In its ongoing quest to find a ratings replacement for My Kitchen Rules, Channel Seven debuted its new renovation competition show House Rules, to a disappointing 803,000 metro viewers.
It only managed eleventh place in the five metro areas, according to the preliminary OzTam results, which media buyers have described as disappointing.
However its placement up against Channel Nine’s “juggernaughts” The Voice and The Block Sky High speaks volumes for the fighting spirit alive and well within Channel Seven, said UM Australia CEO Matt Baxter.
“It’s hard to dislodge viewers, but Channel Seven is not going to throw in the towel . . . they’re number one for a reason,” he said.
Baxter also made the point that even though the disappointing numbers might not allow Channel Seven to command the premium it would like for what is no doubt an expensive show to produce, advertisers not locked into The Block or The Voice, may well find it hard to secure airtime.
Toby Hack, managing director at PHD warned that writing off Channel Seven at this stage would be premature, but that the results indicated that “it’s getting harder and harder to launch new shows."
However Hack added that "it’s an interesting twist on a proven formula so there’s no reason to think it won’t build."
Channel Seven itself has said that it is pleased with the results and that it has debuted about where it expected and in-line with My Restaurant Rules, the program which spawned My Kitchen Rules.
“We are very proud of the show, it’s a great programme, a complex production and a brand new concept. The production moves at a cracking pace and we are looking forward to it evolving and developing as one of our franchises over the coming weeks,” a Channel Seven spokesperson told B&T.
In comparison, the first episode of The Block Sky High had 1.3 million viewers. The first episode of The Block All Stars had 960,000. The first episode of The Renovators, in 2011, had 939,000 viewers.
Seven has invested heavily in the lead up and is no doubt not going to give up without a fight. The Channel Seven spokesperson said that House Rules peaked at 1.09 million in the five major metropolitan markets, was top ten for all key audience demographics and had a total national audience including regional audiences of 1.246 million.