Channel 7 has solidified it’s position as the leading commercial network in Australia with another massive year. 7Two and 7mate continue their rise within their key demos and only add to the Network’s dominance. Ch7 barely delivered a dud show in 2011, though they did have a couple that came very close. What was most suprising was what the Network chose to renew and cancel from this year’s schedule… it seems 1 million viewers is no longer enough, despite the fragmentation across the digital multi-channels. Though with a roster this full you’d have to question just what the Big Red Train can screw up – if anything – in 2012.

These are but a smattering of high & the few low points for Ch7 this year…

Sunrise – A winner for the network again in 2011, though by less of a margin with its Ch9 competitor snapping closely. The meagre breakfast audience continues to be enraptured with the relaxed “Mum & daggy Dad” style of the hosts, though rumours gaining momentum that Mel & Kochie are moving on in 2012 and Ch10’s Breakfast joining the fray, it would be interesting times ahead.
The Morning Show – Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies continue to own morning TV, and it’s easy to see why. They’re just so darn likeable.
Sunday Night – Now sans Munro and rating better because of it, Seven’s longer form current affairs program has delivered solid ratings and good stories, finally giving counterpart Ch9’s 60 Minutes a run for it’s money.
Dancing With The Stars – Ch7’s new celeb “it” man Manu Feildel took out the glitter ball this year, as Dan MacPherson and Sonia Kruger cemented themselves as the edgiest hosting couple on Australian TV today.
Downton Abbey – A hit due in no small point to a great promo run in the weeks beforehand, the Abbey has left audiences panting for more period costume drama. It’s a shame that the second season has been held over to 2012, as so many will source it elsewhere (even DVD) before it airs here.
My Kitchen Rules – Manu and Peter Evans fronted a much stronger product for Ch7, though the cast had weak spots.
X Factor Australia – The inclusion of Mel B somehow didn’t hurt the show. Lots of pretty good talent, some great special guests and the audience’s relaxed expectations on ‘entertainment’ have helped this show deliver another win.
Australia’s Got Talent – Jack Vidgen. No more need to be said.
Four Weddings – A surprise reality hit for the Network, even though narrated by the ever-irritating Fifi Box. Casting managed to take the entire show to the next level with some class 1 bitches – making the show must-watch reality TV.
Amazing Race Australia – A risky first outing paid off courtesy good casting and great locations (and little sign the budget was tight). Grant Bowler more than adequately replaced Phil Keoghan in this local version. More to come in 2012.
Beauty and the Geek – Though never far from controversy, constructed or otherwise, this joyous example of car-crash reality TV again kicked goals for the Network. Swapping in a male beauty/female geek was long overdue, and there’s even word a geek got their nasty on with a beauty in the house. So much fun, though it could only work in this late part of the ratings year.
Packed to the Rafters – Despite Ch7 shafting fans with a short season at the start and end of the year, millions of eyes flocked to this family drama every week.

Conviction Kitchen – A rare Brisbane-based production that didn’t quite capture the audience as it showed ex-cons and their chance at redemption by learning a new trade. Though the story was strong it’s hard for an audience to develop an emotional attachment when they are constantly reminded the contestants were once criminals.
Winners and Losers – A new show from the creators/producers of Rafters started with so much hope and then quickly descended into farce and nonsense.
Wild Boys – The only reason this isn’t in Ch7’s hits is because they chose to not renew it for 2012. A decent family drama for Sunday nights that rated well, but not well enough for the bean counters on the Big Red Train.
Today Tonight – Though described as a “cancer on the face of journalism”, it has consistently won the 6:30pm timeslot for the Network and there seems to be no sign of that changing.

Dinner Date – Dropping Manu with some pre-recorded pieces to top & tail this show helped, but didn’t bring enough audience goodwill to get over the fact you felt like you were watching a very slow documentary on bogan dating habits.

You can’t argue with that schedule. Channel 7 are in prime position for a reason, though unless they work 2012 complacency could be their undoing.

Overall result: A minus. The channel talks too much and distracts the others, however it’s record speaks for itself.