Reality renovation show The Block NZ returned to our screens last night but fewer Kiwis were watching than ever before.

According to Nielsen, 218,000 viewers tuned in for the season premiere of The Block: Villa Wars, which saw four new teams sign up to renovate dilapidated villas in the Auckland suburb of Sandringham.

Sponsors and advertisers will be disappointed with the target demographic reached, with just 104,000 viewers tuning in to the fourth season's debut episode - just half the number who tuned in last year.

Last year, 202,000 viewers aged 25-54 watched the season debut, while 341,000 viewers aged 5+ tuned into the TV3 series, which went head-to-head with TV One's cooking series My Kitchen Rules NZ.


Last night's broadcast was disrupted for some Sky users, as a temporary outage saw thousands left without access to free-to-air channels.

The outage took effect from about 8.20pm and lasted more than 15 minutes.

Sky TV has yet to comment on the blackout or what caused it.

Meanwhile, TV2's Australian renovation reality show Reno Rumble won the DIY show down with 254,000 viewers watching, of which 118,000 were in the target 25-54 demographic.

The two programmes will go head-to-head again this evening at 7.30pm.