US viewers say Thank God You’re Here. Thank God You’re Here is the first Australian TV format to be taken up by a US Network and it did OK, not brilliantly, but not a dud, when it premiered on NBC on Monday night. The US version debuted with a two-hour special and picked up a solid share of the key US audience demographic, the 18-to-49 group. It went to air between 9pm and 11pm East Coast time and averaged 8.3 million people. Its lead in was Deal or No Deal which averaged 10.9 million up against Dancing With the Stars on ABC, which is very popular in the US (it averaged 18.7 million viewers). Although the overall audience fell, Thank God improved on Deal in the 18-49 demo, which is what NBC would have wanted to see. Thank God’s main opposition was CSI Miami which averaged 15.9 million viewers. The star of the first ep was Jason Alexander aka George Costanza who apparently saw the Australian version on a Qantas flight to Australia last year and put his hand up to be on the show when he heard NBC was going doing it. The Seven Network is obviously a fan, giving the it a prime time plug on Today Tonight last night, but the international rights to the NBC version are controlled from Fremantle International, so the US version won’t necessarily be seen here in Australia on Seven under its relationship with NBC. The half hour breakdown shows Thank God‘s share rose during the second hour as it moved to third place out of the five major FTA broadcasters, but in the 18 to 49 group it moved to second overall in the last hour. It was in fact NBC’s best numbers in the 9pm to 11pm timeslot on Monday night since mid January. The program airs again next Monday in the same timeslot and then moves to Wednesday nights at 8pm which is the heart of US primetime TV. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: It is a long way from first to third in TV ratings but it doesn’t take much to experience the plunge (or so go the other way). After winning Sunday and Monday nights Nine fell back to third last night, skewered by a weak line-up and the renewed strength of Dancing With The Stars on Seven. Dancing dominated with 1.794 million viewers from 7.30pm to 9pm, followed by All Saints with 1.609 million. (Because Dancing ran over by 15 minutes, the adjusted figures will be Dancing 1.799 million and All Saints, 1.507 million). Seven News was next (1.444 million), followed by Today Tonight (1.378 million) and the 90 minute “special” of The Biggest Loser (the Return of the Eliminated) averaged 1.299 million from 7pm to 8.30pm. Nine News had 1.214 million, then Home And Away (1.160 million), A Current Affair (1.148 million) and Ten’s repeat of NCIS at 8.30pm (1.057 million).

The Losers: Nine’s repeats of CSI (841,000 at 8.30pm), 20 to 1 (885,000 at 7.30pm) and the re-voiced I Shouldn’t Be Alive (637,000 at 9.30pm). Painting Australia at 8pm, 563,000. A nice Sunday afternoon “arts” program in the wrong timeslot.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Sydney, as did Today Tonight. Nine is giving Seven some angst in Sydney and has been consistently better with the news and every now and then with ACA. But Seven has boosted its performance in Melbourne and Brisbane and Nine is hurting badly in both centres. Nightline averaged 216,000, Ten News averaged 841,000, the Ten Late News/Sports Tonight, 406,000. The 7pm ABC News averaged 984,000; The 7.30 Report, a low 736,000 because of Dancing. Lateline 185,000; Lateline Business, 97,000. Insight on SBS at 7.30pm averaged 229,000; SBS News at 6.30pm, 182,000. 7am Sunrise 393,000; 7am Today 244,000. The Catch Up on Nine at 1pm, 159,000.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 35.8% (32.7% last week with an hour special of Dancing and a new ep of All Saints) from Ten with 24.6% (23.5%), Nine with 21.8% (24.0%), The ABC with 12.4% (14.3%) and SBS with 5.4% (5.5). Seven won all five markets, including Sydney with a 39 share to second placed Ten with 21.9%. Seven now leads the week 29.7% to 26.4%. In regional areas a win to Prime/7Qld with 34.3% from Win/NBN with 23.8%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 23.2%, the ABC with 13.4% and SBS with 5.3%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine’s programming default of running repeats of 20 to 1, CSIs, Cold Case and Without A Trace is wearing thin with viewers. A year ago, last night’s repeat of CSI would have topped at least the million viewer mark up against Dancing. Tonight its repeats of Cold Case and Without A Trace. Call it running dead or whatever, its a sign the network doesn’t have the ratings firepower to battle Seven and Ten Sunday to Thursday, let alone seven nights a week, ratings or non-ratings. It is all about saving money but what will Nine run in the place of these repeats when viewers no longer want to watch, like last night? Nine can wait three more weeks for Dancing to finish but then there will be something like Border Security and The Force to confront from Seven. Tonight the interest is in Spicks and Specks and The Chaser on the ABC from 8.30pm. Will Nine and Ten hand the ABC another plateful of viewers by running repeats of House and Cold Case? Ten’s Con Test ends tonight. The ABC also has The Catherine Tate Show on at 9.35pm. Can I be bovvered?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey