It’s goodbye Sunday. It’s no wonder Ray Martin didn’t want to return to the program: he knew that moving it to 7.30am would be the kiss of death, and it was. Not only was it easily beaten by Seven’s Weekend Sunrise, but it was thrashed by the ABC’s Insiders from 9am. Even the ABC’s Sunday Arts program at 5pm, not one of TV’s most scintillating hours, was watched by more people (136,000). Just 113,000 watched Sunday for the two hours to 9.30am, compared to 172,000 for Insiders on the ABC at 9am and Weekend Sunrise on Seven at 7.30am as well, with 376,000. That’s over 100,000 down from the levels late last year when it ran from 9am to 11am and was boosted by a strong turn on in the last hour. The audience for the Seven program was down a touch from normal levels late last year but it was still a comprehensive win. Compared to the competition on Seven of Weekend Sunrise and the ABC in the Insiders, Inside Business and Offsiders, Sunday was flat, verging on the almost irrelevant. The only segment of any use was Laurie Oakes’ interview with Kev08. Nine could run that on its own with a political package wrapped around it and save a considerable amount of money. The story on the Melbourne gangland wars was ostensibly news but in reality it was a crude, ham-fisted plug for Underbelly on Wednesday night (depending on today’s decision in the Victorian Supreme Court). It was actually unworthy of Sunday and said all about how the program has slipped in the past couple of years. It used to be the cross platform promotions with The Bulletin that John Lyons so loved, because sometimes there were his Bulletin yarns, or those of Adam Shand. It’s the second time in a week that an established Nine program has been used for a crude plug for Underbelly: last Thursday it was Getaway’s turn. The trouble with Sunday is that up against Weekend Sunrise from the start means it’s no contest, and with Insiders having the better content, it is only a matter of time before Nine consigns Sunday to the same bin as the former co host, Ray Martin, who definitely wasn’t missed. But Ellen Fanning isn’t a host, if you judge her by the likes of Jim Waley and Jana Wendt. — Glenn Dyer

Seven wins last week of summer ratings. The Seven Network managed to fight off the Nine Network in the last week of summer ratings to win the 10 week period comfortably. The win in summer added to the win in the 42 week regular ratings battle last year. Seven won seven of the 10 summer weeks in prime time. In terms of commercial share from 6pm to 10.30pm, Seven won with a share of 38.1% (36.0% in 2007) from Nine with 34.7% (38.8%) and Ten with 27.2% (25.2%). Ten actually had larger increases in all key demographics than Seven. Nine lost ground in every major demographic group. Seven won last week with a share of 27.6% to Nine with 25.1%, Ten with 24.6%, the ABC with 16.7% and SBS with 6.1%. Seven won Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Melbourne. Ten won Sunday, Seven won Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Nine won Monday and Thursday. Nine lost last week because of the lack of play in the One Day International (ODI) cricket games Sunday and Tuesday in Brisbane. The ODI cricket matches are not pulling big audiences because of the rain and the quick end of Friday night’s game. It was an easy win to Australia in the night session. That left Nine short and Seven won with a share of 29.1% to Nine with 28.1%, which was a bit of a turn up. The game only averaged 1.19 million viewers. But last night when India beat Australia, the cricket did the job because it went the distance and Nine had a comfortable victory in the first night of 2008 ratings. The audience jumped to more than 1.5 million people. — Glenn Dyer

ABC music to change? Ta ta da da da. The squiggly logo has gone and Crikey now understands that ABC Televisions has briefed three composers, including multi-instrumentalist and soundtrack composer Amanda Brown, to replace its “Da, da, da” three note station identification. – Christian Kerr

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Thirteen programs with a million viewers or more and first blood to Nine in the 2008 ratings battle thanks to the cricket. So You Think You Can Dance Australia (SYTYCDA) 1.6 million for something called Top 100 Part 1. So now we had auditions to find the top 100, and now that will be cut. No wonder Ten is confident of this one running and running. Will the audience run out of puff? Are they fit enough. Last night was very energetic.The One Day International cricket was second with 1.511 million and Seven News was third with 1.489 million, just in front of Nine News with 1.443 million (and boosted by the cricket). Seven’s The Zoo at 6.30pm averaged 1.320 million, Grey’s Anatomy averaged 1.247 million, Bush Doctors on Seven at 7pm, 1.159 million, Ten’s weigh-in on The Biggest Loser 1.151 million. The day session of the cricket on Nine, 1.120 million, Samantha Who? on Seven at 8.10pm, 1.101 million, Brothers And Sisters on Seven at 9.30pm, 1.075 million, Kath & Kim on Seven at 7.30pm, 1.072 million and Miss Marple on the ABC at 8.30pm, 1.068 million.

The Losers: Losers? Robin Hood on the ABC at 7.30pm, 688,000: when Miss Marple can average 1.06 million from 8.30pm up against the likes of Seven’s Grey’s AnatomySYTYCDA on Ten (for half an hour) and the cricket on Nine, you can take it that Robin Hood is a dud. It was up against cricket and dancing, and Kath and Kim and Samantha on Seven, but just couldn’t get traction with its target audience (families) for the second week in a row. Nine’s Sunday program. 113,000 viewers compared to Weekend Sunrise with 376,000 and the ABC’s Insiders with 172,000 means the Nine stalwart’s days are numbered. I feel a cost saving coming on. Business Sunday was getting better figures than that and it was killed off by Nine.

News & CA: Despite Nine News being supported by the cricket, Seven News won Brisbane, and of course Perth. The 7pm ABC news averaged 897,000 and was swamped by the cricket, dancing and feel good stuff on Seven. Ten News At Five, 602,000. World News Australia, 137,000 at 6.30pm.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 28.2% from Ten with 26.7%, Seven with 24.8%, the ABC 15.3% and SBS 4.9%. Nine won everywhere bar Perth where the cricket finished early because of the time difference and Seven won from Ten. In regional areas Nine won through WIN/NBN with 32.3% (thanks to the cricket), Prime/7Qld were second 24.1%, Southern Cross (Ten) was third with 22.5%, the ABC was next with 16.1% and SBS was on 5.0%. SYTYCDA on Ten was 6th in regional areas, compared to first in the cities. The Biggest Loser wasn’t a top ten program in regional areas; it was 8th in metro areas.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Finally the cricket did it for the Nine Network, but Australians still preferred to dance, or the Ten demographic did. The worrying thing for the competition is the continuing strength of Seven programs against SYTYCDA and the cricket. The Zoo, Grey’s Anatomy, Bush Doctors, Samantha Who? and Brothers and Sisters all delivered million plus audiences and more last night. That strength should worry Nine (as should the ratings for Miss Marple on the ABC). Tonight, Talking Heads and Australian Story return on the ABC at 6.30pm and 8pm respectively. Border Security, The Force, Desperate Housewives are back on Seven (with the new series, Dirty Sexy Money – yes, really) also slotted in at 9.30pm. Nine has a fresh ep of CSI with the second part of the story that started with the last ep of the 20-07 series (and seen last Monday night. It also has the very underwhelming CSI New York). Ten starts Good News Week at 9pm after SYTYCDA. How many people will it keep? Top Gear’s lads drive tractors on SBS.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Peter Fray

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