Never mind the ratings, we rate the Aussie networks on what they brought to the table in 2010.
2010 was a year in which bad boys came back to our screen (especially on Seven), there were too many police dramas and not enough comedies, plenty of spin-offs and few new formats, digital channels were booming, and 3D became a gimmick but where was our HD television? Cooking clones were everywhere, TEN got new bosses, that Hey Dad..! scandal broke out and we bid farewell to Lost and The Bill.
Here is our take on how the networks performed for better or worse:
The public broadcaster hit its stride with the election. ABC News 24 launched while shows such as Q & A, Gruen Nation, Yes We Canberra! and its election coverage all scored. Kerry O'Brien quit The 7:30 Report. In drama, the kid's output continues to upstage the adult offering: Dance Academy, My Place and Dead Gorgeous. But Rake has proven a welcome late addition with a strong performance by Richard Roxburgh. Spicks and Specks still rules its time slot, although Strictly Speaking and Sleuth 101 underperformed. Australian Story is still a shining beacon for telling a personal story. And ABC's iView platform is the best in the biz.
Seven scored with viewers especially with its sports broadcasts of two AFL Grand Finals, the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open. Packed to the Rafters packed them in again, and left everybody stunned with the death of Melissa Rafter (Zoe Ventoura). Ray Meagher won the Gold Logie and Australia's Got Talent delivered the dynamic Justice Crew. 7mate hit the ground running. But the bad boys were everywhere: Matty Johns, Matthew Newton, Ben Cousins. Seven floated several new formats that sunk: The Bounce, The White Room, Australia Versus but hit the mark with My Kitchen Rules.
Nine was a lot more strategic this year holding back on new formats and looking to its past with Hey Hey It's Saturday, The National IQ Test and The Block -- the latter drew a good crowd. State of Origin notwithstanding, Underbelly was again the biggest hit but Cops L.A.C. didn't live up to the hype. Top Gear proved a smart addition; however, its Wicked Love telemovie didn't rate well. The Boss is Coming to Dinner also tanked. GO! remains the most successful multichannel. Nine closed the year with a farewell to its historic GTV9 studios with an affectionate send-off.
MasterChef Australia once again blitzed the competition and gave rival networks mid-year headaches. But while the honeymoon was over, media scrutinised the show's degree of fairness more. Junior MasterChef Australia proved that cooking can be cool for kids, with a wonderfully embracing spirit. TEN was also adventurous with new dramas Offspring and Hawke. Rush stays the distance but Neighbours has declined in its 25th year. 7pm Project finally found an audience and Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation is a crowd pleaser. The Commonwealth Games slumped, and ONE cannot compete with the entertainment channels. We loved its US shows Modern Family, Glee and The Good Wife. TEN is in a period of transition with new shareholders and Eleven about to launch.
Without Top Gear and without enough government funding it's been a hard year for SBS. Thank goodness for moments of glory, notably with the FIFA World Cup. Santo, Sam & Ed's Cup Fever! showed the rest how to do a sports panel show. Man vs Wild is now the network's new hit. Who Do You Think You Are? is class all the way. But the network held off Paul Fenech's Swift & Shift Couriers concerned at its Indian gags. Dateline lost George Negus, Wilfred went to the snow and Insight with Jenny Brockie remains a balanced, informative debate. The network also hit is 30th anniversary.