Nine takes rating crown in Oz

'CSI,' 'Trace,' 'Block' help propel net over 40 weeks

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

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 straight.

The most watched programs were Seven’s Rugby World Cup final between Australia and England with 4.01 million viewers; Ten’s “Australian Idol” finale (3.3 million); and “The Block’s” closer (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 more 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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