Nine's ratings get Tricky

Nine's ratings get Tricky

Nine gambles with new drama Tricky Business's debut and loses as show drops below magic million mark.

Nine's all-conquering shiny floor show The Voice launched into its first live show without pausing for breath, drawing an audience of 2.19 million viewers last night.

But the risky strategy of launching the network's big new family drama, Tricky Business, under the halo of The Voice's two-hour live show and in a late 9.45pm timeslot, did not deliver.

Adjusted for its correct start and finish times, Tricky Business was watched by only 987,000 viewers nationally.

The big winners last night were reality franchises: The Voice's 2.19 million made it the #1 show followed by The Block (1.2 million, in 4th place overall) and Masterchef (1.04 million, 9th place).

In danger of bombing ... Tricky Business.

In danger of bombing ... Tricky Business.


Tricky Business stars Shane Bourne, Gigi Edgley, Debra Byrne and Kip Gamblin. It is set in Wollongong and focuses on a family who run a debt collection business.

It is Nine's major drama launch for 2012 and was promoted heavily with an on-air campaign which echoed the colour palette and style of Packed to the Rafters. Nine was clearly aiming the show at Rafters' "heartland" audience.

But launching the after a two-hour live-broadcast gambled the show against audience fatigue.

The Voice over-ran by around 11 minutes last night, nudging Tricky Business's scheduled start time from 9.30pm to 9.42pm. The over-run was clearly anticipated, as Nine had earlier adjusted its start time to 9.42pm on electronic program guides.

Nine shed more than one million viewers in the first five minutes of Tricky Business. Even in the context of the huge audience tuned into The Voice that's a dramatic fall.

It was not, however, enough to stop Nine from winning the night with a 33 per cent share of the free-to-air TV audience.

Michael Idato

Michael Idato is a Senior Writer based in Los Angeles for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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