Tuesday, 17 October 2006

24 Clocks out for Kiwi viewers

Boo sux to the programming boffins at TV3, who've pulled action drama series 24 from their Friday night schedules from this week, replacing it with repeats of House.

24 was this year's most Emmy-award winning television series, with five Emmys including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for Kiefer Sutherland.

However TV3 claims the current series of 24 "hasn't drawn a large enough audience to justify its primetime slot".

Season 5 of the show, starring Kiefer Sutherland, has been coming second in its Friday 8.30pm timeslot (in TV3's 18-49 demographic)... slightly behind State TV2's The Closer, but well ahead of the offerings on State TVOne.

It's hardly a ratings bomb though, which makes the decision to pull the show a little surprising. TV3 plan to screen the rest of this series in a late Saturday night timeslot, following their movie (they previously had repeat screenings of 24 in this slot).

I wonder whether the reason 24 has slipped slightly in the ratings here this time around has more to do with TV3's scheduling of the show, than the show itself.

In most markets, 24 is a male-skewing show. 24's poorest week here recently coincided with the launch of the female-skewing America's Next Top Model as its lead-in... and competition from an Air NZ Cup match between Canterbury and Wellington over on Sky.
However, in the United States, the latest series has recorded its best ever ratings. After being moved away from the female-skewing American Idol to a new Monday night slot, 24 saw overall ratings go up by 16% overall (with a 14% increase in viewers 18-49).

Fox are planning to launch Season Six of 24 in January next year for US viewers, with double episodes over two nights. Hopefully TV3 will look for a more suitable show to pair it with, and a different timeslot here in New Zealand next year.

* FOX TV: Watch the Official Trailer for Season 6 here...

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