TV networks gearing up for ratings war
Wednesday Jan 24 16:42 AEDT
TV networks will play their strongest hands first in the 2007 ratings war.
Some of the year's most anticipated programs, including hit American dramas, comedies and game shows, will be rolled out in the next fortnight, with the major battlefields well-defined before the official ratings season begins on February 11.
The Seven and Nine networks will either give their expensive new game shows their best chance of success, or kill each other, on Monday nights from January 29.
The Andrew O'Keefe-hosted The Rich List, at 7.30pm, will lead into a strong night for Seven with Desperate Housewives, which repeats its season two final this week before series three starts on February 5, and the hit new US drama Brothers and Sisters, starring Rachel Griffiths and Calista Flockhart, from February 5.
Nine chief executive Eddie McGuire's return to the game show host hot seat on 1 vs 100 will go toe-to-toe with Desperate Housewives at 8.30pm, as his previous show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire so fatefully did.
It will be preceded by the new observational-reality show The Code: Crime and Justice, from February 5.
But to ensure audiences give the big budget quiz a look, Nine will air Steve Irwin's final film Ocean's Deadliest, a program certain to rate well with an introduction from Terri Irwin, at 7.30pm before 1 vs 100's premiere this Monday.
Network Ten will rely on a strong performance from last year's surprise hit The Biggest Loser when it begins with hour-long episodes on Sunday, February 4 and Monday, February 5.
The weight-loss contest will complete a tight three-pronged battle at 7pm after its launch against Nine game show Temptation, which returns on Monday, and Home and Away, which is already back on air.
The 5.30pm game shows, in which Deal or No Deal on Seven dominates Bert's Family Feud, and the news and current affairs programs which follow, could become more important than ever in 2007.
Ten will also unveil its new reality series Bondi Rescue on Mondays January 5, which will join Supernatural and Cops.
Seven will be reluctant to take on Nine with its A-grade material on Tuesday and Sunday night's until the Australian cricket team's rampage concludes on February 11, assuming the world champions wrap up the one days series finals in the first two of three available matches.
Seven will however launch the sixth series of 24 on Tuesday and Thursday at 8.30pm before it slots into the unfortunate 10.30pm Wednesday slot while Ten persists with NCIS at 8.30pm and The OC fades away in the later slot of 9.30pm.
Nine will stick to its tried and true on Wednesday nights with the February 7 return of McLeod's Daughters, Cold Case and Without A Trace, which have rated well in the past but waned in 2006.
Seven will be tough to beat on Wednesdays if audiences connect with the ordinary folk with superpowers in Heroes and the brothers on the run in a new series of Prison Break, from January 31.
Unfortunately for Ten, this bumper night is one of its strongest, program-wise, with its own new game show The ConTest, hosted by Andrew G, at 7.30pm, last year's second most popular overseas series House at 8.30pm and Medium at 9.30pm from February 7.
Medium's new series will premiere with a double episode on January 31.
The strong following of ABC comedy-quiz Spicks and Specks, hosted by Adam Hills, can expect to eat further into this crowded night of programming when it returns on February 15.
Hit fly-on-the wall programs Missing Person's Unit and RPA will headline Nine on Thursday night following travel magazine Getaway at 7.30pm from February 1.
On Seven, the sitcoms How I Met Your Mother and My Name Is Earl will return to 7.30pm and 8pm from February 8 followed by the new series of Lost.
Seven looks in better shape than Nine for the next wave of programming with another US hit Ugly Betty, the return of Grey's Anatomy and new imports Shark, 30 Rock and What About Brian, and of course Dancing With The Stars, yet to be added to schedules.
Nine's leftovers are dominated by untried reality (Jetstar and Monarchy), the falling giant CSI franchise, dinosaur drama Primeval, new Aussie drama Sea Patrol (starring Lisa McCune) and dramas already axed in the US, Justice and Kidnapped.
Ten's biggest weapons will include the Adam Sandler and David Space project Rules of Engagement, a series of programs featuring superstar chef Jamie Oliver, the return of Thank God You're Here, Saving Babies with Kim Watkins, Teen Fat Camp, the Joanne Lees Story, Big Brother in May and Australian Idol in August.
Not anything we didn't already really know, but I read it anyway. TBL on Monday is deffinetely 1hr, so thats good.