New Season: X Factor Back With a Big Bang on Explosive Night

The networks went hammer and tongs at one another on Sunday, with the return of top-rating shows making it the most ratings competitive night of the year yet.

It was the first full-scale Sunday set-to of the new season, with TV3 rolling out the The X Factor NZ ahead of the network HD premiere of Taken 2.

TV2 anchored its new-look line-up with an 8.30 double-bill of The Big Bang Theory and 2 Broke Girls, off the back of the network HD premiere of Wreck-It Ralph and ahead of the mid-season launch of Gotham in a later, 9.30 slot.

TV1, meanwhile, had a head start with the second week of its SundayOur First Home combo and Broadchurch in countdown mode.

Who emerged the winner?

It depends on how you measure viewership. In the 5+ demographic, TV1 was tops across the night but TV3 won the more important 18-39 and 18-49 demos, and only narrowly lost the 25-54 race to TV1 while TV2 dominated with household shoppers.

As always, the focus of this site is on the viewers that advertisers most crave, so 5+ ratings are excluded from the following analysis.

TV2’s new comedy-duo strategy helped it to claw back viewers after Wreck-It Ralph (6.0% – 7.6% of the key demos) largely lost to Sunday (5.6% – 9.0%) and The X Factor (7.7% – 9.6%).

The NZ Herald reported Factor was beaten by the new DIY chip off the old block, Our First Home, but that was only in the 5+ stakes; in the demos that matter most to advertisers, the talent quest hit had the “wow” factor.

Home recovered after a week-night slump. But it was still down on its premiere while Broadchurch (3.0% –  7.5%) held up against its toughest competition yet in the 25-54 and HHS demos, as did lead-out The Missing (0.8% – 4.4%).

At 8.30, Taken 2 and TV2’s comedies were neck-and-neck in the 18-49 and 25-54 demos.

But the former had more appeal for viewers 18-39 and HHS.

TBBT averaged 6.8% – 9.7%, which was down sharply on its typical mid-week performance, as was stablemate 2BG’s 6.5% – 8.8%.

But their solid channel shares helped to make lead-out Gotham (4.8% – 6.2%) competitive at 9.30 against Taken 2, which averaged 5.8% – 7.2% over two hours.

On Saturday, TV2’s re-run of Valentine’s Day (5.3% – 9.2%) crushed TV3’s crime-time line-up while on Friday there was a big gap between TV3’s premiere of Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year: South America (2.5% – 3.3%) and TVNZ’s higher-rating competition.

But TV3 recovered at 8.30 with warhorse The Graham Norton Show (4.2% – 7.0%) dominating the key demos, although TV1’s Coronation Street challenged it for 25-54 supremacy (5.8% vs 5.2%).

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