The Alice: articles

Alice puts heat on rivals

The Alice, the Nine Network’s Sunday night movie, attracted 1.8 million viewers, giving hope to two endangered species—the Sunday night movie, and Australian drama.

The telemovie, shot in Alice Springs, was only narrowly beaten by Australian Idol, which attracted 1.84 million.

With former All Saints posterboy Erik Thomson heading the cast, and a ratings windfall behind it, The Alice may now become a weekly series next year.

A Nine spokesman declined to confirm a spin-off, but sources say Nine’s chief executive, David Gyngell, was close to approving a series, even before the telemovie was broadcast.

Australian drama and the traditional Sunday night movie have both been under siege. Local drama has taken a beating from reality TV and imported US shows, while Sunday night Hollywood movies have struggled since Ten scheduled a regular series, Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Sunday’s only premiere Hollywood movie—The Others, with Nicole Kidman—tanked with only 720,000 viewers against The Alice and Criminal Intent.

Reality TV helped itself to the lion’s share of the audience last week. Big Brother, The Block and Australian Idol ranked among the most watched programs.

More than 2.8 million viewers tuned in to see storeman Trevor Butler propose to his girlfriend Breea Forrest, after walking away with Big Brother’s million-dollar prize. Not far behind was The Block’s live-to-air auction (2.2 million) and Australian Idol: The Top 100 (1.7 million).

Nine won the week with a 29.8 per cent share of the national audience, ahead of Ten with 25.7 per cent and Seven with 22.6 per cent. Seven’s poor performance dragged down its year-to-date performance, making it officially the third-rating network.

Year-to-date results put Seven in third place nationally with 23.8 per cent, behind Ten on 23.9 per cent and Nine, looking unassailable, on 30.6 per cent.

By Michael Idato
August 3, 2004
The Sydney Morning Herald