A $5m ratings flop

A Television New Zealand charter-driven drama which cost the taxpayer more than $5 million to produce has ended with “disappointing” ratings.

The final episode of TV One’s Rude Awakenings, a satire set in Ponsonby, screened on Friday night. It had received a New Zealand On Air grant of $5,497,382 but rated poorly, compared with other programmes that aired in its 8.30pm timeslot.

TVNZ sources said the viewing figures meant it was unlikely there would be a second series.

According to AGB Nielsen Media Research, the MF Films series attracted an average weekly audience of 215,000 viewers in the 5-plus age category. This compared with the timeslot’s average of 311,000 viewers for the previous six months.

British crime show Rosemary and Thyme, which screened in the same slot on TV One last year, pulled an average audience of more than 354,000 for the same demographic, and during one episode it attracted 367,000 viewers.

TV One spokeswoman Melanya Burrows described the data as “disappointing” but said that despite what some commentators had suggested, TVNZ did not give the show the kiss of death by scheduling it on a Friday evening.

“We didn’t want to put this fledgling drama up against overwhelming competition – the tried and tested successful international dramas which have huge, broad and very loyal followings,” Burrows said. The broadcaster had been “determined” to give the programme “its own opportunity to shine”.

The end of week timeslot was chosen because TV One had “an established pattern of popular factual followed by popular broad-appeal drama, in a successful, well-watched evening line-up,” Burrows told the Herald on Sunday. “This new satire-drama perfectly fitted the tone and style of the drama slot.”

The series, starring former Shortland Street actress Danielle Cormack, told the tale of two families thrust into unwelcome intimacy through a tenant and landlord relationship in neighbouring Ponsonby villas.

Rude Awakenings’ producer Michele Fantl did not return Herald on Sunday calls, but a spokeswoman at her Auckland production company said there would be “no comment” on how the series had rated.

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  • Tui

    That sucks. It really does.

  • campgrrls

    Hmmm. Well it suggests RA has or will be cancelled, but still I have yet to see official word that it has been cancelled. Surely the powers that be know that a programme can take a while to grow an audience. I think they should take a chance on a second series. I think it’s alot better written and made that Rosemary & Thyme. I just watch R & T for the 2 characters, but I think the stories ans scripts are a bit naff.

  • JessieK

    Has anyone looked into how The Hothouse did?

    Rude Awakenings had between 158,000 and 316,000 watching its episodes. The Hothouse had between 81,000 and 166,000 watching its episodes.

  • Tui

    ..and what channel was The Hothouse on?
    These are both great shows, the main problem is the channel, and how well the shows are advertised! If it was only ‘promo’ed on TV ONE, then of course it is going to die. If it was also advertised on TV2, then it may have gained much more viewers.

  • toggerlogger

    The hothouse was a shite program.
    Any idea where I can get a “sign your support here for a second series of Rude Awakenings” website up and running? I know about 150 people who would sign it immediately…

  • Tui

    Really?
    M.F Films suggest you email TVNZ as much as you can, to try and get things churning. I really hope they bring out a DVD!