Controversial crime drama Underbelly is continuing to attract huge television audiences despite leaked copies being available online.
The Nine Network’s hit show, which tells the story of Melbourne’s infamous gangland wars, drew an average of 1.250 million viewers across the country last night.
That was in line with last week’s episode, which attracted an audience of 1.273 million.
Underbelly is not being screened in Victoria, because of ban imposed by a court ruling that it could prejudice an upcoming murder trial.
An episode of the US crime show CSI Miami shown in its place failed to win over audiences.
Underbelly’s continued success comes despite growing numbers of people downloading leaked copies of advanced episodes on a range of internet sites.
Thousands of people have copied the files that were leaked this week and include episodes one through to nine.
Last night’s show, which featured drug kingpin Carl Williams being shot, was only the fourth in the 13-part series.
Meanwhile, Nine’s other ratings hope, US crime drama Cashmere Mafia, lost about 80,000 viewers from its debut last week.
The series, which stars Australians Miranda Otto and Frances O’Connor and is produced by Sex and the City creator Darren Starr, did however beat its rival on Ten, the US show Numbers.
Another new Nine series, The Chopping Block, hosted by Catriona Rowntree, had its best audience since its premiere.
The Seven Network had the top five programs to be the standout performer.
RSPCA Animal Rescue led the charge with more than 1.6 million viewers.