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Ali Oetjen’s The Bachelorette premieres with lowest audience ever for franchise

Ten’s controversial move to cast Ali Oetjen as the star of the fourth local iteration of The Bachelorette franchise has resulted in the lowest ever premiere audience for The Bachelorette, with 631,000 metro viewers tuning in last night.

Last year, Ten’s casting of celebrity Sophie Monk paid dividends, with 951,000 metro viewers tuning in, while relative unknown Georgia Love received 655,000 the year prior. Sam Frost’s debut season of The Bachelorette in 2015 had 875,000 metro viewers

Oetjen is looking for love on TV for the third time around

Oetjen’s season of The Bachelorette is also down on premieres of the franchise’s male-fronted version, with Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins’ season – which wrapped just last week – pulling 940,000 viewers at the start.

Matty J’s season last year had 846,000 on premiere, while Richie Strahan had 882,000 in 2016. Sam Wood’s season in 2015 had 846,000, while Blake Garvey’s 2014 outing had 692,000.

The very first season of The Bachelor – when audiences first met Oetjen – had 669,000 for its debut.

The 34% fall for Oetjen’s season compared to Monk’s will come as a blow for Ten, after it secured the largest audience ever for The Bachelor with Cummins and narrowly managed to make the champions versus contenders season of Survivor Australia its most-watched ever.

Despite the disappointing result, a Ten spokesperson was looking at the positives.

“The Bachelorette Australia launch clearly struck a chord with the younger viewers with the show topping the 16-39 and 18-49 audience demos, and coming second in 25 to 54s. We also saw great engagement on social with the #BacheloretteAU hashtag trending #1 across Australia. Seven out of 10 trends last night were about The Bachelorette. Each of our Bachelorette leads have had their own unique story on their journey to find love and as Ali’s season goes on, she will surprise many,” they said.

The Bachelorette did manage to top the key advertising demographics of 16 to 39s and 18 to 49s, but was beaten by Nine’s The Block in the 25 to 54s category.

Overall, The Block had 918,000 as it speeds towards its finale on Sunday night.

Later in the evening, Ten’s new local drama Playing For Keeps fell to 375,000 viewers from 466,000 last week. The 20% drop is unsurprising, given last week’s episode had a lead in of 822,000 from the penultimate episode of Cummins’ The Bachelor.

In another blow for Ten, Nine’s A Current Affair, which featured an ambush combative interview with former Bachelor Cummins, significantly out-rated The Bachelorette, with 837,000 metro viewers.

Seven’s prime-time offering of Highway Patrol fared even worse than The Bachelorette, with just 491,000 tuning in.

Seven News, however, did win the evening with 988,000 metro viewers.

The ABC’s most-watched program was Hard Quiz, with 686,000, while Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell had 651,000 and its news program had 644,000.

Overall, the strength of The Block helped Nine to a primary channel win, with a 22.8% share of the audience, compared to Seven’s 17.8% and Ten’s 13.6%. The ABC was not far behind on 12.1%, while SBS finished on 4.1%.

The most-watched multi-channel was Network Ten’s One, which had 4.0%.

This was not enough, however, to change the rankings of the networks, with Nine Network finishing on 29.3%, Seven Network on 26.9% and Network Ten on 20.7%.

ABC Network had 16.7% and SBS Network 6.3%.

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