2015: The year streaming changed TV

12_2015 The year streaming changed TV

Darren Cartwright

Brisbane

(Australian Associated Press)

The introduction in 2015 of three new streaming services was a tipping point in Australian television, as the ratings war became increasingly cut throat and the fate of the bastard son of Ned Stark was all anyone wanted to talk or tweet about when season five of Game of Thrones launched in April.

Hits:

On the local front, two-part mini-series Catching Milat, about how NSW police nabbed serial killer Ivan Milat, was the highest-rating drama of the year with 1.457 million viewers tuning in for the finale.

Next in line was The House Of Hancock, which told the story of the late mining magnate Lang Hancock and the women in his life, including his daughter Gina. The Nine Network notched 1.424 million viewers for the second episode of the two-part series.

The Seven Network’s comedy-drama series 800 Words was an instant winner with the series averaging more than a million viewers per episode.

But it was the death of Jon Snow at the end of the fifth season of the HBO fantasy drama Game of Thrones that created the most buzz. Was Jon Snow really dead? Would he rise again?

Viewers will have to wait till 2016 to find out.

Misses:

Mini-series Gallipoli bombed with Nine boss David Gyngell lamenting it was his biggest disappointment for the year. The last two episodes drew 450,000 and 353,000 viewers respectively.

Mesmerised, headed by Australia’s world-renowned hypnotist Peter Powers, was put to sleep after one episode. The October launch attracted 411,000 viewers on OzTAM’s overnight ratings.

Restaurant Revolution was a disastrous dish for Seven. It got badly burned by Nine’s new cooking series Hotplate and it’s doubtful if anyone will recall the winners.

The Comedians, a US series which boasted Billy Crystal as creator, executive producer, writer and starring as a fictional version of himself, went belly-up after 13 episodes.

Intruder alert:

Streaming giant Netflix arrived in Australia in March and its programs (House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Daredevil) became water cooler staples around the country. It also placed pressure on Foxtel, which had a monopoly on viewers who wanted to escape the reality show obsession of free-to-air (FTA) stations.

Local streaming services Stan and Presto also entered the streaming market, compounding the pressure on Foxtel and FTA channels. In a major coup Stan scored the rights to the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul.

Breakout roles:

Australian Ruby Rose went from Sydney DJ to international actor in her role as inmate Stella Carlin in the third season of the Netflix prison series Orange Is The New Black.

Joel Jackson proved he’s a star on the rise following his lead role in Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door and as war correspondent Charles Bean in Deadline Gallipoli.

Rachael Taylor’s career was re-ignited when she played Trish Walker in the Netflix/Marvel series Jessica Jones.

Hollywood Heat:

Miranda Otto, well known for playing Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings movie franchise, continued to gain attention as Allison Carr in the US drama Homeland, earning her a SAG nomination.

Nicole Kidman, already an Oscar winner, made the most of a bad movie by earning a SAG nomination in the TV movie/mini-series actress category for Grace of Monaco. Producer Harvey Weinstein refused to release the movie in US cinemas.

Departures:

Emmy-winning period drama Mad Men, about the tangled lives of New York advertising executives, came to an end in May after seven seasons and more than 90 episodes.

Ten’s massive investment in Wonderland didn’t pay off. Despite the series not being slated for 2016, the network refuses to say it has been axed.

After two decades with the Seven Network, journalist Chris Bath walked away from reading the nightly news and fronting Seven’s flagship public affairs show Sunday Night.

Internationally, David Letterman and Jon Stewart walked way from their respective talk shows while UK comedian Stephen Fry retired as host of QI.

Revivals:

Offspring will return in 2016 after a two-year absence with Asher Keddie reprising her role as Nina Proudman and Kat Stewart as her on-screen sister Billie.

Nine will re-ignite Australia’s Got Talent and dating series Farmer Wants A Wife next year while US shows, Fuller House (Netflix), The X Files (Ten), Twin Peaks (Showtime) are back.

Court battles:

Billionaire Gina Rinehart tried but didn’t stop the mini-series House of Hancock, about her family history, from airing. She also dropped a defamation suit against Nine.

The Seven Network also tried to turn off The Hotplate, claiming unsuccessfully in court it had stolen all the ingredients of My Kitchen Rules.

Tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail got Bachelorette fans offside by revealing who Sam Frost had chosen as her beau hours before the finale. Ten successfully launched a court case to have pictures of the loved-up couple pulled down.

Ratings winners:

The top 10 most watched programs (non-sport) in 2016 were all reality shows. The MasterChef Winner Announcement (2.127 million) out-cooked My Kitchen Rules Winner Announcement (2.123 million).

The Top 10 Rating Shows On Australian Television in 2015:

1. MasterChef Winner Announced (Ten) – 2.127 million

2. My Kitchen Rules Winner Announced (Seven) – 2.123 million

3. My Kitchen Rules Grand Final (seven) – 2.084 million

4. The Block Triple Treat Winner Announced (Nine) – 2.024 million

5. The Block Triple Threat Auctions (Nine) – 1.971 million

6. MasterChef Australia Grand Final Pt 2 (Ten) – 1.840 million

7. The Block Winner Announced (Nine) – 780,936

8. The Block Triple Threat Grand Final (Nine) – 1.647 million

9. My Kitchen Rules – episode (Seven) 1.605 million

10. The Voice Grand Winner Announced (Nine) 1.588 million

* Source OzTAM (five city metro overnight ratings – excluding sport)

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