TT and ACA battle in Bathurst. The scrapping between Today Tonight and A Current Affair reached new lows last night. If you thought the ‘Save Wa-Wa’ dash to West Papua by Naomi Robson and a crew from Today Tonight was bad, then the unseemly argy bargy involving ACA‘s Ben Fordham in Bathurst yesterday, was even lower. Naomi and her crew had set up an exclusive story on network star, Jennifer Hawkins, having lunch with a Year 12 student from the local high school. The lunch was a substitute for a “date” with him at the school formal, which Hawkins had accepted and then turned it into a lunch because she felt her presence would detract from the event for the other students. Naomi and the crew were firstly upset that a crew from Seven News in Sydney turned up to do a story and then the heat was really turned up when Wa-Wa’s mate, Ben Fordham (who left Wa-Wa to his fate after doing a 60 Minutes story in May) turned up and started throwing his weight around. Fordham, whose reputation is built on being hit by a now failed property developer he was chasing a couple of years ago, started asking questions of Hawkins in the grounds of the High School and clashed with a Seven cameraman who was filming the story. There was a certain amount of pushing and shoving between the TT and ACA crews before the school’s headmaster stepped in. This will go down as another notch on Fordham’s microphone at Nine where he is very much the favoured one of former ACA ep, David Hurley (now holding Gary Linnell’s hands as Nine’s Director of News and Current Affairs). So how did the news of the brawl break? In the Daily Telegraph’s Sydney Confidential column who were in on the exclusive with Seven, complete with pictures of Fordham pushing a Seven cameraman. What Nine and its executives don’t understand is that as much as it was a good “spoiler” they spoiled the day for the Year 12 student and Hawkins (probably earning the enmity of both) and made the network and the program look foolish. It only confirms the impression in the public’s mind that the AFL football yobs have taken control of Nine. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Dancing With The Stars returned to Seven last night and unlike previous series, it was something of a low key commencement: The audience didn’t crack the two million mark: Just 1.835 million for the two hours from 7.30 pm. And with All Saints running straight after and averaging 1.381 million, it was enough to give Seven a 10 point win on the night. Nine News beat Seven narrowly with 1.335 million people watching to 1.329 million. A Current Affair was 5th with 1.325 million, Home and Away easily won the 7 pm battle with 1.296 million. Nine’s 7.30pm program, 20 to 1, averaged 1.261 million for 7th, ahead of Today Tonight, well-beaten by ACA with 1.213 million, Temptation averaged a lowish 1.195 million and the tired old repeat of CSI on 9 at 8.30 pm averaged 1.083 million (not good enough) The 7pm ABC News averaged 1.042 million and the fresh ep. of The Simpsons on Ten averaged 1.040 million. The new ep. of Futurama averaged 946,000 and the repeat at 7pm, 894,000. The ABC’s Two Men In A Tinnie averaged 795,000, down from a week earlier when it averaged 909,000. The Bill was also squashed by Dancing, averaging just 797,000.

The Losers: Bert’s Family Feud was again low at 569,000 but then Seven’s Deal or No Deal was also down at 740,000. Ten News was the winner of the slot with 856,000. Nine’s 9.35pm program, The Closer averaged 849,000. Not good enough against All Saints. Rove Live averaged 731,000 which is nothing to write home about and Ten’s other new programs last night, The Wedge (722,000) and Real Stories (652,000), are dying slowly and will need life support soon.

News & CA: Nine News won by 6,000 people nationally but that was after Seven won Perth by 92,000. Nine News won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Seven also won Adelaide. ACA beat TT by 112,000 viewers but that was also after Seven won Perth by 59,000 people. TT won Sydney narrowly but lost to ACA in Melbourne and Brisbane by big margins. TT also won Adelaide.The 7 pm ABC News did well but The 7.30 Report was pushed lower by the return of Dancing on Seven at the same time. A week earlier it had been Border Security hurting the competition. Seven’s Sunrise again beat Today in the early morning and 7am slots.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 36.4% ((32.7%) from Nine with 26.4% (28.2%), Ten with 19.2% (20.5%), the ABC down on 13.8% (14.9%) and SBS on 4.2% (3.7%). Seven got a huge 42% share in Sydney, won Melbourne, Brisbane was close (30.6% to 30.2%), won Adelaide and won Perth. Seven now leads the week, 29.5% to 26.6%. Seven’s affiliates, Prime/7Qld won in regional areas with 33.3% to WIN/NBN (Nine) with 30.9%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 18.1%, the ABC with 13.3% and SBS with 4.3%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The results for last night show the difference between a big audience over a short time (2.3 million over half an hour for Border Security) and a smaller audience (1.8 million) over two hours, with a further 1.3 million over the next hour. It crushes the opposition, if the programming on other networks isn’t strong enough. Nine runs dead on Tuesday nights. The repeats of CSI are doing so-so for around 1.1 million viewers, give or take a few thousand. What will Nine do next year when the CSI repeats are a bit older? Will CSI be Nine’s version of Ten’s endless repeats of The Simpsons? Tonight its Terri being interviewed by Ray on Nine and that will dominate the night at 8.30pm. I hope Ray remembers to behave himself and let her talk and isn’t too mawkish (remember his infamous “sad story” quip after a particularly sad story when he was fronting ACA. Some commentary just needs to be held in!). Seven has switched Bones to 8.30pm tonight while Forensic Investigators is rested for a week or two. Ten has a strong night with Thank God You’re Here and House, plus NCIS the line-up. House tonight is a repeat from Ten so that Network is not wasting a fresh ep. against Terri and Ray on Nine. Rome ends on Nine tonight with the second episode and Survivor Cook Islands is bring dropped into the 9.30pm timeslot next week. What happens if Rome’s audience suddenly rises to a million viewers? The Sopranos are singing at 10.40 (soo late!) The ABC has Spicks and Specks at 8.30 pm. Nine also has McLeod’s at 7.30pm and Seven has The Force at 7.30pm/ Police Files at 8pm. Seven has a movie Kill Bill Vol 1 at 9.30pm followed by Infamous Murders at 11.45pm. Is this a commentary of sorts… all the programs from 7.30pm being police-crime related. Unusual. A good night over all though for viewers.

Peter Fray

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