What have Seven got planned for Saturday night? Crikey’s spy in the Tally Room describes their election night set as “looking like Sunrise at one end – and the Non-Members Bar in the old house at the other”. — Christian Kerr

Another ratings endorsement for Kevin07. TV viewers have again shown their support for Kevin Rudd. His appearance at the National Press Club on Wednesday attracted 142,000 viewers on the ABC, compared to 123,000 for John Howard’s appearance yesterday. Howard out pulled Rudd in Sydney –55,000 to 46,000 — as well as Adelaide and Perth, but Kevin07 was a clear winner in Melbourne and Brisbane — Glenn Dyer 

Kostakidis has settled, now for Stan the Man? According to media reports today, Mary Kostakidis and SBS have settled their well-publicised dispute out of court. The two parties will issue a statement later today, but settlements of these kinds are confidential and there will be a “no speakies” clause imposed. Kostakidis clearly won the PR war with her former employer, generating an enormous amount of sympathetic publicity and painting SBS and its management as crass commercial types… which they are. Several high profile media disputes have been settled in similar fashion: actions either brought or threatened against the Nine Network by Mark Llewellyn and Jana Wendt in 2006 were settled confidentially, as was Jim Waley’s unfair dismissal/contract payment dispute — literally on the steps of the NSW Supreme Court — in 2005. TV industry commentators say the next step for SBS will be to resolve Stan Grant’s situation, who was the source of the Kostakidis problems. He has been rumoured to be thinking about returning to Hong Kong, where he used to work for CNN, ahead of the Beijing Olympics next August.

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
 It was close, a bare whisker in it. Missing Persons Unit was the most watched with 1.338 million people, Home And Away was second with 1.328 million and Ghost Whisperer was third across two hours with 1.239 million. Seven News was next with 1.179 million, followed by Today Tonight (1.131 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.112 million), Nine News (1.091 million), The Gift (1.080 million), Getaway (1.075 million), A Current Affair (1.075 million) and Temptation (1.002 million). Heroes averaged 926,000.

The Losers: Seven’s Deal or No Deal averaged 623,000 last night and was beaten by a repeat of Nine’s Antiques Roadshow (628,000) at 5.30pm. That was unusually weak for Deal. The documentary on the ABC at 8.30pm about Greg Chappell’s time as Indian cricket coach had 534,000 viewers for what has an odd piece of TV. I can’t work out whether he’s an Aussie whinger or hard done by?

News & CA: The performance of the various news outlets in Sydney last night — following the best story of the campaign: the Liberal activities in Lindsay — was telling. The ABC News (and I know different timeslot) was the most watched news in the market with 326,000, followed by Nine (318,000) and Seven (297,000). Nine News won in Melbourne, the ABC was second and Seven was third. Seven News again won nationally but needed its Perth margin: it won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. TT lost Melbourne and Brisbane but won Sydney, Adelaide and Perth (and also needed its Perth margin). The 7pm ABC News again did well in Sydney and Melbourne. The 7.30 Report averaged 927,000, as Clarke and Dawe were at their nihilistic best on the election. Ten News, 791,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 334,000. Nightline averaged 307,000. Lateline, 325,000; Lateline Business, 142,000. SBS News, 141,000 at 6.30pm; 181,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise, 432,000 (and there’s a special Saturday edition of Weekend Sunrise at 8am tomorrow, as well as the usual Sunday); 7am Today, 282,000.

The Stats: Seven won by the smallest of margins, 0.1%. Seven had a share of 30.0% (27.4%) from Nine, 29.9% (27.4%); Ten on 20.3% (24.8%), the ABC with 15.1% (13.1%) and SBS with 4.7% (unchanged). Nine won Sydney and Melbourne. Seven won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth where a 3.6% winning margin, the biggest on the night, was the difference. Seven still leads 28.9% to 28.6% for Nine. Seven should have the week thanks to tonight, but then there’s the election imponderable. In regional areas a win to Prime/7Qld with 29.7, from WIN/NBN for Nine with 29.1%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 21.7%, the ABC with 13.2% and SBS with 6.4%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Well the night was there to be won by Nine, but in the end it couldn’t do it, showing up the vagaries of its TV presentation and programming. For the past six weeks Nine has had the better looking and more attractive Thursday night programming with Missing Persons Unit, The Gift and RPA: Where Are They Now? dominating from 8.30pm to 10.30pm. But last night Seven helped itself by flicking Bionic Woman at 8.30pm and scheduling back to back eps of Ghost Whisperer from 7.30pm to 9.30pm to take advantage of the program’s appeal to 16 to 39 females (helped by the absence of So You think You Can Dance). Seven’s move paid off and Ghost Whisperer pushed Seven to a win, despite Missing Persons Unit winning the 8.30pm slot and being the most watched program on the night. Get some sleep tonight: Seven, Nine and the ABC start at 5.30pm tomorrow with the coverage proper at 6pm. SBS and Ten have coverage due to start later in the evening but will do something earlier if there’s a result. And there are a lot of egos riding on the election night battle: Mel, Kochie and Adam Boland; Ray and Laurie and Tony Jones and Red Kerry will all be straining to be most popular and the first to call it. Could we see some false calls? Roy and HG have the Festival of The Boot: Part 3 on Triple J. Could be a better way to watch. And, of course, the usual Sunday morning shows. No escaping the pundits.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Peter Fray

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