Who on earth is watching this stuff?

Last updated 08:51 23/10/2012

According to the latest issue of TV Guide, a must-read at my place, these are the ten most watched shows in New Zealand for the week of October 8 to 13, presumably based on figures from Nielsen TAM:

20121023

  1. New Zealand's Got Talent
  2. The Force 
  3. Border Patrol 
  4. Sunday 
  5. Fair Go 
  6. One News 
  7. Annabel Langbein: Free Range Cook 
  8. Beyond the Darklands 
  9. Shortland Street 
  10. Dog Squad

 

The list for the week before (September 30 to October 6) is eerily similarly:

 

  1. New Zealand's Got Talent
  2. Border Patrol
  3. Sunday
  4. The Force
  5. One News
  6. Beyond the Darklands
  7. Shortland Street
  8. Dog Squad
  9. Fair Go
  10. Annabel Langbein: Free Range Cook

 

In case you didn't pick it up, that second list is made up of exactly the same 10 shows, except in a different order. Of the 10 shows that populate both lists, nine are broadcast on TV One and the 10th is Shortland Street, TV2's sole entrant on the list. Our other major channels - TV3, Four, Prime and anything on Sky - are missing entirely.

Maybe people (specifically, the people who have Nielsen TAM boxes in their house) don't realise that we have channels beyond TV One now? Or perhaps the ratings actually reflect "things that are playing in the background while we make and eat dinner" rather than "things people are actually watching and paying attention to"?

Even more baffling is this: aside from occasional episodes of Beyond the Darklands and Fair Go, and a cursory watch of the first two episodes of NZ's Got Talent, I don't actually watch anything on these lists - I was watching Shortland Street till June, but now I don't watch anything on this list with anything resembling regularity.

The main reason is that I'm not a fan of the forgettable reality shows that fill up this list. I don't really care what people have in their luggage and I'm not interested in the struggles of working with police dogs. At their most entertaining, shows such as Border Patrol and The Force are mind-numbingly dull. I don't even watch One News; I think 3 News is easily the superior nightly news show. It's barely even a competition for quality.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: who is watching these shows?

I mean, I know Shortland Street and NZ's Got Talent have massive viewerships and fan bases, and One News is still popular, and they will continue to be among the most watched shows as long as they're on the air.

But I can't recall ever talking with anyone in my everyday life - workmates, family, friends - about any of the other shows on this list. When we discuss television in the office, it's always a breakdown of the latest Homeland or Downton Abbey. When Dad and I get chatting about what's on the box, we're talking about The Newsroom or Hell on Wheels. My girlfriend and I only watch original, scripted shows: the Tuesday comedy lineup on Four is a favourite for us.

They aren't anywhere near me, but the viewers of these shows must be out there somewhere.

So help me out: with a number out of 10, how many of the 10 shows on these lists do you watch? (My number is  2/10.) Which shows on these lists are you watching regularly? And if you're a big fan of any of them, why?

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