Net on cloud nine

Nine wins ratings 39 of 40 weeks in 2003

SYDNEY — Hit U.S. series “CSI: Miami” and “Without a Trace,” plus Oz reality show “The Block,” helped deliver another victory for Australia’s Nine network in the 2003 ratings season, which ended Nov. 29.

Nine was the victor in all but one of the 40 weeks surveyed — Seven won one — and its overall primetime share rose by 2.1% to 38.8%.

Seven’s fell by 2.7% to 32.3% and Ten’s was static at 28.9%.

Ten was able to crow that it was the top-rated web in its key 16-39 demo for the third year.

The most-watched programs were Seven’s Rugby World Cup final between Australia and England with 4 million viewers; Ten’s “Australian Idol” finale, 3.3 million; and “The Block’s” closer at 3.1 million.

Michael Healy, Nine’s director of programming, said the net’s success was built on regular programming including infotainment shows “Getaway,” “Location Location” and “Burke’s Backyard,” while its rivals relied on one-off events.

He noted “McLeod’s Daughters” and “Stingers” increased their auds, managing to buck the downward spiral in ratings for Australian dramas this year.

Ten’s best performers, apart from “Australian Idol,” included “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” “Big Brother” and the “Law and Order” franchise.

Among Seven’s top shows were the Rugby World Cup matches plus mini “Hitler” and movies “Toy Story” and “X-Men.”

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