Mcleod's Daughters: articles

McLeod's girls ride again

RURAL TV drama McLeod's Daughters has been commissioned for another season as the television ratings war begins in earnest.

For the first time this year, viewers will have an extended run of official ratings surveys -- meaning the networks will deliver their best programs uninterrupted by sporting events, non-ratings periods or the many other such distractions.

And, as networks begin to release their spoils from the recent MIPTV program market in Cannes, the Nine Network has shown just as much faith in homemade drama, committing to two new Australian shows.

Seven's homegrown Blue Heelers is withering as it approaches Homicide's Australian record of 510 episodes as the longest-running weekly drama.

While Seven has axed production of the show, it remains on air on Saturday nights.

But after averaging 1.2 million viewers an episode last year on Wednesday nights, the drama starring John Wood has plummeted, attracting fewer than 750,000 viewers most weeks.

Local producers are concerned not only that local drama production is slowing but that a network would treat such an iconic program so shabbily. But there are no such problems with McLeod's Daughters, with Nine renewing it for its seventh season.

Starring Rachael Carpani, Bridie Carter and Simmone Jade Mackinnon, it was Australia's most popular weekly drama last year although it's vying with All Saints for the title this year.

The decision to renew was not too difficult, Nine programmer Michael Healy said. "McLeod's Daughters has been a triumph."

And the South Australian-based series has "got much more life left in it", said Carpani.

"There's a lot of plot twists and turns coming, a couple of deaths, people coming back who we thought had left or died, secret identities, big dramatic episodes with car chases and horses."

The renewal is a boon for a local production industry that was beginning to ask whether Nine would fulfil its drama quotient this year. With Comedy Inc and new crime series Interrogation now in production, Nine looks safe in the short term.

"Cannes is always competitive but I'm certainly very happy with the bag of programs we've come home with," Mr Healy added.

By Michael Bodey
April 24, 2006
The Herald Sun