Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The week that was

Lets have a look shall we...

Sunday, 22 May 2011
Australian Television Prime Time Schedule

Ahh the eternal struggle between Masterchef and Dancing continues, with Dancing succeeding by sheer weight, being over twice as long as its cooking competitor.

Monday, 23 May 2011
Australian Television Prime Time Schedule

Come Fly with Me drops week on week but Big Bang Theory actually rises! Go figure. Meanwhile The Amazing Race loses 100,000 viewers week on week while Ten's shows hold steady, though House suffers by having a month off the sked and probably not being compatible with Offspring.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Australian Television Prime Time Schedule

Tuesday night is almost identical to the previous Tuesday with Nine continuing to bring up the rear with the dreary Customs/AFP double. Also Sea Patrol at this point is merely making up the numbers for Nine's drama quota, stick a fork in it.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Australian Television Prime Time Schedule

State of Origin (in 3 markets anyway - but that's all they need!) Normally on a Wednesday Nine is coming a distant third to the other two nets, who incidentally managed to continue their fight despite State of Origin. Indeed the Origin match seems to have brought in a lot of one-time lapsed free to air viewers.

In Sydney alone Origin netted in excess of One Million viewers - Sydney never produces that kind of number any more having the most fragmented audience and the biggest Foxtel take up in the country.

Thursday, 26 May 2011
Australian Television Prime Time Schedule

Thursday belonged to channel ten with one of Oprah Winfrey's final shows giving them the edge at 8.30.

Ten often puts Oprah into Primetime as filler but this year has seen some of the more successful entries with Oprah's Australian specials pulling a healthy aud. Before that you'd have to venture all the way back to 1993 and Oprah's interview with Michael Jackson to find a primetime Oprah special that rated so well.

For the record Oprah's Final show on the Friday night netted 743,000 but came second to Nine's cross-city combo of NRL and the Mentalist (893,000)

Also Between the Lines (which actually Eddie's third vehicle this year - This is your Life being the show I'd completely forgotten about!) has been axed after consistently being outrated by its leadout - which suggests that viewers are avoiding it on purpose!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nine fails to read between the lines

Eddie McGuire. It seems you can’t go three weeks in this place without another Eddie McGuire quiz show being foisted on the weary public.

Honestly it’s like they’re being mass-produced.

5 nights a week you can watch Eddie host a heavily modified version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ leading into the news, a few weeks back the book was unceremoniously closed on his new quiz show ‘Million Dollar Drop’ (an interesting idea hampered by being strung out over the course of a full hour)

Now Eddie’s back on screens without a moment to lose quizzing celebrities about sporting trivia with ‘Between the Lines’

Structurally at least, the show should be doing well, the celebs involved are generally watchable, the format itself seems tight, its light entertainment on a night stuffed with dramas and it leads directly into The Footy Show.

So why is it tanking?

I’m not sure why exactly – but I think the fundamentals of the show are good, but the viewer sees an advertisement, hears two words and just mentally tunes out.

Eddie Everywhere, the man, the legend.

Eddie McGuire is in many ways, in this day and age a unique creation, a throwback to the olden days of television when it was more regionalised.

You see television never took networking all that seriously until maybe the late 1970s. Until that time there were wild variations in schedules from city to city as the individual stations had a lot more control over program content.

That era saw the likes of Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton become household names despite the fact that their show (In Melbourne Tonight) was only seen live (if at all) in the Melbourne market!

Eddie is a similar beast, he rose to prominence as a sports reporter for Channel Ten Melbourne, but it was helming The Footy Show on channel nine which made him a star.

The Footy Show, lest we forget, was not like other shows, it was guerrilla television, starting in an era where Footy only ever aired on Seven, Nine put together a show about the sport with NO FOOTAGE, relying on the personalities of its presenters to bring in the viewers and people lapped it up.

An NRL based show was quickly created (Nine did –and still does- have the NRL rights) and Nine had Thursday nights sewn up.

Pretty soon McGuire was a household name in Melbourne, but north of the Murray he was a complete unknown. Luckily Nine has plenty of ‘event’ programming in need of an MC and in a role that used to be filled by journalist and daytime host Ray Martin, Eddie started popping up everywhere.

It started with Who Wants to be a Millionaire in 1999 – a big deal quiz show format which reportedly had everyone pulling a salary from channel nine trying out for the hosts role. McGuire got the gig and with it (and the show’s long run) viewers got another chance to see the man every week.

In case you don’t watch quiz shows or follow the AFL though, you could still see Eddie on such occasions as the Logie Awards, the National IQ test, The Tsunami Telethon (which itself is a crowning achievement in Aus TV IMO – off topic), A Current Affair just to name a few.

In fact channel Nine’s schedule was so full of Eddie at one point that they made the only logical move they could and appointed him CEO of the network!

Now there are two types of people working in front of the camera for TV networks, freelancers and stars.

Regular freelancers are hired on a show by show basis, by a specific program, these are normally actors or maybe presenters on a show made by an outside production company.

The network stars on the other hand, they’re employed by the network, and their job description can vary wildly depending on what the network wants them to do, one week they might be fronting a news program, the next they might be filming Christmas promos, the week after they could do a spot on a travel show.

All the while, their pay doesn’t change, they draw a salary and it doesn’t fluctuate depending on the task at hand (where as it would for freelancers).

At any rate, by the time he was CEO, Eddie’s salary had swelled to somewhere around $3-4 million!

A big chunk of that was no doubt negotiated when he was promoted to CEO, by reports (and we can take them with a grain of salt I guess) he’s still worth that even though he’s just back to being a TV presenter and for some time the network seemed to struggle with finding him something to do.

They plugged that gap with Millionaire Hot Seat, a good lead in to Nine’s News and a high output gig that IMO certainly justifies a big salary by the network.

But Nine keep trying to find MOAR projects for Eddie to front.

This year we’ve seen two so far, Million Dollar Drop and now Between the Lines (which was mooted all the way back in 2009!)

Million Dollar Drop bombed in a big way and it looks like Between the Lines is headed for a similar fate, but why?

A big part of the reason is McGuire himself and yet its not his fault. He presents the shows perfectly well, he’s a competent host, quick on his feet and charming to boot, but he’s also been oversaturated, remember he’s “Eddie Everywhere” every time his name is mentioned a subset of viewers just rolls their eyes and tunes out.

You’ll never win these people back (at least not straight away) no matter how hard you try, its not you (Eddie) its them. As unfair as it is, familiarity breeds contempt, it’s a cliché because its true!

Nine’s programmers look at these formats and think – ‘who do we have already on the payroll who can pull this off?’ and naturally Eddie is given the call, but what if they didn’t have the cost pressures of star salaries, where they could get a freelancer in to do the job, someone different that might bring in that casual aud, and let Eddie lay low for a while, doing his 5.30 thing, giving people the chance to miss him a little before putting him on the next big thing.

Just a thought…

Thursday, 19 May 2011
Australian Television Ratings Report



Seven is unstoppable on Wednesdays

Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Australian Television Ratings Report



Talents win again

Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Australian Television Ratings Report



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Come Fly With Me (not you Newcastle!)

Monday, 16 May 2011
Australian Television Ratings Report

Monday was an interesting night with each net throwing a new show onto the pit of despair that is Free to Air television, with interesting results.

Seven is the network that is (and has been for the past 5 years) most likely to succeed and so they finally did something that I never thought they had the balls to do - a local version of The Amazing Race.

I guess the US version's ratings had gotten to a state where Seven felt comfortable shuffling it off to their HD channel, Where it has done well for itself but not in a Neighbours sense. (which is the current yardstick for analogue to digital transplants.)

An Audience of 1,258,000 (5th) 756,000 18-49 (3rd) is a good result for a first outing and like a lot of reality shows, I'd expect the aud for this to build over time.

Ten is the bottom of the heap network trying every damn trick in the book to claw its way up. It knows big event TV but drama has never been its strong suit. The season premiere of Offspring, a show about, who knows - some sort of Ally MacBeal wannabee (its not really aimed at me as an owner of a penis!). 927,000 (12th) and 588,000 18-49 (5th) is respectable but they'd be hoping for that to improve given the massive lead in

Meanwhile Channel Nine has done something quite remarkable. This is the former champion network in many ways a shell of its former self, so how they managed to debut a new show (a half hour mockumentary british sitcom at that) with a peak of 1.7 million is beyond me, but well done.

While I'm on the topic, Come Fly With Me (the show in question, basically a wholesale parody of those awful Airline reality docos) was subjected to the most baffling case of corporate idiocy that I've seen in years.

Essentially NBN (Nine's Newcastle-Northern NSW affiliate) chose not to take the show because of its 8pm timeslot, the reason? Well the previous show from these creators, Little Britain, was rated MA and considered vulgar (or something like that) and NBN was determined to prove that their viewers are hicks and couldn't handle such ribald humour in an earlier timeslot.

Notwithstanding that this is an affiliate that happily took episodes of Two and a Half Men at 7pm every night for umpteen years without controversy, the decision was baffling because, NBN is actually OWNED BY THE NINE NETWORK! It's an O&O basically and has been since SP Media sold it to Nine after the ownership rules changed a few years ago - so what's the deal with that?

Anyway - even they won't be able to ignore ratings of 1.4 million, so Newcastle viewers should expect to see it on next week without explaination!



Run it up the tentpole and see

TV in the old days was simple. You could put on really big show on a night and the big audience it drew would stick around for the surrounding shows.

They'd tune into the show beforehand so as not to miss out on their favourite and they'd be so buzzed they'd stick around for the following show.

This strategy in television programming is known as the 'tentpole' in TV terms both Dancing with the Stars and Masterchef are tentpole shows, but one network's tent seems to be made of a lot sterner stuff.

We're gonna need a bigger tent...

Looking at the performance of Dancing with the Stars a competition which is in its 11th cycle, its performance is simply phenomenal.

Even moreso when you consider that recent seasons have had a less than spectacular result for Seven.

Masterchef nets a more desirable younger demographic but Masterchef was never about chasing demos, it was its power as an all-audience draw that made it a household name - a performance of 1.4 million is not poor, but given the investment by Ten in the series versus Seven's much smaller outlay for Dancing and you begin to wonder whether the money has been well spent.

You can bet that the Masterchef prods will be scrambling to come up with some sort of hook to draw in the casual auds over the next few weeks, something to justify their huge pricetag. No doubt we'll see some of these gimmicks advertised in the next few weeks and we'll red flag them here as we see em!



Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Ok so its not all bad for Masterchef.  Seems like with AGT out of the way for a night the aud for Masterchef lifts.

Earlier in the week it was looking as if the Talent show and Dancing with the Stars were going to erode the ratings of ten's juggernaut. 

Certainly ten's previous reality hits gave suffered from audience drop-off in the third year but a figure of 1.5million viewers in a Thursday shows there's not too much for ten to worry about yet, its just that Seven's reality skeins are having an unusually good year.

The Good Wife and SVU had their best weeks of the season so far but even then they dropped almost half of the Masterchef aud.

Worse though was channel Nine which can't catch a break!  New show (buggered if I know what genre - Eddie McGuire vehicle that's a genre at this point right?) Between the Lines is his second major flop in as many months.

More on this after I take a look at his show for myself next week.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Well I can't ignore them any longer, not when they get results like that - I'm putting ONE on the chart.

Sons of Anarchy had an excellent debut on the HD channel, outrating other new entrants Spartacus: Gods of the Arena on GO! and Jersey Shore on 7mate.

Indeed Ten might like to consider swapping the Bikie drama (which has 3 seasons worth of eps to get through) with Lie to Me which is dying a slow and painful death on the main channel. 347,000 isn't an acceptable figure at 9.30 on analogue TV.

For that matter, Glee isn't doing all that well either - losing 600,000 viewers from its lead in. Ten needs to a) look at what breaks they are putting between shows - they shouldn't be giving viewers a chance to switch over and b) keeping shows in CONSISTENT timeslots - how many times has Glee been moved now? Whereas Criminal Minds has pretty much been on Wednesdays (with occassional sojourns to Mondays) since the dawn of time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, 10th May 2011

Damage Control is definitely what Nine needs, just not the TV series with the same title. Last night not only saw Nine's third poor night in a row, but their first real disaster of the week with not one prime time show netting over 1 million viewers.

The decision to screen the original Underbelly to Victorians while showing some also-ran crap in the other states is starting to look a bit stupid. Sorry to say it Nine, but anyone living in Victoria who wanted to see Underbelly has seen it and slipping it into the schedule with scant promotion is not the way to wring extra viewers out of that first season.

It would have been better to hold off until summer and show it as a rerun/first run across the network.

Of course I'm ignoring the night's biggest story - Australia's Got Talent which is the second show in 3 days to take some paint of the almighty Masterchef, and not just a little paint either, Talent beat out the cooking show by a whole 300,000 viewers.

Either Seven is so strong this year that previously railroaded shows are being boosted or perhaps some people are tiring of Masterchef and are seeking an alternative?

Monday May 9th, 2011

Good ratings for The Big Bang Theory in the face of the all conquering Masterchef. But Masterchef's highs still aren't rubbing off on the rest of Ten's sked.

Especially sad is GNW which didn't even air in the AFL states.

All I can personally say is thank FRAK that Seven has the AFL rights next year, they consistently have the most boring and stale lineup (from a 34yo male perspective anyway) and so I won't care one iota when AFL storms in on a Monday or Thursday night to disrupt the regular schedule.

Over on digital it was all 7TWO with GO! suffering a particularly bad night (only Top Gear appeared in the top 50) part of the blame there has to lay with their scheduling - to the casual observer GO! appears to have 4 shows: Top Gear, Big Bang, Two and a Half Men and Wipeout! and their scheduling has all the consistency and predictability of a game of roulette.

Nine outta just pick a night for each of these shows and use them to promote their less popular shows and stop peppering them all over the schedule.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sunday May 8th, 2011

Part of me wonders about the wisdom of Seven taking off their flagship public affairs program, Sunday Night, in order to show the aging crapfest Dancing with the Stars.

Then I see that Dancing beat Masterchef (though it came a distant second in viewers 18-49) and held that audience over 2 and a half hours and well frankly with those numbers who gives a crap about 'Sunday Night'

Loser of the night is actually no-one (thought I was gonna say Nine didn't you!) while Nine didn't pull great numbers for its telemovie (honestly networks in this country embraced telemovies at the fag end of their popularity as a format in the US but that's a topic for another post) and 60 minutes was down, they did get a decent aud for In Their Footsteps which actually surprised me.

Furthermore while Ten is facing a problem with hanging onto their huge Masterchef audience into the night, they are at least doing well in the 18-49 demographic with Merlin and Hawaii Five-0 posting good demos despite lacklustre overall numbers.

Also worth mentioning is the revamp of OneHD which kicks in this week, although Sunday night had purely sports programming it went well with a peak of 507,000 people tuning into the channel for Formula One racing.

Well see how they go throughout the week and if they start to make a blip on the radar - I'll start including them in the chart!