The TV viewing public has voted. If TV ratings figures are anything to go by then Kevin Rudd will win the election. Last night’s ABC broadcast of the ALP launch in Brisbane averaged 566,000 people, compared with the 477,000 who watched the Liberal launch on Tuesday night. The ALP’s audience could have been boosted by the quick turnaround on the day: the Liberals’ launch was on Monday but not replayed until Tuesday. The 7.30 Report was moved to 8pm both nights and its audience reflected the greater popularity of Kevin07. Tuesday night’s 7.30 Report averaged 433,000; last night’s averaged 699,000. — Glenn Dyer

The Chaser v Today Tonight: the gloves are off. A court injunction prevented The Chaser airing footage taped during its now famous visit to the Today Tonight offices on Tuesday afternoon. Today Tonight ran footage of the visit at length last night — inadvertently revealing the phone numbers of fulltime and permanent staff, all of them plainly listed on office whiteboards, while Chaser opted for a cheesy current affairs style re-enactment. In the end it looks like the Chaser won the battle in the court of public opinion (the ratings) while Seven reckons it won the legal and moral battle. Oztam figures this morning show that The Chaser’s War On Everything averaged 1.463 million viewers last night and was the No.1 program across the country. Today Tonight averaged 1.315 million. A victory of sorts to Seven’s tormentors. The Chaser also had a clear win in the bush: 562,000 made it third most watched program in regional markets. Today Tonight didn’t make the top ten. Despite claims at the end of Today Tonight that the Seven network wasn’t interested in The Chaser and hadn’t been, it’s now reported that a senior producer from Seven rang the team on Tuesday to discuss possible deals. That call was made in the late morning a couple of hours before The Chaser team wandered into Seven’s Martin Place Offices. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Seventeen programs with a million or more viewers, once again proving that when viewers are offered choice, they respond, especially to new programs. The Chaser was tops with 1.463 million, Nine’s Farmer Wants A Friend was second with 1.350 million and Seven News was third with 1.323 million. Ten’s House was next with 1.314 million, followed by Home And Away (1.292 million), Medical Emergency (1.276 million), Spicks and Specks (1.270 million), A Current Affair (1.163 million), Nine News (1.140 million), Cold Case (1.133 million), Temptation (1.100 million), Child In A Million (1.090 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.057 million), Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? (1.047 million), Without A Trace (1.042 million) and The Librarians with 1.006 million at 9.30pm for the ABC.

The Losers: Seven’s 8.30pm-10.30pm programs were the difference between winning and losing last night. Criminal Minds at 8.30pm, 813,000 (why doesn’t it rate as well as on Monday nights where it regularly gets more than 1.1 million viewers? One of the puzzles of the year). Then Prison Break, 805,000. Both have been lower, but they’re still not working. Is Seven making sure both programs won’t be around next year? Ten’s Life, 840,000, just hanging in there at 9.30pm.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Brisbane. Today Tonight also won everywhere bar Brisbane, as ACA fell noticeably on its Tuesday night performance. Did the Chaser story help TT last night? A case of both programs feeding off each other. Ten News averaged 791,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 408,000. Nightline, 197,000. The 7.30 Report, 699,000 at 8pm to accommodate the ALP launch at 7.30pm (566,000). Lateline, 286,000; Lateline Business, 115,000. SBS News, 124,000 at 6.30pm; 172,000 at 9.30pm; Dateline, 187,000. Newstopia, 184,000 and fading unfortunately. 7am Sunrise, 426,000; 7am Today, 260,000.

The Stats: Nine won with 28.1% (27.1 a week ago) with Seven next on 26.0% (24.8%), Ten third with 23.5% (23.8%), the ABC on 18.4% (20.1%) and SBS with 4.0% (4.2%). The ALP campaign launch, like the Liberals the night before, knocked the ABC’s share down as viewers went to the other networks. Nine won Sydney and Brisbane, Seven won Melbourne and Perth, Ten won Adelaide. Seven leads the week 29.5% to 26.7%. In regional areas Nine won with WIN/NBN on 30.9% from Prime/7Qld on 25.2%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 22.4%, the ABC on 17.4% and SBS on 4.0%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Choice is good and Australians like local programs, as the Nine Network learned again last night with the farmers’ perfect match program outdoing the more polished Cold Case and Without A Trace, and even House on Ten. So when will the Chasers take on A Current Affair. Not this year it seems. Does that mean they are Willoughby bound next year to join former Chaser, Charles Firth? They say they are in negotiation with the ABC for next year. Tonight Nine’s Missing Persons Unit, The Gift and RPA: Where Are They Now? will do best because they are local programs. Seven meanwhile is full of imports from Ghost Whisperer at 7.30pm to Heroes at 9.30pm. Ten has dancing from 7.30pm and Law and Order at 9.20pm. When will the US writers strike see these new imported series like Bionic Woman, Heroes, Life, Prison Break, House, Cold Case, etc turned off? Only a couple of weeks of our ratings to go (they end December 1). Will the downloads last?

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Peter Fray

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