HDTV Heads-Up I: The Mentalist, Human Target

In an astonishing programming move that seems even more bizarre in the wake of the record-high ratings for last night’s Outrageous Fortune, TV2 is to screen HD re-runs of The Mentalist opposite the Westie juggernaut.

TV3 confirmed in a press release this afternoon that the season-six premiere of Outrageous Fortune notched up the highest overall ratings ever for the series, with 711,000 Kiwis tuning in to see how the season-five cliffhanger was resolved.

Kelly Martin, 3’s director of programming, said the ratings reflected the show’s high quality and production values.

“Not only are we thrilled to have won in the new time slot, the fact that we’ve done it with the last series of the most popular local drama series the network has seen, shows us all the hard work and effort has been worth it.”

Martin’s unexpected promotion of the final season, from 9.30pm Tuesdays to 8.30pm, has apparently prompted a re-jig on TV2’s part, which used to own the night with Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, two compatible dramas with high female appeal (the latter ended this week, the former next week).

Rather than counter-programme Outrageous Fortune with, say, an action hour, as it could have with the graphic novel dramatisation, Human Target, the network is all-but conceding time-slot defeat by instead scheduling re-runs of the first season of the female-skewing The Mentalist from July 27. (From the following week, season two of The Mentalist will screen 8.30pm Mondays.)

Moreover, double-billing repeats of The Mentalist with new episodes of Fringe seems as weird as anything encountered in that sci-fi hour; as for Human Target, expect it to be teamed with season three of Chuck after V ends its double-episode run, which starts 8.30 tonight.

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