The Winners: Seven News soared to 1.735 million people, a very high figure and one of its highest non-Olympic audiences. That it came in a “non-ratings” period won’t be a worry for the network. A win is a win and figures like that are reminiscent of the Nine Network pre-Brian Henderson’s retirement. Today Tonight was second with 1.549 million. Nine News was a solid 3rd, but with 1.283 million people and A Current Affair was 4th with 1.257 million. Nine’s Customs program at 8pm averaged 1.225 million and Two and a Half Men at 7.30pm averaged 1.210 million. Home and Away averaged 1.180 million and won 7pm with the repeat of Two and a Half Men with just 1000 less and a total of 1.179 million in 8th spot. Ten’s The Biggest Loser was 9th with 1.160 million and the 7pm ABC News was 10th with 1.157 million. The results episode of So You Think You Can Dance Australia on Ten from 7.30pm averaged 1.125 million and Ten News had its best figures for a while with 1.101 million. Ten’s Good News Week with 1.065 million for a highlights program, did better than the fresh episodes have done. But that was because Nine was repeating Underbelly, again. Australian Story on the ABC averaged 1.024 million at 8pm and 14th spot; Top Gear on SBS averaged 1.015 million and the repeated first episode of Underbelly at 8.30pm averaged 1.004 million. Seven’s How I Met Your Mother was a repeat on Seven at 7.30pm and averaged 982,000. The second episode of Underbelly averaged 759,000, at 10.30pm. Seven’s movie at 8.30pm, Father of The Bride Part Two, averaged 881,000.

The Losers: Viewers of the commercial networks from around 7pm onwards. SBS had Top Gear. I’m not quite sure which year, but it had a beard. Viewers didn’t mind, again proving that to show these programs on Pay TV is not a hindrance to solid viewing in the free to air area. The ABC gave some cheek though. But Spooks sagged and returned with just 660,000 viewers. Almost double The Cut.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market Nine News had its best audience of 379,000 since Peter Overton started reading earlier this year. But all audiences were up because of the ending of daylight saving meant darker evenings and a lift in viewing levels, as happens when the clocks go back. Today Tonight also won nationally. ACA slipped 50,000 viewers in Sydney from the News. Ten’s late News/Sports Tonight averaged 330,000. The 7.30 Report averaged 917,000. Four Corners at 8.30pm, 957,000, Media Watch straight after, 894,000. Lateline, 265,000; Lateline Business, 141,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 236,000, the 9.30pm edition, 155,000. 7am Sunrise, 387,000, 7am Today, 315,000. (The mornings are lighter now the clocks have changed, so audience levels rose on the last couple of weeks).

The Stats: Seven won 6pm to midnight All People with 25.9% (24.0%) from Nine with 24.8% (31.5%) and Ten with 22/4% (23.6%). The ABC was on 18.3% (14.2%) and SBS was on 8.5% (6.7%). No fresh Underbelly on Nine makes all the difference. Seven won Sydney and Perth. Nine won Melbourne (close), Brisbane and Adelaide. Nine leads the week, 27.1% to 25.3% for Seven and 23.0% for Ten. In regional areas WIN/NBN won with 25.9% from Prime/7Qld with 23.4%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 21.1%, the ABC with 19./1% and SBS with 10.5%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: A quiet night in the ratings battle that continues, despite Easter. Viewers shopped around, unhappy with some of the offerings. Nine is trying hard to stay relevant, by second repeats of Underbelly are starting to look desperate. It was why the audiences for Four Corners and Media Watch jumped by 300,000 to 400,000 last night. Apart from that it wasn’t the sort of night that you could call memorable. Forgettable would be accurate.

Because Ten had more original programming it did best of all, winning 16 to 39s and 18 to 49s and had more viewers from 16 to 54 than Nine or Seven. Ten is locked into showing fresh material in The Biggest Loser and So You Think You Can Dance Australia because of their nature (voting/results/eliminations). Not to do that would risk sending viewers away permanently, just as the audiences are starting to build very nicely. A case of Network necessity coming to the aid of viewers in a non-ratings period. Nine just used Underbelly to fill holes in a schedule and keep some viewer interest in the program for the two weeks of non-ratings.

TONIGHT: Ten with fresh epiodes of The Biggest Loser and Bondi Rescue. NCIS is a repeat and then another repeat from 8.30pm to 10.30pm. Seven has repeats of Animal Rescue and Find My Family and a teary weepie at 8.30pm called Hope Springs, which is also a repeat. Nine has another version of Funniest Home Videos called World’s Funniest Home Videos, then Commercial Breakdown, then two repeats of Two and a Half Men (and a repeat at 7pm) and then the return of Hell’s Kitchen at 9.30pm. That’s how popular Gordon Ramsay is now with TV viewers here in Australia.

SBS has Insight, which is on executive pay. Cutting Edge at 8.30pm is also a look at Darfur.

The ABC has Foreign Correspondent at 9.30pm and The 7.30 Report. The two highlights of the night. Lateline and Lateline Business if you remain awake on what is an average night of viewing.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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