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Topic folderTelevision
Australia
Commercial TV chases lost ratings
  Author: eNews staff and agencies | May 23, 2007, 14:13

Most viewers in NSW, Queensland and Melbourne won't be noticing it tonight, absorbed as they will be in the Rugby League State Of Origin game on the Nine Network but over on the Seven network there will be a noticeable change.

That change will become more apparent tomorrow night.

The ABC's Wednesday night programs, The Chaser and Spicks and Specks, have claimed a rare commercial victim, inflicting damage on the dominant Seven Network that rivals, Nine and Ten, have so far this year failed to inflict this year.

The success of the twin ABC TV Wednesday night programs between 8.30 and 9.30 has forced Seven to make significant changes to its Wednesday and Thursday night schedules.

Seven has begun advertising a 'new night' for Heroes on Thursdays at 8.30 pm (which had been in the 8.30 pm timeslot Wednesdays) and a new timeslot for Lost on Thursday evenings at 9.30 pm.

The once mega hit Lost has been downgraded to a second string prime time show by Seven to allow Heroes to be moved to Thursdays at 8.30 pm.

Seven is moving Lost to 9.30 pm from tomorrow night and Heroes moves into the slot.

That way Heroes also won't be belted by the State of Origin Rugby League game on Nine tonight.

Heroes had a promising start to the year in the Wednesday, 8.30 pm timeslot.

Heroes had been doing OK against Ten's House and Nine's Cold Case and the combination of Spicks and Specks and Extras on the ABC.

But when Extras finished in the 9 pm slot and The Chaser's War on Everything replaced it, viewers started moving from the commercials to the ABC.

The audiences for both programs started rising from the high 1.1 million mark to over 1.2 million, then 1.3 million and last week, well over 1.4 million, the Chaser within sight of 1.5 million viewers.

The new viewers were mostly in the 16 to 49 age group, with a smattering of over 50’s for Spicks and Specks.

Seven and Ten were damaged by the rise of the two programs in tandem while Nine lost relatively fewer viewers because its audience is strongly older and over 50 and the two programs, especially the Chaser, doesn’t appeal to the older demographics.

The object of the exercise is to protect Heroes which has been renewed in the US for the 2008 season.

Seven will move Air Crash Investigations into the 8.30 pm Wednesday timeslot to provide a very different alternative for viewers: a more factual style program against the light entertainment on the ABC and the dramas on Ten and Nine.

But it must be galling to Ten and Nine programming departments that they haven't been able to lay a glove on Seven this year and yet the ABC has.

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