The Ten Network will no doubt have a good crow about how well the Melbourne Grand Prix race went yesterday evening (1.513 million nationally/1.226 million metro/287,000 regional), but the real story isn’t that one-off event. It was elsewhere in last night’s schedule where the news was again less than convincing for Ten as MasterChef: The Professionals finished its first season with the impact of a collapsed soufflé  — 1.371 million national/ 1.022 million/ 349,000 regional for the winner announcement around 9.30pm, and just 1.295 million national/ 980,000 metro/ 315,000 regional for the final. In fact, MasterChef: The Professionals failed to top its first episode figures on January 20, when it had 1.525 million national/ 1.165 million metro/ 320,000 regional viewers. A “reality” program that can’t top its opening figures in its final is a dud. Will we see it again?

But the real story was weak start for the heavily promoted The Biggest Loser: The Next Generation. It started its 2013 season with all the enthusiasm and earnestness of an old lettuce leaf (1.086 million national/ 815,000 metro/ 271,000 regional) at 6.45pm after the Formula One race had finished. Those figures were weaker than the start in January for MasterChef: The Professionals and are barely enough for a program well into its season, let alone one starting a new year after a lot of promotion. Usually with modern “reality” programs, the audience is high at the start of a series, dips, and then rises as interest builds. The big question for Ten is, will occur with The Biggest Loser in 2013? If The Biggest Loser doesn’t improve this week, it could be very well be a flop before it has really started, like so many of Ten’s expensive programming ideas in the past nine months. It finished in the top 10 in the major demos, but a long way behind the likes of The Block and 60 Minutes.

Elsewhere, The Block (2.25 million national/ 1.572 million metro/ 679,000 regional) was the most we watched program on the night. Seven and Nine fought themselves to what amounted to a near draw, but Nine has better demographics. AB1’s debut of David Attenborough’s Galapagos did well — 1.442 million national /947,000 metro/ 495,000 regional.

The Ten Network also pre-empted The Bolt Report, the weak Meet The Press and the news with its Grand Prix coverage yesterday.

Last Week: Seven won the fourth week of official ratings, thanks to My Kitchen Rules. Seven (and Prime/7Qld in the regions) won metro and regional markets by a comfortable margin with Nine (and WIN/NBN in the regions) second and ABC/ABC1 third, with Ten (SC Ten) fourth. The Block All Stars was solid for Nine. Packed To the Rafters had a good Tuesday night, especially in regional markets. On Friday night, Dr Blake’s Mysteries on ABC1 was the most popular program in metro and regional markets after the Seven and Nine 6pm news broadcasts. Dr Blake is the best newcomer of 2013.

Network share:

  1. Nine (28.3%)
  2. Seven (28.2%)
  3. Ten (23.4%)
  4. ABC1 (16.2%)
  5. SBS ONE (3.9%)

Main channels:

  1. Seven (22.4%)
  2. Nine (21.0%)
  3. Ten (17.8%)

Digital channels:

  1. GO (4.4%)
  2. ONE (3.4%)
  3. 7mate, 7TWO (2.9%)
  4. Gem (2.8%)
  5. Eleven (2.2%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. The Block All Stars (Nine) – 2. 252 million
  2. 60 Minutes (Nine ) – 1.850 million
  3. Downton Abbey (Seven) — 1.798 million
  4. The Force (Seven) — 1.707 million
  5. Seven News — 1.632 million
  6. Nine News — 1.623 million
  7. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.591 million
  8. The Formula One Grand Prix (Ten) — 1.513 million
  9. Border Security (Seven) — 1.496 million
  10. David Attenborough’s Galapagos (ABC1) — 1.442 million

Metro top programs:

  1. The Block All Stars (Nine) — 1.572 million
  2. Downton Abbey (Seven) — 1.280 million
  3. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.227 million
  4. Melbourne Grand Prix (Ten) — 1.226 million
  5. The Force (Seven) — 1.185 million
  6. Seven News — 1.153 million
  7. Nine News — 1.090 million
  8. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.082 million
  9. MasterChef: The Professionals (winner) (Ten) — 1.022 million
  10. Border Security (Seven) — 1.017 million

Metro (overall and main channels): Nine won Sydney and Brisbane and Seven won Adelaide and Perth (where the time difference hit Ten hard). Ten won Melbourne, overall and the main channels thanks to the hometown support for the Grand Prix. GO won the digitals.

Regionals: In regionals, WIN/NBN beat prime/7Qld with Ten third and the ABC fourth (but in the main channels, ABC1 beat SC Ten as The Biggest Loser and MasterChef: The Professionals bombed badly with viewers).

Losers: MasterChef: The Professionals and a watching brief on The Biggest Loser, Ten in regional markets. 

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.227 million.
  2. Seven News  – 1.153 million
  3. Nine News  – 1.090 million
  4. Sunday Night  (Seven) – 1.082 million
  5. ABC News  – 876,000
  6. SBS ONE News — 198,000.

Morning TV:

  1. Weekend Sunrise (Seven) – 319,000
  2. Weekend Today (Nine) – 308,000
  3. Landline (ABC1) – 211,000
  4. Offsiders  (Nine) – 166,000
  5. Insiders (ABC1) – 153,000 + 48,000,000 on News 24
  6. Inside Business (ABC1) — 138,000.

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox Sports 1 – 4.2%
  2. Fox Sports 2  – 2.9%
  3. Fox 8 – 2.4%
  4. TV1  – 2.2%.
  5. Fox Movies Premiere – 1.6%

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. NRL: Manly v Newcastle  (Fox Sports 1) – 214,000
  2. NRL: Gold Coast v Canberra (Fox Sports 1) – 154,000
  3. Cricket: 3rd Test India v Australia  (Fox Sports 2, evening) – 90,000
  4. Cricket: 3rd Test, India v Australia (Fox Sports 2) – 824000
  5. Top Gear Africa Special part two (BBC Knowledge) – 69,000

Tonight: The usual collection of ABC TV’s news and current affairs from 7pm to well past 11pm. Four Corners is a buy in, but seems interesting. Seven has more My Kitchen Rules and then the usual dose of Revenge. Nine has The Block All Stars. Ten has the second episode of The Biggest Loser.

*Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2013. The data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of OzTAM. (All shares on the basis of combined overnight 6pm to midnight all people.) Plus network reports.