When Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years' jail in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 4.2 kilos of cannabis into Indonesia, few people would have predicted 16 years later Todd McKenney would be publicly apologising on TV for thinking she couldn't dance.

And yet here we are.

Call it the Schapelle shimmy or the Corby conga but when it comes to the question of whether Australia's most famous busted drug mule is also able to bust a move the answer is: Yes she cancan.

True, it is the answer to a question nobody asked but this makes it no less compelling. And that is what makes Corby such a ridiculous and inspired choice for Seven's Dancing With The Stars.

Joe Hildebrand.
Joe Hildebrand.

As humbly predicted by this column some weeks ago, all the pearl-clutching and outrage about having a convicted felon on a family show was never going to turn viewers off - on the contrary it would turn them on.

And it did: Almost 750,000 tuned in to Sunday's first episode, the biggest DWTS premiere since 2015 and well above the previous premiere on Ten last year, which couldn't reach 600,000.

Granted, the show was thumped by Married At First Sight but that is a given in Australian TV these days. Frankly MAFS would thump anything from the moon landing to Christ's second coming as long as Bryce or Cyrell were in form.

And 60 Minutes had a sensational return to form, with new eye-watering allegations about Afghan war hero Ben Roberts-Smith from gun reporter Nick McKenzie pulling in 830,000 metro viewers. The Seven and Nine news bulletins completed the top five - both pulled over a million but neither could top MAFS on 1.13m.

Meanwhile, the top rating show on Ten was the 7pm half-hour of the Sunday Project, on 325,000. It was beaten by Grand Designs New Zealand on the ABC.

I have heard from the competition this was Ten's worst Sunday night for years and so what is the network's solution?

Well according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald the next day its US owners are conducting a "sweeping company-wide review of staff culture". Not in response to any specific allegation, mind you, but a "pre-emptive" one.

It's nice to know while Ten may struggle to produce hit shows it is capable of producing satire.

Joe Hildebrand is on 2GB Nights with John Stanley on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8pm

Originally published as Why the Corby conga is a ratings juggernaut



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