Seven cranks up the campaign coverage. The Seven network has again shown that when it comes to news and current affairs, it is far more agile than Nine, Ten or the ABC. Seven announced on Friday that its Weekend Sunrise program would be broadcast on election day, as well as the following day. Seven said that the program would be hosted by regular Weekend Sunrise team of Andrew O’Keefe and Samantha Armytage. The program, which will run for two hours from 8am, will look at the campaign and throw forward to the vote. Meanwhile, no sign of a matching move for the Nine’s Today or Sunday programs. — Glenn Dyer

Chasers set for a long break. The Chaser’s War On Everything is about have a long, long holiday, but not quite yet. When the series finishes after the election on November 28, it won’t be seen again until at least July next year. There have been stories of tension on and off the studio floor and constant chat about talks with Seven and Nine, but ABC management is confident they will return for another season. The first of their election specials will air on Wednesday, 21 November and the second a week later as a post-election wrap up. — Glenn Dyer

No more Differences of Opinion. ABC TV management has decided that Difference of Opinion won’t be appearing next year. It was designed to look at major issues such as reconciliation, climate change and the environment, but in reality it bored Australia, averaging between 360,000 and 400,000 in its 9.30pm Thursday timeslot. It won’t be missed in its present form: perhaps with a more lively host and an approach like the old Monday Conference, it might have been more interesting. — Glenn Dyer

Gyngell looks to an old hand to resurrect NRL Footy Show. Nine’s new CEO, David Gyngell, has hired a man fired by the network five years ago to take control of the NRL Footy Show. Former Nine Sports Director, Gary Burns, will return to revamp the Footy Show in Sydney and introduce a Queensland edition next year (or boost the Queensland content in a combined program). Burns was fired as Nine’s Sports Director back in December 2002 by the then head of PBL Media, John Alexander. Now there’s speculation that he will replace the present Sports Director, Steve Crawley, who is not well liked by some at Nine for being tied to the old regimes of Alexander and Eddie McGuire. When the NRL Footy Show won a Silver Logie in 2005 host Paul Vautin omitted Crawley from the list of people he thanked and mentioned Burns by name. Burns had been gone from Nine for more than two years. To say Crawley wasn’t impressed is an understatement and his relationship (if there was one) with Vautin disappeared. Then at the end of the 2007 NRL season speculation erupted that Vautin would be replaced, which brought a very public show of support from Burns. And when David Gyngell was returned, it became known that Vautin’s job was safe. Burns had been running TVN, the horse racing TV service owned by the major race clubs in NSW and Victoria. He left TVN suddenly 10 days ago and was bound for Telstra to replace their head of content who quit in September, but late on Friday it became known that he was to rejoin Nine after talks with Gyngell. — Glenn Dyer

Nine gets closer but Seven’s still too strong. The closest result for the Nine Network in two months, but it still fell 2.3% short of toppling Seven. Seven won with a share of 28.6% (28.9% a week earlier) for the week, to 26.3% (25.6%) for Nine. Ten was on 21.8% (22.1%), the ABC was on 18.2% (18.1%) and SBS was on 5.1% (5.3%). Seven won Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and all five metro markets. Nine won Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. Seven had 11 programs in the top 20 shows, Nine had four, the ABC had three and Ten had two. The most watched program was the Melbourne Cup on Seven with 2.191 million. That was down on the 2006 Cup, which was watched by 2.271 million. It was the smallest audience this decade and was hit by the absence of a number of overseas and interstate fancies due to the horse flu. Saturday’s cricket coverage drew an average of 794,000 viewers for Nine from around 11am to just before 6pm. Seven News and Today Tonight won the news and current affairs battle over Nine, despite a close finish on Friday night. Nine News won Melbourne and Brisbane, Seven News won Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. Today Tonight beat ACA in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. ACA won Brisbane. 60 Minutes finished at No.38 last week, an unusually low finish for the veteran program. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Just 10 programs with a million or more viewers. there’s a strong feeling now that the end of the year can’t come quickly enough. CSI was number one with viewers with 1.473 million, just in front of the repeat of Kath & Kim on Seven at 7.30 pm with 1.427 million. Australian Idol had a good night averaging 1.405 million as it moves towards the pointy end of a below par season. Seven News had 1.358 million and My Name Is Earl averaged 1.291 million. Nine News with 1.269 million, Rove with 1.214 million and 60 Minutes struggled with 1.190 million. ABC News averaged 1.136 million and Ten’s repeat of Thank God You’re Here at 6.30 pm had 1.027 million. That repeat won the 6.30pm timeslot for Ten, which also won the 7.30pm to 8.30pm slot. Captain Cook on the ABC at 7.30 pm, 999,000. Rainshadow on the ABC at 8.30 pm, 887,000. Seven’s movie at 8.30, The Prince and Me, 953,000. The cricket, on Nine, 727, 000 during the day.

The Losers: No Bingo for National Bingo Night on Seven at 6.30 pm: 963,000 and beaten by repeats of Thank God You’re Here on Ten. That featured the funniest skit this year: Cal Wilson’s version of Ms Caracas in a Miss Universe contest. It was funny last year and was very funny again last night. Singing Bee is hanging in there with 981,000 for Nine at 6.30 pm but Dirty Jobs vanished at 7pm and Commercial Breakdown was dragged from the grave and inserted in its place and averaged 898,000. No wonder 60 Minutes struggled again last night. CSI New York was weak last night.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally but lost Sydney and Melbourne and Adelaide to Nine. Seven’s News in Brisbane with Sharyn Ghidella, 136,000 in front of Nine. That was better than the 92,000 margin in Perth. The 7pm ABC News was the most watched news program in Melbourne with 385,000 from Nine 379,000 and Seven with 323,000. Ten News At Five averaged 786,000. 6.30pm World News Australia on SBS 200,000. In the morning Weekend Sunrise, 419,000, Landline on the ABC at noon, 242,000. Sunday on Nine, 215,000. Offsiders on the ABC, 191,000, Inside Business, 114,000, Offsiders, 106,000, Meet The Press on Ten, 57,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 27.9% (27.1%) from Ten with 26.5% (25.7%), Seven with 25.8% (25.8%), the ABC on 15.5% (17.4%) and SBS on 4.3% (4.0%). Nine won Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, Ten won Sydney, and Perth. Seven will move to the front tonight. In regional areas a different result with WIN/NBN winning with a 29.0% share from Prime/7Qld with 27.0%, Southern cross with 22.2% for Ten, the ABC on 16.8% and SBS on 5.0%. Australian Idol, Rove and Thank God You’re Here were in the top 10 most watched programs in the five metro markets last night, but they didn’t make the top 10 in regional markets. It looks like a case of “we’ll have none of your glib citified entertainment in our living room”.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven finished third last night, it seems the network is slowly folding its tent for the year and winding down. The past three weeks has been marked by a less intense effort from the Network. Rove on Ten has hit his straps in the past fortnight with good guests and viewers have responded. Rove ends next Sunday night because of the finish to Idol. It’s a pity. The move to sundays has been successful and at times he looks as though there is another Rove straining to break free: someone who is a bit more serious and not as nerdy and “cool”. Tonight its goodbye to Four Corners, Australian Story and Media Watch. Why so early? Andrew Denton is hanging around with an interview with John Laws, which will be the night’s highlight, if only to see how much of a grilling Denton gives Golden Tonsils. I hope its the full BBQ. City Homicide on Seven at 8.30 pm is the other highlight.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports