Australian Idol – not always a top performer for Channel Ten.

Monday night ratings

Yesterday I looked at the success of Idol, today the lack of it. Ten will say it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t do well across all people when Idol et al are not around. All that matters is winning or scooping up as many viewers as it can in the 16 to 39 age group.

But that if a win in the 25-54 and all people homes along, they won’t
say no. Sunday night they gleefully accepted the overall win from
having the second last episode of Australian Idol.

Last night, no Idol verdict, no Ten as the Network slid, losing the lead it had in the week after two nights.

But that’s normal at this time of year with Idol two weeks longer and the verdict next week after the live final at the Opera House, and a week of non stop promotion.

Nine won the night with a 31.% share from Seven with 25.7%, Ten with 22.2%, the ABC with 15.5% and SBS with 5.0%.

In Sydney Nine won with 31.4%, from Seven with 27.4, Ten with 21.3%,
the ABC with 14.8% and SBS with 5.1%.Nine also won Melbourne, Brisbane,
Adelaide and Perth.

So Nine won with a good effort from Eddie McGuire’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Friends, the second last episode and Sex and the City, the last episode. They finished first, second and third across the network.

However for Seven, The Great Outdoors picked up sharply from a week before, coming fourth and to within 26,000 people of the second last Friends episode, and then Malcolm in the Middle. That was a powerhouse effort.

Nine News was fifth, Frasier was sixth, then Home and Away and Crossing Jordan, then A Current Affair and finally Malcolm was tenth.

In Sydney it was Millionaire, Friends, The Great Outdoors, Crossing Jordan, Frasier, Sex and the City, Home and Away, Australian Story, Nine News and ACA.

As you can see Nine News and ACA beat Seven News (fourteenth nationally) and Today Tonight (thirteenth) fairly comfortably.

Tonight Seven’s Dancing with the Stars will be the ratings focal point. So far this week Nine wins with 29.2% to Ten with 28.4% and Seven with 22.4%

Sunday night ratings – Idol’s a winner for Ten

The suspense is killing me, Idol, rather Australian Idol
is reaching a climax, people are tuning in, how many people will sit
down in front of their telies to watch next Sunday evening’s final?

The national audience has been at 2.3 million for the Sunday night
elimination for the past two weeks, up from the 2.02 million at the
start of November.

That’s about a 15% lift in the audience as the decision end of the
series arrived. Not bad, but not like last year when there was more of
a rush because it all seemed so new.

But now we have a good idea of what happens and the sort of talent
involved, the trick is for the producers to try and baffle viewers
every now and then with the judges playing an important role, hence the
importance of “Dicko” the Defector (to Seven) who reckons Idol has peaked.

Next Sunday evening, with the finale from the temple of classical culture, the Sydney Opera House, will see just how far Idol can further boost its audience.

But for Ten it will be the end to a successful year that saw the
Network steal up and nip past Seven into second place and solidify and
improve its financial position.

But without Idol Ten is not as competitive, even in its target demographic of 16 to 39. If the Network was Idol-less it would be a much closer battle with the other networks, even with Big Brother still there.

So far the first Idol (performance) episode is up 12% in viewer
numbers to an average of 1.91 million (not including last night). The
verdict second episode is up 13%.

This year’s series is two weeks longer, making for a slightly difficult comparison.

The final last year saw 2.54 million tune in for the performance part and a massive 3.3 million people tune in for the verdict.

So next Sunday night is Ten’s, and that’s why Nine has again junked its movie and gone with new episodes of CSI and Cold Case and CSI Miami, with a repeat of Without a Trace to round out the night.

Nine wants to drag and hold viewers away from Ten in particular (and
encourage some away from Seven and the ABC). That’s why there are three
first-run episodes of its most powerful US dramas for three hours.

But who will bother after 10.30am (or even 9.30pm).

It’s the last week of ratings so everything will be thrown at it by Nine to try and prevent Ten using a mammoth audience for Idol to boost its all people share enough to hold the front position until Saturday night and snatch the week from Nine.

And who at Nine though the post Olympics would be a Nine benefit and that 2005 was looking good. looking close more like it!

Ten won with a network share of 34.8% from Nine on 26.6% and Seven was
third, squashed by its two commercial rivals and a not bad performance
from the ABC which ended with a 15.6% share. SBS was on 3.8%.

In Sydney Ten won with 34.2% from Nine with 26.6%, Seven with 19.5%,
the ABC with 15.9% and SBS on 4.2%. Ten also won in Brisbane, Adelaide
and Perth.

Ten won the night because of Idol and the spill over of its audience into the following program, the occasionally amusing Russell CoightCelebrity Challenge,
a spoof on all those celebrity programs on reality shows. It finished
second across the network with 1.85 million viewers, well behind the
2.345 million of Idol.

Nine’s 60 Minutes did well with the Schappelle Corby exclusive interview (for 60 Minutes that is, there was another “exclusive” with National Nine News last Monday night. Next week A Current Affair?).

Backyard Blitz bounced up into fourth from the weakness a week earlier and National Nine News was fifth. You Are What You Eat was sixth in its last episode with the non-Dr Gillian McKeith. ABC News was seventh, ahead of Seven News. Then Ten News at 5pm (The Nine Network version) or (Seven version), Seven with its combination of Siegfried and Roy and Coxy’s Big Break in Melbourne at eight. Seven News was ninth according to Seven, with the Panic Room tenth. (The Ten News goes to air at 5pm, before the start of prime time at 6pm.)

The Nine movie, Panic Room was well cross-promoted on Today and ACA on Friday. Well done folks.

In Sydney it was Idol first, Russell Coight was second, Backyard Blitz was third, You Are What You Eat with the non-Doctor Gillian McKeith was fourth, 60 Minutes was fifth, Nine News was sixth, the ABC News was seventh, Ten’s Newlyweds was eighth, the ABC’s Gunpowder Plot was ninth and Seven News was tenth and 79,000 adrift from Nine News, reversing the pattern of the previous night when Seven news was a clear winner.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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