The Winners: Packed To the Rafters debuted at 8.30pm for Seven to an average 1.945 million viewers and Find My Family debuted at 8pm to 1.774 million. RSPCA Animal Rescue was shifted to 7.30pm and averaged 1.681 million and Seven News was 4th with 1.605 million. Today Tonight was 5th with 1.5 million and Home and Away at 7pm averaged 1.430 million. All Saints at 9.30pm averaged 1.282 million for 7th spot. The 7pm ABC News averaged 1.281 million and Ten’s fresh episode of NCIS averaged 1.258 million at 8.30pm, which was okay. Nine’s first program was the 7pm repeat of Two and a Half Men which averaged 1.183 million. Nine News was 11th with 1.127 million and the NCIS repeat on Ten at 9.30pm averaged 1.101 million. Australian Idol at 7.30pm on Ten averaged 1.089 million, A Current Affair was 14th with just 1.086 million and Nine’s Wipeout at 7.30pm averaged 1.085 million. The fresh episodes of Two and a Half Men from 8.30pm averaged 1.009 million and The 7.30 Report averaged 1.004 million in a very strong effort and was the 17th top program on the night. Grand Designs on the ABC at 8.30pm, 801,000, 50 to 1 on Nine at 9.30pm, 816,000. Grumpy Old Women at 8pm (why don’t they kill it off, it’s boring) 886,000.

The Losers: Nine and Ten were never in the hunt. Australian Idol and NCIS did well, but Nine’s programming was swept aside, third from 7.30pm behind Ten. Wipeout managed to remain over 1 million viewers but it went from world beater to okay in just one night. If this is the story over the next couple of weeks, Nine will be spending money on a local version, which viewers may not want to watch. (Made in Argentina by Endermol at a new universal production facility. Endermol could do that for Big Brother and slot in each national production into the “global house”). Two and a Half Men went backwards at 7pm as the pent up demand for Home and Away continued. New episodes of Two and a Half Men were blitzed by Packed To The Rafters. Nine was a distant third at 8.30pm with a fresh episode of NCIS averaging 1.25 million.

News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight won nationally and every market. Nine News and A Current Affair fell from their Tuesday night figures. The 7.30 Report came within 3,000 viewers of ACA in Sydney (313,000 to 316,000). And The 7.30 Report did that in the face of strong programming again on Seven at 7.30pm. The 7pm ABC News beat Nine News nationally by more than 150,000, one of the largest margins for some time. The ABC News was second in the news rankings in Sydney and Melbourne, well ahead of Nine. Ten News averaged 830,000, the late News/Sports Tonight at the normal 10.30pm, 429,000 (memo to Ten programmers, leave it there!). Lateline averaged 260,000, Lateline Business, 169,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 187,000, Insight, 220,000, the 9.30pm SBS News, 145,000. 7am Sunrise on Seven, 432,000, a second day over 400,000. 7am Today on Nine, 245,000. It seems viewers wanted to watch the return of the Olympics team on Seven and not Today which did the homecoming live as well. A telling result.

The Stats: Seven’s win last night (like Monday) wasn’t as big as during the Olympics, but it was more dominant because it involved recurrent programming. Seven won all markets and all demos. In fact Seven could afford to give up Sunday night’s closing ceremony and final games telecast and start on Monday. It has already won the week, especially with the AFL back on Friday nights and Better Homes And Gardens. Nine, which moaned about including the closing ceremony in this week’s ratings, might be embarrassed that Seven’s six night performance was better than Nine’s seven days! Seven won with a share of 34.8%, from Nine with 23.9%, Ten with 22.1%, the ABC on 15.7% and SBS on 3.5%. Seven won all five metro markets and leads the week 37.0% to 22.5% for Nine and 20.8% for Ten. In regional markets Prime/7Qld won with 37.3% from WIN/NBN with 23.3%, Southern Cross for Ten with 21.8%, the ABC with 13.5% and SBS on 4.0%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Because of the games telecasts on Sunday night, Nine had decided to lose the week and kick it off from next Sunday night. Bad move, as it has allowed Seven to re-intigrate itself with viewers and launch two strong new programs into the public mind. The 6pm to 10.30pm audience was up more than 5% on last year and all flocked to Seven! Now Nine faces the danger that it starts behind next week. And if Nine Network and Ten haven’t got some significantly interesting new programs up their programming sleeves and can get them into their scheduled next week, with lots of promotion, they stand a good chance of being swamped by a resurgent Seven Network.

If this happens, Nine’s ambitions to lift its ad share from 31.8% in the first half to 35% in 2009 won’t happen. It has to stop Seven and quickly. Nine’s Sunday night next week looks solid, but that’s then. For the second night in a row Seven completely blitzed the opposition: it debuted the new family-orientated drama Packed To The Rafters which got some of the highest figures yet seen for an Australian drama first up.

The new tear jerker, Find My Family, at 8pm was equally as impressive to viewers. Seven had the top seven programs on the night and Nine struggled to make ground and, but seemingly Ten did better despite finishing a close third. Packed to the Rafters actually was more popular with the target audience for Australian Idol than Idol was. All viewers loved Packed To The Rafters and Find My Family (which was top of the over 55s instead of Seven News). The universal appeal for the program is bad news for Nine. It now means Seven has two very strong nights in Monday and Tuesday nights and can afford to pitch Dancing With The Stars into Sunday evenings at 7.30pm for two hours and cope with any downturn in its audience if 60 Minutes proves too popular.

Seven’s Monday and Tuesday night performances shows that all the sniping at Seven, much of it coming from Nine, has backfired as the program promotions during the Olympics sent hundreds of thousands of extra viewers to the programs the network had on both nights. Certainly viewers were tantalised by the plugs and those complaining were marginal and possibly inspired, or just near a computer at the time. Seven’s strong showing on both nights is quite surprising.

Tonight: The ABC has The New Inventors, Spicks and Specks at 8.30pm and The Hollowmen at 9pm. Don’t hold your breath for that one, judging by the limp promos. Nine has Hole In The Wall at 8pm which did well before the Games in a sneak preview. But Nine has backed to back Two and a Half Men from 7pm to 8pm. If last night is any guide, it’s goodbye Nine, as Seven starts a new local version of the NZ program, Crash Investigation Unit at 7.30pm and then follows with the tried and true Medical Emergency at 8pm and then Criminal Minds at 8.30pm where as Nine tries an Adam Sandler movie and then another movie (is Nine short of product?). Ten has Idol then two and a bit hours of the US So You Think You Can Dance, so the night is set up for the ABC and Seven do do well.

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