The Winners: Seven’s Packed To The Rafters was tops with 1.685 million, followed by Seven News was 6pm with 1.677 million and Today Tonight third with 1.556 million. Nine News was 4th with 1.503 million and Ten’s NCIS was next with 1.460 million. Seven’s Find My Family at 8pm averaged 1.438 million and Ten’s Lie To Me averaged 1.315 million at 9.30pm and did very well (it’s a better version of Nine’s The Mentalist, on tonight).

Home and Away averaged 1.268 million at 7pm for Seven in 8th, Ten’s Bondi Rescue averaged 1.262 million at 8pm and A Current Affair averaged 1.157 million. All Saints averaged 1.125 million for Seven at 9.30pm, in 11th spot and The 7.30 Report averaged 1.073 million. Next was the One Day Cricket on Nine with 982,000 viewers. But that was without Sydney, where it was coded differently and averaged 471,000. Adding to two figures together that’s more than 1.5 million viewers for the cricket, which would make it 5th and push NCIS down to 6th.

A Current Affair would be knocked out of the list because it didn’t air fully (except in Adelaide). ACA therefore drops way down the list. I must admit that I was confused last night to see ACA start, then finish, and the cricket appear in Sydney. Nine didn’t code the cricket in Sydney at all: the first session of the cricket missed out being included in the national figure. That’s hard to understand how the most important piece of programming on the day was not coded properly.

The Losers: On such a mixed up night, nothing really. Seven, Nine and Ten all did well overall.

News & CA: Seven News and Nine News tackled the bushfires and other topics in hour-long reports from the field last night. Nine flew Peter Overton to Melbourne a day after Seven had flown in Ian Ross. Why didn’t Nine leave Peter Hitchener to anchor the fires coverage out of Melbourne. Peter Hitchener has done a very good job and has stood out for Nine. Nine’s confusion over ACA made any comparison with Today Tonight irrelevant. What was unusual was the way The 7.30 Report had more viewers (1.073 million) at 7.30pm than the 7pm ABC News did (975,000). The 7.30 Report was in a tougher slot as well, up against the cricket on Nine. Ten News was also solid with 920,000 and the Late News/Sports Tonight had 525,000 viewers. Lateline on the ABC, (312,000, Lateline Business, 197,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 126,000, 221,000 for the 9.30pm edition. 7am Sunrise, 462,000, 7am Today, 377,000. Still strong audiences in the morning for both programs.

The Stats: Seven won 6pm to midnight All People with 31.1% from Nine with 29.3%, Ten 23.9%, the ABC with 12.2% and SBS with 3.5%. Nine won Sydney and Melbourne with the cricket, Seven won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth with its line up. Nine leads the week 34.4% to 28.5%. In regional areas (which are usually sport made), Seven won there through Prime/7Qld with 32.4%, from WIN/NBN for Nine with 28.8%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 21.5%, the ABC with 12.4% and SBS with 4.9%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: It was a confusing night thanks to the extended bushfire coverage and the decision by Nine to play ducks and drakes with A Current Affair. Nine’s News was an hour, and it decided to go with ACA for six minutes only in Sydney and Melbourne. There was no ACA in Brisbane where the Melbourne news of Nine was shown from 5pm to 6pm (daylight saving) and Brisbane News from 6pm to 6.30pm. Then cricket. Nine showed the local ACA at 5.30pm. So the audience figures until 7.30pm were confused.

Nine’s cricket coverage was coded separately: Sydney wasn’t included in the national broadcast and was separate. All in all confusion from Nine meant that its solid audience for a must win game of cricket was split in the preliminary ratings. Apart from that, it’s clear that without the cricket, Nine would have finished third last night behind a solid Seven and Ten. Ten did well in the commercial battle with Seven and Nine from 6pm to 10.30pm claiming a win in the 16 to 39 and 18 to 49 groups.

TONIGHT: Spicks and Specks on the ABC at 8.30pm after the New Inventors. On Seven, it’s Australia’s Got Talent, Criminal Minds and Gang Of Oz (or Underbelly for thinkers?). Nine starts its new series of Farmer Wants a Wife, then The Mentalist and then Flashpoint. Ten has the Dance Australia program, House and Life. with The Biggest Loser at 7pm against Home and Away on Seven and a repeat of Two and a Half Men on Nine. A close night. The Cook and The Chef returns to the ABC at 6.30pm. Lost returns to Seven at 10.30pm.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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