While the Shortland Street killer met his demise from a great height, competing channels in the 7pm primetime slot had their ratings massacred by the dramatic climax of the long-running storyline.
TV One's Close Up interview with Mahe Drysdale and Rob Waddell trailed in the wake of the New Zealand medical drama which attracted more than 600,000 viewers aged five and over on Wednesday night, according to research by AGB Nielsen Media.
The show averaged 491,000 viewers each night last year.
The bloody ending to the Ferndale Strangler storyline, which began last July, captured more than 50 per cent of viewers aged 18 to 49.
Close Up attracted almost 17 per cent and TV3's Campbell Live pulled 15 per cent with its interview with Alice Cooper.
Shortland Street producer Jason Daniel said ratings this year were high thanks to the serial killer plot in which Joey Henderson (played by Johnny Barker) was involved in the killing of five female characters.
Mr Daniel said there had been debate within the production team about Joey's character committing suicide on primetime television.
"But we're talking about the death of a killer. There's a sense of morality there."
He also defended the depiction of bungled police efforts in the investigation throughout the show.
"I think that if you look at the track record of the New Zealand police over the past year, incidents like not being able to find a body under their nose for three days, I think it's a reasonable comment on the standing of police in people's perception."
More than 624,000 Kiwis tuned in to the end-of-season episode of Shortland Street in December when Joey was revealed as the serial killer.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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