Next week, from Sunday April 11, ratings season returns to TV. The week is packed with both new shows and returns of favourites as the commercial networks battle it out for ratings supremacy.
The weeks sees the premiere of the third series of Underbelly on Nine, The Pacific on Seven, Hey Hey Its Saturday on Wednesday on Nine and Australia’s Got Talent on Seven. Also in the mix will be The Zoo on Seven focussing on Pathi Harn on Monday the 12th, new Sea Partol on Nine as well as other regular shows getting back to new episodes after two weeks of repeats or not being on at all.
Over at Ten, they have their big week during the following week with Sunday April 18 seeing the finale of the Biggest Loser and Talkn’ ‘Bout Your Generation, the premiere of season 2 of Masterchef at 7.30pm Monday April 19 and the Finale of So You Think You Can Dance at 8.30pm Wednesday April 21.
Focussing on next week for now – not only do viewers have to contend with so many big name new shows coming onto free to air at once but there are all those programming fine tuning and two hour premieres that go with it as the networks – primarily Nine and Seven at this stage – jostle and tweak with their programming in order to top the ratings for the week.
Underbelly is a two hour premiere on Sunday, April 11. Following Underbelly, at 10.30 V is now been programmed as a replay of the previous week’s episode. New episodes of V return at 9.30 Sunday April 18.
On Tuesday, Australia’s Got Talent will run for 100 minutes, from 7.30 – 9.10. In direct competition, Nine will show a 75 minute Top Gear special which with ads, will also finish around 9.10. That pushes Survivor back to a 9.10 start.
On Wednesday night, April 14, Hey Hey it is Saturday is scheduled to run for two hours from 7.30 to 9.30. If last year is anything to go by, the show could run as much as one hour late – which would be no surprise if it did, as Seven have their premiere of the Pacific airing from 8.30 – 10.40pm on that night. Nine, at this stage have programmed a new episode Big Bang Theory to follow Hey Hey at 9.30 and a repeat of Big Bang at 10.00. Given the likelihood of a Hey Hey overrun, if you are a Big Bang fan, be prepared for the show not to air at all – or at least the programmed new episode to end up starting at 10 or later. Then again, you can catch Big Bang on GO Sundays at 7.30, Thursdays at 8.30 and on Nine Mondays at 8pm – yes – it is almost as regular as Two and a Half Men now!
Possibly lost amongst the hype of all these other shows, is the return of Flashforward on Thursday night at 9.30 on Seven. It too will be a two hour offering. Sea Patrol on Nine at 8.30 Thursday is only one hour.
If you are one of these people who like to give everything a go on TV before deciding what to watch regularly, then your PVR will really get a work out next week – with hours of new programming on offer.
If you don’t have a PVR, it may be tough to decide what to give a go, but keep in mind – both Seven and Nine usually run encores of shows they premiere for the first week or two in an attempt to boost the number of viewers shows are exposed to and thus boost future ratings. Encores usually do not show in TV guides as they hope you will watch them first time round – but already – Nine have scheduled an encore of Underbelly on Tuesday night at 10.10 after Survivor. This may change at the last minute.
If you miss anything, be sure to keep a look out at the electronic guides for Seven, 7TWO, Nine and Go for repeat screenings.
The following week see Ten join in with Masterchef premiering Monday April 19 at 7.30pm. Masterchef will also run for extended time – with both Monday and Tuesdays episodes running for 90 minutes. In 2009, the week that Masterchef started, Biggest Loser and Dance ended was one of only two weeks for the whole year that Ten won in overall ratings. The finale of So You Think You Can Dance on Wednesday will be against Hey Hey’s second episode and The Pacific from 8.30.
If Masterchef, Underbelly, Hey Hey and the Pacific live up to their expectations, it will be a great three way battle for that week (April 18-24) between Ten, Nine and Seven.