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‘Packed to the Rafters’ shines in Australia

Aussie sleeper hit draws huge ratings

The plot may sound familiar, an Aussie hit based on an empty-nester household that suddenly finds a full house again when the children return home. But this is not “Kath & Kim,” the Down Under laffer picked up by NBC with mixed results this season.

“Packed to the Rafters” preemed in August on the Seven Network, and leans a bit more toward drama .

The show — by scribe Bevan Lee (“Home and Away” “All Saints”) — has become a sleeper hit, drawing a weekly aud of 2 million to Seven. Ratings have continued to grow to 40-plus shares across all demos.Popular thesps Rebecca Gibney and Erik Thomson play Julie and Dave Rafter, whose grownup kids return to the fold along with Julie’s dad, Ted.

Seven’s programming topper Tim Worner says the web was not surprised the series resonated with Oz auds.

“I think a few of us really believed from the very first draft that we had something very special,” Worner says. “I just think the timing of it has worked in our favor. We couldn’t have planned or foreseen these economic conditions but they have really made ‘Packed to the Rafters’ almost a topical show.”

To top it off, the skein, repped by Southern Star Intl., returned from Mipcom last month with a host of new deals in the works after already selling to Belgium and TVNZ in New Zealand.

 “Ever since the second week’s ratings figures, people have been coming out of trees to buy this show,” Worner says. “

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