Nine’s MAFS a ‘wrecking ball’ for other networks
MARRIED At First Sight has been described as a TV "wrecking ball" smashing every opposition program it goes up against on Channels 7 and Ten.
Sunday night's commitment ceremony episode of the Channel 9 relationship show averaged a mammoth 1.659 million viewers across the five capital cities.
That was more than twice the audience of My Kitchen Rules (751,000) and more than quadruple the launch of Sunday Night Takeaway with 383,000.
Ten has seen its entire early evening program schedule demolished by Married At First Sight.
The Sunday Project, Dancing with the Stars, Hughesy We Have a Problem and Changing Rooms are other shows crushed by the rampaging reality show.
The big question is what can Seven and Ten do about to stem the blood and the experts say nothing much at all.
"Married At First Sight is like a wrecking ball in its timeslot," media specialist Steve Allen said.
"Nine has hit the jackpot this year. It is hitting all the right viewer buttons. It is stealing around 300,000 viewers from My Kitchen Rules and annihilating everything on Ten."
Ten management has said that Sunday Night Takeaway will undergo changes over coming weeks.
Chris Brown and Julia Morris were rushed back from South Africa after I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! to present the big budget entertainment show.
"We can listen to the feedback and tweak the show to make it snappier," Ten's chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said.
"We're disappointed it didn't have a bigger impact (but) we're happy to have offered fresh, family-friendly entertainment as an alternative on a Sunday evening."
Changing Rooms performed so badly when it launched on February 14 (303,000) that it was quickly shuffled to Friday and Saturday.
Hughesy, We Have a Problem was bumped from 8.30pm Tuesday to 9pm Sunday.
Allen believes that making hasty program changes is simply compounding Ten's woes.
Seven has hung tough despite the diminished ratings for its cooking show.
"Launching shows against Married At First Sight is suicide," Allen said. "This is the time to keep the powder dry and wait until this juggernaut is over.
"Ten has their head in the sand I feel - not thinking out a strategy. Yes they are trying to counter program but their new program line-up is just not good enough."
Dancing with the Stars, with Amanda Keller and Grant Denyer is struggling for air.
Ten's reboot of the Seven hit launched to 621,000 viewers last Monday - half what Married At First Sight (1.205 million) rated.
Last night's second episode took a dive. The elimination segment averaged 588,000 and the main show 498,000.
The Sunday Project is another Ten program caught in the crosshairs. It has dropped around 20 per cent compared to last year.
That is because My Kitchen Rules and Married At First Sight were put in the 7pm slot on a Sunday evening.
The one Ten show that sort of held its own against Married At First Sight was I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!
Regular episodes hovered between 550,000 and 700,000 viewers per night with the winner announced finale averaging 804,000.
"MAFS is doing a phenomenal job," McGarvey said. "On the downside it is a challenge to program against it.
"When we offer something different like I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! we can be competitive against it.
"On the upside I think it is great that a show on free-to-air TV can attract such big audiences and such buzz. I think that is really good for the industry."