Whoops! Stalker’s Demise For One Week Only

Never second guess network TV programmers — they always have one more scheduling trick up their sleeve.

Turns out TV1 isn’t ditching Stalker after all.

In fact, the predatory crime drama seems to be contributing to historic summer viewership for the network.

It says the Monday night newcomer is taking a break for one week only on February 16 so Castle successor Forever can be launched with a double episode.

So apologies for jumping the gun on Stalker’s future, which TVNZ says is secure in this market because of its consolidated viewership (viewers who don’t watch it live).

“It is picking up significant viewership in consolidated time-shifted ratings — an increase of 20% — so we are very happy with it,” a spokesperson told me.

“In fact, we are very pleased with the performance of TV1’s new season, which, despite the hot summer, has seen TV1’s January share of audience lift to a three-year high.”

So credit to the channel for being first to restore post-Christmas normality to its schedule and for running halfway decent first-run fare, like The Crimson Field and The Great Fire, over the break.

But it is surprising to see so soon into its run TV1 interrupt Stalker’s momentum with a double episode of Forever when the latter could have been launched off the back of what would have been the February 16 episode.

While a two-hour premiere will heighten Forever’s profile, it does risk frustrating Stalker fans just as the series is getting into gear.

But TVNZ doesn’t see this as an issue. “We’re comfortable with a one-week break,” the spokesperson says.

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