Channel Nine’s The Block is back, and it could not have been more exciting, with its first show garnering 1.074 million views across the five capital cities of Australia. It beat Channel Ten’s Australian Survivor, which lagged far behind with 784,000 views.
And the biggest loser was Channel Seven’s In Rio Today Olympic coverage, which had 755,000 viewers.
The immense success of the property renovation show seems to be the decision to have only one season per year, as stated by Nine’s program and production chief Andrew Backwell. They are very happy with the performances of both veteran host Scott Cam and the production team behind the show.
However, it remains to be seen how the numbers stand after the launching of Channel Seven’s Adriano’s Just Desserts in the 7:30 p.m. slot.
In 2016, The Block entered its 12th season and has a 1920s art deco soap factory in Port Melbourne at 164 Ingles, which had been listed for $5 million when bought by the show producers.
There are two same-sex couples in the show, including the first female couple to ever feature in the show.
Julia Treuel and Sasha Wright-Neville have been partners for the last four years. While Julia is an accountant executive, Julia is a property stylist, and a recent renovation done by them found its way to the pages of a style magazine.
For this show they have planned to glamorize the building, with gold splashes on a monochrome base.
However they had difficulty in the first episode of the show itself.
The opening task required the couples to design and furnish the small pod that they had been assigned for sleeping in for the coming weeks, and they had just 48 hours to do the job.
While initially everything seemed to be alright, Julia and Sasha realized halfway down the line that they had gone over budget by far, owing $1200 to their electrician alone, thus leaving them without money to buy the rest of the things they needed. Sasha, while taking the blame on herself, had to call her partner to return everything she had purchased till then.
While the two women still have a chance to turn things around, this type of miscalculation is one of the most common features of the show, where the strength of relationships are tested while braving shortage of time and sleep.
However, the couple seems to be rather hard on themselves after the less-than-impressive opening, and they seem to be feeling very responsible about their significance of being the first lesbian couple in the show.
On the other hand, 25-year-old primary school teachers Andy Sunderland and Ben Toyne, who manage to do their job and also spend time pranking others, seem to be dealing with it all much better.
Funnily enough, they both admit that they have almost zero experience when it comes to property renovation. While Andy was ousted after two days in his two-week trial period with a company, Ben was asked by a friend to help out as a laborer, and he was never called back.
The PE teachers from Geelong had been friends almost all their lives. They had studied in the same school and even worked in the same school as PE teachers before ditching their jobs once they got the call from the show’s producers. It was their fourth attempt.
Their biggest challenge before joining the show was to decide who would be looking into the technicalities, and who would be looking into the aesthetics. It was decided by a game of table tennis.
The other couples on the show are Will and Karlie from Queensland, Dan and Carleen Foley from West Australia, and Kim and Chris from Newcastle.
25-year-olds Will and Karlie plan to go for an art deco industrial mix, which they have dubbed ‘in-deco,’ while The Block is the seventh renovation project for Dan and Carleen, who are planning to do up their apartment by the exterior of the building by mixing art deco and contemporary styles.