Burke’s Backyard returning to Friday nights. Don Burke is returning to the Nine Network with his program, Burke’s Backyard, two and a half years after being flicked by Nine in what was a bitter and explosive parting of the ways in late 2004. The program, which is likely to feature Scott Camm and others from Backyard Blitz, will return to its old 7.30pm Friday timeslot towards the end of September. Seven’s younger looking Better Homes And Gardens currently dominates the 7.30pm Friday slot, averaging 1.2 million or more viewers most weeks. It’s believed the return will only be for the remainder of the ratings year in early December and Nine will then assess its performance. Nine can’t bring it back any sooner because it is committed to broadcasting two NRL games from 7.30pm on Friday nights in Sydney and Brisbane. ACP Magazines has been publishing the Burke’s Backyard magazine for years and its sales have been sliding slowly, so the pressure for a TV program would have come from PBL Media’s magazine division which wants as much cross platform material as possible. — Glenn Dyer

Aunty loses top factual producer. ABC TV is about to lose one of its most experienced executive producers with the news that Tim Clark is finishing up in June. He oversaw “factual” programs like Dynasties, Paris to Peking, Operatunity Oz and the 50 years of ABC TV. Clark will travel after his departure and hopes to work elsewhere after a rest. He will be missed: the ABC is short of experienced producers of his calibre and some at the broadcaster say a factor in his decision was the uncertain future facing factual productions made in house. The head of ABC TV, Kim Dalton has a policy of directing more money outside the broadcaster in the areas of documentaries and factual programs. — Glenn Dyer

Dr Phil leaves Nine struggling to Catch Up. The move of Dr Phil to the Ten network has left a nasty hole in the Nine Network’s daytime schedule, cutting tens of thousands of viewers from the audience available to the struggling live chat show The Catch Up at 1pm. Dr Phil had been going to air at midday on Nine ahead of the move to Ten as part of the CBS Paramount production agreement that Nine let go last year. It started on Ten at midday today. Yesterday Nine showed an hour long version of its Fresh cooking program and averaged 145,000: 119,000 down on the 264,000 that watched Dr Phil‘s last episode on Nine last Friday. That saw The Catch Up‘s audience fall to just 129,000, compared to 198,000 last Friday. The venerable Days of Our Lives averaged 130,000 yesterday compared to 178,000 on Friday. The loss of audience is all of Nine’s own doing while it also junked the soap, The Young And The Restless, to fit The Catch Up into the schedule. The YATR was averaging around 150,000-180,000 most days so The Catch Up has considerable ground to make up. It is also more expensive than the two soap operas and will now struggle even more to pay its way with the loss of the big lead-in from Dr Phil. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A very solid win to Seven last night as the network ground out a win that was in stark contrast to the loss on Sunday night. Seven News was tops with 1.674 million people, followed by Today Tonight with 1.591 million (and a nice looking new blueish set and graphics). Home And Away perked up, easily winning the 7pm slot with 1.327 million, with Seven’s Desperate Housewives next with 1.298 million in the 8.30pm slot. The first Nomination ep of Big Brother at 7.30pm averaged 1.277 million and Nine News with 1.275 million. Nine’s 1 vs 100 at 8.30pm averaged 1.262 million, down on last week, The Rich List on Seven at 7.30pm averaged 1.262 million and A Current Affair had 1.209 million. The 7pm Big Brother program was next with 1.163 million, CSI New York had 1.1 million; Temptation was next with 1.098 million, just in front of the 7pm ABC News with 1.098 million. Seven’s 5.30pm game show, Deal or No Deal perked up to average 1.028 million and Seven’s Brothers And Sisters averaged 1.10 million at 9.30pm. Nine’s faltering What’s Good For You averaged 1.004 million at 7.30pm. Supernatural on Ten at 8.30pm averaged 935,000.

The Losers: Nine’s splitting of the 10.30pm timeslot between a repeat of The Closer in Sydney and Brisbane and Footy Classified in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth was beaten by Boston Legal on Seven. Footy Classified is a one town program: Melbourne, where 172,000 of its 287,000 viewers were last night. It benefits the AFL obsession of Eddie McGuire. The Closer was watched by 230,000 people in Sydney and Brisbane: very poor.
 
News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight won surprisingly easily nationally and in every market. Ten News averaged 936,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight, 423,000. The 7pm ABC News helped The 7.30 Report to a high 961,000. Four Corners did a good job explaining where the Brian Burke scandal started in WA and was watched by 895,000, Media Watch was watched by 757,000 as it neatly pinged the Herald Sun for the blunder of the wrong dry river bed from southern NSW on a front page. Lateline averaged 261,000; Lateline Business, 139,000. Nightline averaged 256,000. SBS News averaged 268,000 at 6.30pm and 212,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise up to 409,000; 7am Today down to 242,000. A Difference of Opinion on the ABC at 9.35pm averaged 520,000 with a discussion on climate change.
 
The Stats: Seven won with a share of 29.3%  (28,2% a week ago) to 25.8% for Nine (27.5%), Ten was third with 21.7% (22.9%), the ABC was next with 15.1% (14.0%) and SBS was on 8.1% (7.5%). Nine still leads the week with 28.7% from Seven with 28.5% but that will change tonight. Seven won all five metro markets. In regional areas a different result with Nine winning through WIN/NBN with 28.8% from Prime/7Qld with 26.7%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 21.1%, the ABC with 15.0% and SBS with 8.4%.
 
Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven wins tonight and will win the week with the final of Dancing With The Stars. Seven will be hoping for a 2 mil plus audience to relive the glory days of series two, three and four. All Saints will do well tacked on after Dancing finishes. Nine runs dead tonight, Ten has Big Brother and NCIS and the ABC not much at all. Next week the other network will have a chance with Dancing over, or will they? Audience numbers were down last night compared to last year for Seven, Nine and Ten and the ABC but up for SBS and Pay TV.