Ashes ratings all smiles for Nine. Grins all around at the Nine Network at the figures for the first Ashes Test from Brisbane. Even though it ended early yesterday, 527,000 people tuned in for the last rites of England second innings. The first four days of the test audiences were between 21% and 42% higher than the same days of the first Test of the 2002 tour, according to analysis by Sydney media group, Fusion. Day one on Thursday averaged 787,000, up 37%; Friday saw 888,000 viewers, up 38%; Saturday averaged 1.335 million, up 42% and Sunday’s audience averaged 1.279 million, up 21%. The Nine Network said audience peaked at 1.975 million on Saturday afternoon and 2.07 million on Sunday. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Naomi’s departure helped Today Tonight top the night with 1.498 million viewers from Home and Away (1.461 million), Nine’s What’s Good For You (1.457 million), Seven News (1.451 million), A Current Affair (1.301 million), Ten’s repeat of Law and Order SVU (1.298 million), Nine News (1.294 million without the boost from the cricket), What A Year (1.255 million), Nine’s Temptation (1.217 million) and Nine’s Cold Case repeat (1.138 million). Dynasties on the ABC at 8pm had 1.074 million and Ten’s So You Think You Can Dance averaged 1.068 million. The West Wing averaged 649,000 for the ABC.

The Losers: Seven’s Comic Relief averaged 714,000 for three hours. Tragic. It was an act of charity on all fronts: it raised money for a good cause, showed a few funny skits, and donated the best part of 300,000-400,000 viewers from 7.30pm onwards to Nine and Ten (SBS and the ABC didn’t get any boost). As a result Nine had it easy.

News & CA: Seven News won nationally by 157,0000 people and in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth (where it won by 71,000). Naomi’s goodbye saw TT win by 197,000 nationally – a 109,000 margin in Perth and it won Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. ACA won Brisbane. Ten News averaged 898,000 without the cricket on Nine and the 7pm ABC News was also strong (1.058 million). The 7.30 Report averaged 824,000. Sunrise and Early Sunrise beat Today in the morning battle.

The Stats: Nine won easily with a share of 31.9% (30.4%) from Seven with 23.9% (28.9%), Ten with 22.5% (19.1%), the ABC with 14.6% (14.7%) and SBS with 7.1% and (7.3%). Nine won all five metro markets and leads the week 35.2% to 27.7% for Ten. Seven is back in third with 19.2% and could end up third in the last week of ratings, which would be a downer for the Network to end the year that way. In regional areas WIN/NBN won with 35.7% from Prime/7Qld with 22.9%, with Southern Cross (Ten) third with 20.7%. The ABC was on 12.8% and SBS on 7.8%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The most outstanding thing on network TV this week is the way Tracey Spicer is handling her flicking by the Ten Network! There she was on air yesterday and again today reading the news as if she hadn’t been punted by the Network. It was a nice example of dignity in an industry that at times puts a premium on undignified behaviour in the name of entertainment. Now she’s not being replaced: Ten calls it “operational reasons”: that’s cost cutting to me. Her newsreading duties will be shared around. Ten has just increased its costs by the CBS deal. Tonight it’s the final of series five of Dancing with the Stars. Will it make two million viewers?

Peter Fray

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