Any hope that the Nine and Ten Networks had that Seven’s ratings giant, Desperate Housewives, would not return from Easter Holidays still a ratings monster was destroyed last night when more than 2.36 million people watched the program. That, plus good results from Today Tonight, Home and Away, The Great Outdoors, and Seven News, powered Seven to a clear win over Nine nationally and in every major market.

Seven won with a 33.2% share to 26.4% for Nine, 17.3% for Ten, 16.3% for the ABC and 6.8% for SBS, thanks again to the success of the program Mythbusters.

Today Tonight finished second with 1.578 million, its highest audience for months. That was more than 300,000 ahead of Nine’s A Current Affair. All very impressive, but Seven News and TT were boosted by the very strong performance of Seven’s 5.30pm game show, Deal or No Deal.

Its audience jumped sharply to 860,000, more than double the audience for Nine’s The Price is Right. Nine management will no doubt trot that out as a contributing factor but it’s also part and parcel of TV programming every night – programs win, lose, provide good leads and attract or repel audiences.

The Four Corners report on Cornelia Rau didn’t attract the audience, with only 691,000 people tuning in. That’s more than 300,000 down on the million people or so who watched several Mondays ago for a buy-in story from the UK on global dimming. Hard-edged journalism just doesn’t rate these days.

Media Watch’s audience was 693,000 for the quarter hour (a turn-on for Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope helps) and it was a competent effort by new host Liz Jackson, who has no light or shade in her voice.

The Ten Network wobbled last night as the X-Factor audience dropped more than 200,000 viewers from Sunday night to 714,000 and if it wasn’t ending in five weeks time, it would have been pulled by now.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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