The Winners: 17 programs with a million or more viewers and a couple in there that earned their way.

Seven’s final ep of its Psychics program, The One, topped the list with 1.556 million viewers, with Seven News next with 1.502 million and Nine’s Two And A Half Men repeat next at 7pm with 1.330 million. Home And Away was 4th for Seven at 7pm with 1.330 million people. Today Tonight was 5th with 1.314 million and A Current Affair jumped sharply to finish just behind with 1.312 million.

Nine’s repeat of a Wipeout ep at 7.30pm was still watched by 1.297 million and All Saints at 8.30pm won with 1.290 million. Nine News was 9th with 1.268 million with the 7pm ABC News 10th with 1.192 million. Then came the two eps of NCIS for Ten with the 9.30pm averaging 1.112 million and the 8.30pm one, 1.042 million people.

The Simpsons averaged 1.026 million and was a repeat. The final of Family Fortunes on the ABC at 8pm averaged 1.020 million with The 7.30 Report next in 15th spot with a solid 1.017 million viewers. The fresh ep of The Simpsons at 7.30pm on Ten was 16th with 1.012 million and Grand Designs on the ABC from 8.30pm averaged a solid 1.011 million in 17th spot.

The Losers: Ramsay’s Boiling Point on Seven at 10 pm: 474,000. A dud — but helpful in telling the audience that Ramsay has gone off the boil ahead of Nine bringing back new eps of Kitchen Nightmares after the games (though the failure of The F Word on Nine on Monday nights won’t help either). Til’ Death on Nine at 9pm, 892,000. It’s there to prop up a timeslot for the next few weeks and to take pressure off Nine’s repeats of the repeats of Two And A Half Men.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne. Today Tonight though lost Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide and had to use its usual winning margin in Perth to remain in front of ACA. The 7pm ABC News beat Nine News in Sydney into second on the news rankings, and beat Seven in Melbourne to run second behind Nine. Lateline on the ABC averaged 272,000, Lateline Business, 162,000. Ten News At Five averaged 892,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight, 558,000. World News Australia on SBS at 6.30pm, 204,000, 135,000 for the Late edition at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise down to 340,000, 7am Today on Nine 290,000.

The Stats: Seven won 6pm to midnight All People with with a share of 29.1% (28.8% a week ago) from Nine with 26.3% (28.8%), Ten with 22.5% (22.8%), the ABC with 18.3% (16.1%) and SBS on 3.7% (3.6%). Seven won everywhere bar Melbourne where Nine got up. Nine still leads the week, 28.1% to 27.6% for Seven.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The Seven Network is having its best period so far in the 2008 ratings battle as it turns in solid gains in share and in most demographics. They were certainly more confident at yesterday’s results briefing in Sydney about the ratings. The Olympics will be excluded from the 2008 figures, so the high ratings for the next two and a bit weeks will be nice for bragging rights and telling advertisers.

But excluding the games, Seven could end up chewing up much of the gains Nine made in the start of the year, while the hole Ten dug for itself with Big Brother this year (and continues to excavate with a lack of good programming) has eliminated most of its early year audience gains.

But 2009 is looming as a crunch year for the industry and cost pressures can only grow as revenue growth disappears. These observations come to mind after last night’s ratings performance. Nine showed a repeat of Wipeout and was wiped out. It doesn’t want to waste fresh eps in a week that Seven has Friday’s Games opening ceremony, Australia’s first soccer game from the Olympics on Thursday evening and then hours of games on Saturday. So it has given up for the week.

The Family Fortunes ep last night on the ABC at 8pm was on the Manifold family: it sounded boring but was interesting for what happens to families in one industry where there are competing interests, tradition and lots of emotional entanglements. It fully deserved the million-plus audience, as did the year’s sleeper, Grand Designs at 8.30pm on the ABC, with another million viewers. Rather than the usual Australian property TV program that concentrates on greed and competition, Grand Designs is what it says and looks at the design and building of odd homes in the UK and abroad.

It started at 6.05pm Thursdays and has now been promoted to the big time. Apart from those two ABC programs and Seven’s final of its Physics program, it was a typical Tuesday night of TV.

Tonight its Spicks and Specks on the ABC at 8.30pm and another ep of The Hollowmen at 9.30pm. There’s a new series at 9pm called Freezing. It might be a little close to home for the typical ABC audience. Nine has a fresh McLeod’s Daughters and a fresh Cold Case at 9.30pm and This Is Your Life at 7.30pm. Really, how wonderful, mustn’t watch then.

Seven has Make Me A Supermodel (or How to showcase Jennifer Hawkins in prime time again) starting at 7.30pm which sounds very much like Foxtel and Ten’s Next Top Model series. Really? Mustn’t watch either. Ten has the US version of So You Think You Can Dance and then a repeat of House at 9.30 pm. Really? Mustn’t watch then. SBS has George Negus loose and shouting at the TV from China on Dateline at 8.30pm: really? Must turn down the volume.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports.

Peter Fray

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