Seven’s night easily in metro and regional markets (especially where if Seven wins tonight, it will have won the week). The X Factor showed a little life (1.065 million) thanks to regional viewers and its approaching finale. Regional viewers helped Sunday Night (1.260 million). Metro viewers are not happy with both programs. The one-off special of Foreign Correspondent on the ABC at 7:30pm showed two things: the stupidity of burying the program at 9:30pm on Tuesdays, and its diet this year of mostly second or third tier stories. The 886,000 national viewers was a solid audience.
In fact the last week of the official ratings survey lies ahead of us. They return in the week starting February 12, 2017.
So what have been my highlights of the year? First off, a big star to Landline (ABC). A hard job done well on no budget from the silly management of ABC News and Current Affairs and ABC TV. It is one of the network’s flagship programs and yet it is starved for money in favour of other, weaker, less sustainable programs. Landline does a sterling job explaining rural and regional Australia to the rest of the country without lurching into the salt of the earth rubbish urbanistas and politicians drop into when they want to sound “serious” (and uninformed). It returns to the week night schedule for summer this Friday night with the now usual series of food and associated products. It and Foreign Correspondent are the badly handled programs at ABC TV and News and Current Affairs.
ABC News Breakfast did well, without having gazillions of dollars in cash giveaways thrown at viewers as Today and Sunrise have done and will continue to do. Insiders stood out amid the cacophony of faux cultural wars, Trumpets, Bolts, Devines and others in the about to be shrunk News Corp gang of chatterers and time wasters. SBS Insight deserves a special mention, as does One Plus One on News 24.
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First Dates with its two seasons this year and one on the way in 2017. Seven, don’t kill it (even though it is a UK format from Channel 4). Secret Daughter (Seven) and Doctor Doctor (Nine). The Wonderland Curse (The Wrong Girl on Ten). Honourable mentions to Four Corners and 7.30. Most improved, Q&A (except when we get the grand standing pollies on). Services to travel and the award for how not to be a current affairs program go to 60 Minutes. SBS’s Empire Without Limit : a UK series with Professor Mary Beard. Read her book SPQR and discover (as I did to my amazement) that not much is new in the political and culture wars. Mary Beard is an unexpected star.
Best soap opera: a tie between the Australian Olympic (especially swimming) team at Rio, and the Australian cricket team. Sporting highlights: The Dogs beating the Swannies (grrr), the Sharks beating the Storm in the NRL. A couple of gold medals at Rio – the best the final one by penthathlete, Cloe Esposito – talent and not linked to the moaners elsewhere.
Dying: The X Factor, The Voice, I’m A Celebrity, Australian Survivor. All need 240 volts applied directly. Seven tried and failed with the shake-up of The X Factor which has lost the very thing it purports to be searching for. The Block, My Kitchen Rules, House Rules and Masterchef will all see their audiences slide next year simply because viewers know all the tricks, the foibles and the boring bits.
Abuse of TV viewers award should go to Seven and Nine for shifting Sunday Night and 60 Minutes around on Sunday nights to fit the timing of the “reality” program de jour. No wonder the two programs saw a nasty slide in viewers this year. We saw that last night in metro (weak) regional markets (solid support). Sunday Night topped the night in the regions with 493,000 viewers, 60 Minutes was 6th with 304,000. Regional viewers are still faithful (rusted on in the case of Seven). Metro viewers are far more footloose. And Nine’s regional news problems continue – 292,000 and 7th against the 2nd spot and 835,000 in the metros. No wonder there’s the big splurge with Southern Cross next year.
The most watched programs in the regions were Sunday Night with 493,000, Seven News with 482,000, The X Factor with 400,000, ABC News with 328,000 and Foreign Correspondent was fifth with 319,000. — Click here to read Glenn Dyer’s full TV Ratings.