Departing Denyer trumps Murdoch in morning ratings. Sarah Murdoch’s first week on the Today show ended with a bigger loss last Friday as viewers tuned into Seven’s Sunrise for the last morning with weatherman, Grant Denyer. More than half a million people on averaged watched Sunrise from 7am last Friday, compared to 268,000 for Today. The regular Today team for summer appeared this morning with Ms Murdoch co-hosting with Richard Wilkins: they know each other socially so there was a bit more chemistry but at least with Karl Stefanovic sharing last week Today had a professional journalist in the chair for any big stories. Wilkins and Murdoch will struggle if there is a big story breaking over summer, although after the past couple of years of fires, fires and big waves, we’ve had enough in the way of big end of year news stories for a while. – Glenn Dyer

Dancing with Iron Mark? Not likely. The story on page three of the Sunday Tele, that Seven was after Mark Latham for Dancing With The Stars in 2007, is a piece of fiction. The story claimed Seven was prepared to offer Latham up to $300,000 to dance but Seven spokesman Simon Francis said the story was wrong: “We have not approached Mark Latham. We are not approaching Mark Latham. And we do not sign up dancing celebrities for $3,000 let alone $300,000. We’re overwhelmed by people wanting to grab a chance to be on the biggest programme on television but we suspect one of those people is not Mark Latham – even though neither we nor Mr Latham have asked the question.” – Glenn Dyer

Cricket gives Nine the non-ratings week. Nine won last week thanks to the Test cricket on Thursday, Friday and Saturday: Nine won all three nights thanks to the cricket from Perth ending around or past 9pm. Nine won the week 30.6% to 27.1% for Seven, 19.0% for Ten, 17.2% for the ABC and 6.2% for SBS. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Cricket and cricket and more cricket. It wasn’t the best guide to what people were watching on TV last night because of another great day’s play that was well televised by Nine. But the commentary panel do go on with some rubbish at times: the number of “what ifs”, and it “will be interesting” scenarios are enough to make you turn the sound down and put on the ABC. Which should have more of Kerry O’Keefe and Jonathon Agnew partnering. That’s fun commentary. Nine News was the most watched program with 1.830 million people. That was in the middle of the tea broadcast (nice of Cricket Australia to bend over backwards to accommodate Nine and yet they did nothing to stop the ban on the Barmy Army’s trumpeter in Brisbane and Adelaide. One rule for the Packer interests, another for the punters. It’s not been a concern from Perth.). Next was the Ashes coverage itself with 1.567 million. Which was understandable. What else is there to do on a sunny Sunday apart from Christmas shopping? The Cricket Show in the lunch break averaged 1.273 million, then Seven News with 1.154 million. The CSI clone from Britain called Waking the Dead from after the cricket on Nine, averaged 1.142 million and the Spicks and Specks Christmas Special on the ABC at 7.30pm averaged 1.047 million. Seven’s The Real Seachange averaged 961,000 at 6.30pm and You’ve Got the Job, 838,000 at 7pm. Ten’s So You Think You Can Dance, 870,000 for two hours from 7.30pm.

The Losers: None really because the cricket was so dominant. And it is summer. There are a few loser programs on like Seven’s Egypt which finished last night, 10 Days That Made The Queen, also on Seven.

News & CA: Nine News won, Seven News did OK, Ten News struggled against the cricket and was watched by 505,000 people. The 7pm ABC News averaged 808,000. Not bad against the Test coverage. In the morning Seven’s Weekend Sunrise averaged 407,000 and justified the decision to keep going over summer. if the Test is still going tonight will Nine screen A Current Affair as it has been promoting over the weekend, or will it be pre-empted for the third night in a row? Any more pre-emptions and it will feel like a repeat of last year when ACA was sent on a holiday over New Year.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 38.7% (30.5%) from Seven with 20.3% (24.8%), Ten with 19.6% (25.0%, the ABC with 17.7% (13.8%) and SBS with 3.8% (6.0%). Nine won all markets and in regional areas won with affiliates WIN/NBN getting a share of 38.3% from Prime/7Qld with 20.7%, Southern Cross with 19.6%, the ABC with 17.0% and SBS with 4.4%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The Spicks and Specks Christmas Special is another example of what can be done by TV networks to inject some viewing interest into this time of the year. The Panel‘s Christmas Special is on Ten for two hours on Christmas night. That’s another example. The others have shows that could easily have specials (The Biggest Loser for after Christmas slimming on Ten!). All the cooking shows, such as Ready Steady Cook, Maggie Beer etc do Christmas themed episodes but not the light entertainment programs. Friday night Seven’s Today Tonight dipped to a new low with a very grubby special report on new bikinis which featured four men leering at young women dressed in tiny swimsuits (after a fashion). It is a family viewing time and it was blokey and totally inappropriate. Tonight Nine’s A Current Affair has been promoting a special on new bras: again. Do we need tits and bums reports on these 6.30pm programs at any time during the year? It’s gutter stuff and again confirms these programs are not current affairs. And has Seven signed Anna Coren or anyone else to front TT next year? When they do they should fix up the producers because the program needs a switch in emphasis.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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