More than 2.1 million people tuned in to watch Daryl Somers and the rest of the Hey Hey It’s Saturday team return last night, helping Nine to a much-needed ratings win.
It did especially well in Somers’ home town of Melbourne, pulling 792,000 viewers.
The second program next week will probably rate as well and hurt Celebrity MasterChef on Ten as much as it did last night (Nine’s intention of shifting Hey Hey from Tuesday night to Wednesday). Celebrity MasterChef averaged 1.357 million, enough to please Ten, but the Network still ran third on the night. Seven didn’t even enter the fray, running dead with City Homicide in a crowded schedule.
But never mind the ratings and the wave of happy live-light-ent nostalgia, Hey Hey has no hope of hanging around: it’s just too expensive for the heavily indebted PBL Media, owners of Nine.
But who would have thought that Somers would have stumbled to the edge of a TV breakthrough. Somers mentioned during the program that Hey Hey was being streamed on the internet and at least twice in the program he managed to have a video exchange with an Australian woman in Michigan in the US, and then an Australian woman in Canada. These chats were done live and switched through the studio.
Foxtel, the Facebookers and Twitterers reckon they’re on the edge of TV technology and development, but Somers’ two (there might have been more, but I missed them) chats with those women in North America are the first instances I can remember in this country of genuine interactivity in an Australian TV program.
The ABC’s Q&A gets video questions from people, but there’s no interaction between the host and the person at the other end, live and on camera.
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The quality of the return vision from the laptops or PCs last night was poor, but it was a start.
The night’s other new program, Hungry Beast, started on the ABC at 9pm. It was a Chaser meets interesting public affairs TV mix, from Andrew Denton’s Zapruder’s Other Films production house.
Outstanding were the two women who interviewed Australian army war widow Bree Till and her mother-in-law about Sergeant Brett Till, who was killed in Afghanistan.
Bree Till’s plight was exploited in the Sunday Murdoch media … so much so that Sgt Till’s parents were forced to issue a statement denying that she was penniless.
What the interview with the two women on Hungry Beast exposed was the shallowness of Sunday stories: it was a warm, loving exchange that showed up mainstream media by putting a human face a tragic story.
Hungry Beast rated 551,000 viewers despite the competition from the Hey Hey monster.