Seven exploits Mythbusters

Synergy is a wonderful
world in business: so much meaning, so little sense. It’s a polite way
of trying to exploit the popularity of another network’s hit show.

And the Seven network is seeking a little “synergy” by riding the coat tails of one of the quiet success stories of the year: Mythbusters
on SBS. Produced by the Beyond Group in Sydney and based in San
Francisco, it regularly gathers 800,000 to 900,000 people for SBS and
is its biggest-rating program.

Seven has snuck a segment from two Mythbusters‘ stars into its Beyond Tomorrow series, which is also produced by the Beyond Group. And now Seven is looking for more “synergy” from Mythbusters, scheduling a 90-minute special on sharks next Sunday night at 7:30pm and styling it a “Mythbusters special.”

Program changes around the networks

Nine has finally killed of the chick chat show, The Watercooler, which was supposed to be hosted by Liz Hayes of 60 Minutes.

Seven is starting a short run of True Stories,
its Australian Story clone, on 9 August, hosted by Anna Coren. Can
Nine’s buy-in be far behind? It commissioned a pilot of a similar sort
of program from Andrew Denton’s Zapruder’s Other Films.

Ten starts the third series of Australian Idol this week, which will further destabilise the patterns of the year. Idol starts Tuesday and continues Wednesday. Ten is confident that it will work from the first episode and it won’t be hurt by the X-Factor flop in February. With Big Brother counting down, it will be rough at Seven and Nine for the next month or so.

Ten also starts the second series of The 4400 Tuesday night after the first ep of Idol. It was the surprise hit of last year and will be on for an hour before the Spielberg mini series on aliens called Taken on Nine. Will The 4400 strip more viewers from Taken? Where’s the off button, Scotty?

SBS wins Saturday night in Melbourne

While it was a close
win to Nine last week, beating Seven by 0.4%, 25.8% to 25.4%, the SBS
coverage of the first Ashes cricket test produced a surprise result on
Saturday night: in sports mad Melbourne: SBS scored a narrow, but no
doubt satisfying, win in the all people category.

The national
cricket audience for SBS averaged 537,600 on Friday and 608,700 on
Saturday night across the country, well down on the 737,400 from 7:15pm
to 11:10pm on Thursday. The Tour De France was watched by 399,100 on
Friday and 428,200 on Saturday, further helping SBS.

Nationally, SBS finished fourth on Friday, but improved to third on Saturday as it relegated Ten to fourth slot on the night.

In
Melbourne, though, SBS won the night with a 22.2% share. The AFL game
between Brisbane and Essendon on Ten had a bigger audience than the
cricket, but SBS’s audience later in the night helped it over the line.
Nine was second in Melbourne, followed by Ten and Seven. In Sydney, SBS
was third on 21.0% behind Seven and Nine.

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners

SBS, because of the cricket. Nine won last week and the ABC last
night which gave everyone a fright, especially Seven which came close
to being the big loser of the night. Nine News (1.756 million and 1st) and 60 Minutes (1.727 million, 2nd) again dominated for Nine, but Ten’s very long Big Brother Eviction episode that seemed to go on and on from 7pm pulled in 1.454 million people. Ten’s movie, the Aussie effort, Crackerjack
attracted 1.149 million. But the ABC’s Sherlock Holmes story at 8:30pm
was watched by 1.244 million, the 7pm News by 1.266 million and Outback House by 1.065 million.
The Losers

Seven, which struggles to do well on Sunday nights and hasn’t had success on this night since Let Loose crashed. Seven saw only three programs do well: The Guiness World Records at 6:30pm with 1.176 million, Las Vegas
with 1.02 million people, and the 6pm news (1.396 million). Seven was
in a tight battle with the ABC in most markets all night as a result.
News & CA

Nine News won last night, Seven News and Today Tonight won last week. Most of the Sunday morning chat and business shows improved on last week with small audience gains. Nine’s Sunday was back over the 300,000 mark at 341,800, Weekend Sunrise on Seven was up sharply on 295,600, Business Sunday on Nine picked up a touch to 152,000 and Insiders on the ABC was down 20,000 at 150,900.
The Stats

Nine won with 26.1% to Ten with 25.6%, Seven with 19.8%, the ABC
with 19.0% and SBS with 9.4%, boosted by people tuning in for the Ashes
cricket which was delayed and the Tour De France later in the night.
But in individual markets some interesting results: in Sydney, the ABC
and Ten finished equal second on 22.4% behind Nine on 27.2%. In
Melbourne, Ten won from Nine, the ABC and Seven. Ten won Brisbane from
Nine and Seven and then the ABC. in Adelaide, Ten won from Seven, then
Nine, and in Perth, Nine won from Ten and Seven.
Glenn Dyer’s comments

If the Test had started on time at 7:30pm, the ratings would have
been all over the place, complicating what was already a topsy turvy
night and a foretaste of what is to come. SBS can be happy it took the
punt on the Ashes, although it’s not really within its charter. Nine
has its ratings big guns on show this week, with new eps of Cold Case, CSI, Without a Trace etc, while Seven is eking out its hits to remain competitive.

Peter Fray

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