The Winners: It’s that time of the year again on Monday nights. No Desperate Housewives, no Grey’s Anatomy and suddenly Nine wins because Seven is weak. It was a small margin, but a win nevertheless. Australian Idol‘s verdict episode was the most watched program with 1.406 million, Nine News was next with 1.341 million, followed by Home and Away (1.318 million), A Current Affair (1.291 million), Seven News (1.260 million), Today Tonight (1.235 million), Temptation (1.211 million), Criminal Minds (1.181 million). Law and Order: SVU (a repeat with 1.172 million) and What’s Good For You averaged 1.158 million(its audience numbers have been up and down a bit this series). What A Year struggled higher to 1.084 million, just in front of the ABC News and Current Affairs special at 8.30pm with 1.009 million. ABC News (1.007 million) was the 13th and final program with a million or more viewers. Seven’s new 9.40pm program, Standoff, averaged 855,000, beaten by the repeat of Cold Case with 976,000 viewers on Nine.

The Losers: The Great Outdoors on Seven at 7.30pm, if only because it slipped below a million viewers on an average night – the summer revamp can’t come quickly enough. Enough Rope with Andrew Denton wasn’t so much a winner but more a wonder why 768,000 would tune in to watch the interview with U2’s Bono again. The US version of The Biggest Loser had just 665,000 people on Ten at 9.30pm.

News & CA: Losses for both Seven News and Today Tonight nationally and in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Seven News and TT won Adelaide and Perth but not by enough to make up for weak efforts in Sydney and Melbourne. Ten News averaged 902,000, regaining the 900,000 mark for the first time since Daylight Saving began. The 7.30 Report averaged 790,000 after the 7pm ABC News got more than a million viewers. Sunrise won the early morning chat and breakfast battle against Today.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 27.6% (25.3% last week) from Seven with 26.4% (32.1%), Ten was third with 22.0% (20.6%), the ABC on 16.5% (15.9%) and SBS with 7.6% (6.2%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; Seven won Adelaide and Perth. Nine leads the week 28.8% to 24.4%. In regional areas a win for Nine and its affiliates WIN/NBN with 30.0% from Prime/7Qld with 25.0%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 22.2%), the ABC with 15.3% and SBS on 7.5%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: So no “must see” shows and the audience dips. There was several hundred thousand viewers missing last night. Seven will be happy though that Criminal Minds won at 8.30pm (well, 8.40pm) slot narrowly from a repeat of Law And Order: SVU. Nine will be happy What A Year made the million mark. If it does that again before ratings end it will return in 2007. The first part of the special celebrating 50 years of ABC TV news and current affairs was very straight at 8.30pm. More a chronology rather than a serious attempt to explore why ABC TV news and current affairs set the pace in this country for years. It was as though the current regime at ABC NewsCaff were not prepared for a bit of self-examination and a bit of self-congratulation. There is a lot to praise. Still, you got a better sense of what happened in Australia than you did with Seven and Nine’s efforts. And the special did exceed what Four Corners achieved on all but a couple of Monday nights this year. Tonight the big question is: will viewers rediscover Dancing with the Stars? Nine has 20 to 1 (a new ep) at 7.30pm. That could be interesting up against a slow Dancing. On Ten, The OC returns and will now screen soon after the new series airs in the US (Ten is doing this with Jericho). This is going to be the pattern of the future, I think.