East of Everything paves way
EAST of Everything, the ABC TV series filmed on the North Coast, lost almost a third of its viewers between the show's launch and the last episode which screened earlier this month.
But the series makers and the local screen industry still believe that East of Everything was a success.
When series one of East of Everything premiered on Sunday, March 30, 2008, it attracted 1.014 million fans.
But the average audience for the second series shrank to 676,974, according to ABC ratings.
Close to 340,000 viewers had abandoned the show when the final episode screened on Saturday, September 5.
East of Everything had a multi-million-dollar budget and starred high-profile Australian actors Richard Roxborough and Susie Porter.
The show also employed scores of North Coast residents in the cast and crew.
Executive producer of the show, Fiona Eagger, who is based in Byron Bay, said she had not discussed the option of making a third series with the ABC.
Ms Eagger also defended the series' ratings, saying the decision to move the show from Sunday night, which traditionally attracts the week's largest audience, to Saturday was made by the series makers and the ABC.
“Sunday night viewing has changed,” Ms Eagger said.
“It was once the night for drama and Australian drama on the ABC, but it's different now.”
Ms Eagger said East of Everything had found itself competing against Channel 10's runaway hit Master Chef.
When asked if East of Everything had been a ratings success, Ms Eagger responded: “I think the critical response was good, especially for the second season.
“It had a strong audience share on Saturday night.
“It was always in the top 10 shows for Saturday night.”
Jill Moonie, general manager of Screenworks, a government-funded organisation set up to support the North Coast screen industry, said thanks to East of Everything the area was better positioned to attract more productions.
“I think East of Everything has really paved the way and shown that it can be done up here,” Ms Moonie said.
“It has shown that shooting completely outside the studio system is absolutely viable in a regional area.”
Since East of Everything went to air the screen industry has focused its attention on Murwillumbah for production of the feature film Lou.