The Block 2015: Dean and Shay win
Every couple on The Blocktagon won hundreds of thousands of dollars. Video by Alistair Walsh.
November 25, 2015 – 9:14PM
Has Channel Nine killed the goose that laid the golden egg?
High school sweethearts Dean and Shay have won the latest season of The Block. Photo: Luis Ascui
The Block fatigue seems to have hit renovation-weary viewers hard, with the reality television show recording its worst finale ratings in five years.
Season eleven finished on Wednesday night, with 1.81 million viewers in the capital cities tuning in to watch Newcastle couple Dean and Shay walk away with a whopping $755,000 in prize money.
The Blocktagon won OzTAM’s overnight ratings, but this is the worst result for a Block finale since season three in 2010.
Darren and Dee Jolly celebrate their win on The Block Triple Threat in April. Photo: Pat Scala
Producers will be looking at how to refresh the tired format which has been marred by controversy in recent years after contestants walked away with as little as $10,000 in prize money in season nine’s The Glasshouse.
The decision to produce two seasons a year also appears to be killing viewer interest, with ratings sliding since the change in 2013.
Creator Julian Cress signalled a massive overhaul ahead of The Blocktagon after predecessor Triple Threat recorded an average of just 900,000 viewers a night.
Engaged couple Karstan and Max only made $40,000 on The Block Glasshouse in 2014.
Episodes were cut from 90 minutes to half an hour and eliminations were scrapped, but viewer interested still dropped come finale time, down from 1.64 million to 1.57 million.
A Nine spokesman defended the figures, calling them a “phenomenal result”.
“This series increased its audience by 10 per cent when compared to the Triple Threat series earlier this year,” he said.
“The Block is consistently one of the network’s best performing programs and we are committed to bringing viewers another top-rating series in 2016.”
Finale ratings have been steadily dropping since The Block Sky High in 2013 when 2.1 million tuned in to watch the auction results.
Since then, finale ratings have dropped by around 100,000 year-on-year.
The figures are a far cry from the first season of The Block in 2003, when a staggering 3.1 million viewers watched the auction of a humble Bondi apartment block.
We have seen this all before, of course.
Ten’s winning series MasterChef Australia also went into a ratings death spiral after a number of spin-off series were commissioned.
Ratings for last year’s MasterChef finale plunged to a paltry 800,000 but by this year had recovered to 1.2 million.