MDA: articles

ABC's rare hours of drama

The ABC's only Australian-made night-time drama series for 2005 is a ratings failure. MDA, repackaged this year into three four-episode mini-series after a low-scoring debut in 2003, is coming fourth in its Thursday time-slot and is one of the ABC's lowest-rating prime-time shows of the week.

Only 615,823 viewers around Australia sampled the show's first episode, including 195,279 in Melbourne.

The failure of MDA, a legal and medical drama, adds to the ABC's other woes, including an 8 per cent decline in viewers this year and a budget that has seen its local drama output cut from more than 100 hours a year to under 20.

It is another bad sign for Australian TV drama. The Seven Network's new show Last Man Standing drew only 133,000 viewers in Melbourne last week.

The ABC has also lost viewers of its twice-weekly airings of the British police series, The Bill, one of the ABC's top shows for years.

Another factor has been the absence of the local comedy series, Kath & Kim, from the ABC's schedules. Last year, it was the network's top show, averaging 1.83 million viewers nationally each week.

The ABC confirmed on Friday that it had signed Kath & Kim stars Gina Riley and Jane Turner to develop a 90-minute special for screening before Christmas.

By Ross Warneke
July 18, 2005
The Age