Today Tonight v The Chaser: who’s got the credibility? Only the ABC News got the balance right amid all the hoohay last night over The Chaser team allegedly breaching the APEC security cordon and being charged under new APEC laws, unlike the breathless reporting from Seven and Nine. Both led their bulletins with the stunt, thereby maximising the publicity The Chaser had set out to create and guaranteeing solid ratings for next week’s program. The commercial networks have a vested interest in knocking The Chaser after they made a mess of their Wednesday nights ratings again this week. The dopiest attempt to bag The Chaser came from Today Tonight, which has been the subject of some jibes on program. On Wednesday night, The Chaser took another poke at both TT and A Current Affair, so last night’s opportunity to delivery a kick back was too hard to resist. But why did Today Tonight choose David Richardson to do the story? He of Barcelona Tonight fame, who claimed to have been chased out Majorca by the late Christopher Skaseback in 1996 but really filmed the car chase in Barcelona. And he wasn’t above doing a bit of reconstruction in Iraq in 2003 either — as revealed by Media Watch. Now it’s a bit rich of Seven, Today Tonight and Sluggo Richardson to be having a go at The Chaser. One was a stunt, the other was a lie. Who do you think has more credibility? — Glenn Dyer

Jeff Browne keeps on punching. Jeff Browne, the Nine Network’s Executive Director, is showing an admirable quality to keep on punching despite being handicapped by foot in mouth disease. Browne has already cost the network a news and current affairs director — Garry Linnell — by offering the job to Seven’s Adam Boland. And he  went on record to say that Nine’s second half line up for this year was so fabo that it would turn the tables on Seven (Nine’s director of programming, Michael Healy, shares an honourable mention for that claim). But Seven continues to win the ratings and has in fact increased its lead ever so slightly over the past few weeks. Now Browne has done it again. In this SMH story about TV coverage of the NRL finals, he claimed:

“The standard of our coverage is higher than anything in the country.” He then took a shot at Seven: “You only have to look at Channel Seven’s coverage of AFL this year, compared to Nine’s last year to see that.”

Ah, Jeff, the metro ratings figures for the AFL home and away season that ended last week show that 5% more viewers tuned into Seven’s Sunday afternoon games than Nine’s coverage last year and 8.1% more people tuned into the Friday night games on Seven — obviously a lot of people were looking at Seven’s coverage. It’s why Jeff is such a fighter. He doesn’t know when to leave well alone! — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Seven News was tops with 1.416 million, followed by Home And Away with 1.385 million and then Nine’s Sea Patrol with 1.341 million. A Current Affair was next with 1.334 million, in front of rival Today Tonight with 1.297 million. Nine News had 1.271 million, followed by Temptation (1.213 million), So You think You Can Dance (1.153 million across two hours) and Getaway (1.142 million), which appears to have lost its recent head of steam. The 7pm ABC News had 1.142 million, Seven ran Ghost Whisperer from 7.30pm to 9.20pm for an average of 1.115 million and the NRL/AFL Footy Shows had 1.039 million. Ten’s Law And Order averaged 974,000 at 9.30pm.

The Losers: Seven after 8.30pm. Fight For Life died, down to 594,000 at 9.20pm. That was after the elongated Ghost Whisperer. Seven doesn’t seem to have any options, although when the AFL and NRL Footy Shows finish at the end of the month, Thursday nights will be much closer. Ten’s Neighbours is sagging again: 675,000 last night. Time for a bomb/wedding/accident? It added just 13,000 viewers from the 6pm Simpsons! Inspector Rex: last night’s repeat down to 380,000 as SBS flogs a dead dog in its attempts to generate more ad revenues, but even a dead Rex is more popular than much of SBS’s programming.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne (and Adelaide where it and Nine shared the night). It needed its 148,000 margin in Perth to win nationally by 145,000. Today Tonight lost in Sydney and Melbourne and that was enough to lose nationally. Ten News averaged 855,000/ the Late News/Sports Tonight averaged 417,000. The 7.30 Report averaged a high 966,000 for an interview with Kev07. SBS News averaged 160,000 at 6.30pm and 148,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise up to 416,000; 7am Today, 269,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 29.8% (30.0% last week) from Seven with 27.0% (23.3%), Ten was third with 23.0% (22.9%), the ABC with 15.5% (15.4%) and SBS with 4.6% (8.6%). Nine won Sydney and Melbourne and Adelaide, Seven won Brisbane and Perth. Seven still leads the week 28.3% to 26.6%. No regional figures because of the APEC holiday.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The AFL Footy Show helped keep Nine in the hunt and ensured a win on the night. The AFL Show was second in Melbourne, 4th in Perth and 10th in Adelaide for the 90 minutes from 9.30pm. The NRL program though was 16th in Sydney and 21st in Brisbane with the buzz from the Andrew Johns’ confession gone. Seven’s very weak line up cost it the night, even though Sea Patrol was again unwelcoming (its audience did however add 5,000 on last week). Ten’s So You Think You Can Dance ran for two hours and the 1.1 million plus audience was OK. Tonight there’s an AFL final and the NRL’s first semi final. And more finals in both codes tomorrow and on Sunday afternoon. There’s also World Cup Rugby on Ten from Saturday night/Sunday morning. Sunday night Kath & Kim stand out, even in this lesser form. Ten has two hours of Idol. Nine’s Sunday is at 8am because of the US Open Tennis.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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