The Winners: Seven’s prime time Games coverage averaged 2.037 million people, Seven News, 1.907 million and Today Tonight, 1.840 million. Nine News had a solid night with 1.229 million while the ABC News was 5th with 1.156 million. A Current Affair was 6th with 1.125 million. Seven’s late night Games coverage averaged 1.117 million and its 5pm to 6pm recap program averaged 1.081 million in 8th and Spicks and Specks was 9th with 1.049 million. The New Inventors averaged 949,000 at 8 pm, Nine’s Cold Case repeat, 942,000 and Ten’s two hours of So You Think You Can Dance from 7.30pm, 935,000.

The Losers: Again, no one really, but I am sure that a fresh program, on Nine might have attracted a few more viewers. I watch a bit of the US Dance program on Ten. It’s got the vitality (as does the Australian version) that Australian Idol seems to have lost, and needs to regain from the first show of the new series on Sunday evening. The Nine Network looks like its closed down for the Games. Ten and the ABC at least have been trying most nights, even if Ten has sprinkled repeats throughout. The games have allowed it to show the US version of So You Think You Can Dance and get reasonable numbers without being forced to run it in prime time — get creamed by the other networks programming. Being creamed by the Olympics doesn’t really matter.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally, as did Today Tonight. Nine News had a good night, especially in Melbourne where it averaged 396,000. But not in Sydney where the 288,000 was easily topped by the 7pm ABC News with 331,000 (which was up against the start of Seven’s games coverage, as it was everywhere). Something is still wrong in Sydney with Nine News. Ten News averaged 699,000, the late News/Sports Tonight, 361,000. The 7.30 Report had a solid 948,000, Lateline, 223,000; Lateline Business, 127,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 250,000. 7am Sunrise, 459,000, 7am Today, 276,000 and a large drop compared to its recent solid form.

The Stats: Seven won with a still solid prime time share of 44.2% (43.7%), 19.9% for Nine (18.3%), Ten with 16.6% (16.9%), the ABC 14.9% (13.5%) and SBS with 4.4% (7.6%). Seven leads the week, of course. In regional areas a win for Prime/7Qld with 29.8% (so not as popular in the bush as in the cities). WIN/NBN was next for Nine with 25.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) was on 16.2%), the ABC was on 14.5% and SBS was on 3.8%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Well, when I eventually got to see the great Bolt blitz the field (and do what I told him to do, run out the 200 metres) he was fantastic. A once in a generation athlete, like the great Mr Phelps. As an overweight former sprinter and swimmer, both appeal to my boyish memories. In fact, it’s simply great to see someone trying as hard as they can and enjoying it. Both Mr Phelps and The Great Bolt looked like they had enjoyed what they were doing on the track and in the pool, just as the lesser Sally McLellan enjoyed her success in such an obvious and Australian way.

In the women’s 20km swim, it was a joy to watch the way the Russian swimmer snuck up on the two British swimmers who had gone out hard from the start. They train together and the British press expected gold. The Russian tucked into the wake of one of the British swimmers about 1km from the finish and then bounced out, went past and then went again to win by around three seconds. After 10km of swimming at speed, it was as dramatic event as anything. I thought all the women competing were especially heroic — 10km of open, clean water in China (the water was 28 degrees Celsius, so it was really 10km in a warm bath!

The softball saw the Australians win bronze after being beaten by Japan and the men’s basketball team finally made us proud with a solid effort against the NBA team from the US. That we saw all of this is a triumph to TV. That we didn’t see some of these events fully live, is another matter. But does anyone realise that compared to analogue TV, there is a two second or so delay in getting the vision to air, and, as we saw in the opening ceremony, that’s enough to drop in some CGI stuff as the Chinese did. So all those folks who moan about the lack of “live” broadcasts, be careful what you wish for.

Spicks and Specks, The New Inventors and The 7.30 Report were all solid last night with non-games fare.

Tonight — Games, Games and Games. Getaway on Nine seems to be fresh, The Footy Shows will be their usual doltish selves. Why do people complain about the Seven commentators when The Footy Shows are of such a low standard? The ABC has Q&A which you can watch while flicking back to Seven to see if the athletics have started. Women’s soccer and water polo gold medal matches tonight on SBS. The women’s 200 metres and the men’s 400 metres finals will be the highlights, especially the 400 metres. It will be America one and two, but just who? They might have to lower a world record to win!

And finally, a word of praise for Bruce Mcavaney’s call of the women’s 100 metres hurdles final where he got Sally McLellan’s second and silver place right, first time. To all those sports writers and armchair baggers and bloggers wondering about why he seemed quiet and off colour, have a go at calling that race and picking the finish. It was the calling triumph of the games so far.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW