A night after swamping the competition with the final of Dancing with the Stars, the Seven Network has almost snatched a win from Nine on one of its strongest nights of the week, helped by a combination of a Pommie cook and some country cops. Seven easily beat Nine in Sydney last night, and in Perth, and it came close in Adelaide and Melbourne.

Nine would argue that running a double episode of Blue Heelers with more than 1.2 million viewers from 8:30 pm to 10:30pm helped. So it did, but that doesn’t explain the loss of audience at 7:30 pm for McLeod’s Daughters . That was the intriguing development of the night. Nine’s normally strong-rating trio of McLeod’s Daughters , CSI Miami and Without a Trace all did badly compared to previous weeks. CSI Miami was 4th, McLeod’s was 7th and Without a Trace was 10th. An interesting decline which if it continues in the coming weeks will hurt Nine.

An explanation of the relative weakness could be found on Ten where the second of four episodes of the Jamie Oliver School Dinners series finished third nationally and did very well in Sydney and Melbourne. That hour long program from 7:30pm certainly stole viewers from McLeod’s Daughters . Nine won the night narrowly with a 28.7% share from Seven on 28.0%, Ten on 23.0%, the ABC on 14.5% and SBS on 5.7%.

Seven has established a narrow lead in the week (30.7% to 29.2% for Nine) and with Lost on tonight it will seek to extend that further.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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