Dancing fails to maintain “mega hit” status. The Seven Network’s mega hit, Dancing With The Stars is now just a hit. Series Five is now a month old and the audience is falling. It may recover for the final but it won’t make two million viewers in the preliminary rounds, unlike the previous series which was the highest rating so far. Last night the program averaged 1.534 million, down on the 1.770 million last week and the 1.858 million the week before. On those figures, Dancing has shed around 15% of its audience in the first four weeks of the current series, which is a substantial loss for any program. There has been an awful lot of celebrity shows this year: Seven has had It Takes Two and Celebrity Survivor, Nine has had Dancing On Ice and Ten had Celebrity Joker Poker last night which averaged 810,000. Not all that good. Viewers are becoming blasé about celebrity shows and we don’t have an awful lot of high profile, highly talented celebrities, unlike the US and the UK. Ten had a one-off “unplugged” ep of Australian Idol last night, which would have drained some of Dancing‘s audience but the Seven program skews more to older demographics. Seven says it is still doing well and it is, but two weeks ago Seven had a winning share on Tuesday night of around 36. Last night that was down to 32.5%. It will give heart to an embattled Nine Network if this weakness continues. Glenn Dyer

Somers bringing Red Faces back to Saturday nights. Daryl Somers is returning to Saturday night prime time TV with some of the old gang, using material aired on the Nine Network. Seven and Somers have struck a deal to chop up the old Red Faces segment from Hey Hey It’s Saturday and turn it into seven 30 minute programs, starting on October 28. Somers can do this because the production company he owned with Ernie Carroll (Somers Carroll), Mr Ossie Ostrich, produced Hey Hey for Nine. It will mean Somers is on Seven twice a week — Nine has tried to lure him back several times since he started hosting Dancing With The Stars. Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Tuesday nights and viewers turn to Seven for Dancing With The Stars, which they did last night but the numbers were down again. Dancing averaged 1.5 million viewers, down 230,000 on last week. Seven News was second with 1.441 million, followed by Home and Away (1.391 million), the repeat of CSI on Nine at 8.30pm (1.363 million). Today Tonight (1.332 million — with a slump in Melbourne), A Current Affair (1.309 million) and Seven’s All Saints (1.307 million). Nine’s 20 to 1 averaged 1.289 million. Nine News was on 1.232 million and 10th was Australian Idol Unplugged with 1.222 million. It was a one-off and it worked.

The Losers: None really last night. Some so-so performances but that’s TV. Celebrity Joker Poker — average with 810,000 viewers at 8.30pm — didn’t really click. A bit like Dancing at the moment. Rove Live (725,000) and Crossing Jordan on Seven at 10.30pm (629,000) did OK. Likewise The Closer at 9.30pm with 988,000.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market, Seven News won by 209,000 nationally and 121,000 in Perth. Today Tonight won by just 21,000 nationally and 86,000 in Perth. TT won Sydney, tied in Brisbane with Nine and won Adelaide and Perth. The big loss was in Melbourne where ACA won by 81,000 after Nine News was 18,000 behind Seven News from 6pm. The Naomi factor again in her home town? The ABC News was again a million plus and The 7.30 Report averaged 851,000. That’s a good sign Dancing didn’t have its normal oomph last night. The 7.30 Report is usually down around 700,000 or less when Dancing is on song. In the morning battle, Nine’s Today Show rose to 254,000 from 7am but Seven’s Early Sunrise was on 272,000 and Sunrise from 7am averaged 464,000.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 32.5% (35.5% the previous Tuesday night), from Nine with 27.8% (25.9%), Ten with 21.0% (unchanged), the ABC with 13.6% (13.4%) and SBS with 5.1% (4.2%). Seven won Sydney (where Nine is falling in a bit of a hole at the moment), Melbourne (much closer), Perth and Adelaide. Nine won Brisbane narrowly. Seven leads the week 29.7% to 26.2%. In regional areas it was again Nine’s affiliates, NBN/WIN with 32.1% from Prime/7Qld with 31.4%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.6%, the ABC with 11.9% and SBS with 5.0%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: A win to Seven with an audience less than they expect for Dancing. It’s suffering the same turn-off as Desperate Housewives and Lost did at the start of 2006 compared to last year. Seven is still doing well, the audience for All Saints of 1.3 million from 9.30pm would have been a big cheer, as would Nine getting more than 1.3 million to watch the repeat of CSI at 8.30pm. Ten would have been happy with the unplugged version of Idol last night. Did Idol’s idiot judges get rid of the wrong person on Monday night in Bobby Flynn? There’s chat going round (from fans) that they did, especially in Brisbane. You never know. Tonight it’s Ten with House (the last for the year of the fresh eps) and Thank God You’re Here plus a new NCIS. Seven has The Force, Forensic Investigators and The Unit. Will Nine’s night-time line-up struggle as it did a week ago? Survivor is useless for Nine at 9.30pm, CSI Miami is weakening and McLeod’s was very weak last week. A lot of money, billions of dollars in value, is riding on an improvement.

Fairfax business press moves on. From 1 December this year, people who browse the Fairfax business press using Media Monitor’s (MM) press clip delivery service will be forced to change their reading habits. According to a MM press release today, Fairfax are restricting the supply of clips from the AFR, BRW, Smart Investor, CFO, Asset, and MIS – access to The Age and the SMH will not be affected. MM’s customers will still get a synopsis, while one person in each organisation with access to the Media Monitors’ portal will retain the ability to browse the publications – the rest of us will have to look elsewhere. Readers will be able to subscribe to a Fairfax service that offers the company’s business media in a similar format to that now provided by MM. Thomas Hunter