Following on from my mostly positive review of episode two of Can of Worms, it seems the rest of Australia thought the same thing. In Can of Worms’ second outing, it actually built on its pretty good ratings from episode 1 of 930,000, to post a very solid 980,000.
This means more than a couple of things about the show, here they are;
The show was advertised as being from the makers behind “The Gruen Transfer” and “Enough Rope”. If it was from any other producer, the premiere would almost be enough to turn everyone off- especially judging from the negative Twitter reception.
The show was actually markedly better, and is winning positive reviews from some very noteworthy reviewers.
Reviews from respected people such as David Knox at TV Tonight not only provide an authoritative view, but lets viewers know they are onto a good thing.
The fact that it built on its previous week’s episode shows that any publicity is good publicity, or at least, it didn’t damage the brand irreperably.
Though I disliked the inclusion of Jason Akermanis and his comments about suicide (he labelled it “selfish”), it is clear he was regarded as an aberration.
So, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but Eddie McGuire’s latest show Between the Lines has been cancelled after only three weeks.
Ratings weren’t terrible with 696,000 in its first week, 610,000 in its second, then 510,000 viewers in its third. For a Thursday night, it would need at least 700,000 to justify its presence.
It featured Mick Molloy and Ryan Fitzgerald, both Channel Ten personalities (lucky they didn’t sever that tie) who tried their best but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.
The show drew criticism for its blokey vibe (only one woman was allowed to be a guest per-week) which only perpetuated the “boys club” myth that many find repulsive. It also had an over-emphasis on AFL (McGuire, Molloy and Fitzgerald are all AFL media identities), which obviously didn’t have a great appeal to Sydney audiences.
However, it is a bit of a shame, as it is when any Aussie program bites the dust, and there were some decent laughs to be had on the show. Unfortunately, viewers have clearly tired of shows which try to replicate formulae of other shows (BTL was obviously a copy of Spicks and Specks, The Trophy Room, or any other show along those lines).
Even if it didn’t make an identical copy, the fact is that it wasn’t original enough, or at least it wasn’t entertaining enough to overcome that initial hurdle.
Just look at the example of My Kitchen Rules: it was obviously an attempt to replicate the winning formula of MasterChef- the drama of preparing dishes, the plating up, friendly yet critical judges, etc- yet it appeared to be a completely different show. For starters, it was set in people’s homes. The contestants also were able to critique each other’s dishes, which was somewhat of a novelty. Hence, it became a success in its own right, an remarks comparing it to MasterChef became minimal.
So hopefully the lesson learned from this should be that networks should focus on giving a new show a strong element of originality to avoid people judging it in comparison to their more successful counterparts.
THE BIGGEST STORY
The Farmer Wants a Wife has proved fruitful again for Channel Nine. Now in its SIXTH SEASON, it has hit a season high for its fourth episode with 925,000. While it hasn’t hit the magic million, this will likely seal the deal for a seventh season.
It still came second in its timeslot to Criminal Minds, but by less than 100,000. Nine will want to hold on to this show for some time yet and in true commercial TV fashion, flog it to death.
THE BIG WINNER
My Kitchen Rules took top billing with 1,394. People just won’t stop watching it.
Deal or No Deal: 560,000
Millionaire Hot Seat: 530,000
Today Tonight: 1,145,000
A Current Affair: 1,012,000
ABC News: 890,000
Home and Away: 1,040,000
Two and a Half Men: 583,000
The 7PM Project: 772,000
Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight: 760,000
RPA Where Are They Now?: 723,000
Mike & Molly: 737,000
Lie to Me: 520,000
As expected, ratings have slipped for the second week of Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth.
The facts are, Live from Planet Earth has dropped to 384,000, down from 455,000 last week.
While the situation is bad, and unlike last week, Elton can’t deny that the ratings are dismal.
But strangely, it could be much, much worse when you think about it.
You can’t imagine many new eyes were watching the show, so the fact that more that half of the people stuck around from last week is almost, nearly promising. Almost.
With all that bad press you’d almost be embarrassed to watch it. But, maybe people saw Elton defend his show and had enough faith in him to give him another shot.
But now that everyone has given it another go, Nine will more than likely do the same and grant it a third episode.
But three things are for sure.
One: The fact that it looks extremely polished also works in its favour. For example, it was hard for Seven to have faith in a very green Hamish and Andy back in the day. Elton already has the comedy runs on the board, and his smooth hosting demonstrates this. Not so sure about the comedy though.
Two: Not many people would be granted a second chance like Elton was.
Three: There will be no third chances.
And while I disliked the first two shows, it doesn’t mean I won’t give it a third chance.
I most certainly am not willing it to fail, but to get better. Myself and many others criticise not for the joy of it, but in the hope that Elton will respond and come out with a better product.
Some did see a slight improvement from week 1 to week 2, so hopefully it improves even more in week 3.
Whether or not viewers liked the second week enough to stick around is another matter.
It’s D-Day for Ben Elton. Well, technically tomorrow is: the day when the ratings come out.
But it’s undoubted that tonight is Elton’s final chance to prove himself, mostly to viewers at home, and to a lesser extent, Nine execs, who will be looking for any promising signs.
And God knows, there certainly weren’t many in Week 1.
Basically, if Elton wants a third week, at the very least, there will have to be a ratings increase of at least 100k. Its ratings were 455,000 in its first week so to equal that would be almost remarkable.
So, let’s be realistic here and analyse this question; does Elton even have a snowflake’s chance of pulling that off?
We all know that the show was pretty bad in its first week, and the media certainly knew that too. The press and reaction was almost universally negative.
So, keeping that in mind, we can look at these factors in terms of its possible week 2 ratings.
Retention rate: People on twitter also panned it, so you’d have to imagine very little would tune in week 2.
Those who peruse the news sites would have seen Elton state he got the mix wrong and there was too much smut. Of course he wasn’t completely repentant, but this would have won him at least a touch of respect and brings at least some intrigue as to how the show has changed.
Of course, this will only bring in a small percentage of those who watched last week, let’s say less than 50%.
Word of mouth: This will be almost all bad, so I wouldn’t expect too many new sets of eyes. However, it does play into the car-crash factor, as in so bad that you have to watch. Don’t expect this to be a huge element though.
So, you’d have to say that Elton’s only hope is that people will be forgiving enough to give him another shot.
My post last week, “Bye Ben”, wrote his show off after ratings last week. So Elton was smart in pleading his case to TV Tonight and Jon Faine in the week- but really, it was his only hope.
But still, it will be interesting to watch tonight. For mine, it would need to be about three times as funny (if it can be measured) to keep this viewer watching next week (assuming…, etc.).
I don’t think it has the potential to be, based on last week’s show, but I hope I am pleasantly surprised.
But let’s face it, even turns out to be brilliant (look at Micallef Tonight), in the cold light of day, no show can be saved from the swinging axe known as the ratings.
Don’t expect to be saying goodbye to Modern Family anytime soon.
It has just hit a season and series-high 13.16 million for its Valentine’s Day episode in the US, smashing its previous record of 12.67 in its second season premiere.
This is its 13th episode of its second season (its 36th all up).
However, while Modern Family is going from strength-to-strength ratings-wise, critically, it has not been as successful as its first season, with the plot-lines of the various families becoming less intertwined than the first season.
Not that ABC (US) will care about that, of course, with Modern Family arguably propelling Cougar Town into its second season off the back of its great ratings.
This has also proved true for the recent debut of Mr. Sunshine starring Matthew Perry and Allison Janney, with its pilot netting a cool 10.524 million viewers (Cougar Town has been temporarily taken off air to accommodate it) despite luke warm to good reviews before it premiered.
There was no surprise when it was renewed for its third season on January 10th, 2011, and its hard to see it going anywhere anytime soon- something Channel Ten in Australia would be ecstatic about.
In Australia, Modern Family airs on Sunday nights, with the 11th episode, “Slow Down Your Neighbours” the latest to air.
Well, that’s the end of that.
According to TV Tonight, Ben Elton has debuted to a paltry 455,000. In television terms that’s a big Sayonara.
In isolation, that’s a crap figure, but coming off the back of Top Gear’s 939,000- a handy lead-in- it’s just awful. For a premiere with quite a bit of promotion, coming off a strong lead-in, even in its late-ish timeslot 600,000 would’ve been the BARE MINIMUM expected.
And even that would have been a big F.
You’d have to imagine most viewers turned off at the first break, dismissing it as more of the same.
It is still a bit of a shame, as the performers were all great and enthusiastic. The writing just suffered from being trite and obvious.
Certain elements almost broke away from the tedium, such as Genevieve Morris’ interviewer character, but by then it was too late.
It is just another sign from viewers that they expect much, much better and are sick of writers and producers insulting their intelligence with fart jokes and the like.
It’s hard to imagine with feedback like this (mirrored in stronger terms in the comments on my review), that word of mouth would bring any new viewers to the show next week, but rather erode viewers.
It is now officially uncool to watch this- the next laughing… stock of Australian TV. Planet Earth, please find your seat in between Let Loose Live and Warnie.
Fans of the William Shatner vehicle, S#*! My Dad Says shouldn’t get too attached to it, with some news sources warning it is in danger of being cancelled.
Its ratings have been good, however, and word of mouth has certainly not been as terrible as it was first made out to be. It has had to weather the ridicule of being based on a Twitter feed, as well as confusion over its title, but has won respect for Shatner’s portrayal of a grumpy dad.
It debuted with 12.48 million, but has since dropped to figures of 10.14, 10.29, 8.74 (its lowest figure to date) and 10.45 million.
These figures even trump popular comedies The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and Community.
These figures are not bad, by any stretch, but tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com has noted CBS’ tendency to axe its lowest rated sitcom.
And it is- easily. Mike and Molly is looking pretty safe, with its 10th episode hitting a series high 12.93 million. The past three episodes will have also cemented its chances with sterling figures of 12.39, 12.80 and 12.55.
16 episodes of S#*! have aired in the US so far.
2 episodes have aired in Australia.
As we all know;
Two and a Half Men has been renewed
The Big Bang Theory has been renewed for another 3 seasons, meaning there will be at least 7 seasons altogether.
Mike and Molly is looking good for its second season.
How I Met Your Mother will most likely get a seventh season, with a buzz-generating Countdown episode, and more recently guest-stars including House’s Jennifer Morrison and Katy Perry.
Other shows which are looking good for renewal are NCIS: Los Angeles (with NCIS already renewed), Rules of Engagement, CSI, Criminal Minds and the Mentalist.
Ten would be concerned about Blue Bloods’ performance, with a second season in doubt.
The Good Wife should get a third season, although it is not a given.
Also, Hawaii Five-0 is performing well, and is an impressive product, but Ten would still be crossing their fingers for a second season.
Yes, I am well aware it is not in fact called the “Negus Project”, but that is in fact what many people will see it as. An attempt by Channel Ten to reinvent the way news is brought to you of an evening. More significantly, it is an attempt to make lightning strike twice after the relative success of the 7pm Project.
As any average new show starting out in Australia, it was met with considerable derision when 7pm first premiered. And why not? It was easy enough to criticise virtually any aspect of the show; Dave Hughes is a comedian, not a newsreader/commentator (and not even a funny one at that), Charlie Pickering taps his pen on the desk too much, Carrie Bickmore is annoying, etc.
Then there were the inevitable changes as it was finding its feet, ie. the focus on fewer stories to allow more room for banter to fly, the apparent removal of James Mathieson and Ruby Rose (who were promoted as being core team members, but rarely made consecutive visits to the show- even once-a-month visits for Rose became rare).
This all led to viewer confusion, as well as an increased amount of target to level potshots at. Ratings took a nosedive rather quickly, with many shrugging it off as a confused mix of news and comedy… And if people wanted “comedy” they would turn to Two and a Half Men on Channel Nine, and if they wanted serious news they could turn to ABC News. Surely the whole gamut had been covered- there was no room for any newcomers.
But seemingly against the odds, it made a resurgence. Many people, even if they disliked the format, gained respect for Channel Ten for sticking with it, despite increasingly dire ratings. Here is a look at its first 17 weeks graphically.
As you can see, there was not much improvement at all, with its lowest weekly average coming in at 613,200. Yet the format was consistently tweaked in minor ways, including Charlie Pickering’s hair transformation which seemed to symbolise a more serious skew.
Now, in the week before ratings begins, its figures are more than respectable, with Monday night’s figure 901,000 trouncing Two and a Half Men on 801,000, and only trailing Home and Away and ABC News by around 100,000. Efforts like these are more than enough to keep it safe for a long, long time. Especially when you consider that Ten’s only successful show in the 7pm slot pre-7pm was Masterchef and to an extent, the Biggest Loser. Other attempts to fill the void such as Yasmin’s Getting Married and Taken Out were complete failures, to say the least. In comparison, 7pm’s success has been the best thing to happen to Ten since Masterchef.
Now, comes the new newcomer, 6pm with George Negus, which premiered two weeks ago. However, it is not as clear-cut as 7pm.
Many people will attempt to parallel the two shows.
Both news programs trying to appear to be “different” to every other offering.
Both are trying to place less of an influence on the tabloid style gossip mongering of shows such as Today Tonight and A Current Affair.
However, critics have been more reticent in slamming Negus. One, because he is a respected journalist with bucket-loads of presenting and reporting experience. Two, because it’s a more conventional news program more similar in style to Dateline (which Negus previously fronted), and three, because he’s George Negus.
Many have shown restraint in saying something to the effect of “Let it find its feet first”.
However, it certainly isn’t that hard to highlight its fairly average to terrible ratings.
It debuted with 605,000 viewers on a Monday.
Tuesday it had 505,000
and Friday 439,000
In Week 2, the Monday show drew 540,000, with 487,000 tuning in for the Ten Evening News
Tuesday 443,000 – 471,000
Wednesday 465,000 – 413,000
Thursday 398,000 – 362,000
Friday 411,000 – 384,000
Now, while 7pm had low ratings in the beginning, it only stooped to the 500,000s a handful of times; mostly on a Friday… let alone the 400,000s.
However, if you afford it some leeway because it’s in a 6pm timeslot- fine, 6pm slots tend to draw lower ratings than later in the night (less people home, etc.). However, Ten would be worried about the fact that the Simpsons, in the final week of ratings, in the same timeslot drew, from Monday to Friday;
This is almost the same as Negus’ Week 2 ratings. However, for a show that would cost considerably more to put to air, you would need to see an improvement to at least 500,000 to 600,000 a night to make it worth their while. An even bigger factor is the element of having a good lead-in to the Ten Evening News, which, as you can see, almost loses viewers. And that would need to be at least 550,000 to merely match what Neighbours was pulling in the final week of ratings;
Possibly 6pm’s ultimate failing will be its failure to stand out from the crowd. Now that 7pm has established itself it has become a show people can tune into to catch a snapshot of the days news, but also see the lighter side of things. It is also boasts a great rotating roster of experienced journalists such as Jennifer Byrne, Steve Price and Gorgi Coghlan.
Its Metro Whip-Around really hit the ground running and became one of the most successful segments on the show. It is now sure of itself and is significantly different from anything else on TV. Once again, Ten and Roving Enterprises need to be commended. While it isn’t perfect (Dave Hughes still doesn’t quite seem to be the right fit for a predominantly serious news-based show), it is now a fixture of many people’s daily viewing schedules.
It would be hard to imagine Ten pulling Negus (hmm) before the end of the year, as the 7pm Project is the best of example of good things coming to those who wait. However, it will be hard to justify (not to mention the embarrassment involved) when or if ratings regularly languish in the 400,000s… or God forbid, the deadly 300,000s…
One really has to wonder if the $20m news shake-up will have been worth it.