Top Critic Thinks Mentalist Programming Loony

Simon Baker as Patrick Jane

Top TV critic Jane Clifton, of The Dominion Post, has joined ScreenScribe.tv in challenging the thinking behind TV2’s decision to programme first-run episodes and repeats of its HD hit, The Mentalist, only 24 hours apart.

Writing in today’s paper, she quips if Monday’s season-two premieres can be dubbed “All New The Mentalist“, then Tuesday’s season-one re-runs should be labelled, “Old Recycled The Mentalist“.

She continues: “Somehow, TVNZ seems to think we won’t notice the degree to which it’s padding out its primetime schedule with re-runs – of shows we saw the first time round comparatively recently. It has already done this with Criminal Minds, which for a time had two re-runs in primetime per week, for no obvious reason.”

Clifton rightly slams The Mentalist’s scheduling as “just another example of how free-to-air, pre-programmed television is breaking faith with viewers and probably hastening its own demise by positively encouraging people to make their own arrangements via MySky and the Internet.

“There’s nothing wrong with repeats as such. But there are very few shows that are so good and/or popular that they bear repeating even while they’re still fresh in viewers’ memories.”

Clifton’s comments were vindicated by last week’s dismal ratings for the first Mentalist repeat but last night’s scored nearly double the 18-39 and 18-49 viewership, possibly because it was mistaken for another new episode on the back on Monday’s top-rating premiere (although the audience decline over the hour was gradual rather than sharp).

HD rival Outrageous Fortune, meanwhile, built its viewership over the hour but still rated significantly lower than last week (although with a 38.4% channel share of 18-49 year-olds, TV3 won’t be complaining).

The Kiwi comedy/drama’s popularity also is boosting HD lead-out Nurse Jackie’s while its HD competition, Fringe, is gaining traction, too.

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