Channel 7 is toasting an early victory in the ratings war this year, with the Sunday night season finale of Blonde Girl Watches a Tennis Match drawing a prime time average of 1.899 million viewers.
Described by TV analyst Steve Allen as “gold, gold, gold”, Blonde Girl Watches a Tennis Match sparked substantial media coverage the following day and is set to continue the network’s edge over flagging competitor Channel 9.
Channel 7 executive James Bruce told The Public Apology that Sunday night’s show was “a fucking ripper that exceeded all expectations.”
“The show’s success is even more wonderful considering it was only conceived as a vehicle for promoting My Kitchen Rules, Please Marry My Boy and Home and Away,” Bruce said.
“The other main factor that came into our thinking was that next year, with these numbers behind us, we can take even more money off companies like Kia. These Koreans will throw money at anything if they think they’ll move a few poorly made cars.”
Sunday night’s episode centred on Donay Meijer, who spent three hours watching her boyfriend Bernard Tomic getting thrashed by Swiss master Roger Federer, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. The show was narrated by Channel 7 stalwart Bruce McAvaney, with additional commentary from American Jim Courier.
Meijer, a 21-year-old from the Gold Coast, has put her promising modelling career on hold while she completes her pharmacy degree and stars in reality TV shows such as Sunday night’s offering.
In what was a cross-media marketing coup for Channel 7, Meijer received extensive coverage in the press and online leading up to Sunday night. A photo of her shopping in Melbourne ran on the front page of the Herald Sun, while other News Limited papers around the country featured her prominently. Recognising both the tenuous news links and the ability for her story to act as a ‘click bank’, online news sites such as Yahoo Sport and the official Australian Open website had extensive coverage of Meijer.
Prior to this summer, little was known about the Gold Coast model; however, her agent Kathy Castens, of Katz Model Management, said the future was bright for the 21-year-old.
“Her look is very commercial given she has a very sultry feel about her, yet she still oozes girl-next-door great looks. And of course, with the ratings success of her Channel 7 show, the sky’s the limit now,” Ms Castens said, in what can only be described as corporate PR drivel.
Channel 9, chasing a similar hit, is launching a lowbrow, shameless rip-off of Channel 7’s show when it premieres Everybody’s Favourite Bogan WAGS Watch Cricket. Set in Adelaide, the show follows a group of B-list celebrities such as Kyly Boldy, Rianna Ponting and Lee Furlong as they watch Australia’s cricket team take on India in the fourth Test match.
The show has already attracted a wide range of sponsors, with energy drink company Mother, chocolate milk brand Dare, VB, Holden and controversial bogan-focused clothing company Ed Hardy rushing to associate their products with the trashy programme.
By Nick Gordon