By Glenn Dyer

The Nine Network might have had a
crushing win last night over Seven and Ten, but the big
story in TV today is the continuing slump in the ratings for X-Factor, the first
of the Ten network’s “Big” shows for 2005.

Last week I remarked it was now on
the endangered species list, after last night and a further sharp fall in viewer
numbers, it would be in the terminal ward, if it wasn’t such an expensive
program for Ten, more than $20 million in licensing
fees and production costs.

Last night the audience averaged
703,547 people, down more than 165,000 on a week earlier when the Sunday evening
episode attracted 868,680.

A year ago Seven’s attempt in this
genre, a re-started version of Popstars was canned,
despite attracting an around 400,000 more than last night’s episode of
X-Factor.

This caps a bad year for Ten so far
with the local version of Queer Eye off to die later in the year. American Idol,
its replacement, has not done well so far, nor have the older programs, Law and
Order, with the audience down. Only Medium and Medical Investigation, two new
programs, are gaining traction.

Last night though belonged to Nine
with 60 Minutes boosting its audience to 1.844 million people. CSI followed it
with 1.791 million, Celebrity Overhaul’s last episode was next, and then Nine
News with 1.5 million people and boosted in Sydney and Brisbane by the first
Sunday NRL game of the season.

Nine won the night with the biggest
margin of the year so far, more than 13 points, 37.1% to Seven’s 22.9%, Ten with 20.3%. The ABC had 17.0% and SBS, only 2.8%. Nine
won everywhere, even in Perth.

The size of the win, a repeat of the
performance the week before, will go some way to offsetting Nine’s loss last
week to Seven.

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