The Winners: The TV viewing rule of thumb applied last night. When programs after the news and current affairs programs top the most watched list, then it’s been a good night of TV for viewers — and so it was last night. Glee at 769,000 at 7.30pm for Ten was low, but it did well for the network in the demos. The weakness at 6pm to 7pm didn’t help.

  1. Underbelly Files: Tell Them Lucifer Was Here (Nine) (8.30pm) — 1.377 million
  2. My Kitchen Rules (Seven) (7.30pm) — 1.332 million
  3. Today Tonight (Seven) (6.30pm) — 1.249 million
  4. Seven News (6pm) — 1.248 million
  5. Bones (Seven) (8.30pm) — 1.208 million
  6. Two and a Half Men (Nine) (7.30pm) — 1.193 million
  7. Nine News (6pm) — 1.186 million
  8. $#*! My Dad Says (Nine) (8pm) — 1.061 million
  9. A Current Affair (Nine) (6.30pm) — 1.061 million
  10. Home and Away (Seven) (7pm) — 1.049 million
  11. ABC News (7pm) — 1.041 million

The Losers: Well no one really, lot’s of choice. Nine might be disappointed that Underbelly Files: Tell Them Lucifer Was Here didn’t do better figures, but more than 1.3 million over two hours is enough to be happy about. Otherwise, Good News Week on Ten at 9.30pm, 461,000. Undercover Boss at 8.30pm, 608,000. Pitiful.

News & CA: Phew. The big night for news and current affairs junkies. Seven 6pm News won Sydney, lost Melbourne by a big margin to Nine, won the rest. Today Tonight won everywhere. Four Corners, Media Watch and Q&A all started low because it was their first nights back. They should pick up as the weeks go on. Australian Story came back strongly with a good story. Sunrise won Sydney, lost Melbourne, won Brisbane and the rest and won easily.

It’s nearly a month now that Ten has been running its 6pm to 7pm news programs. Last night wasn’t good (the first proper full blooded night of new programming), 392,000 for 6PM With George Negus and 372,000 for the 6.30pm Evening News. That’s poor.

  1. Today Tonight (Seven) (6.30pm) — 1.249 million
  2. Seven News (6pm) — 1.248 million
  3. Nine News (6pm) — 1.186 million
  4. A Current Affair (Nine) (6.30pm) — 1.061 million
  5. ABC News (7pm) — 1.041 million
  6. Australian Story (ABC) (8pm) — 915,000
  7. The 7.30 Report (ABC) (7.30pm) — 831,000
  8. Ten News (5pm) — 818,000
  9. The 7PM Project (Ten) (7pm) — 725,000
  10. Four Corners (ABC) (8.30pm) — 681,000
  11. Media Watch (ABC) (9.15pm) — 573,000
  12. Q&A (ABC) (9.35pm) — 503,000
  13. 6PM With George Negus (Ten) (6pm) — 392,000
  14. Ten Evening News (6.30pm) — 372,000
  15. Lateline (ABC) (10.30pm) — 293,000
  16. Late News/Sports Tonight (Ten) (11pm) — 258,000
  17. SBS News (6.30pm) — 184,000
  18. SBS News (9.30pm) — 130,000
  19. Lateline Business (ABC) (11.05pm) — 120,000

In the morning:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) (7am) — 407,000
  2. Today (Nine) (7am) — 318,000

The Stats:

  • FTA: Seven (3 channels) won with a share of 32.1%, from Nine (3 channels) on 31.2%, Ten (3) was on 16.8%, the ABC, (4), 15.3%) and SBS (2), 4.7%. Seven leads the week with 31.4% from Nine on 30.5% and Ten on 19.1%.
  • Main Channel: Nine won with a share of 26.5%, from Seven on 24.5%, ten back on 12.9%, just in front of ABC 1 with 12.8% (which underlines the weakness of Ten’s line up last night) and SBS ONE was on 4.0%. Seven and Nine are equal on 24.3% each, Ten is on 15.5%.

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

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Four Corners on Julia Gillard. Plodding ABC current affairs TV. If Kerry O’Brien is hosting the program, why not use his strength, interviewing. Ms Jackson barely got near Ms Gillard. Media Watch returned and spared few in assessing the flood and cyclone coverage, including the ABC. Q&A was more of the same. Australian Story started with a very solid and sorrowful story. Meanwhile, Tracy Grimshaw returned to front ACA. The show lifted, but not enough.

Ten’s effort last night was weak and no amount of commentary about how well some programs did in the demos can change that. Ten was especially weak in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide where it was beaten by the ABC.

Nine’s Underbelly Files: Tell Them Lucifer Was Here did well because it rated well in Melbourne with 519,000 viewers. In Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth viewers couldn’t care and Seven got up, thus continuing the weakness we saw last year in the appeal of this series outside of Melbourne and Sydney.

TONIGHT: Packed to the Rafters returns for Seven at 8.30pm. Nine has a fresh Top Gear at 8pm. Nine also debuts Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth at 9.30pm. Ten has a fresh Talking’ ‘Bout Your Generation, then a fresh NCIS. The ABC has Michelin Stars: The Madness of Perfection. Why Doesn’t Maths Add Up? on SBS at 7.30pm.

Ratings Update: Yesterday’s Super Bowl will give Rupert Murdoch something to boast about, according to Nielsen, the ratings group, a record 11,000 million people watched the Packers beat the Steelers in Arlington, Texas. That’s 5%, or nearly 5 million more than the 106.5 who watched last year and the 98.7 million who watched in 2009 and the 97.5 million who watched last year. That is the biggest ever US TV audience.

Up to last year the biggest was the 106 million who watched the final episode of M.A.S.H. in 1983 on CBS when there was not only less competition, but a lot fewer people in America. Nielsen’s early figures show the game had a 71 share, meaning 71% of all televisions on at the time were watching the game.

But there was bad news for Fox. The network returned Glee to the season straight after and although it was watched by 31 million people (not bad at all, a record for the program), that was 31% fewer viewers than those who watched Undercover Boss USA which followed the 2010 game on CBS. Glee was clearly the wrong program for the demos that dominate the Super Bowl audience. Men, especially older male viewers. The Super Bowl on ONE in Australia averaged 98,000 live yesterday from 10am to around 2pm.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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Peter Fray
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