The last week of official 2006 ratings was won by the Nine Network which never looked like losing, thanks to the strong Sunday and Monday nights and the help given by the record audiences for the first and second Ashes cricket tests in Brisbane and Adelaide. That was especially so on Sunday and Saturday, but on Friday night Seven won a narrow battle for Nine, despite the latter being boosted in the early evening by the test audience. Nine won the week 32,5% (31.3% a week earlier) from Seven on 27.4% (27.5%), Ten, 20.4% (19.3%), the ABC with 14.8% (16.7%) and SBS with 4.9% (5.1%). Nine won Saturday night with a share of 36.4% to Seven with 27.0%, the ABC with 19.1% and Ten down on 12.9%, with SBS on 4.6%. Friday night it was Seven with 32.7% from Nine with 31.0%, Ten with 16.0%, the ABC with 14.8% and SBS with 5.5%. In regional areas WIN/NBN won for Nine with a share of 33.9% from Prime/7Qld with 26.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.9%, the ABC with 14.1% and SBS with 5.4%.

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: The first night of summer and well, it was little different to the last Sunday of ratings: the sound of willow and leather. There was no clock though on Nine at 7.30 pm but there was a police procedural on at 8.30 pm, Seven had some familiar programs as did Ten. Nine won, with Seven second and doing a lot better than it has done in recent weeks. Nine News at 6.30 pm averaged 1.729 million from Seven News at 6 pm with 1.422 million. The rather fey Christmas with the Australian Women’s Weekly in-house promotion at 7 pm averaged 1.268 million. Everybody seemed to be talking at each other and not with each other on the program which was all a bit Sylvania Waters. Seven’s The Real Seachange at 6.30 pm averaged 1.267 million and the Ashes Cricket coverage from 11 am to 6.30 pm averaged a very solid 1.230 million. The first night of the Australian Swimming Titles averaged 1.165 million in 6th spot without going to air in Perth. Seven’s 7 pm program, You’ve Got the Job averaged 1.137 million with its The Apprentice overtones. Ten’s two hours of So You Think You Can Dance from 7.30 pm averaged a solid 1.043 million and the ABC’s Album special, 1.039 million for 90 minutes also from 7.30 pm. The cricket show at lunch in the test averaged 1.019 million, the 7 pm ABC News, 1.009 million and Egypt on Seven, 1.006 million as 60 Minutes went on holidays. Nine’s CSI replacement, Waking the Dead was back after failing earlier in ratings and averaged 990,000 over more than two hours from 8.30 pm. Seven’s movie, the bleak Road to Perdition, averaged 840,000 from 8.30 pm. Is there a rebellion going on in Perth for Nine? The Women’s Weekly special and the swimming didn’t go to air. Did STW refuse to take them for cost cutting reasons (certainly that’s the reason for the non broadcast of the swimming)?

The Losers: Losers? It’s summer, so the Loser tag should be applied a little more hesitantly. Take last night; the ABC’s solid program looking at our Top 10 albums of all time with more than a million viewers couldn’t be called a loser. It was entertaining, Dicko was good and showed Seven how they should have used him (and Ten). The bloke’s more than just an Idol judge. Myf Warhurst was good. But Dark Side of The Moon as the Number One album and Jeff Buckley, on the strength of one album and a swimming lesson that went wrong??? No women (Aretha, Carly Simon), no black performers (Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson), no Australians (AC/DC, Skyhooks, Cold Chisel?). Spare me dayz. As one of my sons said, “rigged by the Triple J audience, dad” (of which he is one). Oh, no Rolling Drones. Exile on Main Street!!!!!! And The Who’s My Generation pre-dated Nirvana’s “Teen Spirit” stuff by 20 years or more! Ok, I’ll take the medication, now. But…

News & CA: Nine News won because of the boost from the test cricket. It will do so tonight. The 7 pm ABC News was solid, as was the Ten News At Five with 488,000: up against the cricket which was being watched by well over a million people nationally. A tough act. In the morning, Seven and the ABC showed the benefit of not acknowledging the change in rating seasons. Weekend Sunrise saw its audience reach 402,000, the final Landline of the year averaged 246,000 people. Next week it’s the best of Landline repeats. The ABC’s Insiders at 9 am saw its audience up to 166,000 and Inside Business at 10 am had its best audience this year with 144,000 people. Insiders, Inside Business and Offsiders return next Sunday for their final shows of the year. Ten’s Meet the Press finished yesterday. Nine’s Sunday should have been in the battle for at least two more Sundays for the sake of credibility but Nine has always refused to chase news stories at this time of year, which is a pity because Laurie Oakes needs a long form forum for his trademark interviews.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 30.9( no comparison this week as its the first week of summer ratings. Comparisons back next week). Seven was second with 25.4%, Ten was third with 21.1%, the ABC was next with 18.2% and SBS was on 4.4%. Nine won Sydney, Melbourne , Brisbane and Adelaide. Seven won Perth. In regional areas WIN/NBN won for Nine with 29.6% from Prime/7Qld with 25.2%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 22.9%, the ABC with 17.4% and SBS with 4.4%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Well it was an unusually good night for viewers, but it is early in summer. Just wait until the torpor of January arrives to infect us all. The ABC’s top Album show (Dark Side of The Moon, sheesh!) was a good idea just waiting for any network to do it. More power to the ABC for doing it. The Test cricket is at last interesting but it was also interesting that Nine was back to the old habit of bailing right on the news (at a few seconds to 6.30 pm last night Eastern Time) to start the news at 6 pm. Now that the official ratings battle is over, no allowing the cricket to overrun and disrupt the evening schedule. Nine had to get that very odd Women’s Weekly Christmas special away. Why wasn’t there a Backyard Blitz segment on how to catch and kill (subdue) your Christmas tree? Tonight? the cricket. maybe, West Wing, Nip/Tuck on Nine. Nine is exhausting 20 to 1 (should be saving them for next year) and has the boorish King of Queens back to drive us to another network at 7 pm or 7.30 pm, if the cricket is over. Seven is trying to convince us The Great Outdoors is still interesting and Ten has replaced The Simpsons at 6pm with Everyone Loves Raymond. Another reason to watch the cricket.