ATV tastes early success in quiz shows audience battle

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 August, 2001, 12:00am

ATV's Who Wants to be a Millionaire? has emerged as the early winner over TVB's The Weakest Link after the first week of battle between the two quiz shows.

Figures released yesterday show the TVB newcomer has been no match for Millionaire, which scored an average of 1.7 million viewers, or 26 rating points, last week.

It outscored The Weakest Link by 300,000 viewers. The new show captured an audience of 1.35 million, or 21 points on average, after it was launched last Monday, according to research company ACNielsen.

Millionaire had been dominating the prime-time slot and TVB bought The Weakest Link from the BBC to capture the prime-time audience.

Two weeks ago, Millionaire took an average of 1.55 million viewers, beating TVB's Smart Kid, which was shown in the same time slot and seen by 1.2 million.

An ATV spokesman said yesterday the latest figures had given the station a boost. 'Given the ratings last week, we are now even more sure Millionaire is appealing to people,' he said.

ATV wheeled out a special package of Millionaire last week, featuring celebrities including comedian Stephen Chiau Sing-chi. And on Friday, couples were invited to contest in pairs, a variation of the single-player format.

The hostess of The Weakest Link, Dodo Cheng Yue-ling, who has come in for criticism for her excessively serious demeanour and harsh approach, has said she will tone it down in forthcoming episodes.

A TVB spokeswoman added yesterday an investigation had found no evidence to support claims that four players had conspired to vote out others in an episode shown last Thursday.

The broadcaster was hit by the controversy a day after the show was launched, when a participant called a radio show claiming he had witnessed the alleged conspiracy.