The Winners: MasterChef Australia had 2.360 million viewers. Seven News was next with 1.607 million, Today Tonight was third with 1.460 million and Grey’s Anatomy was fourth with 1.356 million. Rush resumed on Ten with 1.167 million. Nine News was sixth with 1.140 million and A Current Affair was seventh with 1.096 million.

Home and Away was on 999,000 and True Beauty at 9.30pm, 970,000, for Seven while Neighbours racked up 923,000 (the car wreck cliff-hanger) at 6.30pm. The 7pm repeat of Two and a Half Men on Nine on 922,000, 20 to 1 at 8.30pm on Nine, 901,000, The Footy Shows, 883,000 on Nine at 9.30pm; Getaway, 771,000 on Nine at 7.30pm, Ghost Whisper on Seven in the same slot, 835,000. Law and Order CI, 789,000 on Ten at 9.30pm. The cricket on SBS averaged 495,000 for the first session from 8pm and 201,000 for the second session. Both are down 50% or more from the first test figures.

The Losers: MasterChef monstered everything last night for an hour… and then the cricket chimed in with an assist.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market as did Today Tonight. Nine News and ACA had under 300,000 viewers: 295,000 and 299,000 respectively, again last night. Ten News averaged 974,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight averaged 371,000. The 7pm ABC News averaged 856,000, The 7.30 Report, 632,000 viewers. Lateline, 218,000, Lateline Business, 95,000. SBS News, 165,000, the late edition in the cricket, 256,000. 7am Sunrise, 351,000, 7am Today, 297,000.

The Stats: Ten won everything with MasterChef, which gave it the best Thursday night of the year. But after MasterChef finished, Rush faded and Seven won the rest of the night. Ten had an All People 6 pm to midnight share of 32.2% (20.5%), with Seven next on 25.4% (27.7%), Nine on 21.3% (23.8%), the ABC on 11.4% (14.2%) and SBS with 9.2% (13.8%). Ten leads the week, 27.6% to Seven with 25.4% and Nine on 24.2%. In regional areas Ten finally got traction with Southern Cross averaging 28.5% from WIN/NBN with 24.0, Prime/7Qld with 23.0%, and the ABC with 13.5% and SBS with 10.9%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: ACA last night was tragic, simply tragic. A rip off of the Wednesday night finale of MasterChef where Justine was ousted and people teared up. ACA used it to lead into a lame segment completing ACA‘s mini MasterChef with eight kids cooking at Fratelli Fresh in Sydney — a string of on camera and on air thanks to sponsors. It was one long plug. On last night’s evidence ACA has lost whatever credibility Tracy Grimshaw added to it with her Matthew Johns’ interview and then standing up to Gordon Ramsay.

Another record audience for MasterChef, Nine got squeezed again, surprisingly hard given that the test cricket wasn’t as popular as it was a week ago. Nine will finish the week in third as Seven will do better tonight with the AFL game of the night in southern markets. Nine will do well with the NRL in Sydney and Brisbane, but it won’t be enough.

Since MasterChef has surged, the audience for Seven’s Grey’s Anatomy at 8.30pm has picked up. Last night was one of its best, if not the best audience of the year so far. Having the cricket as opposition helps.

The NRL Footy Show was tragic last night and it showed in the audiences for Sydney (198,000 and Brisbane, 126,000). After the violent and controversial end to the third Origin game on Wednesday night, you’d have though that a skilled producer and good ideas could have got people watching last night for discussion and reaction. There was, but a damp squib. No brains, no gains. And, here’s some bad news for the NRL show. Tony Jones and Q & A are back next Thursday in the 9.30pm slot. You don’t have to agree with everything on Q & A not to appreciate the difference brains and a bit of confidence in the audience makes to a night’s viewing. Nine has never understood that.

TONIGHT: MasterChef highlights on Ten, the cricket and bike race on SBS, AFL on Seven and NRL on Nine. Trial and Retribution on the ABC.

SATURDAY: Now, if anyone thought there was too much sport last weekend (Wusses), take tonight: AFL on Ten, NRL on Foxtel, cricket on Foxtel, cricket and a certain bike race on SBS, Rugby Union (Aust. vs. NZ) on Seven, Foxtel, Golf (The British Open) on Foxtel, the women’s hockey Champion’s Trophy on Foxtel. The world swimming and diving finals are on Ten’s ONE HD at 7.30 am. There’s major league baseball from the US in the early hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings. New Tricks ends on the ABC at 7.30pm. movies and assorted other programs elsewhere. Not enough hours and TV equipment I think. Get me another laptop and satellite dish, please!

SUNDAY: NRL and AFL in the afternoon and replays on Foxtel. More swimming on OneHD. MotoGP on Ten. The finale of MasterChef on Ten from 7pm to after 9pm will dominate the night: 2.5 million viewers anyone? More? Ten then faces the grim reality of life without MasterChef and starts Glee, a 2009 buy in from the US. Nine has 60 Minutes and a movie, Mission Impossible 111, starring James Packer’s friend in Scientology, Tom Cruise. Seven has Dancing With the Stars, Bones and a final Castle. The ABC has a premiering program called The Last Enemy, which looks like a loony governments all to blame for everything thriller. It’s a pity these conspiring Government departments can’t suppress programs like this. SBS of course has the cricket and a bike race.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports.