Lateline to win Human Rights award and a Walkley? This morning The National Indigenous Times is reporting that ABC’s Lateline program has been shortlisted for a prestigious Human Rights award. The program is one of five finalists in the television award category for its “Central Australian series”:

Lateline came under fire by numerous media sources, including NIT, this year for its June 2006 story claiming “s-xual slavery” was rife throughout the Central Australian Aboriginal community.

The claims were made by Gregory Andrews, who posed as an “anonymous youth worker”, with his face blacked out and voice digitised to disguise his identity. Mr Andrews is in fact a senior official in the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination.

But HREOC confirmed to NIT that the controversial 21 June Mutitjulu broadcast was not included in the entry and that the ABC did not disclose the fact that a 55 page complaint has been lodged about the story by representatives of the Mutitjulu community. The Lateline “Central Australia” series has also been nominated for a Walkley award for Indigenous Affairs. Crikey rang the MEAA to ascertain if the 21 June broadcast was included in the entry, but they did not get back to us before publication. The Walkleys will be announced at a gala ceremony in Melbourne tonight. — Sophie Black

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Prime Suspect might be big in Britain, but not for Seven last night. Viewers preferred the stylised and ever so boring CSI Miami (a pastel imitation of CSI) which was the most watched program on the night with 1.574 million viewers. And Dame Naomi again easily accounted for Tracy Grimshaw at ACA. TT averaged 1.469 million viewers for second place, ahead of Seven News with 1.423 million. McLeod’s Daughters averaged 1.397 million in one of its strongest nights of the year (it was the last episode of the year and will be back in 2007). I know the cast has been fairly depressed at the low numbers at times this year as Ten in particular has blitzed the time slot with Thank God. Seven’s third string program Police Files averaged 1.376 million over the hour from 7.30pm with back to back eps. Home and Away was sixth with 1.356 million, followed by Nine News (1.290 million), Temptation (1.233 million), A Current Affair and the final ep of The Glass House (an hour from 9pm) averaged 1.159 million.

The Losers: Now a program that gets 999,000 isn’t really a loser, but in the context of last night… don’t tempt me. Prime Suspect just fell short of the million mark and with Seven completing it on Friday, what a way to end the week. The Glass House was just more riveting, but I have never been a big fan of the genre which seems to be a specialisation of British TV. Ten’s Tripping Over: 683,000 viewers last night, swamped by other programs and the last Glass House.

News & CA: Seven News won nationally by 133,000 nationally and by 137,000 in Perth. Seven won Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Melbourne and Brisbane. TT, though, won nationally by 297,000 and by 127,000 in Perth. TT won Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. ACA won Melbourne. The Naomi factor in her home town? Ten News averaged 795,000 viewers, the 7pm ABC News, 995,000, The 7.30 Report, 815,000. In the morning an easy win to Seven’s Sunrise.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 31.1% (28.4%) from Seven with 28.9% (30.1%) the ABC third with 18.4% (17.1%), Ten fourth with 17.5% (19.2%) and SBS with 4.1% (4.4%). Nine won all metro markets bar Perth. It leads in the week 32.4% to 25.6% and can’t be beaten for the week by Seven from here on in. In regional areas WIN/NBN won for Nine with 36.1% from Prime/7Qld with 24.4%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 17.8%, the ABC with 16.9% and SBS with 4.8%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine can’t lose the last week of ratings and that should see it win the year with or without the inclusion of the Commonwealth Games. In commercial share terms Nine will also probably win. Seven had to win this week and win it reasonably well. It started badly on Sunday night because of Ten’s Australian Idol and CSI on Nine, ran the failed Comic Relief on Monday night, did well Tuesday but couldn’t crack two million viewers for Dancing with the Stars and then last night Prime Suspect lost the network the night after solid efforts from 6pm to 8.30pm. Seven and Nine will go head to head tonight, Prime Suspect back on Friday night and Nine has a Harry Potter movie on Saturday night. It’s odd that it all came down to this final week. Nine will have the bragging rights, Ten also has bragging rights for its 16 to 39 quest and the new demo it is trying to convince everyone exists, the 18 to 49 group. Seven, though, had the ratings and revenue tradeoff, and the profits. No cuts at Seven like at Nine. Seven and Ten have more viewers, Nine has fewer. That’s the real equation from the year. Only Seven had more viewers, more revenue and higher profits. Good programs as well. Winning the ratings doesn’t mean anything if you can’t translate that into revenue and then earnings. It is, after all, commercial TV. Next year will be different. Nine is short of product, Ten and Seven have the AFL to juggle, plus V8 Supercars for Seven. Another interesting year is ahead.