TVNZ's new current affairs/entertainment option Seven Sharp got panned for its first episode. And though the consensus is that it has improved as the week's gone on, the punters have voted with their feet; the Herald reports:
The television battle for 7pm has tightened - with Seven Sharp losing almost 200,000 viewers from its opening on Monday and heading towards audience numbers close to rival Campbell Live.
Despite the decline, Television New Zealand says its new-look show is the future of current affairs, and that it is too early to pay attention to ratings.
"We are giving viewers what they've told us they want to see. It simply takes time - nothing can be extrapolated from one week in," said TVNZ head of news and current affairs Ross Dagan.
"We are in this for the long haul. Talk to us in six months about what the ratings are and we will happily have that conversation."
Seven Sharp, a departure from the more straight current affairs format of its Close Up predecessor, was watched by 508,500 viewers on Monday night.
That number steadily fell during the week, with 310,300 tuning in on Thursday night, according to ratings figures supplied by NielsenTAM.
Losing 40% of your viewers in four days isn't the most auspicious start for any programme, but especially for one of the strategic importance of that immediately after the 6pm news. And the numbers don't lie; read on:
The number of people deserting the show from its lead-in, One News, jumped up to 52 per cent, Throng.co.nz reported yesterday.
We haven't been around to watch a lot of TV this week, but we did see the opening episode of Seven Sharp, and it didn't resonate. It certainly didn't send us rushing to the MySky remote to series-link it. We'll drop in from time to time, but thus far, we're unconvinced. It would seem that we are not alone.
And we wonder what Mark Sainsbury makes of the final line of the Herald story:
Last year Close Up, hosted by Mark Sainsbury, averaged 456,000 viewers a night.