The Block most watched in 2011

By By Wenlei Ma | 28 November 2011

The Seven Network may have dominated the year in free-to-air television, but it was Nine's The Block which was the most watched program of 2011.

With the ratings season over for the year, and summer programming to run until February 2012, the year's OzTam television survey results have been released, confirming Seven's triumph in 2011.

Across the main channels, Seven was top with a 22.6% audience share in all people. Nine was second with 19.1%, followed by Ten with 15.7%, the ABC on 10.2% and SBS had 3.6%.

In total people, Nine had the highest watched program of the year with 3.37 million people tuning in to the finale of The Block.

Home-grown programming, particularly reality TV shows, once again ruled the roost in 2011 taking 19 out of the top 20 spots. Following The Block was the finale of Australia's Got Talent on Seven, which garnered 2.98 million viewers. The talent show was also the 19th most watched for the year.

The season premiere of Nine's Underbelly: Razor had 2.79 million viewers tune in to tales of gang violence and prostitution rings in 1920s-1930s Sydney and was in third position. The second episode of the drama series was 11th for the year.

The MasterChef finale on Ten was in fourth spot with 2.74 million viewers and was also 10th for the year. The popular cooking show's audience numbers were down this year from its outstanding sophomore year in 2010, which saw 3.9 million people tune in for the finale.

The Block made other appearances in fifth and 12th positions and was a ratings winner for Nine throughout its season. Ten's reality competition series, The Renovators, failed to capture the same home renovations audience with underwhelming ratings. The show cracked the one million mark on rare occasions, including its finale which had 1.26 million viewers, and slipped under half a million on some nights.

The highest rating sporting event for the year was the Melbourne Cup which received2.66 million viewers in sixth spot. The AFL Grand Final between Collingwood and Geelong was seventh with 2.64 million.

The only non-Australian entry in the top 20 featured in eighth, with the return episode of US comedy series Two and A Half Men generating 2.52 million. The show performed strongly for the first couple of weeks before declining to under a million for the rest of the season. Nine's other flagship US comedy series, The Big Bang Theory, was a more dependable performer, with first run episodes regularly scoring well above a million and was often the most watched for its night.

The third match of the State of Origin series on Nine was ninth while the first and second match were 13th and 15th most watched. The NRL grand final between Manly and New Zealand on Nine was 14th with 2.17 million viewers.

The finale of cooking competition My Kitchen Rules on Seven was 16th while Seven's singing competition The X Factor followed in 17th. The top 20 was rounded out by The Melbourne Cup race presentation and the AFL Grand Final pre-game show.

The most consistent non-sporting, non-reality series was British period drama Downton Abbey, which was just out of the top 20. The show was a success this year for Seven with its highest rating episode drawing in 1.9 million viewers and continuously garnering high numbers throughout its run. Seven's Monday to Friday roster of Seven News, Today Tonight and Home & Away were regularly in the top 10 each night.

The ABC's strongest programs for the year include Chris Lilley's new series Angry Boys, Gruen Transfer, Gruen Planet, The Slap, Spicks and Specks, Paper Giants and its Monday night current affairs line-up including 7:30, Australian Story, Media Watch and Q&A. The public broadcaster was generally outperforming Ten in audience share on Monday and Wednesday nights in the second half of the year.

SBS's reality series, Go Back To Where You Came From was a standout performer for the network with the show rating between 524,000 and 600,000 viewers.

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