It was Seven’s night, winning all people, main channels and in the major demographics in the metro national and nationally. In the regions Nine had marginally more viewers because of the cricket on Gem, but lost the main channel battle as Australia’s Got Talentstarted weakly and Underbelly: Squizzy faded.

The first debate was watched by more than 2.3 million people last night on free to air and Pay TV, so it was the most watched program on TV, although according to the way the ratings are compiled it won’t appear so. And ABC1 was where the debate scored best with more than 1.03 million national viewers.

But while the political battle rated well collectively, Seven and Nine with The X Factor and Australia’s Got Talent respectively were watched by more than 3.4 million viewers at the same time, making non-politics the overwhelming winner last night and justifying the decision not to screen the debate on the main channels. And in doing so Seven vindicated its decision last year not to renew Australia’s Got Talent for 2014.

The X Factor had 1.940 million national/ 1.356 million metro/ 584,000 regional viewers, while Australia’s Got Talent had 1.551 million national/1.0144 million metro/ 507,000 regional viewers. Seven’s night. 60 Minutes and Sunday Night went head to head at 8pm on Nine and Seven —  60 Minutes (1.692 million national/ 1.162 million metro/530,000 regional viewers beat Sunday Night with 1.682 million national/ 1.075 million metro/ 607,000 viewers.

Nine’s Underbelly: Squizzy is showing the same symptoms as Big Brother — viewer familiarity with the format and story-line — so they tune out. Last night it struggled and was beaten by Bones on Seven (both started around 9pm). Underbelly:Squizzy had 1.124 million national/ 772,000 metro/ 332,000 regional viewers. Bones had 1.222 million/ 801,000 metro/ 421,000 regional. That is not a nice look for advertisers and for one of Nine’s high profile local programs. By comparison, Bones is a cheap US import.

The third day of the fourth Test on Gem last night had weak audiences — 768,000 national/ 504,000 metro/ 264,000 regional viewers (and 272,000 for Fox Sports for about 1.030 million nationally) for Session 1 from 8 to 10pm and 433,000 national/ 310,000 metro/ 123,000 regional viewers for the second session from 10.40pm to 12.40am (and 142,000 on Fox Sports, for just over 570,000 nationally).

And, in yesterday morning’s Sydney Daily Telegraph in a preview of  Australia’s Got Talent, Nine programming supremo Michael Healy was quoted as saying that Seven’s decision not to recommit to Australia’s Got Talent last year for the 2014 was “not one of Seven’s best decisions”. Last night viewers of Australia voted and Australia’s Got Talent was thrashed by nearly 400,000 voters nationally and by 270,000 in metro markets by The X Factor on Seven. Nine paid well over $1 million an episode for the show, which is why Seven declined it. Nine bought it as a spoiler to The X Factor.  Going on last night’s performance, that a self – inflicted wound for Nine.

Nine won last week, thanks to the start of the fourth Test cricket on Gem on Friday and Saturday nights.

Network channel share:

  1. Seven (32.4%)
  2. Nine (32.1%)
  3. ABC (16.3%)
  4. Ten (15.6%)
  5. SBS (3.7%)

Network main channels:

  1. Seven (22.7%)
  2. Nine (19.4%)
  3. ABC1 (12.1%)
  4. Ten (10.2%)
  5. SBS ONE (2.6%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. Gem (9.0%)
  2. 7mate (5.5%)
  3. 7TWO (4.1%)
  4. GO (3.7%)
  5. ONE (3.0%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News — 2.006 million
  2. Nine News — 1.970 million
  3. The X Factor (Seven) — 1.940 million
  4. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.692 million
  5. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.684 million
  6. Australia’s Got Talent (Nine) — 1.551 million
  7. ABC News — 1.223 million
  8. Bones (Seven) — 1.222 million
  9. Underbelly: Squizzy (Nine) — 1.124 million
  10. Grand Designs Revisited (ABC1) — 1.091 million

Top metro programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.356 million
  2. Nine News — 1.347 million
  3. The X Factor (Seven) — 1.314 million
  4. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.162 million
  5. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.015 million
  6. Australia’s Got Talent (Nine) — 1.015 million

Losers: Ten, Ripper Street (623,000 national/ 481,000 metro/142,000 regional) at 8.30pm is not, contrary to Ten’s on-air promos, the latest in a long line of UK detective shows, such as Inspector Morse or Frost. They were highly successful, well made and well acted. Ripper Street is rubbish in comparison. As a sponsor’s (Qantas) special, MasterChef Australia ticked all the boxes last night with the start of Dubai week. It averaged just 921,000 national/699,000 metro/ 222,000 regional viewers).Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.356 million
  2. Nine News — 1.347 million
  3. 60 Minutes (Nine) — 1.162 million
  4. ABC News — 821,000
  5. Ten News — 439,000
  6. SBS ONE News — 137,000
  7. The Observer Effect (SBS ONE) — 63,000

Metro morning TV:

  1. Weekend Sunrise (Seven) – 370,000
  2. Weekend Today (Nine) – 299,000
  3. Insiders (ABC1, 183,000/ News24, 92,000) — 275,000
  4. Landline (ABC1) — 194,000
  5. Financial Review Sunday (Nine) — 157,000
  6. Inside Business (ABC 1) — 136,000
  7. The Bolt Report (Ten) — 122,000
  8. The Bolt Report repeat (Ten) — 117,000
  9. Offsiders (ABC1) — 114,0000
  10. Meet The Press repeat (Ten) — 114,000
  11. Meet The Press (Ten) — 97,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox Sports 2 (4.9%)
  2. Fox Footy   (4.3%)
  3. Fox Sports 1 (2.8%)
  4. Fox Sports 3 (2.7%).
  5. TV1 (2.4%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. Cricket: 4th Ashes Test Day 3 session 1 (Fox Sports 2) — 272,000
  2. AFL: West Coast v Essendon  (Fox Footy) – 208,000
  3. NRL: Manly v Auckland (Fox Sports 1) — 160,000
  4. Cricket: 4th Ashes Test, Day 3, session 2 (Fox Sports 1) – 142,000
  5. AFL: Adelaide v North Melbourne (Fox Footy) – 107,000
Tonight: If you want more politics tonight look no further than the ABC from the news right through to Lateline at 10.30pm, with Media Watch the only relief.
*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.) and network reports.

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Peter Fray
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