Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oh Mr Sheen

Thursday, 24 February 2011

It's just depressing isn't it, we should just close Thursdays down and forget about it.

You may have noticed if you're reading this blog on a regular basis that I've chosen to ignore Fridays and Saturdays, that's mostly down to the fact that apart from the smaller audiences, the schedules start to get ridiculously fragmented as different states follow their different football codes. A few years ago (and you can rifle through the posts in 2009 to check it out) I attempted to make sense of this haphazard scheduling, but I don't even think the networks themselves know if there's a net benefit to splitting up their schedule by state.

It will be interesting to see if this is the first year where the multichannels can carry the sport live into the outlier states when it comes to NRL and AFL.

As for Thursday night, The Biggest Loser and Home and Away are the only things anyone is tuning in for.

Look at Two and a Half Men at 7pm - only half a million viewers and now getting regularly beaten by Ten's 7pm project despite having a superior lead in - Nine needs an alternative 7pm show pronto and they must know it - it's dragging down their whole night.

The problem for Nine is - What can they put in there - not a game show - they're played out, there's no other broad appeal sitcom that has as much strip potential as Men and a new newsprogram up against ABC News and 7pm would be fatal.

There's always Entertainment Tonight or TMZ I guess (I'd totally watch TMZ if it was on at a decent time like a few years ago) or maybe Nine could be brave and kick off their nightly sked at 7pm rather than 7.30, maybe that's too brave. Whatever happens they will not tolerate low figures for Two and a Half Men for that much longer - they need an alternative soon!

While I'm on the subject - What the hell is going on with Charlie Sheen check out this story on TV Tonight I think Sheen is going off the rails and it wouldn't suprise me if Two and a Half Men has taped its last show.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It begins...

Wednesday 23, February 2011

A pretty depressed night all around I think. My Kitchen Rules, Criminal Minds and The Biggest Loser were the only things that went well last night. Channel Nine's Mike & Molly won't last much longer in this timeslot - especially given the show's either side are doing relatively well.

City Homicide is demonstrating why it was axed with less than half a million viewers, still that's better than Blue Bloods which has haemorraghed viewers weekly since its debut. Perhaps a Friday slot (like in the US) would be a better play for this drama.

Of course yesterday all the real action in TV wasn't on the screen or behind the camera but actually in the board room with the long running Grant Blackley being ousted as Channel Ten CEO, replaced by Lachlan Murdoch as acting CEO.

Its worth noting that although the catalyst for this move is undoubtably the faltering 6pm newshour, the bigger problem for Ten has been the miss-step that is One HD which is trying to attract an audience for sport which just isn't there - the sports audience has been a vocal minority for quite some time.

Also, whilst their strategy with 11 has actually been quite sound, they don't have the mainstream following on the main channel to actually back it up. What I'm trying to say it with 7 and 9 their main audience is adults 25-54 who like middle of the road fare, both GO! and 7mate perfectly complement their main channels by offering targeted 16-39 shows and GEM and 7TWO catch the older viewers uncatered to by the mainstream channels with their heady mix of reruns and Old Brittania.

11 meanwhile is going after mostly the same audience as Ten, Ten (to its credit) has tried to skew older, entrenching US procedurals at 8.30 on every night but there's only so many mainstream viewers to go around and they're increasingly going for first run Australian shows over and above imported hits.

Essentially Ten needs to figure out who it's main channel is aimed at and then somehow come up with a compelling offering for those folks.

One thing is for certain, it will be very interesting to see what happens with both Ten and One over the next year - I've heard many incredible suggestions from dedicated music and movie channels to turning one of the channels over to Packer/Murdoch owned Sky News Australia, I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hard Habit to Break

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Oh, that's not good. Today Ten chief Grant Blackley who has been in charge of Ten Holdings for two months, but in charge of Network Ten for eons was deposed by his board who installed Lachlan Murdoch as acting CEO.

This is the real world consequences of Ten's poor ratings performance so far this year. They literally have four shows that are doing any kind of business at the moment, NCIS, The Biggest Loser, Modern Family and Glee - everything else is flailing.

Like many in the media have noted - a major source of controversy with Ten's board is their new 6pm strategy of serious current affairs up against the entrenched news bulletins of 7 and 9. So far there hasn't been encouraging results, but it's early days and seeing as early evening viewing is built on habit - viewers attachment to Nine and Seven will be a hard habit to break and now it seems Ten may not even get the chance to try.

New debut Conviction Kitchen lost over half of its lead in from Packed to the Rafters which may not be an issue for Seven as its demographics were really good, placing in the top 3 in all 3 major age categories, which suggests a broad hit.

Meanwhile Nine dropped most of it Tuesday sked for live coverage of the shocking Christchurch Earthquake, unfortunately the audience seems to be suffering from disaster fatigue with Nine's extended bulletins placing 3rd in their respective slots.

Big digital ratings for Neighbours, Everybody Loves Raymond and Harry Potter, but not appearing in the top 50 digital shows were The Office, Nurse Jackie and ABC2's Good Game - which I personally enjoy, its sad to see it tank.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Somebody call a doctor

Monday, 21 February 2011

In amongst the more serious news stories yesterday was a move by Kerry Stokes to merge the Seven Network and West Australian News Papers. Analysts pointed to Stokes moving while the ratings are hot.

They weren't wrong. Seven cannot put a foot wrong this season.

Monday night saw My Kitchen Rules go from strength to strength, while Bones fended off a first run Underbelly with ease.

Underbelly would be a real disappointment for Nine this year, I think the reduced viewership is mostly down to the nature of staging telemovies rather than a series - it gives the impression that the producers are at the fag end of their inspiration, if they don't have enough material for a series.

I'm not suprised the audience hasn't materialised.

NCIS did better than last week but will be benched to make way for House next Monday (itself making way for Lie to Me on Wednesdays which is making way for a second NCIS on Tuesdays - confused yet!)

Interestingly in the US, House and Bones are stablemates from the Fox network (for many years House was Bones' lead-in) now they'll be up against each other.

Whatever Ten does they'll be hoping for an improvement with Good News Week, the skein just can't make it over the half million mark which is scary stuff. Probably doesn't help that there's so much real, bad news around at the moment to distract. Also the ABC's Q&A would attract a similar young, urban audience to GNW. It might be worth it to consider moving nights.

On digital both 7 and 10 can be pleased with strong performances from Neighbours, Supernatural, Heartbeat, Jonathan Creek and Family guy. Nine on the other hand had a shocker - the Alicia Silverstone movie (there's something you don't hear very often) Excess Baggage bombed not even polling in the top 50 digital shows, as a consequence Vampire Diaries suffered its lowest numbers since the start of the season. Nine needs an alternative to movies on a Monday because people don't have the patience or attention span for them on this night, maybe later in the week.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Lots going on last night with every network having a turn at a timeslot win (the Blue boxes) Particularly impressive was the performance of Miss Marple on the ABC as well as Modern Family on Ten (probably helped by a very funny promo this last week)

Digital went well for Nine and 7 with big numbers for The Big Bang Theory and Escape to the Country, but the best Eleven could muster was 115K for Everybody Loves Raymond, the rest of their night bombed.

How much longer are Ten going to tolerate Smallville pulling in less than 100K per outing? Even more disturbing - how long will they tolerate the lacklustre numbers from NCIS Los Angeles at 9.30 on the main channel.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Shape of things to come

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Interesting that Thursday nights in the US are also a fight between Grey's Anatomy and CSI, also interesting that just as in the states both show are hurtling towards irrelevance at a breakneck speed.

Still they're doing better than The Good Wife which the space of a year in looks like its on the way out or at least to a later time.

At the moment with Ten if it's not NCIS its not attracting viewers to 8.30. In fact across the networks' extensive roster of US dramas only the long established shows are doing the business. Bones, NCIS, Criminal Minds - all these shows are old and replacements like Blue Bloods, Parenthood and Hawaii Five-O are struggling in comparison.

This does not bode well for the future when these aging hits finally shuffle off to cable reruns.

Over on Digital personal favourite Star Trek - The Next Generation is struggling inder the weight of its woeful early episodes, best for 11 is again The Simpsons, 7 can be happy with The Next Karate Kid which almost doubled the audience of last week's Karate Kid III and The Big Bang Theory continues to shine on GO!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Man people cannot get enough of My Kitchen Rules! The top rating show of the night, followed closely by Today Tonight at 6.30.

Let's have a look at the 6.30 timeslot. It has been shaken up this year by the arrival of channel 11 which has installed Neighbours at 6.30 making it the biggest draw on all the digital spectrum. The replacement Ten Evening News has hovered under 400,000 viewers since commencement, indeed its lead in - 6pm with George Negus attracted 421,000 viewers, its biggest audience in weeks, no doubt bolstered by a rerun of 6pm at 10.30pm weeknights.

But Ten's predicament is a long term change so don't expect things to take off too quickly there, over on channel Nine though a trend is forming with ACA, they seem to be hovering around the 900,000 mark, unable to climb over 1 million. Meanwhile the nearly identical Today Tonight has a clear margin over Nine's tabloid.

Having watched both Nine and Seven's shows in recent weeks I'm struggling to figure what Seven is doing that Nine is not. Its almost as if Seven has the same irrational lead in news that Nine used to enjoy back in their 90s heyday

I wonder if 887,000 is the kind of audience Nine was expecting for Farmer Wants a Wife - the incessant promotion would suggest otherwise, perhaps the concept (a rural rip-off of The Bachelor) may finally be put to rest.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chopping Block

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Packed to the Rafters was down somewhat week on week but still managed a cool 1.8 million which is more than anyone else.

The biggest week on week drop was Lie to Me which lost 412,000 viewers from last week's NCIS, next worst was Top Gear which last 147,000 viewers. Ben Elton dropped an unsavoury 71 grand week on week which puts his show squarely on the chopping block.

Best on Digital was again Neighbours which came 4th in its time slot with 383,000 viewers.


Monday, 14 February 2011

A lot of shows suffered week on week falls this week.

ABC News down 110,000 week on week, 7.30 Report down 150K, Australian Story down 207K
My Kitchen Rules on Seven was down 141K, Bones was down 154K
Two and a Half Men was down 196K while Shit My Dad Says was off a whopping 258K, Underbelly was down by the same amount.

Over on Ten they had the big superbowl episode of Glee which saw the show's audience increase by 361,000 viewers! This is an excellent result for Ten in the slot and proves perhaps that Ten should focus on the musical numbers in their promos, but unfortunately none of this increase helped the 8.30 show NCIS, which although improved upon Undercover Boss by 90,000 viewers was a waste of an episode given that 699,000 in a slot against two other million viewer shows is appalling.

What's more the switcheroo did nothing to bolster the audience for Good News Week which actually shrunk marginally week on week!

Monday, February 14, 2011

6 of one, half a dozen of the other

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Now that we have so many new channels to choose from, counter-programming has never been more important. You need something to make your shows stand out from the pack. Its no good any more putting two sitcoms up against one another, you're diluting your potential audience.

Look at the public affairs shows, Sunday Night and 60 Minutes, they air in different timeslots and get roughly the same number of viewers - could you imagine if they were up against one another?

With that in mind, (and excuse my language) why on earth do we have this procedural cluster-fuck in the post 8.30 period. Bones, The Mentalist, NCIS, Castle, CSI, Hawaii Five-O, for all I care you could be describing the same damn show!

US drama relating to law enforcement, Self contained episodes, centering on Murder or serious criminal activity.

Individually any of these shows could clean up, but together they're fighting a pointless battle. While Bones keeps its head above a million, the performance of The Mentalist is kind of startling, and just when you think CSI Miami's 531,000 represents a new low point for 9.30 drama, along comes the much younger NCIS: LA to undercut it by 100,000 viewers.

Surely LA cannot last in this timeslot much longer and I suspect ten will swap it for something completely different (ie: a different genre) before Easter.

Also how much longer can Smallville last 8.30 Sundays on Channel 11 while drawing under 100K. That seemed to be the benchmark that got 90210 pulled on a Friday night. As a fan of Smallville it doesn't fill me with confidence for the show's future on Australian TV.

Friday, February 11, 2011

3 night weekend

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Well that's just appalling, Thursday is clearly STILL the day where the younger audience deserts the TV in favour of the box office and (in some states) late night shopping.

It has been like this for years, but multichannelling and audience erosion from Foxtel, PVRs, Consoles and the Internet have made it look even worse in recent times.

Nothing after 6.30 even scraped a million viewers.

Looking at the shows themselves, Seven seems to be pitching for younger viewers with How I Met Your Mother and Grey's Anatomy and by an large they're succeeding with those two shows taking the top slots for 18-49 and 16-39. Nine and Ten appear to be tussling over the older viewers with their crime procedurals but there's a bigger similarity between the nets

Save for The Good Wife and RBT, all of these shows are incredibly long in the tooth

Lets look at the stats

The Biggest Loser: 6th Season
How I Met Your Mother: 6th Season
Desperate Housewives: 7th Season
Grey's Anatomy: 7th Season
CSI: 11th Season
Law & Order SVU: 12th Season
Getaway: 20th Season

See a pattern - Thursday's are the TV God's Waiting Room. Shows that for whatever reason are profitible enough to keep going yet no longer the kind of water cooler cool that sustains shows that typically air Sunday - Wednesday

Even digital checks out on a Thursday - and though I'm personally happy to see TNG and The Golden Girls back in prime time, it does point to a night that Free to Air television has largely given up on.

I've been saying for years that Thursday is the new Friday night, but this schedule confirms it. Welcome to the weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Kitchen Pwns

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

I had no idea that My Kitchen Rules was supposed to be on 3 nights a week - but why not with ratings like this - the reality skein just goes from strength to strength taking out not only the Biggest Loser - knocking it under a million but also (incredibly) a new episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Big Bang's lead-out, Mike & Molly held up well considering the depressed lead-in and Farmer Wants a Wife actually improved on the figure slightly but Nine won't be happy with its performance.

Indeed given the amount of advanced promotion (an admittedly stupid promo though) that Farmer has received compared to Criminal Minds - they really got shafted.

Almost tying Farmer Wants a Wife for second in the slot was the new Adam Hill's show which posted a really good (for the ABC) 889K.

City Homicide will soon be drawing a chalk outline around itself with a woeful 663K but then again nothing at 9.30 did that well even the usually reliable RPA faltered with only 744,000.

On digital Neighbours was again the top show with 7TWO's British dramas and All New Simpsons rounding out the top five - look at how an all new Simpsons ep reduces the audience for Family Guy by 50,000 viewers!

Finally it's worth noting that Two and a Half Men lost 140,000 from ACA and came fourth in its slot behind the 7PM Project, Nine might have to start looking for a 7PM alternative which is not going to be easy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bad Parenting and other disasters

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Well, while Underbelly on Mondays has tumbled down from its lofty heights, Seven's Packed to the Rafters continues to draw a massive crowd to the network with almost 2 million viewers stopping by for the season premiere. Even better for Seven was the halo effect the show had on My Kitchen Rules giving that show its best audience so far this year with 1.55 million folks.

And then there's 9.30...

Look its not all bad - on the surface Parenthood improved week on week in the slot by 90,000 viewers but when you look at the lead in almost 1.2 million people deserted Seven after Packed to Rafters, not bothering to stick around for the American drama.

I either expect Seven to swap it with another 9.30 our (Desperate Housewives or Brothers & Sisters) or slot in something new altogether but either way expect this to find a 10.30 home pretty quickly, a 60% drop from 8.30 to 9.30 is not sustainable on anyone's books, let alone from the number one show.

Still at least Seven's programmers can take comfort with the fact that they're not Nine's programmer's.

Nine's 9.30 show suffered a 51.5% audience drop from a much lower base (the overplayed 18-49 draw Top Gear) which resulted in a lower audience (455K) the difference though, between Parenthood and Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth,is Parenthood hasn't been relentlessly promoted all summer.

Ben Elton has, to the extent that there's been some sort of faux rivalry started up in the media between Elton's show and Adam Hill's new show with Media favourite Hills being pre-ordained the winner (as far as I know they're not even in direct competition)

Admittedly Nine's promo was remarkably opaque with no actual footage of the show (it reminded me of the advanced promotion of David Tench Tonight) but still an audience under 500,000 at 9.30 is woeful and this show might be headed for the chop if it doesn't pick up quickly.

Actually, yesterday, GNW got under half a million in its 9.30 slot. Maybe live comedy is out of vogue (even Your Gen is down in Audience numbers at 7.30) replaced with the resurgent American sitcom.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bad News start to the Week

Monday, 8 February 2011

Underbelly, now in it's fourth 'season' of sorts - though instead of an ongoing series they will be a series of telemovies - has gone from a showstopping audience to merely a great audience.

1.3 million is certainly nothing to sneeze at - but it stands to reason that without an ongoing epic narrative thread the series will struggle to emulate the high point of "Tale of Two Cities" the show's lauded second season.

My Kitchen Rules keeps up the heat with Seven getting the edge over Nine in the 7.30 hour - Nine's sitcoms are still holding well but Ten's Glee, and in fact all of Ten's lineup on Monday - is falling apart.

769,000 for a new episode of Glee is pretty woeful and Undercover Boss continuing its slide to the bottom the pile is nothing new - but a new episode of Good News Week coming BEHIND Q&A and not even managing half a million viewers is a cause for alarm

Ten, either get a better 8.30 lead in or swap it around with Boss - IMMEDIATELY - give it a fighting chance.

On Digital the top dog was Neighbours which seems to have been one gamble Ten has taken that is paying off. One wonders if either 7mate or Eleven would perform better on the night if one of them blinked - they're both hunting the young male audience on this night with the HD only 7mate coming out on top with Family Guy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Five-O gets Boned, LA quakes

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Well the 3 commercial majors had a decent night on Sunday with the best performers being the returning duo of Border Security & The Force which have stepped back to anchor a strong Sunday lineup for Seven.

Nine's Cricket kept them in the game for the night with 1.2 million viewers while the presence of Bones seemed to chip away at the audience for Hawaii Five-O which dropped 251,000 viewers week on week.

NCIS: LA meanwhile dropped 166K week on week to a much more precarious figure of just over half a million, about half of that audience were in the crucial 18-49 demographic which, whilst good, points to a show with an older audience and a declining one at that. I wonder whether Ten might move the show back behind NCIS Original in order to shore up its audience.

On Digital TV the big kahuna was again The Big Bang Theory, it was also the top demographic draw on digital with 201K 18-49 viewers. While the top rating movie (yes there are still Sundays movies if you have a HDTV! was "Dodgeball"

Friday, February 4, 2011

From Old and Bloated to Trim and Teriffic

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Biggest Loser is just going from strength to strength, 1.3 million viewers is outstanding for a show that last year looked shell shocked from being pushed to 7.30 to make room for the 7pm project.

A year ago Loser was struggling to break 900,000 viewers per outing. This year they've made the show leaner with 4 1 hour installments a week helping to shore up Ten's typically weaker back half of the week with older demographics.

Seven looks like it is using the night to play the demographic game putting the younger skewing Mother and Greys skeins as well as Desperate Housewives which for me is in that category: "Is that still on??"

Similarly why are the CSI shows still going? Surely they're played out by now. Nine skews old with these dramas and Getaway - the show that's so old it's forgotten half of it's length - ready to be picked up by RBT - a show with a premise that's simultaneously stupid and yet so brilliant you wonder why nobody thought of it before!

Nice to see Stargate and Star Trek the Next Generation doing well in their slots on Eleven - Australian TV needs all the sci-fi it can get.

Outside the primetime grid there's a lot of blog chatter about the performance of Ten's new newshour - 6pm and 6.30 News - which has dropped week on week from the mid 400's to the mid 300's - its way to early to call these shows either a failure or success, my sincere hope is Ten will succeed with this venture - their decision to deal themselves into the 6pm hour is the biggest shakeup that the TV schedule has had - and in the long run it will put their prime time schedule on an even footing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A cyclone runs through it.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Last night primetime programming was suspended on Seven (and to a lesser extent Nine) for rolling coverage of Tropical Cyclone Yasi as it made its way through North Queensland.

Nine already had the Cricket commitment and Ten stuck to it's schedule (for the most part) and it paid off with an excellent debut for "Blue Bloods" the new Tom Selleck/Donnie Wahlberg police skein.

Today I've decided to only list the pecking order for 1st Second and Third and to largely leave the digital channels out of it because the digital figures are so close together and so reliant on demographics for advertising dollars that pecking order comparisons become meaningless.

Yes Heartbeat dominates whenever it's run, whilst 7mate's Sitcoms and The Simpsons do good work on Wednesdays, but they're all pandering to their own audiences and neither is very much in danger from the other.

But it's still interesting to see how much they're all getting. Indeed The Simpsons has taken a real beating on it's move to digital heaven, arguably the potential audience for everything goes down when you give people more choice - so the 200 thousand turning out for New Simpsons eps are the real die-hard fans, where as there's another tier who like the Simpsons but they'll catch it when its on and still another tier that watched it because it was the best thing on at the time, that third group no longer applies in the digital age - they have too many other choices.

For this reason I think when the analogue is totally switched off we will see the figures between the main channels and the digital channels even out a bit more as more people have the choice to watch something else.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Some Channels Do Ave Em

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

NCIS had an outstanding return last night giving Ten a leg up for the night. Viewers weren't as kind to the reruns though, Hawaii Five-O did okay for an encore but reruns of Top Gear and 20 to 01 on Nine really struggled.

On the digital front the Britcoms were once again unassailable. In a lot of ways 7TWO is eroding the ABC's audience. This is an audience that for decades knew if they wanted Britcoms they needed Auntie, sure Seven and Ten would have the occassional fling with the mother country but by and large the place to be was the ABC.

Now that 7TWO offers wall to wall British programming with pesky interruptions from docos or Australian Drama, fully one half of the ABC's post 8pm audience has up and deserted her for greener pastures.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monday Night Boner

Monday, 31 January 2011

That's more like it!

This time last week Glee could only manage 659,000 viewers this week the audience almost doubled with 6 shows after 7.30 pulling above 1 million.

My Kitchen Rules looks entrenched - not bad for a show which last year had a sense of the "me-too's" about it as Seven tried to emulate the success of Masterchef.

Bones continues to lock David Boreanaz into a boring procedural but still people watch it in droves.

In the 'stuff I'm watching' department - Shit My Dad Says (yes I swear by the original title!) had an encouraging start retaining most of it's lead in, in fact it's probably one of the best debut performances on the back of Two and Half Men that we've ever seen.

Like I said - sitcoms are back!

3rd place is no Loser

Sunday, 30 January 2011

I think all three nets can be genuinely happy with their Sunday night this week. Well maybe not Seven, but the other two.

On the surface 1.3 million for Tennis looks great - but when you consider its the Men's Final - a match that has routinely pulled in 2 million viewers in years past you can see that Tennis has a slight problem.

Ten had an excellent Launch of their big new Sunday lineup with the constant promotion for The Biggest Loser and Hawaii Five-O paying off over the summer.

Modern Family meanwhile, confirms that Sitcoms are back in vogue with both eps pulling excellent numbers.

Apart from The Big Bang Theory on GO! there was nothing much happening on the netlets.