The Winners: MasterChef topped the night with 1.831 million viewers, with Seven News next with 1.777 million viewer and Nine News 3rd with 1.761 million. Underbelly was 4th with 1.672 million. Nine’s Customs at 6.30pm averaged 1.454 million and Sunday Night at 6.30pm averaged 1.360 million and beat 60 Minutes at 7.30pm, which was next for Nine with 1.327 million. Send In The Dogs on Nine at 7pm averaged 1.316 million and Seven’s 8.30pm program Bones averaged 1.267 million people. The Force at 8pm averaged 1.220 million and Merlin on Ten at 6.30pm averaged 1.181 million. Seven’s repeat of Border Security averaged 1.071 million at 7.30pm for 12th overall.

The Losers: Not many last night except Seven which got squeezed by Ten and Nine. In fact the most notable loss was the way the returning CSI at 9.30pm died on Nine: it averaged just 767,000. That’s almost DOA, no investigation needed. It dropped over 900,000 viewers from Underbelly. Nine ran it after Underbelly to try and give it a good lead in. Viewers declined the opportunity.

News & CA: Seven News had slightly more viewers last night nationally, but Nine had wins in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. The 7pm ABC news averaged 908,000. Ten News averaged 696,000. SBS News at 6.30pm averaged 188,000. In the morning Weekend Sunrise, 401,000, Weekend Today on Nine, 278,000, Landline on the ABC at Noon, 266,000, Offsiders on the ABC at 10.30am, 219,000 (finally sport beats politics on the ABC), Insiders at 9am, 210,000. Insider Business at 10am, 192,000. Meet the Press on Ten at 8am, 26,000.

The Stats:

FTA: Nine won with a share of 29.8%, from Seven with 26.4%, Ten on 24.6%, the ABC, 12.6% and SBS, 6.6%. Nine won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Seven won Perth.

Main Channel: Nine won here with a share of 25.7%, from Seven with 23.9%, Ten on 20.9%, ABC 1, 11.6% and SBS ONE, 6.4%. Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Seven won Brisbane and Perth.

Digital: A strong night, thanks to GO and the F1 broadcast on Ten. GO lead with 4.1%, from ONE on 3.7%, 7TWO with 2.5%, ABC 2 on 0.7%, ABC 3, 0.3% and SBS TWO, 0.2%. That’s a total share for the six FTA digitals channels of 11.6%. 7TWO will have its usual strong night tonight.

Pay TV: Nine won with 25.4%, from Seven with 22.5%, Ten on 21.0%, Pay TV on 12.2%, the ABC with 10.8% and SBS with 5.6%. The 11 FTA channels had a share of 87.8%, Pay TV’s 100 plus channels shared in the 12.2% reported.

Regional: A win also for WIN/NBN and Nine with a share of 31.2%, from Prime/7Qld with 29.2%, SC Ten was on 21.1%, the ABC, 13.2% and SBS, 5.3%. WIN/NBN won the main channels with 27.1%, from Prime/7Qld on 26.3%. GO won the digitals with 4.1%, from 7TWO with 2.9% and ONE on 2.0%.

(All shares on the basis of combined overnight 6pm to midnight All People)

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine won last week in all markets thanks to the State of Origin. GO won the digital channels, which again stood out on Saturday night. The six channels had a total national share of 17.4%, made up of 15.1% in Sydney, 18.5% in Melbourne, 18.9% in Brisbane, 22.9% in Adelaide and 17.4% in Perth. Ten’s simulcasting of the Saturday night AFL helped in some markets by boosting the share of ONE, its HD sports channel.

Nine won last night but for the second week in a row it failed to add viewers with MasterChef finishing at 8.30pm. MasterChef‘s 1.83 million viewers was the best in 2010 so far. Underbelly‘s audience was solid, but has now dropped noticeably from the first two seasons. It should really be doing better now that MasterChef is back to hour long episodes.

Not that you can say that more than 1.6 million viewers is bad. It’s just that it is now a “normal” solid hit rather than the monster it was in series one and two. It is actually lacking a real star this time round, mainly due to the fact that the main character is a clean skin and can’t be portrayed any other way.

In series One and Two there were plenty of baddies. In this series the police, especially in kings Cross, are the baddies, but that’s not new news to viewers.

And its official, Australians are off the forensic type crime programs after CSI bombed badly returning for Nine at 9.30pm. It shed over 900,000 viewers from Underbelly and somehow just didn’t stand the comparison.

And the digital channels last night again did well. GO won and stole viewers from Underbelly, which still won the major demos, 16 to 39 and 18 to 49 and 25 to 54s. Underbelly won all the male viewers, MasterChef, the females. There must have been a lot of viewing in homes with two or more TV sets last night. Ten’s broadcast of the Turkish GP (with Australian Mark Webber 3rd controversially), helped push the share of the six digital channels to as strong 11.6% for a Sunday night.

For the third F1 race in a row, Ten had more viewers (295,000) watching the race on its ONE HD channel, than it did on its SD main channel; (159,000). Ten broadcasts the race first on ONE, then replays it later on Ten.

Nine is yet to try and take advantage of its HD sports capabilities, instead choosing to go down the gimmicky 3D experiment for last Wednesday’s State Of Origin, which proved to be unmeasured and has sunk without a trace. Seven likewise has yet to go fully into HD sports. Ten had more than 550,000 people watching the race on its two channels and is slowly proving that the audience is there. Just imagine if Nine gambled and put the next State of Origin exclusively on GO?

TONIGHT: The second part of Australian Story. Nine has The Mentalist, Ten has MasterChef, SBS has Man Vs. Wild. Seven doesn’t have much at all. Desperate Housewives at 8.30pm, perhaps.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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