2014 Annual: The TV flops and TV hits

It has been another a year of hit and misses in TV land. Here Steve Jones recaps some of the biggest TV flops of 2014 and some of the big successes. 

The Flops

The Biggest Loser, Ten

loserWhen the boss of a TV network publicly admits that one of its programs bombed, you know it was a monumental flop. The Biggest Loser was one such show named and shamed by Ten.

Rarely can a show have been so aptly named. As contestants rediscovered their inner selves by plunging off cliffs, ratings did likewise, falling to barely 300,000.

Overall ratings tumbled more than 42 per cent among people 16-54 in consolidated figures, figures which led Ten boss Hamish McLennan to admit the network witnessed a ratings “collapse” at the start of the year.

Nevertheless, Ten remains undeterred and is sticking by the weight-shedding concept, promising a “Masterchef-style makeover” in 2015.

So You Think You Can Dance, Ten

The Biggest Loser wasn’t alone in being named by Ten as a disaster. The reality dance show was also singled out as failing to woo audiences as viewers switch off in their droves.

As with its stable mate, So You Think You Can Dance limped along with audiences dipping below 300,00. It was even moved from its Sunday slot to Thursday as Ten programmers sought to give the show “cleaner air”.

wakeup 2

Wake Up presenters in happier times

Wake Up, Ten

Ten completes an unwanted hat trick with Wake Up, which never did what it’s name suggested.

The morning show did not so much flop as implode and was axed in May, after seven painful months during which it attracted just 30-40,000 metro viewers per day, around a tenth of free-to-air rivals Sunrise on Seven and Today on Nine.

Wake Up launched with three presenters, James Mathison, Natasha Exelby and Natarsha Bellin but the writing appeared to be on the wall after just 16 days when Exelby was axed, with Ten citing a lack of chemistry between the trio.

Former executive producer of Wake Up, Adam Boland later described in his book that the show didn’t know if it was trying to be an FM radio style program or a hard news program.

voice kidsThe Voice, Nine

The plethora of “shiny floor” reality shows simply had to take its toll on a public weary of some of the formats.

And while Voice was credited with turning around Nine’s fortunes when it first aired in 2012, it fell away last year and slumped even further in 2014.

Just 1.6m metropolitan viewers saw Anja Nissen take out the singing competition this year, down from 2m the year before which left Nine promising a refresh of the format when it returns in 2015.

The junior version of program, The Voice Kids, also badly underwhelmed, with the final attracting 896,000, less than half the number who tuned in for the opening show of the series.

A Place to Call Home, Seven

Another show which did well in its first series, the Australian period drama saw audiences drop sharply in series two this year, to the extent that there will be no return in 2015 on the free-to-air network.

Seven pulled the plug on a third outing mid way through series two.

TV hits

the block glasshouseThe Block Glasshouse, Nine

In contrast to The Voice, the final of the seemingly never-ending renovation show was a winner for Nine as the finale drew the largest reality audience of the year.

It attracted 2.764m for the winners announcement as NSW brothers Simon and Shannon sold their apartment for $1.565m, a profit of $335,000.

The show attracted an average of 1.3m metro viewers each week and comfortably out-rated the previous Fans v Faves series.

Masterchef, Ten

In what was a largely forgettable year for Ten, the network was cracking open a rare bottle of bubbly as the reality cooking show served up a ratings boost.

Audiences climbed 31 per cent on the 2013 series after an overhaul which saw Masterchef “return to basics”.

Love Child, Nine

The Australian drama set in a Sydney hospital in 1969 was a hit for Nine, with all eight episodes of series one posting audiences in excess of one million viewers.

It followed the story of midwife Jessica Marais who returns from London to the fictional Kings Cross Hospital. A second series will run in 2015.

INXS Never Tear Us ApartINXS, Never Tear Us Apart, Seven

Seven’s two-part biopic of INXS which promised to tell the “untold story” of the band and its front man Michael Hutchence, aired on Seven early in 2014 with close to two million metro viewers tuning in for the first episode.

While audience fell away a little for the second episode, Never Tear Us Apart was the only drama to rank in the consolidated viewers top 15 ranked shows for the year.

My Kitchen Rules, Seven

While reality shows had a tough year overall with audiences falling away from many franchises, cooking appeared to buck the trend with Seven notching up a success with My Kitchen Rules.

The casting was said to have been one of the major contributors to its ratings bonanza as the cooking almost played second fiddle to the characters involved.


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