Blair leaves with style. In the last gasps of his drawn-out exit, Tony Blair is on a five-day visit to Africa. Blair has also taken in the US, France and Iraq on his final tour of the world arena — a bit like a victory lap without the victory. With him in Africa is quite the entourage, including a writer and two photographers from US Men’s Vogue . Those rascals at the Daily Mail imagine the cover:

— Jane Nethercote

Success beginning to blunt The Chaser‘s edge? The Chaser mob are in danger of becoming mainstream and it would seem being “warred” upon by is becoming a badge of honour in Sydney. Several of last night’s targets certainly didn’t mind being “chased”, as  Today Tonight ‘s Anna Coren played along with their skit about anorexics at the Seven studios and the segment on drug testing outside the Supreme Court in Sydney was also interesting for the way the lawyers played along. The show recovered most of the losses from State of Origin night a week ago to average 1.469 million, including 522,000 in Sydney. But it wasn’t the ABC’s most popular program last night: the 100th ep of Spicks and Specks had its highest ever audience of 1.511 million and second spot nationally.  — Glenn Dyer

Who wants to clean up the AFR.com mess? Hiring now. In Pulp Fiction, when Vincent Vega (John Travolta) accidentally blows Marvin’s brains all over the back of the car they bring in “The Cleaner” (Harvey Keitel) to deal with the mess. At AFR.com, the clean-up option is slightly more sedate even if the fallout from the botched online offering is just as bloody.

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:  As expected The Chaser and Spicks And Specks were the major influences last night, along with Seven’s decision to split the 8.30pm timeslot to avoid the big two in Sydney and Brisbane. Seven News was tops with 1.577 million people with Spicks and Specks second with 1.511 million. Today Tonight was next with 1.508 million and The Chaser’s War On Everything averaged 1.469 million. Ten’s House averaged 1.349 million and McLeod’s Daughters  had 1.282 million at 7.30pm on Nine. Nine News was next with 1.263 million, followed by  Home And Away (1.246 million), the ABC’s  New Inventors  (1.226 million), Seven’s Police Files Unlocked  (1.221 million),  A Current Affair  (1.175 million),  Temptation  (1.146 million), Seven’s Last Chance Learners  (1.139 million) and the 7pm ABC News (1.096 million). Nine’s Cold Case averaged 1.074 million 8.30pm and beat Seven.   The Losers:  Seven’s splitting of the 8.30 to 9.30pm timeslot to protect Heroes in Sydney and Brisbane but not in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, is a little odd but understandable. A total of 946,000 people watched the split between Heroes  and Air Crash Investigations in Sydney and Brisbane. Tonight, Heroes is on at 8.30pm in the north with Lost at 9.30pm, while down south its  Lost  at 8.30pm and The Amazing Race at 9.30pm. Seven moved Heroes in Sydney and Brisbane to protect it from Spicks and Specks and The Chaser . Does that mean Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth don’t really matter?
  News & CA:  Seven News and Today Tonight won nationally but again lost Melbourne. The two Seven programs had leads of more than 300,000 nationally as Nine News and ACA fell. Nine’s Nightline averaged 308,000. The ABC News and 7.30 Report (1.073 million) were both in the Millionaires Club. Lateline averaged 313,000 off the back of the ABC’s biggest night for sometime; Lateline Business  had a strong 156,000. Ten News averaged 835,000; the Late News/ Sports Tonight averaged 407,000. SBS News, 181,000 at 6.30pm; 205,000 at 9.30pm, after Dateline , 216,000. 7am Sunrise , 401,000; 7am Today , down to 239,000 — a tough morning for Lisa Wilkinson. It has to build from here.
 
The Stats: Nine won with a share of 26.8% (36.5% for the State of Origin a week ago) from Seven with 26.7% (23.5%), Ten with 21.5% (19,1%), the ABC with 20.8% (17.0%) and SBS with 4.2% (4.0%). Nine won everywhere bar Perth. in Sydney the Chaser’s success helped the ABC (23.0%) beat Ten into 4th spot with 21.8%. Seven leads the week 29.6% to 27.5%. in regional areas a strong win to Nine with WIN/NBN on 31.2%, from Prime/7Qld with 25.0%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 21.1%, the ABC with 18.0% and SBS with 4.7%.
 
Glenn Dyer’s comments: The Chaser did the job along with Adam Hills, Alan Bough and Myf Warhurst. Spicks and Specks had just the right pace last night and a smart way of marking the 100th program with a question from each. It was light entertainment at its best. The way Seven split its audience helped Nine sneak home in the 6pm to midnight battle. In the commercial share battle zone 1 between Ten, Nine and Seven, Seven prevailed by the narrowest of margins, 35.7% to 35.6%. The ABC also had more viewers and share than Ten in the 6pm to 10.30pm timeslot. Tonight Lost will battle the NRL Footy Show in Sydney and Brisbane. The AFL Footy Show and  RPA ‘s Where Are They Now program should do well for Nine. It could come down to the 7.30pm battle between How I Met Your Mother / My Name Is Earl on Seven and Getaway on Nine. Ten goes fat farming again with Teen Fit camp at 7.30pm.