A Sunday roast. No, the Nine Network hasn’t come to its senses over the starting time of the Sunday program on Sunday week. The new time will be 8am instead of 7.30am. That puts it up against Seven’s Weekend Sunrise from go to whoa, and continues to eliminate the high rating 10am to 11am timeslot Sunday had last year. At 10am a new version of Wide World of Sports is slated to start later this year, but for a while Nine will be showing its hour of highlights of the National Basketball League. Sunday’s 10am to 11am hour generated more than double the NBL audience with a better demographic, so Nine is throwing away viewers, especially viewers with a high socio-economic profile, the sort luxury car dealers and the pushers of financial products love. Seven’s Weekend Sunrise will make Sunday’s year a misery. The question is: Will Sunday survive the constant losses? — Glenn Dyer

Kylie Walker (ex Age Epicure editor) has just finished a 12 month contract with Travel and Leisure as deputy ed. She quit The Age Co. to take the contract, which was a maternity leave situation. So, on the side she’s edited a new food book of some kind for Fairfax Books, which is apparently just about to be launched. Of course she didn’t stay in the job market all that long and has accepted the offer to edit Delicious, one of the FPC titles. Which now means she’s employed by News Ltd, with a Fairfax book about to come out around the same time. Delicious indeed.

Ten gets the blues
. Meanwhile, the Ten Network has picked up the local rights to the BBC’s new Neighbours replacement, Out Of The Blue. Southern Star is doing it for the BBC with production starting next month. The BBC lost the rights to Neigbhours last year (the change happens later this year) to Channel 5 in Britain for a reported $US300 million or more. But Channel 5 is controlled by the RTL Media group of Europe, which also controls Neighbours owner and international distributor, Fremantlemedia, so some commentators in the UK believe the deal was in fact a reshuffle inside RTL, which is controlled by the Bertelsman media group of Germany. Ten hasn’t scheduled it as yet. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: 10 programs with a million or more viewers. Seven News was tops with 1.409 million, with Today Tonight second with 1.359 million, Home and Away was third with 1.255 million and the 7pm ABC News was 4th 1.212 million, well in front of Nine News with 1.167 million. The second repeat of The Simpsons at 8pm on Ten was 5th with 1.31 million, Ten’s repeat of NCIS at 8.30pm was next with 1.129 million and A Current Affair was 8th with 1.095 million. Nine’s repeat of Cold Case was 9th with 1.095 million and Seven’s Medical Emergency at 7.30pm was 10th with 1.017 million. That the most watched program from 7.30pm onwards was a repeat of The Simpsons at 8pm says a lot about the quality of programming on TV last night.

The Losers: Losers? Seven’s post 7.30pm schedule which died, specifically the 8.30pm movie called Forces of Nature. It averaged just 656,000 people until 10.45pm and took Seven’s hopes of winning the night. The ABC program, Monarchy at 9.25pm, 592,000. It’s historical, but things royal do not rate highly these days, so it is with a sense of trepidation I reveal that the Nine Network is playing to inflict a program called A year With The Royal Family at 7.30pm Mondays. That will make sure Nine’s key demo, the over 50’s watch, and especially the over 60s.

News & CA: A better night for Seven News and Today Tonight. The news drew Melbourne with Nine and won elsewhere but the 7pm ABC News with 372,000 viewers was tops, compared to Nine and Seven with 364,000 each. TT won nationally but lost Melbourne again. ACA lost Sydney by around 120,000 viewers. The 7.30 Report averaged 977,000 for another Summer edition. Nine’s Nightline averaged 293,000. Ten News At Five averaged 842,000 and 471,000 for the Late News/Sports Tonight. 6.30pm World News Australia on SBS 197,000, 230,000 for the 9.30pm edition. 7am Sunrise 395,000, 7am Today, 280,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 27.0% from Seven with 25.1%, Ten with 24.3%, the ABC with 17.0% and SBS with 6.6%. Nine won Melbourne and Brisbane. Seven won Sydney and Perth and Ten won Adelaide. Seven leads the week 35.0% to 23.7%. In regional areas a big win to Nine through WIN/NBN with 31.4% from Prime/7Qld with 24.5%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 22.8%, the ABC on 15.9% and SBS with 5.4%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Now another dull night and more ahead. Last night was the first night for some time where there was no help for either Seven or Ten News from sport. And Seven easily accounted for Nine news and A Current Affair. Nine and Seven News ran a joint second in Melbourne behind the ABC News an hour later, and TT beat ACA by a large margin.

The cricket will be a disruption for the next month as the one day internationals are played. Nine will benefit from that but just on last night’s performance, Nine News and ACA have some work to do. Melbourne is Seven’s weak point, and in fact is the weak point in prime time from 6pm to midnight at the moment. The tennis disguised this weakness.

With a week and a half of ratings left Nine will lose the summer to Seven. The ODI and Twenty20 cricket matches will help close the gap over the next 10 days or so, but Seven will finish in front. As of last Saturday night Nine’s audience was off 10.6% compared to last summer. The reasons? Well, this summer is being compared to the fab Ashes test cricket season of 2006-07, there was no cricket in december until Boxing Day because of very funny scheduling, and India and Sri Lanka do not pull big audiences in Australia, despite what India might think.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Peter Fray

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