The Voice has suddenly made TV interesting again and not because of what's on-screen but because of how much is at stake behind the scenes at the rival networks.
As readers will know, last week Channel Nine beat Seven in the weekly ratings and in so doing brought to an end Seven's 18-month supremacy. The reason? The Voice. (OK, with help from The Block). But what does that really mean to the networks?
National prime time advertising revenue is worth about $2.92 billion a year: that's just more than $80 million a night up for grabs. At present, Seven is protecting market share of about 40 per cent against Nine's 31.3 per cent, and Ten's 28 per cent. So with The Voice cracking ratings roofbeams you'd expect to hear the wringing of hands in Seven CEO, David Leckie's, office. But it's probably pretty calm.
Yes, The Voice's initial success has put a brake on the growth of Seven's smash hits Packed to the Rafters, Revenge and Australia's Got Talent. On Tuesday night, The Voice audience peaked at a staggering 3.045 million (averaging 2.417 million viewers across the nation's five city markets), sealing the top spot for its sixth and final night of so-called ''blind auditions''.
But here's the rub: the blind auditions - where the judges assess talent on voice alone - is the one really magnetic element in The Voice: hereafter it's a lot closer to being a conventional talent show.
In the US, first season audiences dropped 30 per cent from 12.5 million to 8.4 million in the three weeks immediately after the end of the ''blinds'' - before rebounding in the fourth week to more than 14 million it should be said. We shall see.
In any case, Ten's MasterChef gets its rolling pins out next week, with which they will crush everyone. For The Voice it might be a case of gimmick over, and game on.