Nine gives up on ratings battle. The Nine Network has conceded next week to Seven, even before the week starts. It was going to lose anyway, thanks to Seven’s telecast of the Brownlow Medal ceremony in southern AFL states and Dancing With The Stars. But it has now tossed in the towel in and admitted it can’t be competitive and that it has nothing to attract viewers at 7.30pm Monday nights, one of the week’s most important timeslots. This week, Nine ran the second part of the appalling I-Caught and finished third with a share of just over 21% (narrowly beaten by Ten: both were around 13 points behind Seven). And next Monday Nine has scheduled two programs even more forgettable than I-Caught: “Channel Nine will have you laughing out loud next Monday, September 24 with an hour of hilarity from 7.30pm, starting with COMMERCIAL BREAKDOWN before JUST FOR LAUGHS at 8.00pm”. Nine is also running the faltering 1 vs 100 up against the Brownlow ceremony at 8.30pm and blowing off its observational documentary program RFDS at 9.30pm. It will be up against Andrew Denton, Californication and Criminal Minds in the non-AFL states, plus the business end of the Brownlow Medal count. With that sort of decision-making (why couldn’t Nine put it into Wednesday nights or wait a week and run it the following Monday?) no wonder Nine’s share is still falling away. — Glenn Dyer

Negus the defender. George Negus, veteran host of Dateline, launched a strong defence of current SBS management in the Fairfax press this week: “I regard any suggestion that SBS has been dumbed down – either formally, informally, directly, indirectly or even subliminally – as just specious nonsense with no validity whatsoever,” he says. “No evidence has ever been provided for it”. But considering Negus is there because his former 60 Minutes boss, Gerald Stone, is deputy chairman of SBS, that shouldn’t be too surprising. Negus is “corporate”, a part of Shaun Brown’s new look management style, which survives because of strong support from the board and Stone. Notice though in the story that George though won’t go near the departed Mary Kostakidis: “Negus won’t be drawn on the Kostakidis dispute but he is critical of the way assumptions and hearsay are passed off as fact. As a journalist, I get rather tired of reading ‘an SBS insider’ or ‘a friend of Mary’s who prefers not to be named’. In my day, as a print journalist, if you went to an editor with that they’d say, ‘Who’s the source?’ If you said, ‘I don’t know’, they’d say, ‘Well f— off; you’re not going to write it’.” — Glenn Dyer

Exit, pursued by a dancing bear? Not at all. It’s Howard carpetbagger turned nervous Nellie Janet Albrechtsen who seems to have been forced to the outer. Look at the placement of her column in The Australian today. She’s been pushed to the bottom of the page. — Christian Kerr

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Another benefit night for Seven. RSPCA Animal Rescue averaged 1.820 million viewers at 7.30pm, Medical Emergency had 1.771 million at 8pm and All Saints, 1.412 million at 8.30pm. Home And Away easily won 7pm with 1.402 million and Seven News next with 1.399 million. Today Tonight had 1.358 million, ahead of Nine News (1.241 million) and A Current Affair (1.230 million). The 7pm ABC News next with 1.133 million, followed by Temptation (1.090 million) and Ten’s repeat of NCIS (1.045 million). The two repeats of The Simpsons from 7.30pm averaged 982,000 and 954,000 respectively.

The Losers: Nine from 7.30pm onwards. Surprise Surprise Gotcha averaged 933,000 and was the same sort of dross abandoned after two series in the 90s. It’s not funny any more, it’s derivative and not a patch on Thank God You’re Here or even Nine’s The Late Shift. CSI Miami wasn’t marked as a repeat in some guides, but it was according to Oztam (Nine is trying to fool viewers again, but they won’t bite): 770,000 viewers at 8.30pm. It beat The Bill on the ABC by just 4,000 viewers. Crime Investigations Australia averaged 800,000. Seven’s Life Begins won the 9.30pm slot with 858,000. Ten’s Numb3rs failed as well: 814,000 at 9.30pm, but it still beat Nine.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne and Brisbane. Today Tonight had a similar result. Audiences for both Seven News and TT tumbled more than 200,000 from Monday night, while Nine’s programs were static. Odd! Nine News very weak in Sydney (293,000) for a Tuesday night. More people (297,000) watched the 7pm ABC News (and I know, different timeslots but…?). Ten News, 822,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 437,000. No Nightline because of the 20/20 cricket (399,000, Australia lost). The 7.30 Report with a “health debate” between Tony Abbott and Nicola Roxon was horizontal. No wonder only 795,000 people watched. Lateline, 226,000; Lateline Business, 140,000. SBS News, 172,000 at 6.30pm; 150,000 at 9.30pm; Insight, 249,000. 7am Sunrise 431,000; 7am Today up to 286,000.

The Stats: Seven won with 32.7% (32.2%) from Nine with 25.9% (25.4%), Ten with 21.6% (22.5%), the ABC with 15.1% (14.5%) and SBS with 4.7% (5.3%). Seven won all five metro markets, although it was a close run win in Melbourne. Seven leads the week 31.2% to 25.6%. In regional areas Prime/7Qld won with 33.1% from WIN/NBN for Nine with 25.2%, Southern Cross (Ten with 24.1%) the ABC with 12.8% and SBS with 4.7%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: It was a bit of a surprise but for the second night in a row Nine’s programming from 7.30pm onwards failed to crack the million viewer mark. More viewers at 7.30pm and 9.30pm meant a higher share overall, but that was the only difference from the appalling Monday night. Nine at least tried a little harder last night, but it won’t hold up next week when Dancing With The Stars returns to Seven. Ten needs Idol every night of the week at the moment, even though it has Thank God You’re Here tonight at 7.30pm. A little bird tells me that Ten signed up for Big Brother last Saturday night. And another birdie wonders why Don Burke was so uncomplimentary about the “third floor” at Willoughby, Nine’s HQ bunker. Burke’s Spring Special is on air this Sunday night at 6.30pm, what has Nine don to upset the Burkester now? Tonight Nine should bounce back, but how will The Chaser go at 9pm without all the free publicity? Spicks and Specks and Summer Heights High round out the tastiest 90 minutes of TV at the moment. Pursuit of Excellence and the giant pumpkin growers was great last night at 8pm on the ABC (sigh, only 66,000 viewers) But I want to know, what happens to the giant things? Do they end up scaring other pumpkins at Halloween?

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports