Australia boasting with dramas

'City Homicide,' 'Sea Patrol' up ratings

SYDNEY Two arresting new dramas are giving the Oz industry something to smile about as solid auds point to a change in fortunes for local productions.

Seven Network’s heavily touted cop show “City Homicide” drew an aud of 1.6 million for its feature-length bow Aug. 27. Skein peaked at 2 million and helped the dominant web win the night with a 34.3% share, ahead of nearest rival Nine on 23%.

“This is an amazing result for ‘City Homicide’ over its two-hour screening,” says Seven’s programming and production topper, Tim Worner. “Australian audiences love a great cop show and Seven is the home of the best locally produced drama.”

The last comment is a big call when Nine has what is arguably the most successful local series this year with “Sea Patrol,” a skein based around the Australian Navy’s coastline service.

“Sea Patrol” is riding a wave of success that started with a bow of 1.9 million on July 5 and has settled into a regular weekly aud of 1.6 million.

However, what these two shows represent is a general change in fortunes for Aussie TV dramas, which have been languishing in recent years, pushed aside by Stateside fare.

The list of casualties is long: “The Alice,” “Last Man Standing,” “Always Greener,” “The Surgeon” all failed to take hold, making commercial webs reluctant to greenlight local drama.

With Kiwi content counted as local, webs use New Zealand fare to help them reach the government quota rules.

Now with “Patrol” and “Homicide” — as well as feevee outings “Dangerous” and soon-to-air brothel drama “Satisfaction” — budgets Down Under look set to rise from the current A$190 million ($156 million).

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