Audience tunes in for Swindle debate. The audience loved The Great Global Warming Swindle. Despite controversy, the ABC management will be justified in running it because it rated over a million people and if the luvvies like Robin Williams and others at the ABC who didn’t want it shown, stop to think, they will realise the case for global warming was advanced by last night’s two hour effort. It was, to my memory, the longest serious debate about global warming we have had on Australian TV. According to early Oztam figures, it averaged 1.120 million in the five major metro market from 8.30pm to 9.30pm and the following debate held up well to average 985,000. A further 504,000 people watched in regional areas. That was enough to propel the ABC past the Ten Network into third place on the night. Some of the luvvies at the ABC would say the numbers are not the important point, but they are in this respect: people liked what they were seeing, so they were engaged. Would a greenie global warming doco engage and hold an audience like that? — Glenn Dyer

Murdoch’s business channel not coming to Oz. Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Business Network launches in the US on October 15 but Australia doesn’t seem too eager to take it. Fox Business says it has negotiated distribution agreements with leading US cable operators that will make the channel available to 30 million subscribers, but they will have to subscribe in big numbers to make it successful (Fox has been talking about $US100 million in start-up costs and no profits for up to four years). But here in Australia, Foxtel (25% owned by News), says it has no plans to carry the new channel. Foxtel already carries Bloomberg and CNBC, as well as CNN and BBC World, which have business elements. Sky News Australia has offered its own dedicated business channel to Foxtel but the matter is still being negotiated. If it happens, the channel could possibly carry Fox Business as overnight programming. Sky News chairman, Sam Chisholm has been driving the idea of the new dedicated business channel, as the new channel has moved to fill the vacuum left by Nine killing off Business Sunday. — Glenn Dyer

Great Outdoors heading for the chop? Is Seven about to say farewell to The Great Outdoors after the best part of 15 years? This year’s production is about to end two months early and that has led to rumours that Seven will kill it off after moving it from Monday nights at 7.30pm to Saturdays at 6.30pm. In April it celebrated 600 episodes, making it one of the longest running programs on Australian television and some at Seven had wondered if it was about to suffer a fate similar to Blue Heelers, which hit a record for crime dramas before being axed. But Seven says production is not ending early, it’s on schedule and it will be back in 2008. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Swindle night last night and are we all feeling relieved that we either, didn’t watch, or watched and found that our innocence wasn’t corrupted as some in the global warning industry would have had us believe? Nine’s Sea Patrol is steaming in front but it’s 1.663 million is a little less than Nine would have liked to see. It was enough for top position. Seven News was second with 1.385 million, Nine’s Getaway was third with 1.357 million at 7.30pm. Today Tonight was 4th with 1.329 million people while the final episode of How I Met Your Mother averaged 1.288 million for Seven at 7.30pm. Nine News was next with 1.219 million, Home And Away was 7th at 7pm for Seven with 1.215 million and A Current Affair was 8th with 1.193 million. The Swindle averaged 1.120 million at 8.30pm, Seven’s That ’70s Show averaged 1.116 million at 8pm and Nine’s Temptation was 11th with 1.073 million at 7pm. The 7pm ABC News averaged 1.010 million, Lost on Seven at 9.30pm, 1.001 million but that was enough to beat The Footy Show which finished out of the millionaire’s club with 998,000 people. Not much in it. The debate of the Swindle at 9.30pm averaged 985,000. Inspector Rex on SBS faded a touch to average 390,000 for the latest repeat.

The Losers: There were a few. Where to start? Ten’s schedule. The Swindle would have suited its demographics well. But the ABC grabbed it and Ten finished fourth on the night. Seven’s triumph of reality TV, Mark Philippoussis’ Age of Love averaged 849,000 at 8.30pm. I didn’t know there were that many Poo fans in this country. I was surprised there were that many hardy souls. Some critics of the Swindle claimed it was a fraud. Wrong, that was The Poo’s program masquerading as entertaining TV. In fact the Poo’s TV performance was much like his on court performance: shows some promise but few results. The Age of Love won the 16 to 39 age group last night. Enough said. Ten’s Law and Order Criminal Intent at 8.30pm averaged 830,000. Not good and it looks lost with out its mate, Special Victims Unit.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne. Today Tonight won everywhere but Melbourne and Brisbane. In the battle of the grey hairs in Sydney, Seven’s Ian Ross fought back to beat Peter Harvey. Ten News averaged 836,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight, 427,000. The 7.30 Report, 873,000. (If Kerry O’Brien had been on deck, who would have fronted the Swindle Debate?). Lateline, 527,000, Lateline Business 244,000. Nine’s Nightline, 187,000. SBS News, 172,000 at 6.30pm, 121,000 at 9pm. 7am Sunrise, 380,000, 7am Today 232,000. 9am Morning Show on Seven, 189,000, KAK on Nine, 124,000, 9am With Kim And David, 98,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 30.5% (35.0% last week) from Seven with 25.7% (26.8%), the ABC on 19.7% (13.8%), Ten with 18.8% (19.2%) and SBS with 5.4% (5.3%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Seven won Perth. Seven leads the week, 29.4% to 27.1%. In regional areas Nine won through WIN/NBN with 31.0%, from Prime/7Qld with 24.6%, the ABC on 19.0%, Southern Cross (ten) with 18.9% and SBS with 6.4%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Sea Patrol shed around 300,000 viewers and that hurt the Footy Shows which fell by around the same amount. If it hadn’t been for Eddie’s Gem, the AFL Footy Show in Melbourne with 478,000 people in Melbourne, the fall would have been larger. More than half the Footy Shows’ audience was in Melbourne. The NRL program was solid in Sydney with 247,000 people, but it crashed to just 86,000 in Brisbane. That would have to be the lowest for years. That was less than 30 per cent of the audience for Sea Patrol of 312,000. Brisbane viewers just don’t want to know the Footy Show, but they are watching Nine’s NRL broadcasts in near record numbers there, and the numbers for the games in Sydney are very solid. Nine will now be hoping for Sea Patrol to settle around this level, any drop down under 1.4 million next year won’t be good news. It does need an edge (something more than the ‘The Thing” between Lisa McCune and her boss). For Ten it was a long tumble from top of the heap Wednesday night to 4th last night. That’s TV ratings for you and tonight the Big Brother coverage should do reasonably well, along with America’s Next Top Model, straight to you on Ten, via Foxtel. Seven will extend its lead tonight with Better Homes and Gardens and The AFL in southern markets. Nine’s NRL will do well in Sydney and Brisbane. The ABC wraps up Ghost Squad and Taggart (subtitles next time, please).

Peter Fray

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