Election night MAD. First Channel Seven moved the start of its election coverage from 6:00pm to 5:30pm. Then Channel 9 followed. Now, Seven may be moving to five – with Nine set to follow suit. Both broadcasts will be ad free. They will also be content free until results start coming in. “Mutually assured destruction,” one techie on the tally room floor said. Someone senior has apparently proffered an opinion – Laurie Oakes. Crikey understand his response to this all went “We haven’t done enough elections for the past few years and now they want to do it non stop.” – Christian Kerr

Ten looks ahead to 2008. As impressive as Ten made last night’s 2008 launch, there were still several questions left hanging. The positives in the announcement were the start date for the new High Definition channel on Sunday December 16; more US programs that will be available for start of ratings next February; some interesting local ideas including the Australian version of So You Think You Can Dance and the re-signing of Rove for two more years. But some of the existing US series (the Law and Orders) are getting tired and House will be tested next year. A year ago Ten promoted three new US series but within six weeks they had all been canned and it started 2007 without a single new US series — and it showed. House and the Law and Orders, plus NCIS and Numb3rs had to hold the fort. The “off the satellite” quick turnaround will feature heavily next year, which will mean more repeats and greater pressure on the networks to come up with more local content. The big negatives are that each of the network’s “event” series — The Biggest Loser, Big Brother and Australian Idol — are on notice to perform at 2007 levels or better. If they don’t, one will go and So You Think You Can Dance will take its place. Ten tantalised the audience at the launch with hints of two big series deals to be announced in the New Year. They were to be revealed last night but contractual problems prevented that from happening. Ten reckons it will have 40 extra hours of US first run programming next year, with much of it coming from the CBS Paramount contract which Ten gained after it snatched CBS news and current affairs from Nine. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
The first of The Chaser Decides election specials was tops with 1.421 million, followed by Ten’s final House for the year with 1.361 million. Spicks and Specks was next with 1.318 million, followed by Home And Away (1.300 million), The Farmer Wants A Wife (1.287 million), Medical Emergency (1.210 million), Seven News (1.207 million), A Current Affair (1.189 million), in front of Today Tonight (1.155 million), Nine News (1.148 million), Temptation (1.105 million), Cold Case (1.078 million), The Librarians (1.040 million) and the 7pm ABC News (1.028 million). Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader averaged 989,000 and Child In A Million had 981,000. Newstopia, 190,000 on SBS. Not bad, but a bit rough around the edges last night. It was the most watched program on SBS last night!

The Losers: As usual now for a Wednesday night, Seven was a loser from 8pm onwards. Criminal Minds, 785,000, more than 300,000 less than the Monday 9.30pm figure. Prison Break, 852,000, a bit better but not by much. Without A Trace is fading in repeat, 907,000. At The Movies on the ABC at 10pm, 461,000: well over half a million people tuned out after watching The Librarians. 

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth (it needed the big Perth margin to win nationally for the second time this week). ACA beat Today Tonight … now that’s a rare occurrence this year. ACA won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane easily. TT won Adelaide and Perth. The 7pm ABC News (285,000) finished second in Sydney behind Seven, as Nine News was very weak (281,000). The 7.30 Report, 887,000; Lateline, 357,000; Lateline Business, 135,000. SBS News, 142,000 at 6.30pm; 156,000 at 9.30pm; Dateline, 168,000. 7am Sunrise, 430,000; 7am Today up to 267,000.

The Stats: Nine won the night with 27.2% (28.1%) from Seven with 25.2% (26.0%) from Ten with 23.9% (23.5%). The ABC was on 20.3% (18.4%) and SBS was on 3.5% (4.0%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Ten won Adelaide with Nine third. Seven won Perth, also with Nine third. Seven leads the week 28.6% to 28.3% from Nine who should move back into the lead after tonight. In regional areas a win to Nine through WIN/NBN with 28.8% from Prime/7Qld with 24.8%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 24.5%, the ABC on 17.7% and SBS on 4.2%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: An average effort for the first Chaser election special. It’s novelty is waning. So they hosted it from the tally room … it was a program trading off its notoriety and the loyalty of younger viewers. Spicks And Specks did the same last night with a “best of” clip show. It was OK, but had a haunting commercial TV cheapness to it — perhaps the budget went on the Christmas special. The Librarians was special. Nighty Night out of The Office, by Extras. Tonight Nine has the goods: Missing Persons Unit, The Gift and RPA: Where Are They Now? Ten is desperate … its 7.30pm program is the 20 Richest Women in Entertainment, ’nuff said. The ABC’s Difference of Opinion is talking about voting. Topical, but it should have been on six weeks ago.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Peter Fray

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