The winners. Tennis, tennis, tennis. Need we say more. It’s the depths of high summer and the tennis was good, even the struggles of LLeyton “Come on'” Hewitt yesterday afternoon were of interest. Today Tonight was tops with 1.457 million people, Seven News was next with 1.395 million, Home and Away was third with 1.367 million and then the 7 pm ABC News with 1.136 million. Nine News was 5th with 1.132 million, the repeat of Midsomer Murders on Nine from 8.30 averaged 1.059 and Seven’s 7.30 pm evening tennis telecast averaged 1.044 million. A Current Affair averaged 1.009 million and was the 8th and final program with a million or more viewers. Ten snuck a David Letterman Show interview with Terri and Bindi Irwin into the schedule at 7.30 pm where it averaged a solid 724,000 viewers. Ten’s Law And Order Criminal Intent repeat at 8.30 pm averaged 873,000.

The losers. Losers? Nine’s A Current Affair summer edition hosted by Leila McKinnon but more of that below. If you didn’t like tennis and slow moving British police whodunits (Midsomer Murders on Nine) then it was a night to watch Pay TV, go out, read a book or have a nap. Just like tonight will be if you don’t like sport.

News and Current Affairs. Seven News won nationally and in every market as did Today Tonight. In fact Today Tonight beat A Current Affair by 448,000 viewers. Which is a comprehensive margin. Nine can moan and groan about the strong lead in from the tennis for Seven: they will have one tonight from the One Day cricket. The fact is 123,000 people tuned off Nine from the News to ACA. Viewers don’t like the content or the host and it has been a situation developing since late December. Last year, Nine lost viewers by turning ACA off over the break for four weeks. This year viewers themselves are turning off. It’s a no brainer. The fact that the very serious and uncommercial 7.30 Report with 940,000 viewers, got within 69,000 of ACA should tell Nine management there’s a problem. Why make Tracy grimshaw’s job of reclaiming viewers that much harder? The figures for the Nine News at 6 pm are not helping, especially in Sydney where Chris Bath on Seven seems to have Mark Ferguson’s measure on Nine. Ian Ross is returning to Seven next week in Sydney and will do four nights a week. Seven is now confident Ms Bath can do well Friday-Sunday. In fact with the ABC strong at 7 pm The 7.30 Report has held up well this week in the face of Seven’s Tennis starting at 7.30 pm. Ten News At Five was solid with 903,000 viewers and its Late News/ Sports Tonight averaged a strong 507,000. Nine’s Nightline was buried and paid the price: just 192,000 fans. In the morning Sunrise at 7 am averaged 432,000. Today at 7 am went backwards and averaged 216,000. Today Early at 6 am 133,000, Early Sunrise, 212,000.

The stats. Seven with a share of 32.1% (31.0% a week ago) from Nine with 26.5% (27.5%), Ten with 20.7% (21.1%), the ABC with 15.6% (14.9%) and SBS with 5.1% (5.6%). Seven won Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Brisbane. Seven leads with 29.1% to 27.2%. Will the ODI cricket game today see Nine claw back the lead? And will Seven move ahead with the tennis tomorrow and tomorrow night? In regional areas a win to Prime/7Qld with 32.1% from WIN/NBN with 28.9%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.7%, the ABC with 14.3% and SBS with 5.0%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments. So who will win the battle of the sports today and tonight? Cricket or Tennis? Well the ODI between Australia and the Poms should do best simply because cricket has a broader appeal and there’s that element of sticking it to the English. But the tennis will still be worth a look, especially if Australia’s cruising. Roger Federer is still amazing to watch, so cool, and so effortless. Beats the grunting and groaning women. And if sport isn’t your bag, then try the ABC with some Kiwi food in Surfing The Menu and a repeat of Hercule Poirot. Ten has a Tim Allen Movie, For Richer or Poorer. Finally, Eddie and the ruling Junta at PBL Media have a problem at Today which they should be addressing: not Sarah Murdoch, but who will host this year? Will it be Ms Rowe when she returns or someone else? (Standby for the Jessica’s baby stories).

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey