Westacott wants regular routine for Nightline. Nine’s News And Current Affairs boss, John Westacott, told the The Australian‘s Media section today that he’s hoping to find a “regular spot” for Nightline next year. At one stage, the late night news program had a fairly regular slot at 10.30pm, like Ten’s Late News/Sports Tonight. But over the years Nine has moved it to try and maximise the night’s ratings by running other programs closer to the end of the primetime period at 11.59pm. By doing that Nine has tried to get people to hang on into the late evening to boost its share and improve on the often weak effort in primetime zone 1 from 6pm to 10.29pm. If Nine can achieve this, it makes its evening share look better and can actually add to revenue. But it means Nightline is constantly being moved around. Two weeks ago it was shown before The Sopranos on Tuesday night and rated well; this week it was on after The Sopranos at 11.45pm and the audience fell sharply. Westacott will struggle to convince Nine programmers to give Nightline a regular spot at a time when people might want to watch. Programmers run TV network schedules, not news and current affairs people: it’s been that way for years. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Viewers were winners last night: 16 programs with a million or more viewers and the ABC again doing well with the top 3: The Chaser with 1.646 million, Summer Heights High with 1.512 million and Spicks and Specks with 1.502 million. Ten’s fresh ep of House was next with 1.484 million, followed by Home and Away (1.375 million), Seven News (1.370 million), Today Tonight (1.344 million), Medical Emergency (1.241 million), Ten’s Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader (1.227 million), Nine News (1.175 million), Seven’s Child In A Million (1.145 million) and the debut ep of Nine’s Farmer Wants A Wife (1.136 million). A Current Affair was on 1.132 million, the 7pm ABC News was next with 1.129 million, Cold Case averaged 1.097 million and Temptation had 1.061 million. Newstopia on SBS at 10pm was up a bit more to 238,000. It is still worth watching.

The Losers: Prison Break on Seven, 728,000. Still more viewers than Las Vegas at 8.30pm, 628,000. Both are being escorted to the entrance. Seven will probably keep them going over the summer at this rate to exhaust them. There’s no other way to explain why the network is persisting with the duo. Without A Trace, 964,000. Not so much a loser but a worry for Nine. That was a fresh 2007 ep from the US. Maybe it will do better next week with Summer Heights High ending? The ABC has stolen the younger viewer away from the networks from 8.30pm to 10pm. Damages, 384,000 at 10.30pm on Nine. Neighbours only had 749,000. Kylie’s return can’t come quickly enough.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne. Today Tonight won everywhere. In Melbourne, the 7pm ABC News (392,000) beat Nine (375,000) and Seven (353,000). Nightline averaged 207,000 at 11.30pm. Ten News averaged 800,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 479,000. The 7.30 Report, 925,000; Lateline, 305,000; Lateline Business, 141,000. SBS News with 188,000 at 6.30pm; 184,000 at 9.30pm; Dateline, 163,000. 7am Sunrise, 460,000; 6am Sunrise 279,000; 7 am Today, 274,000.

The Stats: Nine won narrowly on a close night with 24.8% (unchanged) from Ten with 24.7% (25.2%), Seven with 23.9% (unchanged), the ABC with 22.2% (21.0%) and SBS with 4.3% (5.1%). Nine won Sydney, Brisbane, Ten won Melbourne and Adelaide and Seven won Perth. In some cases the wins were by the narrowest of margins. A great night for viewers. Seven leads the week 30.1% to 24.4%. In regional areas a much clearer win for WIN/NBN for Nine with 29.4%, from Southern Cross (Ten) with 24.4%, Prime/7Qld with 22.7%, the ABC with 18.7% and SBS with 4.8%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Summer Heights High ended last night. The ABC does The Librarians from next week in that slot. It has a huge dollop of The Office in it, but don’t let that stop you. Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? surprised by strengthening its position at 7.30pm on Ten. Rove is doing better hosting that at the moment than his program on Sunday nights. But he doesn’t really care, he’s producing both. It was Fifth Grader‘s highest audience so far. Tonight Seven hopes Bionic Woman and Heroes from 8.30pm to 10.30pm will stabilise. Nine has a solid line up of Missing Persons Unit, The Gift and RPA: Where Are They Now?. Ten has two hours of dancing. The ABC a doc and Difference of Opinion.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports