Bottom of the heap

Foreign language News, Home Shopping, classic sitcoms and shows we never even knew existed. That’s what’s sitting at the bottom of the TV ratings.

We’re always focussed at the top of the heap, but what’s at the other end?

TV Tonight took a look at last week’s ratings results as a snapshot of what isn’t working or passes for ‘filler’ these days. Many of the shows were overnight and early morning, including familiar titles in replay.

Shows that ranked an absolute zero last week were dominated by foreign language news services replays on SBS TWO:
Hungarian News, Hindi News, Polish News (2nd Edition), Spanish News, Urdu News, Chinese News, Portuguese News, Indonesian News, Korean News, Arabic News, Japanese News, Turkish News, Hong Kong News, French News, and Maltese News. Most of these had their their first broadcast on SBS ONE but remained minute.

Here’s the way the numbers fell, literally, for each channel last week.

Disclaimer: includes some replays.

Bottom of the heap last week was Boblins, The Dreaming, Basketball WNBL (all on 1,000) then Big Ideas Sampler, Art Nation, National Press Club Address (all 2,000 in early morning replays) , Catalyst and The New Inventors also in early morning replays on 3,000.

Fittingly the Station Close on ABC2 was its lowest rated show. 1,000 viewers watched the shutdown. Next was a Cold Feet replay (4,000), How Do They Do It?, Taking the Flak and Can We Believe the Science? (each 5,000).

Station Close was also the lowest on ABC3 at 1,000 then Voltron: Defender of the Universe (3,000), What Do You Know?, The 3 Factor (6,000), Barney’s Barrier Reef (7,000).

ABC News 24
The lowest rated shows for ABC News 24 were State to State (1,000), Big Ideas (1,000), replays of The Business (3,000), 7:30– NT (3,000), 7:30– ACT, 7:30, Capital Hill, (3,000) and BBC World News: The Hub (4,000).

NBC Meet the Press (6,000) was lowest for Seven. The West Real Estate Program and Beyond Tomorrow pulled 7,000, NBC Today Best Bits and It Is Written Oceania were 8,000, Home Shopping was 10,000 (and 11,000 in repeat), and Timeless Hunters had 12,000.

7TWO registered a 0 for Home Shopping (Early), Sons And Daughters (Early), and W.A.U: Where Ocean Giants Meet (Early) all of which were repeated on the multichannel. 2,000 viewers watched Home Shopping, a Coronation Street replay was 3,000 then Great Outdoors Extra Time Early and Sea Breeze were 4,000.

7mate had 0 for Home Shopping (Early and Day), Sunday Night (Extra Time-Early [R]), then 3,000 for The Jeff Foxworthy Show, 4,000 for K Zone: Handy Manny, K Zone: Stitch!, The New Adam 12, and 5,000 for K Zone: Zeke and Luther.

Nine had 0 viewers for Riverview Live. Next were On Display (2,000), The Baron (3,000), The New Adventures of Old Christine (14,000), Selfcare (14,000), Alive and Cooking (17,000) and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (17,000).

Danoz had 4,000 (and other broadcasts were 6,000), Bratz! was 5,000, MCD and Home Shopping were 6,000, Looney Tunes, Alcatraz and Conan were 7,000, Extra was 8,000 and The Flintstones was 9,000.

Home Shopping, Friends, Poor Cow were all 1,000, MCD, Joyce Meyer Enjoy Everyday Life, Seaway, No Palea and more Home Shopping were 2,000, Gem Presents, Dangerman and F Troop were all 3,000.

Life Today with James Robison (4,000) was lowest for TEN followed by The Early Show (4,000), Self Care Corporation (5,000), Mental (5,000), Bayless Conley (6,000), Danoz Home Shopping (6,000) and Hour of Power (7,000).

The Brady Bunch (Sat Early) had 4,000 viewers then Toasted TV (5,000), Jag (8,000), The King of Queens (10,000), 7th Heaven (10,000), Happy Days (11,000) and Everybody Loves Raymond (12,000).

ONE had nobody watching Expedition Impossible or I Fish repeats, Football: FA was 1,000, 2012 MotoGP was 3,000, Triathlon: ITU World Championship was 3,000, NFL Total Access and The WWE Experience were 4,000, and MASH was 5,000.

Lowest for SBS ONE was Portuguese News plus Weatherwatch and Music on 0 viewers, Latin American News (1,000), Urdu News (1,000), Greek News, Russian News, Arabic News, Hindi News, (all 1,000), Weatherwatch Overnight (1,000), Turkish News, German News (both 2,000).

Hungarian News, Hindi News, Polish News (2nd Edition), Spanish News, Urdu News, Chinese News, Portuguese News, Indonesian News, Korean News, Arabic News, Japanese News, Turkish News, Hong Kong News, French News, and Maltese News all ranked a 0.


  1. Hey David,

    Is it possible to have another ratings report of the lowest ratings if possible? Or have an article that is based purely on daytime tv? I haven’t seen many articles lately on how Ten wins daytime tv despite not seeing ratings from 11an till 4.30op. This goes to all stations. Wonder what The Chase on Seven rates at 3pm?How do the movies rate on 7 and 9 at lunchtime? Do kids tv on abc 2 beat them all during the day. etc

  2. @EvanOnTheGC: Seems about right. I know for a fact that people were watching the Expedition Impossible repeat – I was, and I was chatting to someone else who was at the same time. I don’t doubt the show didn’t rate, but at the same time the numbers themselves just aren’t that reliable.

  3. The problem I have with watching Conan or Craig or Dave is that I don’t have time to watch these every night. If the program guide on foxtel listed guests. I’d watch them way more often. As i’d tape them when I like a guest.

    Also I don’t know if I remembered conan was on go… opps

  4. I thought that Conan would have gotten more than 7,000 viewers on GO!, but it’s doing a descent job because it doesn’t start until around 11.30pm or midnight most nights. Conan has a small, but loyal fan base.

  5. Personally I love the Home Shopping shows, they are a guilty pleasure. The advertorials and products are so cheesy, they are entertainment in themselves. I don’t watch them in the small hours of the morning, I occasionally catch them during the day when they run on the digital channels. Fascinating to see what the insominiacs, shift workers and others are watching! Thanks!

  6. Gosh, I watch Cold Feet, Alive & Cooking, Sons & Daughters and Extra. What does that say about me? Nothing good I guess… I have watched S&D every time they have repeated the series, I think I am probably up to my sixth rotation, and I am not sure why I even do watch it, I just can’t not! Maybe it’s the fabulous fashions or seeing simpler times when people used phone boxes and couldn’t prove who a babys father is because it was before DNA profiling! Oh, if any other S&D tragics are reading this, I saw Susan Palmer (the 2nd one) playing the mother on one of those pre-paid funeral ads, she still sounds the same.

  7. In WA sons & daughters is shown at 12.30am Thursday on 7Two. only once a week it seems. I was one of 4000 people who watched sea breeze on Saturday morning

  8. I’m willing to bet anything that the “Friends” airing that rated zero is the one that’s on occasionally around midnight. The regular nightly episodes would definitely have regular viewers. I didn’t realise that “Sons and Daughters” was on 7TWO. I usually catch it on Seven. I loved that show as a kid!

  9. Most of the long running sit-coms have short lived shows that are closley related. I’d love it if they mixed in Joanie Love Chachie with Happy Days episodes and added Joey to Freinds and Tabitha to Bewitched. I don’t know how available these shows are, as they havn’t been seen since their original airing, but they would be interesting plus adding to the looped epsode count.

  10. @ David or Andrewb

    So does that mean only 7 people were watching Conan or 7,000? And either way isn’t that really bad numbers for Conan for a 12.00am start? Thanks!!

  11. Interesting story! I’m not suprised by some of those figures for shows on Eleven because they have already repeated all seasons of those shows at least twice since 11 started, cmon 11 how about a new batch of classic shows?? i mean i love Happy Days but theres only so many times i can re watch it!

  12. thanks for posting up these figures. It’s good to see once in a while what is on the other side of the ratings list.

    I find it interesting to see how shows like those listed rate, mainly in the ”middle of the night”.

  13. Interesting article. Thanks.

    I think oztam’s definition of 0 means less than 1000 viewers. So yes you are counted if you watch the Hungarian News.

  14. Terrible Figures for Everybody Loves Raymond.It deserves to do better even though an old sitcom I would rather watch that than the crap that passes for Home and Away for instance since the River Thugs came along to the latter.

  15. @NicH TVSN is my guilty pleasure. Live tv and watching presenters trying to sell some fugly jewellery. Makes great viewing and a way to pass the time.

  16. another sons and daughters tragic here i dont watch the tv repeats because i already have all 972 episodes and am currently watching those yes there are 2 sons and daughters on

    1 the early morning repeats a couple of times a week on channel seven usually around midnight tuesday and wednesday i think

    2 the 7two repeats 8:30am on 7two

  17. re: Sons and Daughters – earlier episodes are shown twice a week around midnight on the Seven’s main channel. But the figures above said the 7Two episodes are attracting zero viewers. There’s no way the 7Two episodes has no viewers, perhaps it’s an error from OzTam.

  18. HardcorePrawn

    I think that these figures really show how hit and miss the ratings are. I know loads of people that watch the news from their part of the world on both SBS1 and 2, and yet I don’t know of anyone who will admit to being among the near 1m viewers of Winners and Losers!

    However, if these are realistic viewing figures, it does make you wonder why each of the commercial channels are persevering with infomercials and home shopping if hardly anyone is watching.

  19. Secret Squirrel

    jtfoo has already done a joke about Breakfast (a joke about a joke) and Pertinax has already explained that the error margins exceed the numbers being measured, and tackled jtfoo’s first point so I’ll just say something about the second.

    The ratings are actually irrelevant for home shopping advertisers – they simply measure their success or otherwise by adding up the $ spent by people phoning in. I’m sure that if they were wasting their money, they’d be able to work it out quite quickly.

  20. @mellow man
    Sitcoms have little plot so repeat well, there are hundreds of episodes of them and repeat rights are cheap. They have been a staple of syndication for decades.

    When there are only a few hundred thousand viewers nothing else is economical.

  21. @EvanOnTheGC: Precisely.

    These figures must be so small as to be SNR (Statistically Not Relevant). They must surely be outside the margin of error of the ratings system. It’s simply not that accurate.

    Real estate sales reports would ignore them.

  22. @ Alex
    I watch Sons and Daughters everyday too on 7Two. There is no repeat, only shown once at 9.30am Monday-Friday. So yeah I’m confused its getting zero viewers as well

  23. I often wonder what rage rates across the whole broadcast (relieved to not see it up there), e.g. How many people watch the death metal clips around 330-400 Saturday morning..

  24. Interesting to see Friends on the list. The show has been on non-stop loop on Gem since the channels’ inception, These looped repeats seem to be the norm now: like family ties, macgyver, jag and various other shows on 11 (and Go eg seinfeld, spin city). They should really be replaced with different programs instead of looping the same episodes over and over and over……..

  25. Impossible that Sons & Daughters rates a zero when I am watching it. The figure for it is also a bit unclear as it says Sons & Daughters (Early), is there a very early morning repeat that we don’t know about or are we talking about the main 8.30am version?

  26. Interesting to see the other end of the spectrum…thanks for the article David.

    Sons and Daughters rates zero on 7Two? I thought it was rating very well @ 9.30am along side Home and Away. Guess I was wrong.

  27. The ABC should reinstate those old late night movies they used to show, not just black & whites but also old horrors, thrillers and sci fi. There have been many gems throughout the years and at least there were people watching them.

  28. When you are talking ratings this small the errors are so large the actual numbers are meaningless. The viewer figures are made up of handful of people watching part of the show generating a fractional viewing figure, which is then extrapolated to the entire population, then rounded to 1000.

    The Hungarian News could have a huge following in the Hungarian population but if none of them is an Oztam sample member the ratings will be zero. And even if there was one person in the sample they could tape it and watch it in the evening so the overnights would still be zero but the +7 would some small number.

    SBS never puts anything not in English on its main channel in prime time anymore. It probably makes more sense to stream muliticultural programming on the internet than broadcasts them on TV or Radio these days.

  29. these days with smart TV’s about and the fact that the sample of the ratings per population, i dont think is accurate…when you consider…not in this situation i know… but ratings never take into account live sites…pubs and clubs and regionally isnt anywhere near accurate… you would think that if every computer that has its own ip address can be pinged and they can tell within hours the number of downloads something gets…that the ratings people should be working on a new way of collecting data… David are you able to enquire…

  30. Polish News has at least one viewer. My husband! If he misses the morning edition he watches the afternoon repeat.

    Kind of a shame that all the foreign news’ are not subtitled ( I know that would be an impossible task!) because they give an interesting insight into other cultures and countries.

  31. Keep in mind a figure of 1,000 really means that one person with a people meter watched the channel or left it on for more than a few minutes – not that 1,000 were actually watching.

  32. Don’t forget a lot of these home shopping spots and other low rating programs are on between 2400 and 0600. Not to mention that the main broadcasters understandably want viewers watching their primary channels where the big revenue is between 0600-0900, so program their multichannels accordingly.

  33. No surprise, maybe the networks, especially those struggling financially, should pull back to 2 quality stations rather than the saturation and hope method they are using at the moment.

    Are shopping channels on TV relelvant anymore ?

  34. I do not understand why the alternative stations put so much rubbish on, when there is so much old stuff they could be providing! And don’t get me started on those ridiculous danoz adverts.Please,please re-look at what you could televise for the public to watch on weekends and late in the night.

  35. jezza the first original one

    From this we can conclude….1. .repeats of foreign language news service is a waste of time and should cease with immediate effect….2. If the suppliers of the items featured on the home shopping mentioned are paying for their airtime, they should stop right now as they are just wasting their money….3. For Ch10 Breakfast not to get a mention must mean it is an overwhelming success ha ha ha

  36. David,thx so much for doing this article,and giving us these numbers.The figures for these cellar dwellers are to me, just as or more ,fascinating than the perennial ratings winners.Can’t say I watch any of these programs(well maybe a couple of minutes of Happy Days if I come across it flipping channels .. lol),so I don’t feel like so much of an outsider now.

  37. That 1000 people watched the test pattern on ABC2 (although it’s music isn’t bad as background noise) says a lot about the ratings system.

    I’m going to assume 1 peoplemeter box = 1000 people.

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