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What was HOT and what FLOPPED on Aussie TV in 2023

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2023 has been a heck of ride. Find out what the best and worse TV that graced Australian screens this year.

As 2023 draws to a close, TV Blackbox contributor, Samantha Kirkley, looks back on the year to see what new Australian shows 2023 had on offer. Which were surprising smash hits and which shows were tipped to be big but flopped hard.

HOT: Alone, SBS

Alone Australia (image - SBS)
Alone Australia (image – SBS)

After owning the rights to air most international versions of the Alone franchise. SBS premiered Alone: Australia which saw 10 Aussie Wilderness experts dumped in the West Tasmanian Wilderness to fend for themselves as long as possible. After 67 days, Gina became the first ever winner of Alone: Australia. The series was a smash hit on SBS with over 900,000 views of the first episode on SBS on demand and has secured its place as SBS’s most watched ever original production. For a brand new show, Alone: Australia was envied by the other free-to-air networks. Season 2 of Alone: Australia will premiere sometime in 2024 and casting callouts for Season 3 are already underway.

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FLOP: Blow Up Australia, 7 Network

Blow Up Australia (image - Channel 7)
Blow Up Australia (image – Channel 7)

Was it a balloon crafting copy of 9’s Lego Masters? Debatable. In May Channel 7 aired Blow Up with Stephen Curry and Becky Lucas hosting a competition about creators crafting balloon art creations. Viewers were quick to give the show a flick and after two episodes, Channel 7 put a pin in Blow Up’s primetime spot and bumped it to sister Channel 7Flix. With very deflating ratings, Channel 7 did not announce a renewed season of Blow Up for 2024.

Hot: Heartbreak High, Netflix

Heartbreak High (image - Netflix)
Heartbreak High (image – Netflix)

Netflix has finally delivered some fresh Australian content, a remake of the 90s show Heartbreak High, updated with the common issues Gen Z teens are experiencing. With a great diverse cast and some wicked plot twists, Heartbreak High put Australia on centre stage. It’s won an Emmy, ranked in the Netflix Top 10 in 43 countries and had people around the world confused about what exactly an eshay is. Heartbreak High has been recommissioned for Season 2.

Flop: Big Brother, Channel 7

BIG BROTHER AUSTRALIA host Sonia Kruger (image - Nigel Wright/Seven)
BIG BROTHER AUSTRALIA host Sonia Kruger (image – Channel 7)

I think a lot of people were expecting this one to fail but Big Brother 2023 really crashed and burned. Compared to its peak seasons in 2000s it premiered less then 300,000 viewers, down 80% from its average viewership in 2002. Blamed for it’s drift from the original concept and similarity to Love Island the show has been bumped to double episodes in the 8:30 slot. There has been no news of renewing Big Brother for 2024.

Hot: The Matilda’s, Channel 7

Join CHANNEL 7 for the live broadcast of the Matildas vs England. A semi-final clash not to be missed in the 2023 World Cup.
Join CHANNEL 7 for the live broadcast of the Matildas vs England. A semi-final clash not to be missed in the 2023 World Cup. (image – Channel 7)

A big shout out to Women’s sport! The Matilda’s triumphant effort has not seen so many Australian’s glued to their screens since Cathy Freeman’s 2000 Olympic run. The epic fight for third place against Sweden drew in 6.25 million viewers. Let’s not forget that meme where everyone on the plane is watching the Matilda’s play except that one guy watching the Lord of the Rings. Sam Kerr and the team inspired so many young girls in the process and have started a new chapter in the long journey to equality in women’s sport.

Flop: The Traitors, Channel 10

Traitors Finale 2023 (Image - 10)
Traitors Finale 2023 (Image – 10)

With very mediocre ratings in the premiere 2022 season, The Traitors surprised everyone with a 2023 season. 2023 promised more twists and even some celebrity stars including Luke Toki and Gyton Grantley. But it wasn’t enough to bring back eyeballs to a game that was really just Werewolf with extra steps. At least we got a good finale out of it where the finalists won nothing. The Traitors has not been renewed for 2024.

Hot: Thank God You’re Here, Channel 10

Thank God You're Here! (image - Channel 10)
Thank God You’re Here! (image – Channel 10)

Thank god it’s back! The return of Channel 10’s Thank God You’re Here for the first time in 15 years was greeted with mixed perceptions but the it almost cracked million views and made it one of the biggest comedy launches since 2019. With Celia Paquola at the helm, she has introduced many popular Australian comedians to bizarre situations and took us back to the glory of the original series.

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Hot: The 1% Club, Channel 7

At the expense of the Deal or No Deal guy and the other sacrificial lambs for shows Channel 7 served up this year, The 1% Club performed a lot better than anyone expected, esspecially for a Sunday night game show. It managed to compete with Ratings Juggernaut The Block and even repeats of the show managed to win the night. Contestants are being called for the 2024 season of The 1% Club.

Hot: Travel Guides, Channel 9

The Fren Family are fan favourites on TRAVEL GUIDES (image - Nine)
The Fren Family are fan favourites on TRAVEL GUIDES (image – Nine)

For a show which is basically bogan getaway, it doesn’t get old and 2023 marks the year it becomes a Channel 9 staple. New episodes of this show are almost guaranteed to win the night for Channel 9. The Travel Guides are real people and they’re downright hilarious. The cast quickly gets under your skin and your phones out to make your next holiday bookings.

Flop: Shark Tank, Channel 10

Shark Tank Australia - Sabri Suby, Dr Catriona Wallace, Davie Fogarty, Jane Lu and Robert Herjavec (image - Channel 10)
Shark Tank Australia – Sabri Suby, Dr Catriona Wallace, Davie Fogarty, Jane Lu and Robert Herjavec (image – Channel 10)

After the successful revival of Thank God You’re Here, Channel 10 had its hopes up for a successful renewal of Shark Tank Australia. Not much has really changed to be honest except a different panel of investors but somehow, the return of Shark Tank has only been met with mediocre views. Which isn’t great exposure for the business owners who pitch their product either.

Hot: Bluey, ABC

The Sign, Bluey (Image - ABC)
The Sign, Bluey (Image – ABC)

“It’s a kids show, about a little blue heeler and their family,” Someone once pitched to the ABC and was met with laughter. Crazy, huh? There’s something heart warming about Bluey, perhaps it’s the interesting stories it tells, or the rounded characters. Maybe even the fact a lot of parents don’t mind watching Bluey themselves but this year Bluey Fever has swept across Australia and even the world. Bluey has broken both kids show and normal show records on the ABC. It’s achieved a total audience of 11 million across ABC broadcast channels and ABC iview, more people watch Bluey then MAFs, State Of Origin and Lego Masters combined. Good dog!

Flop: Rush, Channel 9

David Genat and the cast of RUSH (image - Channel 9)
David Genat and the cast of RUSH (image – Channel 9)

What was Rush really? It was just the Amazing Race with teams of four. The whole concept of blindfolding and deafening contestants and dropping them in crazy random places like Carnivale just triggered me. The only thing really going for this show was the talent of David Genat hosting and I really hope Channel 9 give him a second chance with a different gig. This show was only in a rush to flop and has not been renewed for 2024.

Hot: Fisk, ABC/Netflix

Kitty Flanagan as Helen Tudor - Fisk (image- ABC)
Kitty Flanagan as Helen Tudor – Fisk (image- ABC)

Kitty Flanagan as Helen Fisk returned for a second season of the ABC produced series. Fisk had a great performance on the ABC but rose to the international stage through Netflix where it ranked in the Netflix Top 10 in 17 regions around the world. Not bad for a plain jane solicitor. I hope to see a season 3 of Fisk despite no official announcements yet.

Flop: Million Dollar Island, Channel 7

Million Dollar Island (image - Channel 7)
Million Dollar Island (image – Channel 7)

This show had everything going for it, Ant Middleton, an Island, Kmart Mums, Bogan Tradies, the false lull of actually winning a million dollars. Channel 7 put a lot of energy into marketing Million Dollar Island but the ratings were as low as the tide around the island itself, averaging around 250,000 viewers an episode.

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Samantha Kirkley
Samantha Kirkley
Samantha Kirkley is a Melbourne based writer and taking over the internet one blog post at a time.
Comments

2 COMMENTS

  1. Just goes to show how much the networks rely on reality tv for ratings. Where there was quite a few successful dramas aired particularly on ABC and SBS that rated well and are not mentioned.

  2. Channel 7 was very lucky to have won the ratings year thanks to the Matilda’s exceptional run in the women’s World Cup. If the Matilda’s were eliminated in the group stage, Seven would have lost the ratings year. Channel 7 has had a lot of flops (Blow Up, Big Brother and Million Dollar Island).
    Next year will be a tough year for the seven network — without the Olympics, it would be hard for seven to beat the nine network.

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