Terry Television loves nothing better than a good wedding on a soap and last night McLeod’s Daughters dished up the goods for him. See how it rated in the wider population here:

Nothing like a hitchin’ to get the suckers, I mean the viewers, interested after a little bit of drift in the viewing audience. Concentrates their minds. Keeps the fingers away from the remote buttons.

A bit of oohing and aahhing and wadda you know, the hour’s over and you can go off to bed or change channels and cop another dose of escapist realism with Blue Heelers on Seven.

And that’s what last night’s wedding on McLeod’s Daughters was all about.

In fact last night’s wedding probably won the night for Nine against the more powerful Wednesday evening line-up from Seven, which is now the struggling network’s best night of the week most weeks.

Helping the happy couple and the Nine-in- laws in their desire to achieve ratings bliss last night was the steady diet of hints winks and nods in ACP magazines and in publicity shots leading up to the big deed.

No doubt there’ll be the odd few plus more across the Packer magazine empire in the next week to keep interest going.

And how about a wife swap from McLeod’s to another Nine Australian drama. Is there another one? From memory local dramas from Nine (non police) are a bit thin on the ground at the moment.

And in the name of ‘realism’ when are we going to get a McLeod’s divorce, AVO and property settlement and stalking. Plus kids, blended families and the like. The sort of things TV viewers have to cope with every day and then tune out to tune-in and watch a TV wedding.

And that’s what Posie Graeme Evans was aiming at when their hitchin’ on McLeod’s Daughters.

A nice bit of escapist rubbish that bears no resemblance to the way rural and regional people live their lives these days.

But that nice bit of escapist fare was the most watched program in the major metro markets, while another piece of escapist drama, Blue Heelers on Seven, also did well.

In a week when people in Sydney have been reminded of the realities of police life with a bent cop’s corrupt practices exposed daily, the make believe life of Blue Heelers probably comes as something of a relief. But it did well, finishing 4th nationally and doing a good job for Seven.

In fact Blue Heelers is the number one program in Melbourne at the moment on Wednesday nights and is giving CSI Miami on Nine a very good run for its money across the country.

But the McLeod’s wedding, backed up by good performances from National Nine News and Without a Trace saw Nine narrowly win the night from Seven.

That mid-week strength of Seven continues to show up and pressure Nine, which cannot afford to miss a step on Wednesday evenings now.

As a result Ten shuffled backwards and will be depending on Law and Order Special Victims Unit tonight to maintain the week’s lead over Nine.

Nine mixed and matched CSI Miami, confusing viewers like it did last week. A new episode in Sydney (and Brisbane) was the most watched program in Sydney, repeats elsewhere didn’t count, according top Nine. A bit like the week before.

So using Nine’s Top Ten, CSI Miami didn’t make the national list because of the mix and match. But according to the Seven top ten, CSIMiami, new and repeat was the second most watched program nationally and pushed Seven’s Today Tonight out of the top ten.

Nine won with a 31.8% share from Seven on 29.6%, Ten on 20.4%, the ABC on 15% and SBS on a low 3.2%.

Nine also won Sydney narrowly from Seven, 31% to 30.1%. Ten was a distant third on 20.6%. The ABC finished on 14% and SBS on 4.3%.

Nine also won Melbourne and Brisbane (by more than 13 points) but lost Adelaide and Perth to Seven.

Ten still leads the week on 20.3% to Nine’s 28.1% and Seven on 24.1%, the ABC on 14.5% and SBS on 4%.

McLeod’s was the top show in the five major metro markets, followed by (CSI Miami, according to Seven) or National Nine News, and Without a Trace. Blue Heelers and Hot Property were 4th and 5th for Seven. The New Simpsons, 6th for Ten, A Current Affair 7th for Nine, then Home and Away. Frasier was 9th and Today Tonight was 10th (or 11th). Seven News was 12th.The new program, Border Security was a promising 13th nationally for Seven.

In Sydney the new episode of CSI Miami was top, then McLeod’s Wedding episode, Hot Property (Seven), National Nine News, Frasier and ACA. Blue Heelers was 7th, Without a Trace, 8th, the first episode of the new Seven series, Border Security was 9th and the New Simpsons was 10th for Ten.

Peter Fray

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