Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Ten Percent Event - Wednesday 4 February 2009

Sometimes a network makes a weird move and everybody questions it, 90% of the time everybody is right and then 10% we see that the programmer had the right idea, last night was one of those 10% events.

What the hell am I talking about – oh yeah – House on at 9pm rather than 8.30pm, last season House was getting beaten at 8.30 by Criminal Minds and The Mentalist, and I don’t just mean beaten – but beat down! Usually averaging anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 behind the second place getter!

Seems like someone at Ten has their ear to the ground, or their eye on the net – one the most frequent comments I’ve read about House over the past few years is that people like it, but Spick and Specks is their first priority, the two shows have fought over the same timeslot for years but Ten has never conceded to their non-commercial competition despite the anecdotal evidence that the aud for both shows is overlapping.

Well last night, assisted by some stunt programming, Ten kicked of House at 9pm, with Life at 10pm out of the road of Spicks and Specks but still up against 9 and 7’s dramas. The result was Ten’s best Wednesday night in forever with both shows winning their timeslot in 18-49s and 16-39s and 25-54s

We know for a fact that this 9pm start will continue for the next two weeks ensuring a switch-on point for House, expect to see the network find more ways of pushing the start time back to 9, as the season progresses.

Over on Seven the decision to move Australia’s Got Talent didn’t hurt them one iota with the series return posting a timeslot win and competitive figures in key demographics, all in all a very successful move for the show. Meanwhile Criminal Minds slipped back into Wednesdays as if it has never left, the series currently fast-tracked should present a dilemma in 18 or so weeks when Seven will have to decide whether to rest it or air reruns (last year reruns were timeslot winners also)

At 9.30 though the jig was up with 24 posting a significant timeslot loss in total people and all demographics, it will probably maintain these numbers at 10.30pm Sundays which should be the show’s regular slot in two weeks.

Over on Nine things went from grim to worse, Nine News and A Current Affair were all that the net could manage over 1 million last night, that’s only 1 hour over 1 million, whereas Ten posted 2.5 hours over the million mark – a worrying reversal of fortune for Nine which has seen it’s traditional early evening strength erode markedly over the past two years and this year looks to continue the trend.

Backyard Blitz, one of their 2008 success stories found less success wedged in on a Wednesday night as older viewers opted for crazy vaudeville of Seven’s show leaving Nine third in all demographics. Having said that it was still a competitive figures, but not the barnstorming return Nine would have hoped for.

The Mentalist and Flashpoint returned solid numbers but were hurt probably less by competition than by their scheduling over summer changing more times than connex on a hot day, hopefully now that they have a regular timeslot things will pick up.

More baffling is the 10.30 slot for Cold Case – if only they had held their nerve in summer, Cold Case was a solid Thursday performer which got shafted for (of all things) The Secret Millionaire, and by the time it returned Nine found themselves running a poor second to Ten’s dramas on the night – the show is still popular (look at the turn out for a late night slot) but if you had told me a few years ago that this procedural would see out it’s days at 10.30 I would have told you you were stupid – I guess not!

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