Pies help Seven to another huge win. Collingwood’s hard fought win over the Eagles in Perth on Friday night produced the biggest AFL audience of the year, and only the three State of Origin games have had bigger NRL audiences. And it helped Seven to one of its biggest weekly ratings wins of the year, an outcome that will make Eddie McGuire sick with envy. Here are his beloved Magpies tasting finals fortune and it’s benefiting the hated opposition. The match averaged 1.636 million from 8.30pm — including a huge 762,000 in Melbourne and 380,000 in Perth — and helped Seven to a huge win on the night: 43.1% to 21.8% for Nine and 15.6% for Ten. And it jumped to 50.6% in Melbourne, 43.8% in Adelaide and 56.9% in Perth. Seven won with the week with a share of 29.9% (28.9%) from Nine with 25.5% (27.2%), Ten with 23.2% (22.1%), the ABC with 16.2% (16.7%) and SBS with 5.0% (5.1%). Seven won all five metro markets. Nine was third in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth but finished second nationally because of a big margin between it and Ten in Brisbane. On Saturday night Ten’s AFL semi between the Kangaroos and the Hawks averaged 1.283 million. And the NRL semi between the Eels and the Bulldogs averaged 878,000 because it was only shown live in Sydney and Brisbane as Nine refused to take on the AFL elsewhere. The NRL did well, giving  a 26.5% share, but Ten’s AFL final saw it win the night with 31.2%. Seven was a distant third. Saturday’s Rugby World Cup game between Australia and Wales also benefited from the solid audience for the Hawthorn-Kangaroos game. It averaged 711,000 nationally: with 212,000 watching in Sydney and 184,000 in Melbourne, but only 79,000 in Brisbane. 151,000 in watched in Perth, where the match aired from 8.30pm. — Glenn Dyer

Howard throws more money at World Youth Day. Desperate times breed desperate solutions and in order to win the hearts and minds of the Catholic Church, the Federal Government is paying SBS $2.5 million to provide “comprehensive national coverage of World Youth Day” next July; even while Mal Brough says he’s been told SBS is responsible for distributing pornography in the Northern Territory. $20 million has already been committed to help the impoverished Christian sect with its World Youth Day extravaganza next July when the Pope is scheduled to turn up. And on Saturday Communications Minister Helen coonan announced the additional $2.5 million which will “enable SBS to provide comprehensive coverage of the event and will allow all Australians to join in the celebrations.” Sky News will also handle some of the World Youth Day coverage. But I wonder what Cardinal Pell and the Pope will make of this story in The Australian last week? “Aboriginal women have singled out SBS television as one of the main distributors of pornography in the Northern Territory, says Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough.” Foxtel’s Adults Only channel is still by far the major source of porn going into communities but as the Eros Foundation’s Robbie Swan points out the government is “finding it difficult to deal with it because big business owns that.” –– Glenn Dyer

The embarrassment of AFR.com. Michael Gill, the head of Fairfax Media Business (Australian Financial Review, BRW and other publications) is a very lucky man, as is AFR editor Glen Burge, but not for much longer. Fairfax CEO, David Kirk appears to have their measure. People at a well-attended meeting of University of NSW alumni heard from Fairfax Media boss, David Kirk, before he jets to France to be a “correspondent” at the Rugby World Cup (he captained the All Blacks team which won the first Cup back in 1987). He spoke about media matters and took questions afterwards from the audience, including on the problems at the afr.com website. Kirk admitted, without being specific, that “they” had had twice made mistakes with the redesign of the AFR site. And responding to a complaint from an audience member that the site is impossible to navigate and generally poor compared with the Sydney Morning Herald and Age sites, a surprisingly frank Kirk foreshadowed more changes — adding that this time he hoped they could get it “right”. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A dozen programs with a million or more viewers on a night that held some promised but didn’t deliver except for Seven’s Kath & Kim, My Name Is Earl and Damages on Nine. Kath & Kim topped the most watched list with 2.144 million (up from last week), Nine News was second with 1.762 million and My Name Is Earl was next with 1.546 million. Australian Idol averaged 1.537 million and Nine’s CSI averaged a solid 1.383 million at 8.30pm (but should have done more seeing there was no competition from Midsomer Murders on the ABC). 60 Minutes was stuck down the list with 1.351 million people and the final Backyard Blitz on Nine averaged 1.350 million (Don Burke’s one-off Spring special fills in next Sunday night). Seven News was next with 1.315 million and Hot Property averaged 1.254 million. Australia’s Best Backyards had a lowish 1.136 million at 6.30pm, the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.109 million and Rove had 1.022 million. Idol went for almost two hours and that helped Ten do well on the night. Nine’s new US drama Damages averaged 999,000.

The Losers: Seven’s movie, Kingdom of Heaven: 741,000 viewers means it was a flop. The ABC was weak and that’s all you can say. When The Einstein Factor (839,000 at 6.30pm) is watched by more people than any program from 7.30pm onwards, you know the network has programmed a crock. Damages, Idol and Rove were honourable options. CSI was its usual unbelievable self.

News & CA: Nine News won clearly last night and that was that. Ten News averaged 751,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 219,000. Weekend Sunrise at 8am, 462,000; Landline at Noon, 271,000; Sunday at 9am, 223,000; Insiders at 9amm, 179,000; Offsiders at 10.30am, 154,000; Inside Business at 10am, 121,000. After watching Barry Cassidy at 9am and 10.30am and you can turn off the set at 11am and feel satisfied that you have got some insight on politics and sport. Inside Business is OK, but not in the same league as the programs either side of it.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 29.8% (27.3% last week) from Seven with 26.3% (28.3%), with Ten third with 24.7% (24.4%), the ABC with 14.0% (15.6%) and SBS with 5.1% (4.4%). Nine won everywhere but in Perth. In regional areas Nine won through WIN/NBN with 34.8%, from Prime/7Qld with 23.9%, Southern Cross (Ten), 18.7%, The ABC with 16.9% and SBS with 5.7%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Ray Martin popped up co-hosting Sunday. No sign of Ross Greenwood. He has joined the long list of the “departed” as the clean out of the John Alexander favourites continues. But Nine will have to change the content of Sunday to make it anything more than a pale imitation of its former self. Damages appeared last night at 9.30pm. Nine would have been unhappy that it didn’t crack the million mark. It deserved a lot more viewers. It is an interesting show, though maybe a bit dark. Ten’s Rugby World Cup commentary desperately needs someone who knows the game better than the present trio, or at least knows when to keep quite and not imitate the dreaded Gordon Bray from Seven. Kath & Kim was an improvement and My Name Is Earl was “aspirational”  (John Howard should have been watching). Tonight Nine has I-Caught at 7.30pm. After averaging 600,000 last week, it makes one of the major timeslots in the week into a guaranteed loser. Why? Seven has Border Security, City Homicide and that will be enough to win tonight. Nine also has 1 vs 100 and the replay of Damages at 10.30pm. Ten has Idol, Law And Order SVU, Californication and then the Emmy Awards from 10.10pm.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports