HDTV Ratings: Outrageous Fortune

Robyn Malcolm looks West-ward for the last time

Fans of Westie hit Outrageous Fortune went wild over its series finale last night, when the six-year-old drama clocked up its highest ratings yet.

An unprecedented 472,500 18-49 year-olds tuned into see how the Wests would ride off into the sunset.

This equated to 28.4% of its target audience and an astonishing 51.5% channel share.

Only the premiere of this season came close to matching it: 23.7% or 447,600 viewers.

Eight of the show’s highest-rating episodes were from its final — and first HD — season; the sixth- and seventh-most popular episodes aired during its 2008 run.

The finale also mustered an outstanding 24.3% of 25-54 year-olds (48.3 share) and 20.3% of household shoppers with kids (37.9 share). Overall, more than 700,000 viewers watched it.

Top critics also gave the series swansong two thumbs up.

“The finale was a great piece of television by any standard,” Chris Philpott wrote in The Press.

“It proved that edgy local programming that was willing to take risks could work, by picking up viewers in droves and retaining its audience from year to year. Make no mistake: shows like Go Girls, This Is Not My Life, and upcoming series The Almighty Johnsons would not exist without the inroads that Outrageous made during its run.

“Add ‘helping redefine what was considered possible for New Zealand television productions’ to a list that also includes turning its cast into stars … becoming the longest-running Kiwi series ever, and turning a local show into a critical and commercial success that was picked up by overseas networks – and converted into an American version on two occasions – and that’s an amazing legacy that everyone involved should be proud of.”

The NZ Herald’s Russell Baillie thought star Robyn Malcolm’s final scenes “capped the greatest combo of actress and character our small screen has ever seen. Even if the final show required she do some fairly standard-issue hysterics, mostly involving Pascalle, along the way.

“Why has it worked? Because it’s always been a clever show happy to play dumb. It might have started out as local low-rent answer to The Sopranos but the show it most resembles in a way is The Simpsons.

“Outside the family core, most everybody else is living breathing cartoon character. Why else would we have put up with someone like grandad all these years?”

The finale delivered TV3 an overall win in the 18-49 demographic for the channel, with a peak share of 35% for the evening. The Big C and United States of Tara followed, with a 16.9 rating and a 40.0% share and 11 rating and a 34.6% share respectively.

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