The Shire misses magic million mark

Ten's controversial 'dramality' The Shire was just shy of the one million viewers threshhold on its debut last night while the reception on social media has been virulent.

Following a dramatic birthing process, The Shire hit Australian screens last night and pulled in an average 913,000 metro viewers, according to preliminary overnight figures from OzTam.

The series has attracted heightened publicity due to a high-profile stoush with the Sutherland Shire mayor, Carol Provan, who threatened to ban the production crew from the area. Provan and some local figures said the program will portray the area - well-known internationally for the Cronulla riots in addition to its beach culture - in a bad light. Late last month, reports that Ten had shelved the series were denied by the network which then fast-tracked The Shire on its schedule.

The reaction on Twitter has been largely negative with a torrent of comments ranging from mildly amused to scathing. Comedian Dave Hughes and presenter on Ten's The Project tweeted: “It's hard to believe people from #theShire were capable of organizing [sic] a riot” while fellow funnyman Peter Helliar tweeted: “Thinking of everyone in The (actual) Shire. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Tomorrow is a brand new day”. Media personality Ruby Rose likewise joined in the fray: “Ok. I'll never watch that again. Or tweet about it. Or think about it. Even those girls [sic] lips were trying to escape the shire. The end!”

In the same timeslot, Ten was beaten by Australian Story on the ABC which had 942,000 viewers and the second half of The Amazing Race Australia on Seven which averaged 913,000 viewers but had risen to 1.26 million people by the end of the broadcast. The real test for The Shire will be any drop-off rates – and how steep they may be – in the next two weeks.

Ten's MasterChef was the most watched program last night with 1.35 million viewers, followed by Seven's Revenge with 1.34 million viewers.

The Voice US on Nine was just outside of the top 20 programs for Monday and averaged 592,000 viewers across two hours.

Other programs in the top 20 were Nine News, Seven News, A Current Affair (Nine), ABC News, Today Tonight (Seven), Home and Away (Seven), 7.30 (ABC), Four Corners (ABC), Body of Proof (Seven), Ten News, Media Watch (ABC), Hot Seat (Nine), NCIS (Ten), The Project (Ten) and Q&A (ABC).

Across the main channels, Seven won the night with 22.6% audience share, followed by Nine with 16.6%, Ten with 16.4%, the ABC with 15.1% and SBS with 5.9%.

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