2.58m: Underbelly sets new record

ubelly99The premiere of Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities soared past 2.5m viewers last night, rewriting the record books in the process.

The first hour averaged 2.58m viewers, while the second hour kept up the pace at 2.41m. It won all demographic groups and peaked at 2.8m.

So You Think You Can Dance Australia and Desperate Housewives both hovered around the 1m mark while Good News Week struggled on 761,000.

Nine’s share for the evening was a huge 39.5% share.

Underbelly now becomes the highest rated Australian series launch since the introduction of OzTAM People Meters in 2001.

Kath & Kim’s premiere episode on Seven took 2.52m in 2007 while Always Greener premiered to 2m in 2001.

The highest figure achieved for any Packed to the Rafters episode is 2.06m.

The glory for Nine’s drama is sweet after it was denied a national audience for its 2008 premiere, following legal battles in Victoria.

Meanwhile News continues to draw Australians to their screens, compelled by scenes from the disastrous bushfires.

Seven News was first with 1.73m viewers, although in Melbourne Nine News took 557,000 viewers ahead of Seven’s 440,000 and TEN’s 432,000. ABC had 409,000.

Nine now has two nights under its belt in the first week of ratings with a sizeable lead (36.8%) over its rivals (Seven: 27.3%, TEN: 17.7%) . Seven is bound to narrow that lead with its Tuesday line-up.

Week 7


  1. Gee, it was just okay wasn’t it? And therein lies the problem- this was seriously unsophisticated television. As with the original Underbelly, A Tale of Two Cities is peppered with caricatures; characters we don’t really care about all that much because we don’t get any tangible insight into them for a multitude of reasons (average script writing, so-so direction and bland performances). Weedy Matthew Newton couldn’t knock the froth off a cuppucino and Billing didn’t seem like he had an ounce of Italian in him. Seriously, are these guys supposed to be menacing? Second rate pimps at best.

    The plot was simply a number of set pieces involving different characters linked lazily by too much voice over narration. We all knew the furniture salesman was going to be taken out but it took so long to get there! And why, at the start, with the title ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, did we get the earnest voice-over, ‘this is Melbourne’s story’ ? Period detail was re-created nicely in an authentic if overtly garish fashion. Great to see so many positive female role-models too, progressive enought to remove their tops for no apparent reason (or over two million reasons, depending on how you look at it…)

    Channel Nine- still the one for making the biggest deal out of the most superficial of product. Sure, biggest ratings in people-meter history. So what? Oztam should never be used as a quality-meter! Never underestimate the power of hype and sadly, the low standards of the wider public. I’m sure, in years to come, we’ll have regressed so far through top rating prequels that we’ll be faced with the prospect of ‘Underbelly 10: The Kelly Gang’.

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