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AACTA Awards’ Poor Ratings Blamed On Network Issues

Channel Ten cross-promotion during their news
Jan 31st 2013 | 3:08pm | Scott Fitzsimons
The Sapphires was the dominant film at last night's AACTA Awards, as Australia's answer to The Oscars once again struggled to attract viewers.

The second year of the re-branded and “re-positioned” awards ceremony was held last night at Sydney's The Star casino, but failed to crack the top 20 shows for the night. Condensed into an hour-long delayed broadcast on Channel Ten the show attracted just 318,000 viewers.

It was trounced by programs such as Seven's My Kitchen Rules (1,655,000) and Home And Away (897,000), Nine's repeats of The Big Bang Theory (748,000) and movie Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous (489,000) and ABC's ABBA documentary Bang A Boomerang (925,000) and QI repeat (703,000).

Another British panel show syndicated to the ABC, Would I Lie To You, aired at the same 9.30pm timeslot and attracted 446,000 viewers, 140,000 more than the AACTAs.

The ratings for the AACTAs were slightly up on last year's 291,000, when the bloated ceremony, held at the Sydney Opera House, was aired on Channel Nine.

AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella told theMusic.com.au today, “We only announced the broadcast partner a couple of weeks ago, so the fact that anyone found it at all was quite remarkable… The figures we got are pretty solid for what that network's doing at the moment.”

Ten has struggled with ratings in the last 12 months, and the only shows from the network to make the top 20 last night were Ten News At Five (662,000, 13th most watched) and The Project (474,000, 19th most watched). The Project in particular is their much-promoted flagship show and holds the 6.30pm 'hero slot'. The fact that its figures are so dire is a reflection of the network as a whole, and impacts their ability to cross-promote other programs.

Trewhella said that the loss of their commercial naming rights partner Samsung hindered their ability to secure a network earlier, as they no longer had a guaranteed advertising spend for the program.

“When we lost Samsung it was quite difficult to get a network to commit,” he said. “Considering everything that's happened it was a pretty good result.” An encore screening of the broadcast will be shown this weekend.

The AACTAs – the award ceremony of the Australian Academy Of Cinema And Television – was born out of the AFI Awards last year in an attempt to increase public interest and relevance. Championed by Geoffrey Rush, Russell Crowe hosting the 2013 edition.

Launched last year, this year The Sapphires were the stand-out performers with the film taking home the six of the eight film awards – including the Best Actor gong which went to Irish The IT Crowd star Chris O'Dowd.

ABC won the most television awards, with ABC1 and ABC3 claiming a total of nine, while Best Reality Television Show was won by the now-axed Amazing Race.

The full list of winners is below:

TELEVISION

Best Television Drama Series
Puberty Blues. John Edwards, Imogen Banks. Network Ten. SBS

Best Telefeature Or Mini Series
Howzat! Kerry Packer's War. John Edwards, Mimi Butler. Nine Network

Best Direction In Television
Jack Irish: Bad Debts. Jeffrey Walker. ABC1

Best Screenplay In Television
Redfern Now – Episode 6 Pretty Boy Blue. Steven McGregor. ABC1

Best Lead Actor In A Television Drama
Richard Roxburgh. Rake – Season 2. ABC1

Best Lead Actress In A Television Drama
Leah Purcell. Redfern Now. ABC1

Best Guest Or Supporting Actor In A Television Drama
Aaron Jeffery. Underbelly Badness – Episode 3 The Loaded Dog. Nine Network.

Best Guest Or Supporting Actress In A Television Drama
Mandy McElhinney. Howzat! Kerry Packer's War – Part 2. Nine Network.

Best Reality Television Series
The Amazing Race Australia. Michael McKay, Trent Chapman, David Gardner, Matt Kowald. SevenNetwork.

News.Com.Au Audience Choice Award For Most Memorable Screen Moment
The Sapphires.

FEATURE FILM

Best Film
The Sapphires. Rosemary Blight, Kylie du Fresne.

Best Direction
The Sapphires. Wayne Blair.

Best Original Screenplay
Wish You Were Here. Kieran Darcy-Smith, Felicity Price.

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Sapphires. Keith Thompson, Tony Briggs.

Best Lead Actor
Chris O'Dowd. The Sapphires.

Best Lead Actress
Deborah Mailman. The Sapphires.

Best Supporting Actor
Antony Starr. Wish You Were Here.

Best Supporting Actress
Jessica Mauboy. The Sapphires.

OTHER

Byron Kennedy Award
Sarah Watt

Best Young Actor
Saskia Rosendahl. Lore.

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