Nine’s A Current Affair wrote a cheque to a Sydney woman, Sarah Cooper, to dump all over her estranged husband, fashion designer, Wayne Cooper last night, and it backfired so badly that Nine viewers turned off in their tens of thousands from the 6pm News to ACA.

Besides raising questions about whether Mr Cooper will get a fair trial over alleged assault charges, the story was one-sided as these kiss and tell paid for interviews often are. But more importantly, viewers put ACA where it deserved to be, well behind Today Tonight on the first non-Olympic Games night in more than two weeks. Today Tonight averaged 1.622 million (and Seven News 1.684 million), Today Tonight averaged 1.055 million, or and Nine News 1.279 million.

So, not only did TT beat ACA by more than 500,000 viewers, but more than 200,000 Nine viewers switched from the network when ACA came on. No matter how miserable their lives were and especially her life, Ms Marsh’s complaints and comments about her estranged husband were uncomfortable and verged on the unfair at times. On that basis it’s easy to see why viewers preferred the fare on TT, tabloid as it was. Viewers do not like to be reminded of the bad parts of their lives. All relationships go from highs to lows and back again. It was stressful and distressing.

And another point. Mr Cooper is a designer of women’s clothes. The story was obviously done and aimed at female viewers and it it just didn’t do it for them. And, outside Sydney it was Wayne and Sarah who?

Some in TV would argue that there was still a games glow about Seven last night, so dominant was its win. But Seven News and TT have been doing very well on all Monday nights this year, while it has also been the best night of the Monday to Friday battle for nine News and ACA. Not last night for ACA.

The big story to come out of the Games period is that while they were on, Nine was sleeping and has done nothing to jazz up its 6pm news and ACA, especially in Sydney where the 7pm ABC News again attracted more viewers than Nine’s more expensive effort. The other intriguing point to emerge from last night was the way the 7.30 Report’s audience didn’t hold up when the Games finished. The 7.30 Report‘s audience some nights during the games attracted over 800,000 to 900,000 viewers. Last night, just 751,000 as it faced Border Security on Seven, Australian Idol on Ten and the disappointing penguins on Nine. Top Gear on SBS didn’t make things any easier either.