The horror show continues for Nine. The first programming move of David Gyngell’s second coming at the Nine Network has failed spectacularly. The expanded 90 minute, $5 million version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire bombed last night with an audience worse than the program it replaced, Temptation. Millionaire averaged 868,000 across the 90 minutes from 7pm in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and it was coded as a separate program for Oztam ratings in Adelaide and Perth where it averaged 228,000. But even combining the two gives a lower audience figure than Temptation last Monday (1.189 million). It was, of course, more popular in Melbourne than anywhere else with Eddie fronting it: the 408,000 audience was competitive, but the 290,000 people average in Sydney wasn’t: the 7pm ABC News and the 7.30 Report were more popular. It was an inglorious start by any measurement. But worse was in store for Nine last night. Hugh Jackman’s new show, Viva Laughlin, debuted at 8.30pm and averaged a decidely average 833,000. It won’t last past next week: overnight it was cancelled by CBS after just two episodes. It wasn’t helped by press reports describing it as the “worst show on TV”. At least Nine knew it was a dog, deciding not to wait until next year to air it. Viva Laughlin drifted between third and fourth during the hour with the ABC’s Media Watch overtaking it towards the end. Last night demonstrates what confronts Gyngell when he returns to Nine in a few days time. Viewers just won’t watch Nine at the moment. The success of 60 Minutes and the worm on Sunday night was an exception, not a sign of Nine’s comeback. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Border Security was tops with 1.857 million, followed by The Force with 1.759 million and City Homicide with 1.570 million. Seven News was next with 1.540 million, then Today Tonight with 1.488 million and Home And Away with 1,463 million. The return of Millionaire last night had no impact whatsoever. Nine News had 1.315 million and A Current Affair averaged 1.213 million. The 7pm ABC News averaged 1.195 million, ahead of Seven’s 9.30pm program, Criminal Minds with 1.178 million. The verdict ep of Idol averaged 1.087 million and Supernatural had 1.064 million for Ten at 8.30pm on Ten. Enough Rope was the last program with a million viewers with 1.017 million (1.040 million time corrected for a later start and earlier finish than 9.35pm to 10.30pm). Mythbusters, 493,000. Is it fading?

The Losers: Nine from 7pm onwards. A complete failure; its covered separately. Hugh Jackman is clearly a better performer than producer, Viva Laughlin is from his production company and 833,000 viewers is not good. Supernatural on Ten was clearly better and Seven’s City Homicide was miles ahead. Californication for Ten at 9.30pm: 799,000 viewers on average last night. People preferred Andrew Denton flirting desperately with Helen Mirren for more than 40 minutes.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne. But Today Tonight won everywhere. In Sydney, Seven was an easy winner with 403,000, but the 7pm ABC News had more viewers than Nine, 380,000 to 347,000. Nine News and ACA got no bounce from the 60 Minutes debate. Nine’s Nightline was buried around 11.35pm and averaged 222,000 as a result. Ten News averaged 876,000 and the late news/Sports Tonight was also buried in the late evening and averaged a low 251,000. The 7.30 Report did well with 829,000; Lateline, 412,000; Lateline Business, 133,000; Four Corners, 753,000; Media Watch, 851,000. SBS News, 227,000 at 6.30pm and 174,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise, 430,000; 6am Sunrise, 290,000; 7am Today, 271,000.

The Stats: Seven won with 34.6% (35.9%) from Nine with 22.0% (21.5%), Ten with 19.8% (19.2%), the ABC with 16.8% (17.5%) and SBS with 6.8% (5.8%), In regional areas, a win to Prime/7Qld with 33.8% from WIN/NBN for Nine with 23.1%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.2%, the ABC with 15.8% and SBS with 8.0%. Seven won all markets and leads the week 30.9% to 24.5%. With Dancing With The Stars and All Saints tonight, Seven will extend that lead and effectively win the week, again.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine’s performance was miserable last night, but it was helped though by a poor effort from Ten, which was weak with just two programs with a million or more viewers. The verdict ep of Idol barely registered. Millionaire was not as good as Temptation, the program it replaced on the night, but it was better than the inept 7.30pm to 8.30pm duo, Commercial Breakdown and Just For Laughs, which Nine left in the schedule too long because the Millionaire revamp was coming. Millionaire averaged 1.231 million before it was rested last year. That would have been enough to keep it in the schedule this year with open arms. Its a sign of just how far Nine’s TV skills have decayed and why any rebound will take longer than expected. Nine has a very difficult decision to make about Eddie McGuire. He’s popular in Melbourne but is the kiss of death in the rest of Australia.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports