I’m not straight

These were the words spoken by Ian Thorpe in his recent interview with Michael Parkinson, however, “there was something else bothering the rest of the country – and it wasn’t Thorpie’s new found sexuality” (News.com.au). 

Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, considering the barbaric lengths to which TV stations will go to to push TV shows and boost ratings, during this tell all interview that captivated Australia with a whopping average of 985,000 viewers in the 5 major capital cities over the 90-minute interview, according to Lallo (2014), Channel 10 decided it would be the perfect time to plug old-school TV game show Family Feud. Viewers, including familiar faces such as “SBS’ Jenny Brockie, comedian Tom Ballard and NovaFM’s Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald” (News.com.au) jumped on the Twitter bandwagon to express their feelings towards Channel 10’s questionable decision to plug Family Feud during an already controversial tell-all interview. The following are a variety of tweets from angered, and confused viewers throughout the 90-minute interview.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 8.26.05 pm Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 8.26.25 pm Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 8.25.50 pm Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 8.25.39 pm


Source (News.com.au)

Varying conspiracy theories, including the debatable plot of the Family Feud watermark, have arose from the interview. Viewers are also questioning the speedy decision to shift airing time of the interview from 6pm to 6:30pm, which could be as a result of wanting to boost ratings, according to Lallo (2014). Audience measurement at 6pm was roughly 600,00 with a huge leap at 6:30pm to a staggering 1.02 million. Channel 10’s spokesperson stated “We’re entirely happy with the ratings between 6pm and 6.30pm and to suggest otherwise is misleading and mischievous” (Lallo 2014). The most incredible rating, however, was at 6:41pm, says Lallo, when audience ratings sky rocketed to 1.28 million when Thorpe announced that he was in fact ‘not straight’ (2014). 

According to Mumbrella, irregardless of these mind blowing numbers, Ian Thorpe’s interview only ranked 10th on the top viewed shows on Sunday night, which directly related to Channel 10 only receiving 15.9% total market share on the night, 5% below Channel 9 and 7% below Channel 7 (2014).

Whilst researching these two interesting stories related to the Ian Thorpe interview, which surprisingly both have little or nothing to do with him coming out of the closet, it is evident that audience measurement is used in a variety of ways, from plugging new shows into high rating shows, to measuring the exact moment in which a show will reach peak viewership. 


Lallo, M 2014, ‘Did early start to Ian Thorpe interview cost Channel 10?’, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 July, viewed 15 August 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/did-early-start-to-ian-thorpe-interview-cost-channel-10-20140714-zt6nr.html&gt;.

Mumbrella 2014, Ian Thorpe Interview pulls 982,000 for Ten as X Factor dips on return, Mumbrella, viewed 15 August 2014, <http://mumbrella.com.au/ian-thorpe-interview-pulls-982000-ten-238030&gt;.

News.com.au 2014, Viewers erupt over Family Feud watermark logo during emotional Ian Thorpe interview on Channel 10, News.com.au, viewed 15 August 2014, <http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/viewers-erupt-over-family-feud-watermark-logo-during-emotional-ian-thorpe-interview-on-channel-10/story-e6frfmyi-1226987989857&gt;.


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