The Nine Network boasts that it’s the place people turn to it when there’s a big story.

yesterday’s anti-terror raids in Sydney and Melbourne was one of the
biggest stories of the year, and Nine would have been expecting some
sign of a turn-on for the 6pm news broadcasts. After all, they’d seen
it with the Tsunami story at the start of the year and to a lesser
extent, with the London bombing.

But last night there was barely a ripple. Seven won the 6pm news slot and the 6.30pm arm wrestle between A Current Affair and Today Tonight
– a pretty regular occurrence in which, once again, Seven was helped by
huge wins in Perth where the local Nine affiliate runs one of the worst
performing news services in the country.

And Seven winning in
Sydney was not the big story – these days that is the “ho-hum” news
from the daily Oztam figures. The big story was in Melbourne where
viewers are “rusted” on to Nine News, especially when there’s a big
news story. But not last night, as Seven News in Melbourne toppled
Nine, 424,000 viewers to 384,000 on average. It was a comprehensive win
and follows wins on three nights last week in Melbourne (something of a

Nine will talk about the strength of Seven’s lead-in, Deal or No Deal,
which was strong last night: and Monday night and on other nights when
Nine has beaten Seven in Melbourne. Seven has been closing the gap on
Nine in Melbourne, just as it closed the gap in Sydney in 2004.

margin in favour of Nine has fallen from around 150,000 viewers last
year to well under 100,000 this year and in the past few weeks its been
considerably less than that.

Deal or No Deal
has been a part of Seven’s News recovery and that’s what Bert Newton has been hired to reverse by Nine next year.