There’s lots for Channel 7 to shout about from 2012. Their reality product matured, their long-form drama product continued to deliver, and their News/light entertainment/public affairs/current affairs programming continued to lead from the front (sometimes with its chin). There’s also a lot notably missing from their schedule – no big Aussie drama events, no mini-series, very little comedy – Mrs Brown’s Boys doesn’t count – nothing to really make it stand out. It was a continued war with Ch9 where Ch7 lost a few battles but remained victorious overall… the results are far closer than they’ve been since 2005.
The question remains: Have Ch7 done enough with what they’ve been given/bought?
My Kitchen Rules (S03) – The casting perfect; the drama high-camp. It was state vs state rivalry to the nth degree as the MasterChef challenger blitzkrieged the start of the year and never looked back. The Princess and her Florist may have won, but it delivered the best bad guys ever in the Gold Coast boys. Delicious!
Sunrise – Mel, Kochie, Nat, Berrets & Grant continue to lead the charge every morning into households across Australia. They’re more than part of the furniture: they’re family. Only outshone at times by their weekend counterpart.
Revenge – Prime-time soap opera is back, and it’s just. so. addictive.
Winners and Losers (S02) – It found its own voice this year and the four core leads look far more comfortable in each other’s company. It also has found it’s demographic and they eat it up each Tuesday night.
Downton Abbey (S02) – Though it was delivered FAR TOO LATE after it aired in the UK, it still stands as modern classic. The stories, the environs, the unrequited love, the scandal, the war… Bring on season three.
The Amazing Race Australia (S02) – It just got better – a rare feat for reality TV.
The Morning Show – It finally saw some competition after 5 years unbeaten, but Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies continue to maintain viewers as a part of Ch7’s very successful morning schedule. Who doesn’t want to go to Vegas for a “working holiday”?!
Sunday Night – Another strong year for the current affairs flagship. It lost very few timeslots across the year and people flocked to the high-calibre stories from an incredibly diverse reporting line-up. Still young enough for the reporters to deliver stories about their subjects and not about themselves.
The Unbelievable Truth – A hilarious panel comedy show from The Chaser (they went commercial & got promotional bottles of water with their faces on the label), delivering a TV format of a radio game show developed by former Goodie Graeme Garden. The variety of guests was key – Sam Simmons and Kitty Flanagan stand out with their performances.
The X Factor Australia (S04) – A free run at the end of the year saw Samantha Jade take out the title of 2012 X Factor winner and the show draw consistently high ratings, but not enough for it to make the Top 10 programs for the year. Telling given it’s one of Ch7’s marquee programs.
Once Upon A Time – Prime-time fantasy drama the entire family enjoyed.
Packed To The Rafters (S05) – In five short years everything has happened to Dave & Julie Rafter. They look like they need retirement themselves. It’s probably only got one more season in it.
Beauty and the Geek (S04) – A ratings success sure, but we know all the twists now. Cut the season down to the makeovers and be done with it.
Pictures Of You – A show with such heart treated with such contempt by the programming team.
Today Tonight – Dumping of the host to refocus its East Coast public affairs program with localised state-by-state shows indicates TT had more than outlived its appalling circular run of stories on boobs/bras/burkas. What it will become in 2013 will hopefully make what we saw this year pale in comparison.
Brynne: My Bedazzled Life – That it revealed that Brynne’s life was filled with pointless shopping and a pretty average relationship with her husband meant it never hit the early-promised mark of a look into the “rich and infamous” of Melbourne’s most over-publicised societal couple.
Mrs Brown’s Boys – On The Buses and Benny Hill stopped being made 30 years ago for a reason. Not. Funny.
Please Marry My Boy – Once you got past the cringe-worthy premise that Mum would be picking the “Bride” for her son, then you had to overcome the insinuation the girls were keep to jump into bed with the boy in question at any moment. Having them all live at home with Mum offered some very special moments too. The show played out and added a piece for Today Tonight along the way.
Bones/Castle – Aren’t they the same show anyway? In and out of the schedule, repeats popping in to prop things up, resolved sexual tension between the leads… there’s only so many times one can go to this well and not find it dry eventually.
Dancing With The Stars (S12) – Sonia Kruger defected to Ch9, so go-to-girl of the moment Mel B stepped in and surprised at how well she performed, even if she had no idea who she was speaking with half the time. Dan MacPherson again carried himself with style and aplomb though the show has more than passed its use-by date. Judge Helen Richey always a highlight, both in style and insight.
TV4ME – Take one datacasting channel, fill it full of god-awful infommercials, stir and PRESTO! Nobody cares.
Australia’s Got Talent (S06) – What turned out to be the final series of the once giant show, former CDB band member Andrew de Silva was crowned winner and, thanks to The Voice Australia, almost everyone missed it.
McDonald’s Gets Grilled – Laughable in its attempts to be serious programming (even though it was buried at 10:30pm).
The Price Is Right – Larry Emdur smiled as people were told once again to “Come On Down!” but the show was a shadow of its former self due largely to the very limited budget assigned to it. Made even more poignant by the passing of former host and Aussie TV legend Ian Turpie.
Fango – In the middle of the launch of Ch7’s proprietary second screen app, the Australian Open Tennis broke out but didn’t get in the way too much.
It was a strong year that could have been so much stronger. But absolutely it was a consistently high rating year for the big red train.
Overall result: B plus. Yes the Network was consistently solid, but apart from a few peaks it didn’t deliver much depth. Serious work required to ensure the downward turn does not become a trend.