Ten fights off Big Brother poachers. The Ten Network is close to or has just re-signed the Big Brother program for another year. Attempts by rivals Seven and Nine have been fought off. Seven and Nine tried to exploit an opening caused last week when Ten broke off talks with Endermol Southern Star, but Ten came back to the talks with a new offer and left it with Endermol on a “love it or leave it basis”, especially as far as costs and program ideas for next year are concerned. TV industry sources say Ten should be in a position to announce the new deal in a day or so. — Glenn Dyer

The Oz in a spell. Yesterday’s article in The Australian entitled “Teacher failures spell student trouble” by Justine Wright begins with the question “Young teenagers could be forgiven for misspelling words such as subterranean and miscellaneous, but what about the nation’s primary school teachers?” Indeed. One might ask a similar question of journalists. In this very article, the author has managed to confuse “phenomics” and “phonemics“, not once, but three times, leading to this mildly embarrassing passage: “You can learn to read without knowing phenomics (the sounds that make up words), but when you spell, you have to have a good phenomic understanding to help spell words like said. Unless you’re taught that ‘ai’ as well as ‘e’ can make an ‘eh’ sound in words like said and again, you will spell said as ‘sed’.”

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Last night was Seven Network benefit night when the rest of the commercial TV industry donated ratings to the needy network owned by Kerry Stokes. Such altruism, especially on the part of the Nine Network, will be rewarded one day. But first, The Force averaged 1.956 million viewers at 8pm, by far its best audience this year. Border Security was next with 1.897 million viewers at 7.30pm, Seven News had 1.630 million and Today Tonight averaged 1.618 million. City Homicide lifted from last week’s low to 1.562 million (and easily beat 1 v 100) and Home And Away won 7pm with 1.541 million. Nine News had 1.292 million, followed by A Current Affair with 1.273 million. The verdict ep of Idol was next with 1.211 million, then Temptation (1.183 million), Criminal Minds (1.146 million) and the 7pm ABC News (1.088 million).

The Losers: Nine’s whole sorry schedule, apart from the news, A Current Affair and Temptation, which at least managed more than a million viewers. The second ep of Nine’s lame I-Caught only had 561,000 and Eddie McGuire’s 1 vs 100 is dying at 8.30pm as a result — its 875,000 was the lowest since it started earlier in the year with more than 1.9 million viewers. The repeat of CSI at 9.30pm, 746,000, and the repeat (sorry “encore”) of the first ep of Damages had just 119,000 at 10.30pm: an insult. In fact, Nine finished fourth or fifth from 7.30pm. Certainly it was 5th and last at 7.30pm with Mythbusters on SBS (680,000) ahead of I-Caught. Four Corners (945,000) beat Eddie at 8.30pm and at 9.30pm Criminal Minds beat Californication (952,000) on Ten and Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope rightly had more viewers (849,000) than Nine’s repeat of CSI.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne. Today Tonight won everywhere in a fairly convincing performance. Ten News averaged 856,000 and the Late News/Sports Tonight was buried after the failed Emmy’s coverage (457,000) from 10.10pm and averaged just 171,000. Nine’s Nightline was also buried and it averaged 216,000. The 7.30 Report averaged 811,000 and ran third in the slot (beating SBS and Nine!). Lateline averaged 258,000; Lateline Business, 113,000. Paul Barry’s subprime mess report on Four Corners was good and viewers noticed: 945,000. Media Watch, 800,000. 7am Sunrise 421,000; 7am Today, 266,000.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 34.7% (32.7% a week ago) from Ten second with 21.2% (22.3%) and Nine with 21.1% (21.9%), the ABC was on 16.2% (16.7%) and SBS was on 6.7% (6.5%). Seven won all five metro markets and leads the week 30.5% to 25.5%. In regional areas Prime/7Qld won with 34.8% from WIN/NBN for Nine with 23.5%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.9%, the ABC with 13.9% and SBS with 7.9%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: A benefit night for Seven as Nine and Ten staged a hard fought battle for third (daylight was a clear second). Ten’s approach is all about Idol and that was its concentration on the night(but not in the bush — Idol just didn’t rate!). Seven won the week last night and will cement it tonight. It moved from being 2.5 percentage points behind Nine on Sunday to five points ahead last night. Tonight it’s RSPCA Animal Rescue and Medical Emergency on Seven, plus All Saints, which will do it for Seven. Nine starts a recycled idea at 7.30pm called Surprise, Surprise, Gotcha, where celebs under contract to Nine and others who want to be “surprised” and embarrassed on camera. Ten has lots of repeats and the ABC starts an intriguing program at 8pm called The Pursuit of Excellence.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports