So close AGAIN. Nine’s News team take the National win from Seven, with Queensland still the flip-flop state and the SA border still proving a tough wall to climb over, but a year in the Nine product is slowly making in-roads in the rusted on markets of Adelaide and Perth. Beyond that they suffered the same fate as all other networks – a big push at the start of the year meant they ran out of steam 6 weeks before the end of the ratings year (not helped by a lacklustre effort from Big Brother). Taking the demos to Seven’s total people win two years running is good, but not quite good enough and in part it’s due to their more-hit-than-miss schedule. If only they weren’t so reliant on The Big Bang Theory…
60 Minutes – . It was challenged in the latter half of the year as Sunday Night went head to head with it, yet still manages to be the go-to long form current affairs program for the big/famous/important interviews.
A Current Affair – With the News extending to an hour product ACA moved to 7pm and settled in fine. With Tracy Grimshaw still at the helm it’s dependable and trustworthy when at its best and almost as shonky as the love rats/tradies they chase down the street. Though the highbrow doesn’t keep audiences when TG interviews the nation tunes in.
Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year Make It Up As We Go Along – Areas of South America proved to be a little more dangerous than they wanted to admit, so somehow Mexico and even Japan featured in this year’s series. It’s clear H&A are having fun – given how much they’re being paid they should be – and will likely keep doing this as long as Nine want them to. Just maybe give up on the nation-themed trips and go where the fun is.
Love Child – 1960’s King’s Cross has never looked better and this drama offered viewers a great cast and script to connect with that wasn’t overly condescending. And OH THE FASHION! Mandy McElhinney & Ella Scott-Lynch were standouts and the good news is there’s more coming in 2015.
Mornings – David Campbell & Sonia Kruger continue to be a whole bunch of fun to play along with.
State of Origin – Game 2 was the only show this year (five city metro + regional) to kick over the four million mark. Sure NSW may have won back the shield but it’s really only on loan from Queensland. It truly is the pinnacle of NRL representation and a spectacle without comparison.
The Block (Fans v Faves; Glasshouse) – Drama, drama, drama. The Fans v Faves series showed the cult of personality for previous contestants and Glasshouse reminded us that the property market is a fickle being (almost as fickle as contestant Dea’s view on friendships). A ratings blockbuster for Nine and returns with a double series in 2015.
The Embassy – What people get up to when they’re in Thailand never failed to surprise, and the access granted by Australian Embassy staff to allow us to see how they deal with the chaos was impressive and only added to the interest.
Arrow S02 – Fans tire of their show being dicked around, and then to have it settle late on Tuesday night meant they either recorded it or dropped away. Seems an expensive way to run an overseas import.
Big Brother – Casting really hurt what went into the season looking to build on the success of last year. There was the obligatory relationship drama and intruders by the drayload. Every year it promises to get back to basics and it never does. Sliding it after 8:30pm almost permanently never helped especially when kept PG so that the GO! replay the next day could run at an earlier timeslot.
Gotham – So much buzz about this series depicting the early years of Bruce Wayne & Jim Gordon and after it got over the initial 3 ep hump it settled in nicely. Nine did themselves no favours by delaying the run and then bumping it in and out of the schedule on a whim.
House Husbands S03 – After the sudden and forced departure of Tim Campbell to “spice things up” for his on-air husband, and the forced inclusion of The Voice host Darren McMullan, this season swung brutally between contemporary adult drama (Gary Sweet and Julia Morris starred) and kid-centric family time. Time to take stock and make this series one or the other, so that the later timeslot validates the content.
Inside Story – Promised so much and delivered so little. An attempt at a mid-week 60 Minutes but it never gained traction.
Sherlock S03 – Given Sherlock’s presumed death at the end of S02 this could have been a rip-snorter for the network, but they delayed it and lost most of their audience. Then they scheduled it inconsistently around the country (Perth saw S03E01 before the rest of the country). It was a great series though fans found it elsewhere first and that meant it rated abysmally.
The Big Bang Theory – Please stop this. Now. Rates its proverbial off for, as best I can tell, no real reason.
The Today Show – It ended with a surge thanks to Karl’s smelly suit and his and Lisa’s tenacity in a political interview, but it wasn’t enough. They followed Sunrise to the US and while Seven’s brekky show trudged across the States they holed up in New York and barely raised a ratings eyebrow. George Gardner stepped away mid-year to have Sylvia Jeffreys step up and Ben Fordham exited at the end of the year to be dad & focus on radio for a year to have Tim Gilbert step in – all seasoned performers allowing the show to sail on.
The Voice Australia – The audience is now over it being all about the judges and really want it to be about the contestants (again). The inclusion of Kylie helped keep this afloat A LOT.
Underbelly S05 – Fat Tony & Co too us to Greece as we saw the life of Mokbel play out, bad wig and all. Better than previous instalments but not a superior way to round out what was initially a crime drama hit.
2 Broke Girls – THE MADNESS, THE HORROR – IT MUST STOP.
Jump In – It hasn’t gotten any better.
Schapelle – It could have been the telemovie of the year but it wasn’t any good. Add to that the early round scheduling due to it working against Seven’s INXS juggernaut and the timing of Schapelle Corby’s actual release forcing their hand meant the actual drama was when the show would air and not what happened on-screen.
The Taste – Still no sign of the next big thing in reality cooking shows. Perhaps this one is sitting kicked under the filing cabinet in Michael Healey’s office?
The Voice Kids Australia – There was outrage when a contestant didn’t get picked and she cried, and there was outrage when people realised that shilling kids for entertainment purposes isn’t actually that entertaining and is far creepier than anticipated. Those that made it through to the end had a great time despite the fact they were in close proximity to Mel B and could have done their nation a great service by doing away with her. I’d turn my chair for that.
When Love Comes to Town – Farmer wants a wife on a bus. It teetered along a delicate line where at times it almost looked like a bus filled with “sweet relief” had rolled into town on some kind of naughty tour de force. That actually might have made for a more interesting show.
Overall result: B plus. You get the feeling, particularly with their programming, that sometimes they’re just coasting along like that kid in class who could do better but knows how to do just enough to get the results they need. Their first year as a public company has been solid so perhaps shareholders might give them a kick up the butt (in the nicest way) and 2015 will allow them to dust off that old jingle again.