The Winners: MasterChef Australia topped the night with 2.231 million viewers, a new high. The third State of Origin game averaged 1.842 million (down nearly 400,000 from the first game record). Seven News was next with 1.559 million and Today Tonight was 4th with 1.479 million. The State of Origin after game coverage on Nine in Sydney and Brisbane averaged 1.343 million and Nine News was 6th with 1.219 million. The Simpsons on Ten averaged 1.142 million at 8pm (thanks MasterChef). Home and Away was 8th with 1.120 million for Seven at 7pm. A Current Affair was 9th with 1.108 million and Spicks and Specks averaged 1.105 million at 8.30pm on the ABC. Ten News averaged 1.015 million and Seven’s Criminal Minds repeat averaged 1.008 million at 9.30pm and 12 spot. The Chaser at 9pm on the ABC averaged 987,000. The two hours of Ghost Whisperer from 7.30pm on Seven averaged 956,000 and the 7pm repeat of Two and a Half Men averaged 956,000. Law and Order SVU on Ten at 8.30pm averaged 841,000. The pre-Origin audience on Nine from 7.30pm to just after 8pm averaged 855,000, sharply down on games one and two and due entirely to MasterChef on Ten.

The Losers: None last night: The State of Origin de-stabilised the night. Ten’s House repeat at 9.30pm, 583,000. The Origin game played a part, but it wasn’t the reason: it was a repeat of a now out of fashion program.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne, as did Today Tonight. Ten News in Sydney averaged 293,000, Nine News at 6pm, 295,000, ACA, 275,000. That Nine News and ACA won in Melbourne shouldn’t go unnoticed. Nine’s 6pm to 7pm Sydney effort is returning to appalling. Ten’s late News/Sports Tonight averaged 457,000. The 7pm ABC News averaged 923,000 (and continues to be hurt by MasterChef), and The 7.30 Report was knocked by MasterChef and the State of Origin — and Ghost Whisperer fell to 688,000. Kerry O’Brien is on his usual break, lucky man. Lateline averaged 258,000, Lateline Business, 154,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 190,000, 238,000 for the 9.30pm edition. 7am Sunrise 343,000, 7am Today, 286,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a 6pm to midnight All People share of 30.4% (22.5% a week ago), from Ten with 24.5% (21.8%), Seven with 23.6% (26.7%), the ABC on 15.4 (15.5% a week ago) and SBS with 6.2% (13.4% with the start of the first cricket Test last week). Nine won Sydney and Brisbane with big margins, Ten won Melbourne and Adelaide. Seven won Perth narrowly from Ten. Ten leads the week 26.5% to Seven with 25.4% and Nine with 24.7%. In regional areas a big win to WIN/NBN with the Origin game dominating regional NSW and Queensland. WIN/NBN averaged 39.1%, Southern Cross (Ten), averaged 20.8%, Prime/7Qld averaged 19.5%, the ABC averaged 14.3% and SBS averaged 6.3%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: As interesting as MasterChef was last night, in cooking terms it was totally irrelevant and almost dangerous. A chocolate mousse cake was the task: Monday night it was two pies, savoury and sweet, Tuesday night it was Malaysian food, including a dessert. Where’s food that most people can aspire to, why the concentration on deserts of such complexity that are not a test of their cooking ability (it’s a prepare and assemble job)? Except for the pies on Monday night, the food has been beyond the reach of most Australians and an unfair test of the ability of the people involved.

There was Sydney chef Bill Grainger, who proclaims simplicity and ease of cooking for people at home in his cook books and at his restaurant, and what was he doing? Judging a cake of enormous complexity. There was little if any food value in this week’s meals so far. Nothing. Last night’s cake would have led off the prizes at Obesity Week.

Why not a contest where they had 30 minutes to prepare and get a meal on a table that was nutritious, of two courses, for a family of four and had to include something like chicken, lamb or fish? Relevance.

MasterChef has been successful because on many nights there has been some relevance to people and what they eat. In this finals week so far there’s been no relevance, just as Big Brother was irrelevant in the end to the lives of the target audience.

But it is instructive that MasterChef out-rated the brawling boofy blokes on Nine. That’s good news.

Neighbours at a high 977,000 at 6.30pm on Ten and beat A Current Affair in Sydney, 280,000 to 275,000 (interesting that viewers preferred one brand of fiction to another in Sydney). Neighbours also won in Perth, but then it often does because ACA is relatively weak there.

Spicks and Specks was a very funny episode last night and a good way to finish the night after the football. But there was something wrong with the audio on Spicks and Specks, everyone sounded as though they were speaking in a hall at times. The Chaser was, well, The Chaser.

After last night Nine was still third: which didn’t happen after the first two Origin games this year, but did happen in 2007 when Eddie McGuire was in charge. MasterChef will do well tonight and tomorrow night and make life tough for Nine and Seven. The cricket won’t help.

TONIGHT: Cricket from Lords on SBS: so it’s bad luck Nine and the Footy Shows. SBS also has a well known pedal contest on SBS TWO.

Ten has MasterChef at 7pm: tonight the guest judge is food writer and recipe queen, Donna Hay. Margaret Fulton deserves it more than Ms Hay. But Donna is popular, puts out books and appears in News Ltd tabloid magazines.

Seven has the female skewing audience line up (or the anti-sport line up). Cringe at 9.30pm at True Beauty, an American program which looks like its going to plumb the depths of banality in a way we haven’t seen since The Bachelor.

Ten starts Rush again at 8.30pm. It is said to be faster paced and better than the first series. But it will bear no resemblance at all to the reality of policing; has a technological edge that is as misleading as CSI is and is based in a city that brought us the original Underbelly story and all the crimes and killings that happened without much police control for years.

It is fiction and the fast paced editing will make your head turn at times. Will Animal Liberation protest at the documentary on the ABC at 8.30pm about eradicating red foxes in Tasmania?

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports