Viewers tune in for Libs blood sport. Last night’s Four Corners should prove one thing to all those on the conservative side of politics who claim the ABC has it in for John Howard; the Liberal Party did a pretty good job on itself and viewers tuned in to watch the blood sport. Four Corners had its biggest audience since September 2001 when 1.156 million people tuned in last night. Another 450,000 watched it in regional areas. The program was 11th nationally in metro markets and 7th in the regions. It had top 10 finishes in Sydney and Melbourne. It should emphasise to the commercial networks that viewers will tune in for solid, well made current affairs in a documentary style. It beat Ten’s Good News Week (1.123 million) while it was on air. The program sort of died in some respects last night, it sagged in places and Peter Costello came out looking like an unwanted lettuce. John Howard is co-operation with the four part series, The Howard Years, which is set to screen later this year. It is being run by Sue Spencer, who is the new EP of Four Corners. How forthcoming he will be remains to be seen. — Glenn Dyer

Radio survey results. Good results for ABC Local Radio stations and 2GB in Sydney while ABC Local radio was the major mover in Melbourne.  The loser was Fairfax Radio in Sydney and Melbourne where their key stations, 2UE and 3AW lost ground. 2GB lifted its share in the first survey of 2008 to 14.3% from 11.7%, while 702, the ABC local radio station, lifted its share to 10.5% from 9.4%. The international cricket was on during the survey and may have influenced the figures, but it wasn’t good news for Fairfax radio’s 2UE in Sydney: it lost 1.1% to 6.3% (7.4% in the last survey of 2007). Triple M lifted share slightly in Sydney, as did WSFM. In breakfast, 2GB (Alan Jones) jumped sharply to 19.1%, up 5% from the 14.1% in the last 2007 survey, a big result for the Parrot. 702’s breakfast fell to 10.9% from 11.5%. In Melbourne 774, the ABC local radio station lifted its share 1.7% to 12.8%, just in front of Fox FM on 12.5% (down 0.1%) and behind 3AW which fell to 15.0% from 15.6%. Apart from 2GB the two ABC local radio stations had the biggest increases in both markets. — Glenn Dyer

Bak to Skewl for Channel 10 News . Although it took me a while to learn the difference between sewerage and sewage, looks like it’s Bak to Skewl for Channel 10 News (Sydney) who may otherwise be describing a fresh stack of pipes delivered to the Maternity Wing of Bathurst Hospital on this slide. — Anonymous

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Seven News averaged 1.578 million for top spot, with Today Tonight second with 1.473 million and Home And Away was third with 1.468 million. Nine’s CSI was next with 1.445 million, followed by The Force (1.441 million), Border Security (1.392 million), So You Think You Can Dance Australia (1.345 million), Desperate Housewives (1.237 million), Nine News (1.196 million) and A Current Affair (1.195 million). Four Corners averaged 1.156 million with the “Howard’s End” program and Good News Week had 1.123 million on Ten at 8.30pm. The 7pm ABC News averaged 1.104 million, while CSI New York had 1.074 million. A Year With The Royal Family averaged 1.055 million and Dirty S-xy Money had 1.024 million on Seven at 9.30pm. Top Gear averaged 801,000 in the last ep of the current series. Media Watch returned for 2008 with a new host and 861,000 viewers. Australian Story did better than last week and lifted to 769,000.

The Losers: The Biggest Loser, 976,000. Beaten into 3rd by the ABC at 7pm, but still ahead of Nine’s Two And A Half Men with 879,000. The fact that the 7pm ABC News ran second behind Home And Away tells us how unattractive the offerings on Ten and Nine were. Supernatural on Ten at 9.30pm, 742,000.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market as did Today Tonight. Both had their strongest night for sometime. Nine was well beaten in every market, even Melbourne. The 7pm ABC News finished second in Sydney behind Seven. Ten News averaged 876,000; Late News/Sports Tonight, 492,000. The 7.30 Report, 753,000; Lateline, 259,000; Lateline Business, 140,000. Nightline, 179,000. SBS News, 223,000 at 6.30pm; 213,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise 389,000; 7am Today, 244,000. Both a bit low.

The Stats: Seven won last night with a share of 29.3% (29.9% a week ago); from Nine with 25.2% (25.9%), Ten with 22.0% (24.0%), the ABC with 15.5% (12.9%) and SBS with 8.0% (7.4%). Seven won all five metro markets but Nine leads the week 27.7% to 26.6%. In regional areas a win to Prime/7Qld with 29.3% from WIN/NBN (Nine) with 26.9%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 18.4%, the ABC with 16.0% and SBS with 9.5%. In the 6 pm to 10.29pm battle, Fusion Strategy says Seven won with 25.89% (25.85% a year ago on the same Monday night) from Nine with 22.43% (22.10%), Ten was on 19.19% (18.47%), the ABC was on 13.97% (13.89%), SBS was on 6.82% (6.50%), and Pay TV was on 11.69%, down from 13.20% on the same night in 2007. Fusion said the total audience last night rose for free to air and was down 6% for Pay TV.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Last night exposed a couple of things that will be relevant in this year’s ratings battle. The first is that although they are off their pace of a year or so ago, Seven’s shows are still attracting more viewers on Monday nights than those on Nine or Ten. Nine is very weak from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Two And A Half Men is just tragic TV. It might be great to run it off while the cricket is disrupting broadcasts, but Nine is effectively telling people go elsewhere for the night and quite a few did last night. The Royals did 1.055 million and was soundly beaten by Ten and Seven at 7.30pm. CSI New York again got more than a million viewers and beat Dirty S-xy Money on Seven. Tonight its Monster House on Nine at 7.30pm, then the second ep of the Sarah Connor Chronicles and CSI Miami . Seven has two hours of It Takes Two and then All Saints. Ten has Bondi Rescue, Women’s Murder Club (which is completely unbelievable) and Burn Notice . The ABC has Brat Camp and Foreign Correspondent.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports, Fusion Strategy

Peter Fray

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today to get your first 12 weeks for $12 and get the journalism you need to navigate the spin.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey