The decision to bring back Farmer Wants a Wife has been a roaring success for Channel Seven.
The move to revive the reality dating series after a four year hiatus appears to have been a master-stroke after the premiere brought in 116,000 viewers in Perth on Sunday night.
That figure was more than double Ten’s Bachelor in Paradise, which only managed to draw the attention of 34,000 viewers.
While Nine’s premiere of Australian Ninja Warrior fared better — it drew in 92,000 in Perth — that number dropped to 61,000 on Monday night.
Nationally, the premiere of Farmer Wants a Wife attracted an audience of 908,000 metro viewers.
Another 492,000 regional viewers tuned in, taking its national audience to 1.4 million.
As the most successful dating show in the world — with the previous nine seasons resulting in nine marriages and 20 babies in Australia alone — pressure was high to see if audiences were still attracted to the wholesome show rather than the scandal and drama attached to other dating shows.
This season, five farmers are looking for love — Sam, 27, a tropical fruit farmer from Innisfail, Queensland; Harry, 28, a grape, cotton and sheep farmer from Goolgowi, NSW; Alex, 28, a sheep and cattle farmer from Cunnamulla, Queensland; Neil, 42, a sheep farmer from Crookwell, NSW; and Nick, 44, a vineyard worker, from Deviot, Tasmania.
Seven’s programming boss Angus Ross told The Australian he believed the show’s authenticity gave it an edge against other dating shows such as Network Ten’s The Bachelor and Nine Network’s Married At First Sight.
“We actually feel it’s a show with its heart in the right place. It’s about more authentically looking for love than a lot of other relationship series that are around,” he said.
“It’s got the best track record in terms of, you know, marriages and children of any relationship show around the world.
“So I think that’s perhaps what sets this show apart from a lot of other dating series that have been in the marketplace.”
Farmer Wants A Wife was a staple of Nine’s program slate from 2007 to 2012 with Natalie Gruzlewski as host (Seven has brought her back for the latest series).
After a few years off air, Nine brought back the show in 2016 with singer-songwriter Sam McClymont as host but it failed to attract a big audience.
While ratings for both shows had been delayed due to a ransomware attack on Nielsen last week, Seven says the show topped its time slot for 16-39-year-olds.
“It’s clear that Australians have fallen in love with Farmer Wants A Wife, with a great launch and strong audiences, particularly in the key demographics and in regional Australia,” Seven’s network programming director Angus Ross said.
“We’re excited about continuing to share this much-loved show with our audiences over the next few weeks.”