A big weekend of sport. At this time of year, too much sport is quite often not enough, and so it was over the weekend with footy finals, a bit of cricket, World Cup rugby, Women’s World Cup soccer and a world title decided in the bikes from Japan. Friday’s AFL game saw 1.743 million watch Geelong’s five point win over Collingwood, including 885,000 in Melbourne, 286,000 in Perth, 244,000 in Adelaide, 209,000 in Sydney and 119,000 in Brisbane. Saturday saw 1.180 million watch the Roos-Port Adelaide game from 4pm, including 526,000 in Melbourne, 261,000 in Adelaide, 126,000 in Sydney, 109,000 in Brisbane and 159,000 in Perth. The first NRL game on Nine on Saturday night averaged 900,000, with 514,000 watching in Sydney and 350,000 in Brisbane, only 19,000 and 16,000 watched in Melbourne and Adelaide respectively where it was shown late at night and no one watched in Perth because it wasn’t shown until 2am. Yesterday’s NRL second elimination final between Melbourne and Parramatta averaged 1.265 million people, with 685,000 in Sydney, 304,000 in Brisbane and 242,000 in Melbourne. Other sport audiences from yesterday: 434,000 watched Australia beat Fiji in the rugby, 221,000 watched the Matildas go down 3-2 to Brazil (those two Aussie goals were the first any team had scored against Brazil in the tournament so far). And 192,000 watched the Motor GP from Japan where Casey Stoner won his first world title yesterday afternoon. — Glenn Dyer

Nine scheduling holding back NRL. It took a Melbourne Storm player to again expose the Nine Network’s shoddy attitude towards the NRL coverage in Melbourne, particularly the finals. After last night’s match, Nine’s Matthew Johns asked man of the match, Ryan Hoffman, what he thought of Manly’s performance the previous night. Hoffman said he didn’t see it because it wasn’t on until late on Saturday night in Melbourne before Johns quickly moved to another question. Yesterday’s game was shown live in Melbourne and 242,000 watched. The NRL and others associated with the code wonder why the game isn’t more national and part of the answer is in the TV ratings every week: it’s the scheduling decisions of Nine and its refusal to treat the code seriously. Nine is only interested in maximising the NRL coverage when it suits it in its two major markets, Brisbane and Sydney. — Glenn Dyer

Wilson crows as Fatty faces the bone. Who is trying to kill the TV career of Paul Vautin, host of the NRL Footy Show? Something certainly needs to be done to revitalise the program after another year of below par ratings and his sacking (alluded to by Vautin himself on Thursday’s program) was reported by the weekend media. And none was cheering harder than Rebecca Wilson, the News Ltd sports reporter, survivor and close personal friend of people in high places. In her Sunday Tele column, Wilson was chortling at Vautin’s demise: “We have some news here for Fatty – that (his contract being paid out) won’t be happening because the station will be asking him to work out his contract as host of a Brisbane-based footy show.” It’s a case of sweet revenge for Wilson who only lasted one night on the NRL Footy Show in 2005 after being imposed on the show by then Nine boss, Sam Chisholm. Vautin and former co-host Peter Sterling refused to work with her and Nine’s sports boss, Steve Crawley, who supported Wilson’s insertion into the show, was forced into a humiliating backdown. It also didn’t help when Vautin paid tribute to former Nine Sports boss, Gary Burns, (who was shafted by the Alexander regime back in 2002 and replaced by Crawley) at the 2005 Logies and not Crawley who was mightily miffed. So it’s no wonder Burns was being quoted at the weekend supporting Vautin’s continued involvement with the program. So if Vautin goes, will Wilson clamber back into the spotlight she so desperately craves? — Glenn Dyer

Seven dominates another ratings week. Seven’s last AFL match of the year was the icing on the cake for a big win in the latest week of official ratings. Seven won with a share of 30.5% (29.9% a week earlier) from Nine with 26.0 (25.5%), Ten with 22.0% (23.3%), The ABC with 16.4% (16.2%) and SBS with 5.2% (5.0%). Seven won all five metro markets, including Sydney and Brisbane where Nine showed the first NRL elimination final on Saturday night. Seven won Friday night thanks to the Collingwood-Geelong game and Ten took Saturday night with the twilight AFL final won by Port Adelaide. So Seven won four nights (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Friday), Ten won two (Saturday and Wednesday) and Nine won Thursday night. Kath and Kim was again the most watched program with more than two million viewers last Sunday evening. Seven had the top four programs and there were only two overseas programs in the top 20: CSI and My Name Is Earl. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A solid win for Nine as old favourite 60 Minutes and CSI picked up and Don Burke made a strong return to the screen. The second NRL elimination final also helped Nine as the network had its best Sunday for almost three months. Kath & Kim again took top spot with 2.050 million, followed by Nine News second 1.687 million, Burke’s Backyard Spring Special (1.510 million), CSI (1.495 million), 60 Minutes (1.480 million), Seven News (1.399 million), Australian Idol (1.347 million), My Name Is Earl (1.312 million) and the NRL final, which averaged 1.265 million from 3.30pm to 6pm. Hot Property averaged 1.155 million at 7pm for Seven, Rove had 1.103 million and Australia’s Best Backyards averaged 1.047 million for Seven at 6.30pm. Damages had 970,000 at 9.30pm.

The Losers: Seven for running a movie (B-grade at best) called Final Approach (361,000 in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth) and Lemony Snicket (396,000 in Melbourne and Brisbane). A combined 757,000 watched both movies on Seven across the country: That was a distant third, very distant.

News & CA: Nine News won nationally and in Sydney and Melbourne. Seven won Adelaide and Perth and they drew Brisbane. Ten News averaged 536,000. The 7pm ABC News averaged 992,000. SBS News averaged 224,000. In the morning Weekend Sunrise on Seven, 441,000; Landline on the ABC, 266,000; Sunday, 233,000; Insiders, 181,000; Offsiders, 139,000; Inside Business, 135,000; Meet The Press, 69,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 31.1% (29.8% a week ago), from Seven with 26.6% (26.3%), Ten with 22.9% (24.7%), the ABC with 13.2% (14.0%) and SBS with 6.2% (6.7%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and Seven won Adelaide and Perth. In regional areas a big win to Nine through WIN/NBN with 33.3% from Prime/7Qld with 27.4%, Southern Cross (Ten), 19.6%, the ABC with 12.2% and SBS with 7.5%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: So Don Burke returned in triumph last night. Will he now stop bagging the network’s management, or is that now the former management? Will Nine be tempted to bring Don back full time? Burke dusted protégé Jamie Durie’s best backyards and Hot Property. That was fine as a one-off, but seeing Burke every week on TV? Viewers have already tuned out once before. The Burke’s Backyard magazine, which is produced by Burke with ACP Magazines, part of Nine’s parent, PBL Media, had some nice in program advertising. Tonight Nine tosses the towel in from 7.30pm against Seven’s Brownlow Medal count in the south and Border Security/The Force in the north (Brisbane and Sydney). The ABC has Australian Story, Four Corners, Media Watch and Enough Rope. Ten has Idol. SBS has Mythbusters. Nine does have RFDS at 9.30pm which will be worth a look.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Peter Fray

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