Commercial networks are throwing everything they have at viewers over the next few weeks – and reheated reality TV is still king.
As proved by Ten’s Gogglebox (back later this month) to the tune of two Logies, people love watching other people do things: Fall in love, serve up their soul on a plate, stack it on obstacle courses or build kitchens at warp speed.
And August promises to be a bonanza for anyone looking outside their own life for fun.
In the past two days, Nine has brought back The Block, Ten has revived Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures – first seen in 2001 – and Seven launched its second season of Little Big Shots.
True Story with Hamish & Andy kicked off its second season on Nine on Monday night and Ten is expecting big things when The Bachelor, with Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins as leading man, returns on August 15.
Seven is also going back to the future with a Dannii Minogue meets Dancing With The Stars melange, Dance Boss.
Peter Andre, there’s a show out there with your Funky Junky name on it.
Proving tried-and-tested formulas are trumping anything new, The Block hammered rivals in its highest launch since 2014, grabbing a national metro audience of 1.16 million on Sunday.
Its national average audience was a massive 1.57 million, the opposite of how host Scott Cam described the property they will renovate: “Very the worse for wear.”
Set at St Kilda’s historic Gatwick Hotel, the series was slammed before its debut as “hard to stomach” and “grotesque”, with claims long-term residents of the Gatwick were made homeless for the purposes of entertainment and Logies.
It didn’t bother audiences, with the five ‘Blockhead’ teams vying for glory and money pulling in a bigger couch crowd than 2017’s premiere.
Do your reality tastes tend more towards precocious kids displaying unlikely talents? Little Big Shots took that formula to second spot, although its 963,000 audience was well down on its debut last year.
And definitively proving audiences have a comfort zone when it comes to TV, Glenn Robbins pulling on the khakis as Russell Coight after a 16-year hiatus did the biz for Ten.
The debut of the third series of All Aussie Adventures came in third, with 881,000 people tuning in, meeting Ten’s expectations.
— Russell Coight's #AllAussieAdventures (@RussellCoight) August 5, 2018
Just how healthy are the numbers?
“The strength of reality TV is all on demographics, and here we’re talking young people,” a sales executive from a commercial network told The New Daily.
“It’s a good story right now for reality and reboots.”
Viewers aren’t the only ones pleased.
“What reality TV has is the ability to integrate commercial messaging and partnerships, which means money,” the source said.
“You can’t have a supplier or sponsor integration in the news or drama.”
Meanwhile, Ten slammed as “total nonsense” weekend claims by News Corp that local shows including The Bachelor, Australian Survivor and I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! are under review by new owner CBS.
In a strongly-worded statement, Ten chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said The Bachelor “is set to be a fantastic season” and The Bachelorette with controversial Ali Oetjen “will follow later” this year.
“The claim that we think the shows are too similar and that there is only room for one is false and naive,” Ms McGarvey said.
“We are looking forward to launching the new seasons of all the shows that are allegedly ‘under review.’
“To claim otherwise is just plain wrong.”