Signs are good for twilight AFL matches. Last Sunday evening the Nine Network’s usually high rating 6pm News in Melbourne averaged a low 312,000 viewers. At the same time, the AFL final between Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs was being broadcast by Ten on delay in Melbourne, which meant it was in its dying stages when the Nine News was going to air. Around 541,000 people watched the game on Ten and the Oztam figures show that viewers on the whole stayed with the game despite Collingwood being well beaten at three quarter time. Unintentionally it was a test of the twilight game concept that the AFL wants to try next year and from what Ten believes the figures show, there’s every chance it will happen. What that means for the network and its free-to-air partner, Seven, is that they will have an extra timeslot on Sundays: they can show games at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm, depending on where they are being played. Ten and Seven are still in early talks with Foxtel which isn’t willing to pay the sort of money Ten and Seven want. That is as much PBL playing hardball with its commercial TV rivals as anything else. The C7 court case is still rattling relations and Foxtel has denied that veteran sports rights negotiator, Ian Frykberg has become involved in the talks. I’d watch Fox Sports and its owner, Premier Media Group. It’s half owned by PBL and News and it will be the vehicle through which a deal is to be done, one way or another, with Seven and Ten. They need the revenue and Foxtel and Fox Sports needs the AFL for next winter, otherwise the new Fox Sports 3 channel is dead meat. But the performance of the AFL past 6pm on Ten last Sunday evening is a sign of things to come, no matter where the AFL is seen next year. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Tuesday night and we all like a perve on the comings and goings of airport immigration or customer border watching. Last night it was again no different. 2.312 million people tuned into Seven at 7.30pm and 1.767 million stayed for the return of Medical Emergency at 8pm. Seven News was 3rd with 1.401 million, followed by Temptation (1.370 million), Nine News (1.369 million), Home and Away (1.344 million), Today Tonight (1.344 million), All Saints (1.342 million), A Current Affair (1.316 million) and the repeat of CSI (1.295 million) was 10th.

The Losers: Bert’s Family Feud averaged 577,000, Deal Or No Deal, 850,000 and  Ten News, 884,000. No real losers there. Nine’s The Closer at 9.30pm (883,000) beat Seven’s Crossing Jordan (819,000). Hardly inspiring figures for either program. Likewise for Rove Live (791,000), which is in the same slot. Also on Ten, The Wedge had 766,000 and Real Stories, 751,000. Not good — a bit bogan for the audience I feel. Rove and Real Stories won the timeslots in Ten’s favoured 16 to 39s, but not The Wedge… hmmmm.

News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight used their winning margins in Perth to score national victories last night but it was close. Seven News won by 32,000 nationally and 105,000 in Perth, TT won by 28,000 nationally and 108,000 in Perth. Seven News won Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Nine News won Sydney and Brisbane, Today Tonight won Adelaide and Perth, ACA won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The ABC News did well with more than a million viewers for the second night in a row but as is usual, The 7.30 Report was crushed by Border Security: its audience averaged 671,000.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 31.9% (33.2% a week earlier) from Nine with 28.1% (28.7%), Ten with 19.9% (19.5%), the ABC with 13.8% (14.4%) and SBS with 6.2% (4.2%) Seven won Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth (by almost 14 points). Nine won Brisbane well. Nine leads the week from Seven, 28.6% to 27.1%. In regional areas, Nine Affiliates NBN and WIN still won with a share of 30.9% from Prime/7QLD with 30.4%. Sthn Cross (Ten) was on 19.7%, the ABC, 12.8% and SBS 6.2%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Ten’s duo The Wedge and Real Stories is wobbling and The Wedge doesn’t seem to be bonding with the network’s 16 to 39 demographic. Could be fatal. Talk that Nine has “boned” Two Twisted on Monday nights, ending it a week earlier. The season finale was down for September 25, now listed for next Monday in some schedules. Did someone count wrongly? Nine never gave it much support with well-performing new, fresh lead-ins at 8.30pm Mondays, so it had to bounce off repeats of Cold Case for all but the first episode. That’s a hard gig. Tonight Ten has Thank God You’re Here, House and NCIS, up against Nine’s Mothers In Law/War thingie at 7.30pm (which should alienate a few viewers) and then 90 minutes of The Great Fat/Weight Debate. Seven has The Force at 7.30pm, Police Files at 8pm, and Forensic Investigators at 8.30pm, followed by Crossing Jordan. Ten’s night.

Peter Fray

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