, Seven has already experienced this with Dicko lurching the poor man (well not that poor really) from flop to flop in a vain attempt to fit a round peg into a square hole. Nine did it with Bert Newton, kicking Bud Tingwell off 20 to 01 and giving it over to Bert. All this year they’ve scratching around for something for Eddie to do, too afraid to cut him loose and yet the vehicle is just not there.

Eventually this will happen to Seven when their current crop ages or viewers move on and they’ll find themselves in much the same strife that Nine is in now, it’s in their DNA – you see in the past 5 years Seven has become Nine.

What does this have to do with Marmalade, well its just a small example of some of the misplaced capital invested at Nine over the years and I’m hopeful for their sake that they take a long hard look at their star system.

Making entertaining shows for viewers should be the priority, not making shows solely to occupy their talent.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Late night suprise - Tuesday 9 December 2008

Nine pulled a swifty last night and for one hour became channel seven. A new show, Sudden Impact, which is another one of these car crash doco-soaps and the return of NZ sitcom Police 10-7 did the business in the opening hour.

What’s more astonishing is that ‘tis the season for surprise hit rerun movies with Mr & Mrs Smith not too shabby for the next 2 and a half hours, the icing on the cake was Survivor which was bumped back to 11pm but still commanded a huge aud for that time period, generally after 11 shows are lucky to exceed 300,000 (unless they started earlier or are live sport) so that’s an outstanding figure.

Surely Nine will be emboldened to try out Survivor again in Prime Time especially with an extra season up their sleeves meaning they could potentially show it year round without a break.

Seven seem stuck in 3rd gear in the early evening, Ghost Whisperer did better than Dirty Sexy Money which was hurtled back to 11.30 for it’s long limp off the screen, but Nine’s movie, In Plain Sight and the incompatibility of Ghost Whisperer all combined to give Prison Break a headache down 63,000 week on week.

NCIS was again the best Prime Time series on the night but this audience didn’t carry over for the 2 hour premiere of In Plain Sight with the audience almost halving – even taking into account the drop as the night wears on that’s still a bad result.

Almost as bad was the shocking performance of Rules of Engagement, losing to a show in it’s death throes (Ugly Betty) is a bad thing on any occasion, but losing 135,000 from a compatible lead in is just tragic. Having said that The Big Bang Theory experienced a similar drop from it’s lead-in on Monday (816,000 vs 1,018,000 for Mr Sheen) but still – nobody needs under 700,000 viewers at 7.30, even at this time of year.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Ex-Network - Monday 8 December 2008

As was the case with Last Monday – the ABC dominated by showing something people actually wanted to see – with the final part of The Howard Years and the final episode of Enough Rope winning their timeslots.

Bones pulled a more than respectable number for channel seven as did the Rich List. Surely the Rich List has now earned a 3rd season in 2009.

Ten seems to be in worse shape this Monday than last with it’s entire prime time line-up well an truly in the tank, last week’s semi-bright spot Army Wives lost whatever good will it had established whilst the defunct Ex-List sunk into 90210 territory , I’d be surprised if it is still around next week.

Nine’s line up was depressed, but with next week seeing a whole new post 8.30 schedule for ABC, they should regain some older viewers from the pubcaster.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

You Are What You Repeat - Sunday 7 December 2008

In many ways last night was the real first Sunday of Summer with several series staying an extra week last week, this week we get a look at life with all new 6.30 shows and there’s good news for Seven, bad news for Jamie Durie!

Turns out Jamie was holding them back in the early evening with viewers much preferring to see some animal action, this in turn unlocked a much larger audience for Hot Property at 7pm. Nine had a brief surge of interest for it’s perennial once a year Women’s Weekly promo but I don’t know what they were thinking segueing from Christmas entertaining to a horrid British series (You are what you eat) which upon last inspection had it’s host/protagonist sifting through the faeces of a family of fast food addicts. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to see after planning your Christmas lunch.

Luckily Charlie Sheen resuscitated Nine’s audience at 7.30 with it and lead out Big Bang winning the hour, their 8.30 movie Heist, did alright though not as good as the Drew Barrymore comedy Never Been Kissed which was promoted with the line “Ten Premiere” which I guess means it’s been seen on another network previously. It didn’t stop it recording a timeslot winning audience against rather drab competition.

Seven had a meltdown post 7.30. Everyone must have figured out they’d already seen that Seven Wonders show on ABC resulting in 317,000 less viewers week on week, at least 132,000 of them went to the ABC to watch a documentary on something or other (like I care!), this in turn made things worse for already cancelled British drama Holby Blue. Not even the magical David Leckie could get this turkey to fly, given this is a spin off from a spin off of Casualty, the long running Brit Hospital Soap, surely he would’ve had somebody in the organisation look at the ratings that Casualty received back when Ten trialled it in 93 or 94? From memory it wasn’t spectacular.

A worry for Ten is that the jig is up with America’s Next Top Model, this show has a weekly reach on cable of around 750,000 viewers – that’s pretty big and those people are watching a cycle several seasons in advance over what is currently airing on Ten. It’s a good bet that a lot of people who picked up this show back when it was pulling 1 million per ep migrated to Fox 8 when they realised how far behind the US Ten was running.

Australian TV is very slowly turning into the UK model where a lot of imports go straight to cable with the ‘terrestrial broadcaster’ effectively rerunning the show months later if at all, this places a whole lot more pressure on the FTA nets to find local content as the value of the imports diminishes greatly when you can get it first elsewhere (same goes for BT I guess!)

Saturday 6 December 2008

First things first - where's Friday? Well the info is pretty sparse no indication whether Numb3rs/Law & Order beat 24 on Seven which pulled only 645,000 viewers (oh yeah summer is in full effect!)

What is known is the timeslot winners on Friday
Seven News / Today Tonight / Temptation / Better Homes & Gardens Summer Series / Miss Congeniality.

Just like Ten, Nine is given to rerunning some movies over and over and over - and now we know why! With an average aud of 953,000 viewers, that's an audience you can bank on!

On Saturday the night was mostly ABC's. Funniest Homes Videos flourished early on, then everything else on the commercial nets bombed. It's a great shame that Wife Swap tanked, tihs will only encourage the networks to stick to their movies during the regular season.

Just a question, does channel nine get some sort of drama quota points for showing the AFI's? I mean, they already have the logies and this ceremony sits at a late night on the first Saturday of Summer. If they're not getting drama points for it then I don't see the point because they're certainly not trying to grow the audience.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Meh - Thursday 4 December 2008

A mostly unremarkable night except that the re-entry of Cold Case to Wednesday nights has upset the apple cart being the only prime time show to score over 1 million and knocking Law & Order Criminal Intent into third place in the slot, the Law & Order franchise regained it’s equilibrium with SVU however, although I’m much more interested to see how the original fares tonight in it’s new timeslot.

The Bold & the Beautiful held steady but Neighbours has dropped an awful lot over the course of the week. People will be quick to finger B&B as the cause of this decline but I think we can thank the warmer weather for keeping younger audiences (Neighbours main aud) away from the box in the early evening.

Nine’s factuals did alright and their place is most likely safe unlike Wednesday’s Deadly Surf which ended up drowning on it’s way across the Tasman Sea.

Both Ugly Betty and Eli Stone took a hit from their Tuesday airings – but that could be a reflection of Thursday’s older skew and smaller crowd.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fast turnaround turns bad - Wednesday 3 December 2008

Wednesday was not a good night for anyone. Summer ratings kicked in with a vengeance with the final chart resembling a Saturday more than a Wednesday, in spite of all the goodies on offer.

The Best
On Seven, aside from their News/CAf hour their best result was the ever-reliable Air Crash Investigations, for Nine it was a rerun of CSI Miami in it’s old Wednesday night stomping ground. Ten’s best was barely above Seven’s worst with a rerun of The Simpsons at 7.30 posting their best score and a dismal fourth place in the slot

Good Signs
Seven can be pleased that The Unit held almost all of it’s lead in. As can 10 with Rules of Engagement holding a large chunk of Simpsons devotees. This will be good for Rules in the new year but a lot depends on how it plays out in the US. It’s on CBS – a network with too many hits and not enough spaces – hence it’s had to wait for midseason for a slot to open up. It will need to do something pretty spectacular to make it to a fourth season otherwise Ten can look forward to even more disappointment

Bad Signs
Nine has two decent tentpoles on this Night with 10 to 01 (a shortened 20 to 01) and CSI Miami, but duh! Deadly Surf, a weak, sunless NZ import (sort of a Bondi Rescue on Lithium) does not appeal to anyone who may be watching 10 to 01.

Similarly people who enjoy the antics of David Caruso and Co on CSI Miami may find the goings on at ER a little too taxing for their brains!

The Bold and the Beautiful dropped for the third day in a row – that’s not that worrying as the drop off has not been severe like the wild fluctuations ten’s 6pm slot has had to deal with in the past, but Neighbours dropped as well, taking Friends with it.

Where is my axe?
Okaaaay, so quick turnaround for Rush, not going that well. One one hand this could be half a million people who didn’t see it the first time around and are catching up now, on the other hand the lost 130,000 from an already low lead-in and sunk to 10.30 level numbers.

So what can Ten do, we’ll I’m not sure – I think they’ll just sit tight, they’ve renewed it anyway so it’s future is somewhat assured. The quick turnaround is always a gamble because in one sense you can hit a different audience, in another it becomes like one of those ‘encore episode’ deals which are all to common these days.

Gossip Girl, wrong channel, wrong timeslot, wrong show. Why Nine even hung onto the rights is one of life’s unsolved mysteries. The Foxtel showing will probably capture more actual viewers than last night’s 3rd placer.

Just as with my assessment of 90210, there is no buzz about Gossip Girl, I don’t see any of the stars of this show gracing magazine covers, even TV Tattle has given up covering it, to be blunt I see the following scenario in a few weeks, extra rerun of CSI at 9.30 (look at how NCIS does with two in a row!) ER at 10.30, with Gossip Girl either at 11.30 or 11.00 on some other night.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thank God They're Gone

Leave it to the silly season to throw up the most shocking story of behind the scenes wheeling and dealing. It’s rare that press releases are actually news worthy but the following release from channel seven qualifies…

There’s no doubt that this is a win for seven, a win for Working Dog and a massive kick in the nuts for Grant Blackley, David Mott and co.

I thought it might be interesting, to pull out an old article where Tom Gleisner mentions the relationship with channel ten…

From, dated 7 October 2006:,21598,20540889-5005382,00.html

Working Dog's long-standing relationship with Ten played a big part in the TGYH deal.

``It's called the fear-of-loss factor: Ten couldn't afford to risk having Working Dog go to Seven or Nine with it,'' a Melbourne-based producer said recently.

``If you've been going out with Miss Australia (Working Dog) for 10 years, you don't want to share her with another bloke, even for one night. She may not come back.''

Well, you heard it from the horse’s mouth, Miss Australia is officially a slut.

She’s just run off with the rich older millionaire, taken the house and kids leaving ten with only the shirt on its back

The only silver lining in any of this for ten is the likelihood that the eventual infiltration of known stinkers such as Kochie & Mel, Noni Hazelhurst and Larry Emdur could bring down this show faster than Yasmin could get married. Gleisner, Stich and Co can only Thank God that Daryl Somers and Shelley Craft had already left their new home before they moved in.

Karma’s a Bitch - Tuesday 3 December 2008

So the bitches at Seven have swiped Thank God You’re Here from channel ten, well something happened last night that I expected, and a few things that I didn’t expect.

What I expected

‘The In-Laws’ wouldn’t impress, that’s a given – movies have very rarely ever worked on Tuesday nights, Nine is clearly surrendering this night to it’s competitors and will continue to do so in the new year.

The Chopping Block held it’s numbers from the regular season – indicating a core audience who were interested in the premise. If Nine wants a third shot they’re going to have to find a way to attract more casual viewers to the show without upsetting what is a decent base.

NCIS would wipe the floor with it’s competition, that was also a given – what I didn’t expect was an incredible 93.5% retention to the 9.30 hour.

What I didn’t Expect

The 7.30 Report NEVER outrates ABC News, let alone wins it’s timeslot, I’m impressed.

A special about Britney Spears outdid Ugly Betty – didn’t see that coming, especially given that Seven had the greater opportunity for promotion.

Dirty Sexy Money completely bombs, worse than The Ex-List (which is saying something) after a much better lead-in to boot, they lost 45% of Eli Stone’s audience, a sad sad result which explains the performance of the 10.30 shows across the networks.

Friends, improves both day on day, week on week (with Will & Grace) and on it’s lead-in. Seems like one of my shakier predictions might come to fruition – that How I Met Your Mother viewers might slowly realise they’re watching a rip-off of Friends and migrate back to the original. Last night’s 7pm timeslot belonged to the ABC (and probably will all summer) but between the commercial nets it was as close as could be.

Update - Monday 1 December 2008

Just a quick update on Monday's Ratings with some new numbers for Neighbours, Home Improvement and Kath & Kim

Monday, December 1, 2008

WTF Is Wrong with Heroes?

Everyone is bitching about Heroes

The show’s ratings are in the sink, it’s been pushed back to 10.30 here in Australia and in America the behind the scenes dramas with writers being fired and Tim Kring calling the fans dipshits are attracting more attention than the show itself.

So what’s the problem, well in my view Heroes has reached that frustrating point that Lost came to early in it's third season where there are just way more questions than answers

Here's a few I can think of right now...

What is Arthur Petrelli’s actual ability that he is able to transfer others’ powers to himself?

If Lindeman could heal, why did he never heal Petrelli

When will any of these people do something heroic? So far the only ones have been Parkman (when he rescued the little girl in the first episode) and Nathan when he flew away with Peter in tow in the first season finale.

Nobody has sufficiently explained the Tracy/Nikki thing to my satisfaction – now we have a third sister – the ice queen?

Why did Seven schedule season 2 behind Bionic Woman?

Is Mohinder suddenly cured from being spiderman?

I’ve lost track of all these viruses, pathogens, antigens, now it’s adrenaline, oh no wait there’s a catalyst – it’s just getting silly.

Why bring Adam Munroe out of his coffin only to kill him one episode later?

Why did we spend several weeks driving from Mexico to the US with Sylar and the super-fun-happy siblings only to see those characters amount to nothing?

What happened to the girl who copies things from the TV?

Remember the boy who could fly? That was a great film!

If an eclipse somehow affects everyone’s powers, then what is the effect of the smiley-face moon from last night?

What is the point of all this?

The Timid & the Ugly - Monday 1 December 2008

The first Monday of summer played a lot like the last Monday of ratings season with The ABC’s one-two punch of Howard and Enough Rope knocking the other contenders around, with channel ten well and truly out for the count.

During summer I think it’s safe to consider 900,000 the standard barometer for success. With that in mind ABC, SEVEN and NINE all had great nights. Top Gear took a hit but still came out respectably.

Bones did at 8.30 what it was doing at 9.30 anyway, but The Rich List continues on resurgent. In fact the Rich List’s revival poses a weird dilemma for Seven – here they have a show which only seems to work on it’s Monday timeslot (it bombed on Saturdays) and yet they don’t really need this show as Border Security and The Force bring much higher ratings to this slot during the season – perhaps Seven should trial it on Thursdays (a weaker night for them) and see what happens?

Gratifyingly Scrubs is returned to a 10.30 slot and look, OMG it wins the timeslot (a very competitive one I might add) and brings 64,000 people who were not watching Out of the Question.

The Question for Seven is why have you idiots let this show languish at 11.30pm for 5 years? Last night as I watched this show, just to add to Seven’s stupidity they carried a commercial for the upcoming DVD release of Season 7 which is the season they are screening right now – how do I know this? Well simple on of the scenes they showed on the commercial was identical to what I had just viewed in the preceding segment.

There’s still two episodes for Seven to screen of this season before it hits the stores tomorrow, why they never tried to get this show back into primetime is beyond me, but hey we can get the DVDs I guess.

Fringe did better at 9.30 than on it’s last 8.30 show by 62,000 viewers so that’s something good. Watch to see if it improves week on week, it’s still an awful drop from it’s lead in but it’s still better than earlier in the year.

Ten had some OK news and some really bad news. In the OK file – the ratings for the first ep of Bold & the Beautiful didn’t suck – they didn’t bring down the house (a great rating would have been closer to 700,000 considering the competition) but they point to a solid start which is good. Even better is that Friends has shown some slight improvement at 7pm over Will & Grace (will Ten just TRY the Office here already) given it’s a rerun against a world of new (and news) it did OK and certainly cannot be blamed for the travesty at 7.30…

Like I said in an earlier blog – any show purporting to be about nudity in the 7.30 hour is clearly false advertising and thankfully people aren’t total fools so they gave this show (which bombed in the regular season) the flick. Expect to see an announcement of a third Simpsons/Rules of Engagement hour any moment now…

Army Wives did better, considering the lead-in and the competition from established hits but The Ex List got less viewers than Bold and the Beautiful and dragged Out of the Blue down with it. Ten needs a strong 7.30 show, I don’t expect them to be able to beat Charlie Sheen or Top Gear, but surely The Rich List is such a disposable show that their audience can be picked off with ease – it won’t be achieved with a failed reality import – that’s for sure.