The Winners: Seven News was the tops with 1.423 million people, with Today Tonight second with 1.268 million (and a sizeable turn off from the news). Seven’s 7.30pm program, Ghost Whisperer averaged 1.094 million people and Ten’s The Biggest Loser averaged 1.090 million at 7pm. The 7pm ABC News was 5th with 1.063 million and Two and a Half Men averaged 1.053 million at 7pm for Nine. 7th was Home and Away on Seven with 1.040 million (and 4th) Ten’s Thursday night AFL game averaged 1.036 million (with 709,000 in Melbourne — those figures include the HD broadcast in southern states). 10th was Nine’s 20 to 1 AO episode at 8.30pm with 1.036 million. It is really no worse than a mild episode of Gordon Ramsay or Underbelly. A Current Affair averaged 997,000. Grey’s Anatomy at 8.30pm on Seven averaged 978,000, Getaway on Nine at 7.30pm, 857,000. Private Practice, 703,000 on Seven at 9.30pm. The figures for Law And Order SVU and Bondi Vet in Brisbane and Sydney were low because of the split programming on Ten with the AFL.

The Losers: ACA under a million viewers last night nationally. Weak. In parts it was better than TT on Seven. We have diets, short changing supermarkets. And it looks like diet thingies again tonight. The best diet might be to avoid TT and ACA and keep your brain slim. Elsewhere hard to tell with the AFL distorting the night.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market. Today Tonight won nationally and everywhere bar Melbourne where ACA got up. ACA had over a third of its audience in Melbourne last night. In Sydney both Nine News (260,000) and ACA, (224,000) were low again. The 7pm ABC news had more viewers than Nine News in Sydney (and nationally). The 7.30 Report had more viewers in Sydney than ACA did. Nationally The 7.30 Report averaged 763,000 (the Melbourne audience was very low because of the AFL on Ten). Q&A averaged 465,000. Lateline, 288,000, 155,000 for Lateline Business. Ten News, 845,000, 433,000 for the late News/Sports Tonight. SBS News at 6.30pm, 160,000, 158,000 for the 9.30pm edition. 7am Sunrise, 316,000, 7am Today, 265,000. The gap narrowed yesterday!

The Stats: Ten won the night across the board because of the dominance of the game in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. The injury to Ben Cousins is as much a blow to Ten (and Seven and Foxtel) as it is to Richmond. Seven won Sydney and Brisbane, which account for around half the Australian TV ad market at the moment. Ten won All People 6pm to midnight (and 6pm to 10.30pm) with 30.6% (21.8%) from Seven with 25.0% (27.3%), Nine with 23.6% (28.0%), the ABC with 16.2% (18.1%) and SBS with 4.6% (4.8%). Seven leads the week, 28.3% to 26.3% for Nine and 24.2% for Ten. In regional areas a win for Prime/7Qld with 26.5% from Southern Cross (Ten with 25.0%), WIN/NBN with 245.2%, the ABC with 18.7% and SBS with 5.6%. Ten will have its best week of the year so far with this result.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Ten’s AFL game disrupted the night, won it for the Network, but Seven will win the week easily. The 709,000 was due to Ben Cousins and the fact that it was the first game of the year. That 709,000 and for the other southern capitals included the Ten HD audience. Here’s what Ten said this morning:

AFL ratings figures represent the Network Ten combined audience (TEN and ONE HD). OzTAM figures for unique programming on ONE will be available from 12 April. All simulcast programming (TEN and ONE HD) will be reported solely as a combined number shown in TEN’s ratings data.

There will be no separate ratings data available for ONE HD when programming is simulcast with TEN.

So when Ten is simulcasting AFL games, no break down of the audience into main channel and One. The ABC is still the only network with the guts to allow separate audience figures for its second channel to be reported. Viewers who looked at the HD coverage in Melbourne saw no Ten idents, just One. Ten is an AFL broadcaster, one isn’t.

Seven has the AFL tonight in southern states, Ten tomorrow night. Seven home for the week, even with Nine showing Happy Feet tomorrow night from 7.30pm. Q&A was more interesting than the football was (especially if you are a Richmond supporter, which I am not). The Real Senator Conroy is a fun guy, really fun. But he couldn’t get Q&A’s audience up past the NRL Footy Show on Nine (200,000 for the Footy Show in Sydney, 175,000 for Q&A). The AFL game and the NRL Footy Show didn’t register in the bush … the Victorian regional market doesn’t seem to be all that big an influence, but then the NRL is big in most of regional NSW and Qld.

TONIGHT: Better Homes And Gardens on Seven, then the AFL in the south. In northern states, it’s a movie then three episodes of Scrubs. Seven is getting rid of it as soon as it can. Seven’s night with Nine showing NRL in the northern states and other programming in the South. Ten has no football: Three episodes of the Simpsons, (one fresh), The Biggest Loser and then three episodes of Law And Order, (two fresh, one repeat.) Ten is running it off as well. The ABC has Rebus and Vincent, both worth a look again (Rebus needs subtitles, like Taggart). SBS has the Fletcher Jones Story at 7.30pm, well worth a look and probably a highlight of the night.

TOMORROW NIGHT: AFL on Ten versus Happy Feet on Nine, another Pirates of the Caribbean movie on Seven, not much on SBS and a repeat of New Tricks on the ABC at 7.30pm. Believe it or not we have The Simpsons at 6.30pm and 7.30pm tomorrow night. That’s because of the car race in Melbourne on Ten. And then the Swans vs. the Saints on Ten.

SUNDAY: A car race in Melbourne, on Ten, then The Biggest Loser, the Dance Australia program and Rove. The car race runs up to 7pm and will destabilise the early evening. Ten could sneak home as TBL and the Dance program have been strong. Seven has Sunday Night, Border Security/Triple Zeros Heroes and then City Homicide (its last episode for a while). And then a repeat of Bones. Nine has Domestic Blitz, 60 Minutes, CSI and CSI Miami. SBS has Dateline.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports