Ashes cricket help Nine to penultimate ratings win. A win to the Nine Network last week thanks to the boost from the cricket on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and the final of the Rugby League Tri-Nations on Saturday night. And Nine will also win this week – last week of official ratings – with the combination of the cricket yesterday and today and then next Friday and Saturday from Adelaide. Nine won last week with a national share of 31.3% (28.7% a week earlier) from Seven with 27.5% (28.5%), Ten with 10.3% (20.6%), the ABC with 16.7% (17.3%) and SBS with 5.1% (5.3%). In regional areas WIN/NBN won with 33.2% (boosted by the cricket) from Prime/7Qld with 26.9%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 18.9%, the ABC with 15.6% and SBS with 5.4%. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: A combination of the spillover of the test cricket and the season finals for 60 Minutes and CSI was enough to give Nine victory up against the best performed Australian Idol final since 2004. As a result Seven had its lowest evening share this year and the ABC and SBS were also lower. Seven’s comment on last night this morning said it all: not a word, just the stats and nothing else. The announcement of the Idol winner averaged 2.160 million (from 9.30pm), the first time it has been over two million this year. The program leading up to the verdict averaged 2.030 million from 8.30 to 9.30pm. The 20 to 1 repeat (which was really half Nine News in Sydney and Melbourne) with 1.872 million. 60 Minutes averaged 1.844 million (for half the program in the ratings as it started at 8pm) and ditto CSI, which started at 9pm. Then came the live from the Opera House part of Idol with 1.621 million. Then Seven News with 1.307 million. The cricket averaged 1.271 million (that’s from 10.30am to 6pm (it will change when the ratings are adjusted for the overruns). Then CSI New York with 1.148 million from 10pm. The Cricket Show (in the lunch break) averaged 1.073 million (but why those chairs, everyone is sloping around and there’s nothing worse than grown men lounging around and not sitting up straight) and Seven’s The Real Seachange averaged 1.046 million against Nine News which was boosted by the cricket audience. The Real Seachange was the 12th and final program with a million or more viewers. Seven’s You’ve Got the Job at 7pm averaged 872,000, It’s Me Or the Dog on Ten at 7pm, 861,000 and Meerkat Manor on Ten at 6.30 pm, 652,000. Egypt on Seven at 7.30pm, 647,000.

The Losers: None really, except Seven’s performance last night. But the Network would have been expecting the double crunch so programmed weak against Ten and Nine. Nine won’t have these figures at this time a year again for at least four years when England returns for another Ashes tour. Ten will have Idol next year.

News & CA: Due to over runs of the cricket until 6.30pm Sydney time, the actual figures for the news battle are a bit confused. Seven News did well with 1.307 million up against the last half hour of play. 20 to 1 was due to start at 6.30pm but didn’t start till Seven, so some of the 1.872 million were watching Nine News which started at 6.30 pm. 60 Minutes had a solid finish to the year and in the morning Weekend Sunrise won with 411,000 to 235,000 for Sunday (loved the plug for the new movie Happy Feet by a program owned by PBL, which owns the Hoyts movie chain). Regardless of that quibble, the story of how it was made was worth telling. The 7 pm ABC News averaged a solid 904,0000 and Ten News was swamped by the cricket and averaged 615,000.

The Stats: Nine won easily with a share of 36.6% (33.9%) from Ten with 32.4% (27.4%, Seven with 15.0% (18.7%), the ABC with 12.7% (15.8%) and SBS with 3.3% (4.2%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Ten won Adelaide and Perth.in regional areas a similar margin with WIN/NBN winning with a 38.4% share from Southern Cross (Ten) with 31.9%, Seven with 14.8%, the ABC with 11.6% and SBS with 3.2%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven was hit by a double whammy and Ten will probably have a small wonder why it didn’t win the All People category last with such huge audiences for Idol and its lead up programs. But Nine can thank the lazy cricketers on both sides of the Test in Brisbane for slow over rates and the spillover into prime time from 6 pm which boosts Nine’s numbers. And the lack of daylight saving in Brisbane. Tonight there will be more of the same unless the game is petering out to a draw. It’s really a night where Nine should win: the material being offered is second string with the Comic Relief special on Seven probably the pick because you can dip in and out of it and not really worry about losing the plot. Nine has finals of What’s Good For You and What A Year which are both returning in 2007. Ten has nothing outstanding (will its US dance program, So You Think You Can Dance, do well tonight? It has been off air for a week now). The ABC has The West Wing.

Peter Fray

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