Cleo’s rescue sends viewers flocking to the the news

The rescue of Cleo Smith saw news and current affairs audience numbers boom — and paid off for savvy producers at Nine.

Cleo Smith recovers in hospital (Image: WA Police)

Only one story dominated Wednesday and that was the shock discovery of missing four-year-old Cleo Smith alive and well. The news saw viewers flock to the breakfast and morning news broadcasts (probably well over 200,00 to 250,000, judging how the figures jumped and the fact that viewers rotate through the morning).

They returned at night for the 6pm to 8pm news and current affairs programs on Seven, Nine, the ABC and Ten, with more than 400,000 extra viewers appearing and watching on all networks. Then Nine again showed that its newsroom and managers are far more reactive than Seven, Ten or the ABC with the special Finding Cleo which averaged 645,000 national viewers (459,000 metro and 186,000 regional from around 8.40pm). It was shown instead of Love Island which was pushed back and buried, averaging 258,000. So a sensible decision by Nine from a ratings and credibility stand point.

The Bachelorette also buried itself — 373,000 nationally is cringeworthy for Ten. Parental Guidance had 771,000 (when are the producers going to cover the mortal sin of wanting to own property in the Sydney market and talking about it at social functions?) Big Brother VIP — 547,000 — swamped by 7.30 — 948,000 — Hard Quiz — 947,000 — and then Gruen — 923,000.

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