The Winners. Seven News was tops with 1.441 million, Today Tonight was next with 1.286 million and Nine’s repeat of Two and a Half Men at 7pm averaged 1.238 million in 3rd. Getaway averaged 1.218 million. It nominated New Zealand as country of the year. The sounds of rejoicing from across the Tasman were heard in Sydney. Is that why immigration from NZ to Australia hit a peak in August? A Current Affair had a stronger Thursday night than usual with 1.178 million viewers; Home and Away averaged 1.147 million for 6th place and The Footy Shows averaged 1.138 million. Nine News was 8th with 1.135m million viewers on average and the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.058 million in 9th spot. Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader averaged 953,000 and was Ten’s best performed show. That meant Ten didn’t have a program with a million or more viewers last night.

The Losers. Ghost Whisperer on Seven: struggling to make the million viewer mark at 8.30pm with 910,000. Make Me A Supermodel at 7.30pm on Seven, 927,000. A struggle as well. Inspector Rex at 7.30pm on SBS, 356,000. Law And Order Criminal Intent at 8.30pm on Ten, 906,000. The Strip on Nine at 8.30 pm averaged 732,000 because it wasn’t shown in Melbourne due to the early start of the AFL Footy Show. With a normal screening in Melbourne (around 320,000 viewers) it probably would have attracted just over 1 million viewers, barely okay for a program that was more of a cliché than ever. It is still neck and neck with Ten’s Rush for the most awful local drama of 2008.

News & CA. Seven News again won nationally and in every market. But Today Tonight lost Sydney and Melbourne to ACA. The 7.30 Report averaged 867,000, Lateline, 356,000, Lateline Business, 166,000. Q&A with Malcolm Turnbull, 575,000. Ten News averaged 785,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight, 368,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 202,000, the Late News at 9.30 pm, 110,000. Sunrise, 363,000, Today, 307,000.

The Stats. Nine won with a share of 33.3% (28.2%), from Seven with 25.4% (26.4%), Ten with 19.4% (22.2%), the ABC with 17.5% (19.2%), SBS with 4.4% (4.1%). Nine had a 43.6% share in Melbourne because of the AFL Footy Show. Nine and Seven tied Brisbane and Seven won Perth closely. In regional areas, a win by WIN/NBN with 32.2%, from prime/7Qld with 24.8%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 21.1%, the ABC with 16.1% and SBS with 5.4%. The Footy Shows didn’t make the top 10 in regional areas, despite league being strong in NSW and Qld and the AFL version powering WIN to a big win in Victorian regional markets.

Glenn Dyer’s comments. The Footy Shows did the trick for the Nine Network last night, but the NRL program, in its penultimate episode of the year was curiously flat. There was little sense of any excitement about the impending finals tonight and tomorrow night. From what I saw of the early part of the AFL show, it was its usual extravagant nature for the Grand Final special. 641,000 people tuned in to the AFL program in Melbourne, it’s the the football equivalent of the old Moomba festival.

In Sydney and Brisbane unfortunately it was a very different story. The NRL program averaged 201,000 in Sydney and just 98,000 in Brisbane. The ABC’s Q&A with Malcolm Turnbull solo averaged 226,000 and 114,000 in Sydney and Brisbane respectively. Next week will be different with the Grand Final show, but it’s an embarrassment for Nine that a flagship sporting program couldn’t outrate Malcolm Turnbull, for all his charm, in the biggest TV market in the country and the home of the NRL, and in the NRL’s other metro market, Brisbane.

This weekend: NRL tonight and tomorrow night, That game tomorrow afternoon on Seven. Non-sport, Better Homes and Gardens tonight on Seven. The final of the bleak Wire in the Blood on the ABC at 8.30pm. Knight Rider on Seven tomorrow night at 9pm. Movies elsewhere. Sunday night, Rove, Idol on Ten, the last Dr Who on the ABC at 7.30pm. Midsomer Murders reverts to its standby witchcraft spooky storyline (must be near the end of the series). Seven has Dancing With The Stars again at 7.30pm. Will it lift? 60 Minutes re-discovers Russia resurgent and the Cold War. Is that a metaphor for the new PBL media chairman, Tim Clarke?

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports.