Well, according to the Nine Network they have poached Seven’s top
newsman. It can’t be too soon because Seven gave Nine another pasting
in the news and current affairs battle last night between 6pm and 7pm. It
was a resounding beating and it’s doubtful the snatching of Nine
old-timer, Tony Ritchie from Seven, will be enough to right the ship,
especially in Sydney.

Ritchie was well-regarded and Seven insiders say there was a sense of
shock yesterday. But there was also an air of inevitability because
he’s been trying for some time to land back at Willoughby. Some at
Nine and Seven are awaiting the news that Chisholm has re-hired Ian
Cook, a former Nine (and Seven News) boss. But others point out that
Chisholm got rid of Cook when he was at Sky News in London.

Last night’s performance continued this year’s established pattern: Nine News does big numbers on Sunday, then fades early in the
week, sometimes until Thursday, then a pick up and a win on Saturday
night when viewing levels are low. Last night Seven News beat Nine News
by 65,000 nationally and 96,000 in Sydney, which was a big win.

Today Tonight beat A Current Affair by 78,000 nationally and by 33,000 in Sydney, a better performance from Ray Martin’s mob. Ten’s new Simpsons
episode was the most watched program with 1.543 million people,
followed by the cobbled together double episode of Frasier with 1.527
million. Survivor Palau did well for Nine and won the night for
them with an average of 1.437 million people across two hours, with the Reunion
episode immediately afterwards attracting 1.069 million people. And
that is why Nine won the night with a 30.5% share to Seven on 27.6%,
Ten on 23.3%, the ABC on 13.7% and SBS on 4.9%.

Perhaps the oddest result of the night was Seven’s Ed Sullivan’s Legends of Rock and Roll
that Seven screened at 7:30pm. It has already
been to air here (many times) on Pay TV, and
yet 1.39 million people watched nationally on average. This good result
calls into question just how many people really watch Pay TV. It
was a cheap as chips program for Seven that generated a surprisingly
good pay-off.