What we watched: August 2003

Another random snapshot of what we were watching on TV. This time it’s the week ending 2 August 2003.

The new reality series The Block was the latest breakout hit, there was tragedy in Neighbours, and we were introduced to the first batch of budding pop stars in a new format called Australian Idol.

The Nine Network topped the prime time ratings (OzTAM, 5 cities, 6pm-12mn) for the week — scoring 30.6%, followed by Seven (25.8%), Ten (22.7%), ABC (16.5%) and SBS (4.4%). Digital TV was still in its infancy, with the only multi-channel being the SBS World News Channel, and ABC had not long shut down Fly TV and ABC Kids, amid budget cuts.

Nine won all nights, except Tuesday which went to Seven. Ten’s best night was Friday, where it just pipped Seven into second place. Ten was in third place every other night. ABC ranked fourth every night but its best night was Saturday. SBS was well down in fifth place each night, though its best night was Sunday, which included the final of the Tour de France.

Nine won the week comfortably in all cities except Perth, which was won by Seven.

In regional markets across Queensland, Northern NSW, Southern NSW/ACT and Victoria, the Nine Network affiliates (WIN/NBN) won with a market average of 33.4%, followed by Seven affiliates Prime/7Qld (26.3%), Southern Cross Ten (20.1%), ABC (15.5%) and SBS (4.7%).

In Tasmania, Southern Cross Television (representing both Seven and Ten networks) rated 40.7%, ahead of WIN (34.9%), ABC (20.0%) and SBS (4.3%).

The Top 20 shows for Week 31 (27 July-2 August, 2003):
Rank Program Network Day(s) Viewers*
1 The Block Nine Sun 2417000
2 National Nine News Nine Sun 2143000
3 Room For Improvement Seven Tue 1759000
4 Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show Nine Sat 1757000
5 Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Nine Mon 1694000
6 This Is Your Life Nine Thu 1692000
7 National Nine News Nine Sat 1680000
8 Better Homes And Gardens Seven Tue 1669000
9 Australian Idol (Premiere) Ten Sun 1639000
10 McLeod’s Daughters Nine Wed 1638000
11 National Nine News Nine M-F 1580000
12 CSI Miami Nine Wed 1573000
13 Hot Property Seven Wed 1555000
14 Getaway Nine Thu 1553000
15 CSI Crime Scene Investigation (Rpt) Nine Tue 1489000
16 60 Minutes Nine Sun 1480000
17 A Current Affair Nine M-F 1475000
18 Blue Heelers Seven Wed 1473000
19 Law And Order SVU Ten Thu 1464000
20 Friends Nine Mon 1462000
* Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth
Source: Mediaweek, as supplied by OzTAM.

The Nine Network dominated the national Top 20 with 18 shows. The Seven Network had four shows and Network Ten had two — including the premiere of the first season of Australian Idol, hosted by Osher Günsberg (then Andrew G) and James Mathison (pictured).

ABC’s highest ranked program was British drama The Bill on Saturday night, ranked at 34th spot with 1.332 million viewers.

SBS did not have any programs in the Top 100.

The weeknight 6.00pm timeslot was won by National Nine News (#11, 1.580m), followed by Seven News (#41, 1.276m) and The Simpsons (#69, 1.001m).

At 6.30pm, A Current Affair (#17, 1.475m) was ahead of Seven’s Today Tonight (#30, 1.363m) and Ten’s Neighbours (#52, 1.112m), the latter including the wedding of Dee and Toadie (Madeleine West and Ryan Moloney, pictured), which ended in tragedy with Dee presumed dead after the newlyweds’ car plunges off a cliff into water.

At 7.00pm, Seven took the lead with Home And Away (#23, 1.437m), followed by Frasier repeats on Nine (#37, 1.307m), ABC News (#43, 1.180m) and Seinfeld repeats on Ten (#95, 724,000).

The battle of the Sunday night movies was won by Seven’s Shaft (#68, 1.004m), followed by Nine’s The General’s Daughter (repeat) (#71, 977,000). Despite the huge lead-in from Australian Idol, Ten’s Sunday night movie, a repeat of the 1999 film Girl Interrupted, did not make the Top 100. Curiously, the highest ranked movie for the entire week was a repeat of the 1994 film True Lies on Ten on Friday night (#53, 1.102m)

Seven’s Wheel Of Fortune (#89, 745,000) ranked ahead of Nine’s The Price Is Right (#100, 689,000), but both were beaten by Ten News (#60, 1.057m).

Other notable rankings include All Saints (#28, 1.381m), Deal Or No Deal (#29, 1.363m), Rove Live (#48, 1.128m), Enough Rope With Andrew Denton (#51, 1.112m), Kath And Kim (#61, 1.043m), The Mole In Paradise (#70, 986m), The Panel (#84, 822,000), Micallef Tonight (pictured) (#90, 737,000) and Four Corners (#98, 719,000).

Sydney’s top shows for the week were The Block (768,000), National Nine News (Sunday, 631,000), Getaway (541,000), This Is Your Life (520,000) and Room For Improvement and Rugby Union Tri-Nations: Australia v South Africa (both 489,000).

In Melbourne, The Block (750,000) was followed by National Nine News (Sunday, 741,000), Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show (683,000), Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (629,000) and National Nine News (Saturday, 627,000).

In Brisbane, The Block (426,000) was followed by McLeod’s Daughters (364,000), National Nine News (Sunday, 353,000), National Nine News (weeknights, 350,000) and Room For Improvement (340,000)

In Adelaide, National Nine News (Sunday, 285,000) was followed by The Block (247,000), Sunday Afternoon AFL (225,000), Room For Improvement (210,000) and Better Homes And Gardens (207,000).

In Perth, Australian Idol (237,000) was followed by Seven News (Sunday, 234,000), Room For Improvement (228,000), The Block (226,000) and National Nine News (Saturday, 221,000).

Source: Mediaweek, 11 August 2003, with ratings data supplied by OzTAM (metro) and ATR Australia (regional). TV Week, 26 July 2003.

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