Darren Cartwright, National Entertainment Writer
(Australian Associated Press)
Re-runs of Grand Designs are defying ratings gravity.
The popular series has been climbing up the top 10 in the overnight ratings and it’s not just beating, but smashing, seasoned reality show Dancing With The Stars on Sunday night.
The ABC has been airing the British made series, about unusual and sometimes elaborate architectural home building projects, since 2009.
But what makes its success so impressive, is the ABC is not the first station to air Grand Designs in Australia.
It first screens on Foxtel’s Lifestyle channel.
Yet despite the fact it’s basically being re-run several months later on free-to-air TV, its still hugely popular.
On Sunday night it went head-to-head with The Voice and long-running series Dancing With The Stars and it still came in fourth with 973,000 viewers on OzTAM’s overnight ratings.
The Voice won the night with more than 1.404 million viewers while Dancing With The Stars was eighth with an audience of 673,000.
And it was not a one-off result for Grand Designs.
All seven episodes of the 12th season have landed in the top 10 with Sunday’s episode its biggest audience this year.
ABC TV’s head of programming Brendan Dahill said it’s rating well because it’s giving viewers a quality alternative to reality TV shows which dominate commercial networks.
“It’s a proper solid narrative with jeopardy and human dilemma woven in to the whole thing,” Dahill told AAP.
“The surprising thing is that it skews younger and more female than you would imagine and for people who don’t like reality TV, there is not a lot on offer on Sunday night.”
He said even though Grand Designs is a technically a re-run, to most viewers it’s exclusive to the ABC.
“The climb you have seen over the last few weeks is that people have found it because we don’t have the marketing that Seven, Nine and Ten have, so it takes a while for the audience to find shows,” he said.
“It’s still brand new because hardly anyone has pay-TV, so from our our perspective and most Australians, Grand Designs is brand new and exclusive in all but name.”
Dahill started airing Grand Designs on Sunday nights in 2011 and even though it’s up against The Voice and Dancing With The Stars, he had no hesitation in tackling the latter head-on.
“Dancing With The Stars is now what it used to be…so I didn’t consider it to be a major threat and The Voice is a great show.”