Nine’s much anticipated comedy program from Hamish and Andy premiered last night. According to OzTAM the show grabbed strong figures for its first outing with 1,456,000 viewers tuning in to see the New York based show.
The show, titled Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year delivered a strong result for Nine not only in total audience where it ranked #2 for the night behind Masterchef but also #1 in all the key demos, namely, 16-39, 18-49 and 25-54. Nine will no doubt be happy with this as it tries to have a strong finish to the ratings year and generate a strong schedule off the back the Block, which has delivered strong nightly results for Nine so far this season.
Last week in the Thursday 8:30PM slot Nine had 790,000 viewers tune into the Human Body ranking it the 12th most watched program that night.
Thursday night has in recent years been a difficult night for shows to generate strong audiences with the exception of Masterchef. Channel Seven continue to struggle to find big audiences for its ever changing Thursday night line up, whilst Nine took out its Thursday night stalwart Getaway earlier this year, moving it to a Saturday early evening slot. The success of Hamish & Andy last night will be positive news for Nine as it develops its schedule. The show also provided a good lead in for the two Footy Shows at 9:30PM whose combined audience was 743,000 in metro markets as opposed to 673,000 viewers who watched the Footy Shows the week before.
The real question will be whether the ‘Gap Year’ will hold its audience moving into next week and across its 10 week season. Angry Boys is a show that might be a good barometer as to how early TV ratings can be deceiving. The much hyped Angry Boys’ first two outings delivered strong 1.3+ million results of total viewership but the audience dropped quickly with the show recording a season low 394,000 viewers before rebounding with 612,000 viewers watching the final episode on Wednesday night.
In terms of reviews for the Hamish & Andy venture the response from critics this morning was lukewarm at best. Colin Vickery in News Limited publications ran a story under the headline Hamish and Andy Gap Year looking like another Nine comedy dud. He described Hamish & Andy’s “falling asleep” segment as only providing “…dumb laughs…” and after this segment the show’s ”…wheels falling off with dodgy robots and tattoos.” Australia’s leading TV site TV Tonight run by David Knox gave the show 3 stars commenting in a post:
“For a first effort the show met the brief, but at the moment it feels like a late night show squeezed into a primetime slot. Is it possible to succeed at 8:30 with a 10:30 tone? We’ll know soon enough. I’m prepared to watch and find out.”
Callers on Neil Mitchell’s 3AW morning program were also critical of the show with most telling the radio host they would not be back for next week. However how indicative this is of the wider audience or the target demographic is unclear.
The response by viewers on twitter was more positive. For example @becfowell tweeted “Woo go #hamishandandy !! You guys rocked it tonight on Gap Year! #congrats :D.” Hamish & Andy were even trending worldwide on twitter last night during the broadcast.
The Gap Year’s first episode did offer some funny moments with their “catfish” segment and interviews with Taylor Swift and Neil Patrick Harris. The boys translated their radio interviewing skills well to the small screen. However one major issue was the studio sound quality, there was an echo when Hamish and Andy were talking. Hopefully this can be fixed for their next broadcast from the New York plastic factory studio.
It will be interesting to see whether the audience holds or the show follows the path of Angry Boys. The positive for Hamish & Andy is they have 1,412,899 people who ‘like’ their Facebook page and 145,017 followers on twitter. This is a strong fan base to build any media product off.
Next week’s ratings will be very interesting. Nine have already had a few comedy programs fail this year, but lets hope that Hamish & Andy rate strong and provide a point of difference for viewing on free-to-air television because there is currently a severe lack of prime-time talk show style programs on air , especially since the demise of Rove. If all goes well for Hamish & Andy this website expects to see them feature prominently in Nine’s London Olympics telecast next year.