I loved
the cutaway shots of Eddie McGuire, Jessica Rowe and Richard Wilkins in the
selected audience for the first show of Nine’s expensive Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice last

smiles were plastered on as they applauded the start of Nine’s biggest
programming gamble for some years (and most expensive: estimates are wild but $8 million has been
mentioned) – a piece of light entertainment, which has not
been the network’s strength for at least a decade.

I would
have loved to have seen the looks on their faces this morning, especially Mr McGuire’s, when the ratings

but no gold star. Dancing on Ice finished second with 1.609 million viewers, which isn’t bad at all.

But it
failed to do terminal damage to Seven’s trio: it had to be the sort of success
that would help Nine win the night.

Its 7.30pm competition, Seven’s Border Security, topped the
night with 1.901 million. And while Dancing on Ice did
take more viewers from Medical Emergency at 8pm, which averaged just over 1.5
million, and a few more from All Saints at 8.30pm, the 200,000-odd viewers it took from Border Security was not damaging enough. And it now looks tough for Nine to win the

were some positives: the audience built during the two and a
bit hours, despite a slow start. The peak quarter hour was 1.792 million
viewers between 8.30pm and 8.45pm. It was then a gentle fade to 1.572 million
from 9.30pm to 9.45pm. And co-host
Sammi Lukis was a highlight:
she showed Nine executives, who flicked her from the
Today Show as weather chick, that she had more to
offer. But it
should have done better.

Next week will tell. If viewers return in numbers say
up to 1.5 million it will do more than OK. If they drop off, then it will be

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey