The Winners: Thank God You’re Here has settled at around 1.5 million viewers on Seven at 7.30pm. Last night it averaged 1.551 million and topped the most watched list. Seven News was next with 1.510 million and Spicks and Specks averaged 1.373 million at 8.30pm on the ABC. A Current Affair was 4th with the Matthew Johns interview with 1.372 million. Today Tonight was next with 1.356 million and Nine News was 6th with 1.328 million. The ABC’s Gruen Transfer averaged 1.239 million at 9pm (giving the ABC the hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm). Seven’s Criminal Minds was 8th with 1.212 million at 8.30pm and Nine’s 7pm repeat of Two and a Half Men averaged 1.197 million for 9th spot. Then came Ten’s MasterChef at 7pm with 1.191 million, Nine’s RPA was 11th with 1.115 million at 8pm and Home and Away averaged 1.115 million at 7pm. The 7pm ABC News averaged 1.066 million, Nine’s 8.30pm program, The Mentalist averaged 1.047 million in 14th, Cold Case was 15th for Nine with 1.040 million at 9.30pm and Nine’s 7.30pm program, Nine’s What’s Good For You averaged 1.032 million. The Simpsons at 8pm averaged 916,000. My Name Is Earl at 9.30pm on Seven averaged 867,000. Deal or No Deal, 8436,000, Hot Seat on Nine at 5.30pm, 619,000: both beaten by Ten News with 973,000. Food Safari on SBS at 7.30pm, 344,000 for a repeat, The Cook And The Chef, 588,000 on the ABC at 6.30pm.

The Losers: Matthew Johns on ACA. Numb3rs on Ten at 9.30pm, 599,000. House on Ten at 8.30pm, 863,000.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally but lost Sydney and Melbourne. The win in Sydney was the first since Peter Overton took over as host, but was due to the Matthew Johns story. Nine might have a gloat, but the story didn’t play in Brisbane, the other NRL stronghold. I’d think Nine would have preferred to have won without the public frying of one of its main stars. ACA beat TT with the Johns interview. ACA won Brisbane. The 7.30 Report averaged 791,000. Lateline, 301,000, Lateline Business, 141,000 (no budget, down 60,000 from Tuesday night). Ten News averaged 973,000; the late News/Sports Tonight, 294,000. Nine’s Late News, 267,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 200,000, the 9.30pm edition, 221,000. 7am Sunrise, 402,000, 7am Today, 295,000.

The Stats: Seven won All People 6pm to Midnight with 28.3% (28.9%), from Nine with 27.1% (25.0%), Ten with 20.9% (22.3%), the ABC with an unchanged 18.1% and SBS on 5.5% (5.7%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Seven won Brisbane and Perth. Nine’s performance was to no avail. Seven leads the week 29.1% to 24.8% for Nine and 24.6% for Ten. In regional areas however, a win for Nine with WIN/NBN on 28.7% with Prime/7Qld on 27.2%, the ABC was third with 18.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) was next with 18.4% and SBS was on 7.2%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: A bit of old fashioned, tough-minded journalist questioning from Tracy Grimshaw on A Current Affair last night. It enabled ACA to top Today Tonight, and deservedly so. The 22 minute interview of Matthew Johns was completely justified. That Johns appeared on ACA is understandable given that he was a Nine Network “star”. It was “controlled” in that there was no other media present, but that didn’t stop Ms Grimshaw from asking tough questions.

Tracy Grimshaw gave Johns, her Nine bosses and Network management an on air elbow on Tuesday night when she complained about the way Johns was avoiding ACA (she had learned that Johns was planning to go on the Footy Show, like brother Andrew had done about his drug habit) and last night she backed that up with a solid, independently minded interview.

And in a story on the interview in The Australian today, Amanda Meade reported:

By Thursday, Nine News sports reporter Danny Weidler had independently obtained the Johns story and got a brief statement from Johns for the 6pm news. Weidler has admitted he has known about the story for years but didn’t consider reporting it.

But Weidler didn’t have an exclusive. Seven News had the story for its 6pm bulletin too. Someone interviewed by the ABC must have been talking.

But if Weidler knew of the story, how could it be exclusive? Was it laziness and an unwillingness to report a difficult story that would have cut his access to players, club officials and player agents that kept Weidler silent?

Apart from that Nine finished second instead of third last night, but went with out any gains. Seven won All People, 18 to 49 and 25 to 54, Ten won 16 to 39.

TONIGHT: The NRL Footy Show should attract a solid audience tonight to see what happens and if there is any apology from host Paul Vautin who his seeming endorsement of Matthew John’s weak-kneed apology last week which was stage managed and pre-recorded. Nine also has Getaway and a 20 to 1 at 8.30pm which looks at that pressing issue: Hollywood’s Hottest A Listers. Was that last month, in March or last week? Who cares?

The ABC has Q&A at 9.30pm. It’s on the budget with Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner playing away and Joe Hockey defending his Sydney turf for the Opposition. The program before called The Wedding Makers should be required viewing for anyone thinking of getting hitched: you may save a lot of time, emotion and money.

SBS has Inspector Rex and Mad Men (not about NRL players).

Seven has Ghost Whisperer at 7.30pm, Grey’s Anatomy at 8.30pm and Private Practice at 9.30pm. Heroes is still hanging around at 10.3 pm, up again the News on Ten.

Ten is desperate: it backs up double episodes of Rules Of Engagement from 7.30pm to 8.30pm, which is poor. Law And Order CI at 8.30pm and Medium at 9.30pm means Ten will struggle like it did last night. The highlight is MasterChef at 7pm for half an hour when Ten really wants an hour.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

Peter Fray

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