Seven dominates Week 2. Week
two of ratings was Seven’s, despite Nine having several programs in the top 10, including good
performers 60 Minutes and McLeod’s Daughters. But
Nine still doesn’t have enough medium level performers. Seven’s
win was surprisingly easy, with big wins on Tuesday night, thanks to Dancing With The Stars, and a
telling win Wednesday. Not only did Seven win
Monday through Saturday, it also won every capital city market. Seven’s
share was 31.3% to Nine’s 26.8%, Ten with 20.7%, the
ABC with 16.3% (it ran third on Saturday night ahead of Ten) and SBS with
4.9%. The most
interesting development is the way Seven in Melbourne has caught up to Nine
News, thanks to Deal or No Deal, the lack of cut-through for Bert in his home
market and the better morale at Seven in Melbourne. This
week, Seven’s
Commander in Chief starts at 9.30pm Monday after Desperate Housewives, which
should help it. But the White House drama is currently being rested in the US
until April following less than happy ratings in recent
weeks, which
doesn’t bode well for Geena Davis as a long term
answer to Seven’s 9.30pm itch on Mondays. – Glenn Dyer

Nine’s not-so-Clever programming blunder.Clever
has joined the list of Nine Network programs looking for life support after only
its second outing last night. The
decision to program Clever on Sunday evening at the family friendly time of 6.30pm
to 7.30pm instead of the veteran Backyard Blitz, a proven ratings grabber,
calls into question the ability of Nine, its programming staff and senior
management, to get anything right this year. Clever
fell below the million viewer mark last night to average just 908,000 – a loss of around
21% on its debut, which for such an important timeslot is close
to terminal in most circumstances. Nine has
undermined the Backyard Blitz franchise by burying it on Fridays at 7.30pm
where it has been beaten by Seven’s Better Homes and Gardens, Ten’s Friday Night Games and even Stateline (on the
ABC) last Friday night. Last
night 60 Minutes did well, but with 1.297 million, it was more than 200,000
short of the 1.5 million plus achieved on its 2006 return the week before. And
that can be blamed on the slump in Clever. So what
does Nine do? If it
cans Clever, Backyard Blitz can return to Sundays and probably be saved; the AFL
and NRL can eventually save Friday nights. – Glenn Dyer

Sunrise up on Sunday mornings: After
three weeks, it seems the pecking order on Sunday mornings has been re-sorted
among the chat shows covering politics, business and everything
in-between.

These
programs generate a lot of publicity through skilful use by pollies (witness Peter Costello on Insiders yesterday
launching his tax inquiry) and business people wanting to improve their spin or
marketing themselves. Weekend
Sunrise
on Seven (8am to 10am)
doesn’t specialise and that’s
probably why its now the number one in terms of
audience. Yesterday it averaged 351,000. Sunday,
the usual market leader on Sunday mornings from 9am to 11am, certainly won that timeslot yesterday but it has failed
to finish above 300,000 viewers so far in 2006. Yesterday’s 289,000 wasn’t bad though. As a lead-in, Business Sunday lost a lot of ground yesterday,
falling to just 110,000 from around 171,000 a week earlier. The
ABC’s Insiders at 9am was watched by 130,000 people across the hour. That’s OK for a very verbal program that depends heavily on the
attractiveness of the talking heads on the couch.

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners Nine, won, thanks to the strength of 60 Minutes, CSI
and CSI Miami. Seven was second in a much better performance than is usual for
the network on Sunday nights, while Ten was competitive, although the Law and
Order
programs were again less than impressive. Seven premiered Where are They
Now
at 6.30pm with Mel and Kochie hosting. With the milking-the-nostalgia angle now
popular, it was slotted in after The Real Sea Change and a Jobs program hosted
by Chris Bath didn’t make the grade as first options. Where Are They Now
averaged 1.475 million. Seven’s long telemovie, The End of the World started at
7.30pm, went on and on and on and averaged 905,000. But that loss of more than
half a million viewers hurt Seven’s competitiveness. Ten’s success
was the ep of Australia’s Brainiest Housemates (from Big Brother), 1.17
million
The Losers Nothing really, except Nine’s Clever which is, paradoxically, a dumb
show. 908,000 people, down 21% on a year earlier. That says it all. The Law and
Order Special Victims Unit
(935,000) and Law and Order Criminal Intent on Ten
(755,000) are not failures, but Ten would be disappointed with their
attractiveness this year. But the writing was on the TV screen last year as
their ratings faded. Killer Sharks on Ten at 6.30 pm (758,000) would be better
if it looked at financial advisers and real estate agents and not the poor
innocent sharks being exploited for ratings.
News & CA Now sit down and listen: the Nine Network’s problems
with its News in Melbourne continue. Nine won the night nationally, 1.302
million to 1.251 million, and in Sydney, 383,000 to 296,000. But in Melbourne,
a Nine loss, to Seven, 371,000 against 355,000. Now that is news. That will
change with the AFL appearing in winter, but for the Nine News to be beaten
nationally or in Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane on a Sunday when viewers have
seemingly been “rusted” on the channel for years, is a sign of something deeper
happening. And that is the way Seven News has caught Nine in Melbourne and
beaten it solidly for the past two weeks. 60 Minutes did well with 1.297 million
people with the story on cruelty to cattle in the Middle East. But I thought the
best story yesterday was Sunday‘s,
on questionable justice for some Australians in North Queensland. All
too hard to follow up and it’s easier to tweak viewers’ emotions using
animals (and John Howard, speaking of animals). The ABC News regained
the million mark with 1.016 million and Ten news at 5 pm, a really
pared down bulletin, averaged 818,000 people.
The Stats Nine with 29.8% to Seven with 26.5%, Ten with 20.3% and
the ABC with 19.3%. SBS had 4.2%. Nine won everywhere. the ABC beat Ten in
Sydney and in Adelaide for third.
Glenn Dyer’s comments And apart from Nine’s ham-fisted start to the year,
the other big story is the way the ABC, which isn’t interested in ratings,
seems to be network of choice for refugees fleeing Nine. Some are going to
Seven, some to Ten, but the ABC’s performance last night, and on Saturday when
it finished third nationally (Saturday nights, and Fridays are generally
stronger nights for the ABC), is an interesting development. The ABC averaged
16.3% last week, its highest for the year so far. Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope
interview with Billy Connolly helped last week, but the 19.3% last night even beat that. Commercial TV executives
will bemoan the fact that taxpayers money is being used that way (because they
don’t much like competition) but so long as the refugees from Nine go
predominantly to the ABC and not Ten or Seven, then Nine executives will be
happy, sort of. That means Ten and Seven audiences will not be boosted to any
greater extent, meaning more advertising dollars for them and less for Nine. The
ABC just doesn’t count when it comes to ratings and ad dollars! And, after all
aren’t profits, not ratings (and therefore viewers), the priority at the network
these days?

Peter Fray

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