The Winners: Nine won with the Rugby League State of Origin which faded, as the NSW side did on the night. The game averaged 2.091 million, but that didn’t stop MasterChef Australia from finishing second with its second best audience so far with 1.852 million viewers. Seven News was 3rd with 1.630 million and Today Tonight was 4th with 1.431 million. The post game coverage on Nine included Melbourne for this game and its audience to to average 1.386 million. Nine News was 6th with 1.323 million, but A Current Affair slipped, to finish 7th with an average of 1.198 million viewers. Nine’s pre-game coverage from 7.30 pm to just after 8 pm averaged 1.185 million (and was down on the first game figure of 1.440 million). MasterChef and Thank God Australia (in non-NRL states) had a definite impact on the pre-game coverage. Spicks And Specks averaged 1.171 million at 8.30 pm on the ABC, The Chaser returned with 1.160 million at 9 pm, Home And Away averaged 1.118 million for Seven at 7 pm and Nine’s 7 pm repeat of Two And A Half Men averaged 1.072 million people. Law And Order on Ten at 8.30 pm averaged 986,000 at 8.30 pm and beat Seven’s repeat of Criminal Minds in the same slot with 932,000. Thank God had 791,000 in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

The Losers: Losers? No real losers last night (Apart from NSW Rugby League fans). The State Of Origin dominated viewing and upset normal viewing patterns. News & CA Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Today Tonight again lost Melbourne to ACA. The 7 pm ABC News averaged 972,000, The 7.30 Report, 842,000 (With a slightly rancorous interview between RK and M.Turnbull). Lateline averaged 330,000, Lateline Business 183,000. Ten News At Five averaged 928,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight with 435,000 people. 6.30 pm World News Australia averaged 187,000, 172,000 for the 9.30 pm edition. 7 am Sunrise, 429,000, 7 am Today, 298,000. Today’s NZ trip next week looks like being a junket and a half. The weather man is making way through the country. I bet Nine won’t pay for any of the travel or accommodation costs. Cash for comment?

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 32.1% (Comparisons with last week not valid). Ten was on 25.6%, Seven on 22.9%, the ABC on 15.7% and SBS on 3.7%. Nine won Sydney and Brisbane, Ten won Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, thanks to MasterChef’s 1.8 million viewers for 90 minutes, which was smart scheduling. In regional areas, WIN/NBN got a 42% share because of the dominance of regional NSW and Queensland . Prime/7Qld averaged 19.9%, Southern Cross (Ten), 18.9%, the ABC 14.3% and SBS, 4.9%. !

Glenn Dyer’s comments: There was one other loser last night besides the NSW Rugby League team and its supporters: the Nine Network. Game 3 in Brisbane on July 15 will get a good audience in Brisbane that night (for the great Queensland gloat), but it won’t be so good in NSW and Sydney.

After last night Nine could also be a loser this week: as in 2007 the State Of Origin did well, but Nine struggled to win the week because its other programming was so poor. The network faces a real chance of a repeat of that experience this week. It will do well tonight, but Seven will do better tomorrow night and on Saturday, the night tends to even up. Ten has a good lead but will fade tonight and tomorrow, and do poorly on Saturday evening. It may stay in front, but Seven could catch it. Nine will struggle though and that illustrates how far its current rating fortunes have sunk, mainly due to the program called Home Made which weakened Sunday and Tuesday nights. It finishes next Tuesday. Whatever Nine replaces it with has to do better than HomeMade. It has latest longer than Monster House, but it is just as appalling (And Hole In The Wall).

The State of Origin flagged in its popularity last night. the first game earlier this month had the biggest ever audience, this one was about 5% short of that with smaller audiences in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and regional areas. Including the metro figure of 2.091 million (2.287 million for game one) with the 1.082 million (1.119 million for game one) we got a national audience of 3.173 million, which is not to be sneezed at. But that was well under the record 3.405 million for Game 12. In Sydney 812,000 people watched (917,000 for game one), 321,000 in Melbourne (328,000) and 800,000 in Brisbane (838,000 for game 1). Game one gave Nine a 56.4% share for game one in Brisbane, 54.1% for last night, in Sydney, 37.5% for last night against 40.5% for Game 1. Nationally Nine’s share of 32.1% was well under the 35.4% for Game 1. In fact the national share was not much different to the 32% share Ten had Tuesday night. A win is a win in TV land, but Nine would have been looking for a knock out last night and all it got was a TKO, with a similar result promised for Game 3.

MasterChef split the audience and topped the most watched list for women viewers from 16 to 54.

TONIGHT: AFL and NRL Footy Shows for Nine (or rather the AFL program in Melbourne will support the network, aided by Getaway. Nine starts a new program called Trouble In Paradise at 8.30 pm tonight, all about people who get caught up in dramas on their holidays. Look at it as the stories Getaway doesn’t bring you. The tennis starts at 11 pm so we will only see one footy show in each market. SBS has Inspector Rex and Mad Men, Seven shows Thank God You’re Here tonight (it was given a holiday against the Origin game last night in Sydney and Brisbane). Ghost Whisperer was shown in NRL markets last night. It then has Grey’s Anatomy, which had its best night this year last Thursday. With Thank God as a lead in Sydney and Brisbane, that should be repeated. The ABC has The Ascent of Money at 8.30 pm. Ten has Law And Order CI at 8.30 pm and MasterChef at 7 pm.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports.