Sopranos whack 11.9 million viewers. The final episode of The Sopranos was watched by 11.9 million people on US cable network HBO on Sunday night, winning the timeslot. The Nielsen figures show the final ep of The Sopranos beat Game 2 of the NBA Finals on ABC which was watched by an average 7.7 million people; and the Tony Awards on CBS which averaged 6.2 million people. But as impressive as that is, it was only the fourth most watched episode in the show’s history, according to figures released by HBO — the most watched episode was the season four premiere in 2002 with 13.4 million viewers. The all-time record still belongs to MASH (105 million in 1983), followed by Cheers (80.5 million in 1993) and Seinfeld (76 million in 1998), but the mobsters did beat the previous record for a final ep on cable TV, held by the last episode of Sex And The City, which averaged 10.6 million in 2004. If you can’t wait until Nine decides when to show the final series (and haven’t been game to go online) you can find out what happened here. — Glenn Dyer
Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A miserable night for Nine last night, one of its lowest shares for sometime and third behind Seven and Ten. Nothing worked at all. Seven’s It Takes Two averaged 1.604 million, Seven News, 1.591 million in second place, Today Tonight, 1.484 million, and All Saints after It Takes Two around 9.15pm or so(1.447 million). NCIS was fifth for Ten at 8.30pm with 1.314 million. Nine News with 1.284 million, Seven’s Home And Away was back in top spot at 7pm with 1.256 million, just ahead of the 7pm ABC News with 1.253 million. A Current Affair had 1.230 million and the new Simpsons ep got 1.162 million. Nine’s Temptation was next with 1.160 million (no big winner), the Simpsons repeat at 8pm had 1.153 million, with the final ep of the ABC’s The Choir of Hard knocks next with an outstanding 1.074 million people. Nine’s stodgy Crime And Justice averaged 1.033 million at 7.30pm and Ten’s 9.30 program, Numb3rs averaged a high 1.029 million. 7pm Big Brother was 16th with 1.007 million people.
The Losers: Nine’s schedule last night. The Kiwi thing, Neighbours at War, has been exposed for what it is: trash talking TV but 971,000 viewers doesn’t put it down and out because Nine needs it. The fact it was done over by the very good Choir of Hard Knocks on the ABC is hope for us all who watch TV. Nine finished fourth at 8pm! But the big surprise is the continuing decline of the expensive CSI New York which averaged just 731,000 viewers last night (896,000 last week). Nine needs it as well.
News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market. Today Tonight won everywhere bar Melbourne and Brisbane where A Current Affair got home. Ten News averaged 896,000 and the Late News/Sports Tonight averaged 469,000. Nightline averaged 289,000. The 7.30 Report averaged 956,000, Lateline, 236,000, Lateline Business, 129,000. SBS World News Australia, 223,000 at 6.30pm, 212,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise 413,000, 7am Today 276,000.
The Stats: Seven won easily with 33.1% (32.8%), from Ten on 23.8% (22.9%), Nine with 21.1% (23.5%), the ABC on 16.0% (14.9%) and SBS with 6.0% (5.9%). Seven leads the week 30.2% to 25.5% for Nine. Seven won all five metro markets. In regional areas a win for Seven through prime/7Qld with 32.2% from WIN/NBN for Nine with 23.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 23.2%, the ABC with 14.5% and SBS with 6.5%.
Glenn Dyer’s comments: The Nation is only two eps old but it is heading for rocky shoals, thanks to Nine and not the efforts of Mick Molloy. Nine hasn’t given any help by dropping it into a tough timeslot on the network’s worst night of the week. It averaged 772,000 on its first outing last week, 610,000 last night. I bet Eddie McGuire and Nine programmer, Michael Healy will go missing over The Nation. They are to blame if it is axed! Meanwhile Nine is betting tonight’s State of Origin is a cracker game and NSW wins, with a big audience in Sydney. The network is in danger of losing the week if there’s not a big result. It trails Seven by 4.7 points: at this time before game one, it trailed by 3.8 points and managed a narrow 0.1% win over Seven. That was as much due to the first Rugby Union test on the Saturday night on Seven and smart programming of movies (Shrek) by Nine. This week is different. No Rugby Test in early prime time, no AFL in Sydney or Brisbane on Ten (in Melbourne there is) on Saturday night. Nine has got the family friendly Stuart Little 2. There’s a lot riding on tonight. And if Queensland wins, game three won’t be a happy affair.