Terry Television has examined the latest TV ratings and wonders how long before Nine blinks on Sunday nights after the pounding dished out by Ten and Seven.

For the third Sunday a row TV ratings leader, the Nine Network, has been given a whacking by a stronger Seven and Ten, reversing the previous week’s rankings.

This week Ten won with a valuable assist from Seven. Last week Seven beat Nine, with strong help from Ten.

It’s a double act that Nine is hard pressed to beat, despite having the top ranking program nationally on the night.

Ten ended up with 28.5 per cent share nationally, Nine 26.4 and Seven, 23.9. In the Sydney market, Ten beat Nine 30.3 to 26.2 with Seven straggling into third with 21.7.

Nine spinners will say that it’s only one night, which it is. Further they will say that Nine picks up and does well every other night. So it does. But for some reason Sunday night still has a hold on the industry in terms of importance. Nine might have won the previous week after losing the Sunday night but its lead has been trimmed in the past two weeks.

Seven and Ten are definitely lifting their game. This loss on Sunday nights is something Nine is not used to.

More people watch television on Sunday nights and Nine’s best rating shows for the week (and the industry’s) are the National Nine 6pm News with 60 Minutes somewhere in the top ten. The News is quite often one or two. Last night News was one, 60 Minutes was second.

But it still wasn’t enough. After winning at 6pm with the News, watched nationally by 1.897 million people, Nine lost ground, with The Block shedding 417,000 of those viewers to other programs, such as Seven’s World Around Us. Three hundred thousand of those viewers returned for 60 Minutes at 7.30.

Clearly there is a substantial number of viewers who are active enough to tune in and out of Nine to avoid The Block. But from 8.30 onwards, the Ten Network is re-writing the rules. The remote rules, Ok! Momentum for The Block is not there and viewer numbers were down slightly on the previous Sunday. More worrying for the concept, there is a ‘turn-off’ factor now. That can be a big negative when assessing the program’s return next year. Ratings will again ease Tuesday night because it is a non room showing episode.

Despite what the Nine spinners might toss up, The Block is now down 34 per cent in terms of viewers compared to the same number of program last year.

But the real disaster for Nine and Seven is the 8.30 movie slot. It’s now a Ten zone thanks to its programming gamble a few weeks ago to stop showing movies and switch to first run US cop style dramas (which are winning for Nine on Tuesday and Wednesday nights).

It’s back to back running of Law and Order and NCIS, both US law and order dramas are carving up Nine and Seven’s weak movie offerings.

Maybe it’s the middling quality of the movies. But it’s more a case of “seen it in the movies or on DVD, what else is on? Ahh Ten’s got something I haven’t seen”. Click! A viewer departs Nine or Seven.

Criminal Intent attracted 1.681 million viewers and was the top rating program for Ten and the third nationally overall. NCIS made the National Top Ten with almost 1.3 million viewers. Both clearly winning their slots and squeezing both Nine and Seven.

Big Brother did moderately well for Ten worth 1.31 million viewers for another eviction episode, but its viewer numbers are down about 14 per cent on last year, while the weeknight episodes are in danger of boring viewers. Like The Block there is a sameness now to Big Brother and people only tune in for a bit of blood in the water or some sort of decision.

For Seven, My Restaurant Rules continues to do strongly, but with the final episode next Sunday night, it might battle to hold numbers (and help Nine regain the lead) in the weeks after if it can’t drop in a good rating replacement. Word has it that Seven has a locally made special on kids that they think will rate well.

The World Around Us continues to do good numbers for Seven, which is hurting The Block and providing a non-glitzy, more family-based viewing alternative to the Nine show.

Elsewhere on the schedule the early morning news shows has seen Seven’s Sunrise give Nine’s Today another towelling in the past week.

Peter Fray

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