Oz gets ‘Lost’ on Yank skeins

Local 'Queer Eye' a ratings disappointment

SYDNEY — Australian viewers are as hot for “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” as U.S. auds, but only mildly interested in “Joey” and the Oz version of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” judging by the official ratings season Down Under, which kicked off Feb. 6.

The Nine, Seven and Ten webs all had reasons to cheer as virtually all the new local and U.S. shows launched with varying degrees of success, unlike a year ago when there were numerous casualties.

Boosted by “Housewives,” “Lost” and the second season of celeb vehicle “Dancing With the Stars,” Seven garnered 28% of the primetime audience Feb. 6-12, a whisker below longtime leader Nine’s 28.4%.

Ten garnered 23.2% but improved its share year-on-year in every demo except the over-55s and won in its targeted 16-39.

The week’s most-watched shows were “Lost” and “Housewives,” both averaging around 2.2 million viewers. The latter fell to 1.9 million Feb. 14.

Ten’s programming chief, David Mott, is luring male auds, who he believes will switch off the goings-on at Wisteria Lane, by scheduling “Law & Order” against it.

“We’re happy with the start we’ve made to the year,” says Tim Worner, Seven’s director of programming and production. “But we know it’s a long survey and we have a lot more hard work to do.”

Ten CEO John McAlpine has suggested Seven is firing most of its shots in the first half of the year and won’t have much ammo left for the second half.

Worner rejects that, pointing to series in store such as “24,” “Alias,” “Boston Legal” and new Oz dramas “Campus” and “Last Man Standing.”

Mott is pleased with “Medium’s” performance at 8.30 p.m. Wednesday vs. Nine’s “CSI: Miami” and Seven’s local cop series “Blue Heelers,” and he’s happy with “Law & Order: SVU’s” numbers at 8.30 p.m. Thursday against Seven’s “Lost” and Nine’s “E.R.”

He’s also heartened by the response to talent quest “The X Factor” but admits to being a bit disappointed with the local “Queer Eye.” He commissioned only six episodes, which will precede the new U.S. skein.

Ten’s output deals with Paramount and Universal have not served the web well in recent years. But Mott is much happier with the studios’ latest offerings, which will see “House,” “Numbers,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” and “Blind Justice” debut on the web in the second half of the year.

Nine was buoyed by “Celebrity Makeover,” in which seven celebs go through detox: Its Feb. 13 debut drew 1.58 million viewers to win its 6.30 p.m. timeslot, beating Ten’s “Charmed” and Seven’s “Amazon” docu.

But “Joey’s” 7:30 p.m. preem Feb. 14 on Nine attracted just 1.04 million, trailing “X Factor’s” 1.14 million and Seven’s travel program “The Great Outdoors” with 1.12 million.

Worner believes procedural dramas are waning in popularity, stating, “We’re seeing some franchises that were enormously popular burning their pants a bit.”

Mott disagrees, averring, “There are a lot of those shows, but we’re still getting very good numbers.”

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