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Has Channel Nine Just Burnt $2 Million?

Eyebrows were raised when the Nine Network shelled out $2 million for an exclusive with the parents of Cleo Smith – the little girl who caught the country’s attention when she went missing for 18 days last year.

But what is believed to be the largest deal in Australian TV history didn’t quite deliver for the station, with the interview only coming fourth in the ratings for the evening.

The 60 Minutes interview did manage to win its time slot, airing at 8.40pm. But overall, television insiders are saying the results aren’t exactly a success for what has been described as a return to chequebook journalism.

The best-performing show for the night was Seven News, with 1,593,000 viewers in major metro areas.

Second – and perhaps most embarrassing for the station – was Nine’s own dating car-crash Married At First Sight, with 1,131,000 viewers.

Nine’s own regular news came in at third spot with 1,098,000.

Then comes 60 Minutes with 1,035,000, a drop of 96,000 from MAFS, which led into it.

Still, a Nine Entertainment spokeswoman remains adamant they are “pleased with the result”, saying, “The show won its timeslot and performed in key demographics and on 9Now – a record streaming audience for the program.”

Cleo’s parents have since appeared on Nine-owned properties Radio 2GB and breakfast program Today.

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