TV networks prepare for the post-Easter battle

Australia’s TV networks have begun their pushes for the post-Easter phase of the 2011 ratings year with all three beginning to promote a string of new and returning shows.

The move came as Nine accused Seven of “self-adulation that would make Narcissus blush” over its early ratings lead.

The end of next week will signal a two week Easter break from the official ratings period before battle resumes in May.

Seven this week began promoting Dancing With The Stars, Australia’s Got Talent, US crime drama Detroit 1-8-7 and the next series of Beauty And The Geek Australia.

Nine has started early promotion for the next series of The Block and revealed the first images from production on its latest Underbelly instalment, Razor.

And Ten has revealed that Masterchef will return on May 1 – the same night as The Logies TV awards.  

Despite Seven’s early lead in the 2011 ratings – driven in part by the success of My Kitchen Rules – A spokesman for Nine told Mumbrella, that Seven would be guilty of “premature celebration” if it believed the year was already won.

As well as The Block and Underbelly, the Nine spokesman pointed to UK comedy Come Fly With Me, from the makers of Little Britain, the US comedy series Mr Sunshine and the Zapruder-produced police documentary series AFP. Also coming to Nine is a new series of Sea Patrol, In Their Footsteps, Top Design with Jamie Durie and Top Gear Australia.

In Seven’s post-Easter programming line-up is The Amazing Race Australia, Dancing with the Stars, the continuation of the paused season of Packed to the Rafter and Australia’s Got Talent.

Also to come on Seven is the new drama series, Wild Boys, and a new season of The X Factor. Seven will also introduce new US series including Body of Proof, Law and Order: Los Angeles and the spin-off from Criminal Minds. The UK series Downton Abbey will also debut later in the year.

On Seven’s year to date, director of corporate development Simon Francis, said the network “was only getting started”. He said: “We lead in total viewers and all key audience demographics. We’re building audiences and we believe we have the horsepower and the programme slate to build on our leadership through 2011.”

Nine’s spokesman said: “We always give credit where it’s due – so good luck to Seven on its strong start. But the ratings year is yet very young and this contest is a Melbourne Cup, not a sprint.

“Seven does have tiresome repeat-offender form for premature celebration, and their self-adulation would make Narcissus blush. We’ll leave them to that, and concentrate on the roll-out of a very strong programming slate for Nine through 2011.”

For Ten, a spokesman said that as well as the return on Masterchef, dramas Merlin and Offspring are on the way back. She said that there would also be another series of Junior Masterchef later in the year. Ten will also air home renovation show The Renovators, which was billed as its big event format of 2011 last year, as well as new Australian formats including Class Of and the new panel show Can of Worms.

She said that Ten had had a “solid start” to the ratings year.


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