Viewing warning: Viewer discretion is required from now until at least 8pm. Do not, repeat do not watch TV for the rest of today (I’m sorry I couldn’t issue this warning earlier) until at least 8pm or later — a royal babe reporting alert has been issued. Viewers are asked to be alert to risks of a tsunami of “news special” gush that could that could place your sanity at risk of being derailed by media overkill. You could turn out like those presenters in London, gibbering idiots, and end up reading only No Idea and Woman’s Play (watch out for the royal babe special from both mags later this week as well). Ten has already announced a half-hour royal gush special (disguised cunningly as “news”) at 6pm. Seven and Nine have extended their early morning shows, Sunrise and Today. News “specials” will appear during the day. Seven has a one-hour news at 6pm in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. There’s the normal half-hour news in Adelaide and Perth and local editions of Today Tonight. It’s full-on reporting of a birth notice!

For all the moaning and groaning of the TV networks about costs — making redundancies (Nine, Seven and Ten in the past year) and glooming about the future (David Gyngell wondering if three are too many commercial TV networks in this country in the Oz on Monday), you can only stop and gaze in absolute wonderment at the money being spent on the royal babe reporting gush from London. Seven and Nine no longer have a reporter there, so a couple were shipped in from LA two weeks or more ago. (Pity about the Ashes Test result, fellas. Sounds like a hardship post). Both got rid of London reporters as a cost saving.

So can Nine bring out a royal baby special version of The Block, will Seven get that royal special of My Kitchen Rules ready in time? Has Ten, as rumoured, got that weight loss after pregnancy special ready to go from the makers of The Biggest Loser? Anything is possible in these desperate days in Australian commercial TV. The best thing about the royal babe is that it’s an OPB (other person’s baby). They are safe, easy to handle (you can hand them back), and no responsibility is needed. Just like reporting from London on the royal babe.

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Meanwhile, last night Nine won (metro and regional markets) from Seven and the ABC, with Ten fourth as The Block and Hamish  Andy did the trick. The ABC with its news and current affair spine stiffening its schedule last night did well, and with politics gaining more and more attention, Q&A (national 1.125 million / 757,000 metro / 368,000 regional viewers) roared up the charts — just as Insiders did on Sunday.

But I did like The Secret Life of Dogs on Seven at 7.30pm with national 1.435 million / 923,000 metro/ 512,000 regional viewers. Beat royal baby reporting any day.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (32.0%)
  2. Seven (27.3%)
  3. ABC (18.9%)
  4. Ten (11.7%)
  5. SBS (5.7%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (26.8%)
  2. Seven (20.2%)
  3. ABC1 (14.5%)
  4. Ten (11.7%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.9%)

Top digital channels: 

  1. 7TWO (4.3%)
  2. 7mate, GO (2.8%)
  3. Eleven (2.8%)
  4. ABC2 (2.4%)
  5. Gem (2.4%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Hamish and Andy’s Asian Gap Year (Nine) — 2.042 million
  2. Nine News — 2.006 million
  3. Seven News — 1.997 million
  4. The Block (Nine) – 1.993 million
  5. The Big Bang Theory repeat (Nine) — 1.549 million
  6. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.486 million
  7. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.471 million
  8. The Secret Life of Dogs (Seven) — 1.435 million
  9. Today Tonight (Seven) — 1.424 million
  10. ABC1 News — 1.398 million

Top metro programs:

  1. Hamish and Andy’s Asian Gap Year (Nine) — 1.455 million
  2. Nine News — 1.409 million
  3. The Block (Nine) — 1.393 million
  4. Seven News — 1.337 million
  5. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.244 million
  6. The Big Bang Theory repeat (nine) — 1.144 million
  7. Today Tonight (Seven) — 1.134 million

Losers: Well, us viewers for the royal babe gush reporting and tolerating it from the networks (including the ABC). 

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Nine News — 1.409 million
  2. Seven News — 1.337 million
  3. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.244 million
  4. Today Tonight (Seven) — 1.134 million
  5. ABC1 News — 959,000
  6. Ten News — 769,000
  7. Q&A (ABC1, 655,000, News 24, 102,000) — 757,000
  8. 7.30 (ABC1) — 747,000
  9. Media Watch (ABC1) — 717,000
  10. Four Corners (ABC1) — 699,000

Metro morning TV:

  1. Today (Nine) – 337,000
  2. Sunrise (Seven) – 317,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC1, 60,00, News 24, 53,000) – 113,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox Sport 1  – (3.4%)
  2. Fox 8 (2.1%)
  3. TV1, LifeStyle – 2.0%
  4. Sky News  – 1.9%.
  5. Fox Footy – 1.7%

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. NRL: Souths v St George  (Fox Sports 1) – 275,000
  2. Monday Night With Matty Johns (Fox Sports 1) – 182,000
  3. AFL: 360 (Fox Footy) – 105,000
  4. AFL: On The Couch (Fox Footy)– 103,000
  5. AFL: Open Mike (Fox Footy) – 98,000

*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.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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