One of the more even nights this year as Seven won a competitive night in metro markets from Nine and the ABC, with Ten close up in 4th and not disgraced. In regional markets Seven won from Nine (through Prime/7Qld beating WIN/NBN), but the ABC was third by a bigger margin than Ten and its affiliate, Southern Cross.

Australian TV viewers can separate the chaff from the stubble and that’s what they did with last night’s third election forum on various digital channels and Sky News with a total of 934,000 people watching across the country. That included just 85,000 on Sky News, down from 88,000 for the first forum from Brisbane a week ago. The second forum had 774,000 viewers (including Sky News). ONE and Gem added 286,000 viewers this time, 5000 more people watched on News24 than last time; 90,000 less on 7TWO and 9000 less on SBS2. Strip out ONE and Gem and you get 708,000 viewers, down nearly 10% from the previous week.

Viewers instead voted in favour of the established party in ABC1’s Gruen Nation (1.551 million/1.045 million/ 506,000 regional viewers, about steady on last weekand then the still edgy The Hamster Decides (1.181 million national/815,000 metro/ 366,000 regional viewers, up on last week), over the new kids on the block, Wonderland on Ten ( 1.066 million/national/769,000 metro/ 297,000 regional viewers, down from last week’s debut). The power of incumbency helps at times. Gruen Nation and The Hamster Decides reminded us all last night that the election is still there and won’t go away for another nine days. Thankfully both programs out-rated the third forum thingie on those minor channels, and both are back next week.

Seven’s Slideshow has steadied at just under a million metro viewers, which won the 7.30pm slot. It averaged 1.519 million national/935,000 metro/ 584,000 regional viewers.

And MasterChef (1.264 million national/ 910,000 metro/ 354,000 regional reviewers) saw a touch more life as the trio of finalists for Sunday night were settled. But the finals week never cracked the million viewer level in metro markets, which tells us how far the souffle has sunk. And, looking at the efforts by Shine and the Murdochs (Lachlan, Ten chairman, especially) to lift it this year, you’d have to wonder how they can improve it in 2014 without a significant make-over. And, by the way, Lachie rules off his second financial year as Ten’s boss chairman and major shareholder this Saturday night at midnight — rather it will be his second loss-making year.

And from 8.30pm on ABC2 and Crossfire Hurricane which transported me back to my yoof (to channel Keef). A great rock and roll documentary on the Stones, in all their own words and amazing vision, and context from 1960s London and the US (Brian Henderson, the former Bandstand host on Nine, made a strange appearance with an editorial about the Stones), and of course the music. But the highlight was Keef describing the day in February 1967, he and Mick Jagger took various ‘things’ and went for a walk  — “we were smoking a couple of drinks”, he said.  Thems were the days. And believe it or not there’s a rock and roll drama series moving towards pilot status at HBO, with Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire) and Mick Jagger backing the idea. The trio created the idea back in 2010 and have just hired people to run the series should it be greenlit.

TV update: Anita Jacoby, one of Australia’s most experienced and respected television executives, has been appointed managing director of ITV Studios Australia. In a career spanning 30 years, she has created content for every major TV network in Australia. She last worked with Andrew Denton at Zapruder’s Other Films.

Network channel share:

  1. Seven (28.5%)
  2. Nine (24.5%)
  3. ABC (22.4%)
  4. Ten (20.5%)
  5. SBS (4.2%)

Network main channels:

  1. Seven (20.7%)
  2. Nine (17.2%)
  3. ABC 1 (15.4%)
  4. Ten (14.8%)
  5. SBS ONE (3.3%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7mate (4.8%)
  2. GO (4.1%)
  3. 7TWO (3.7%)
  4. Eleven (3.6%)
  5. ABC 2 (3.4%0

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.808 million
  2. Nine News — 1.692 million
  3. Gruen Nation (ABC 1) — 1.551 million
  4. Slideshow (Seven) — 1.519 million
  5. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.479 million
  6. Masterchef Australia (Ten) — 1.264 million
  7. Today Tonight (Seven) — 1.229 million
  8. ABC News — 1.223 million
  9. The Hamster Decides (ABC 1) — 1.181 million
  10. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.140 million

Top metro programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.195 million
  2. Nine News — 1.154 million
  3. Gruen Nation (ABC 1) — 1.045 million

Losers: Ahem, The Mole on Seven — 318,000 national/204,000 metro/ 114,000 regional viewers. Can someone put the poor thing out of its misery? Seven News in Melbourne — for the second night in a row, a 200,000 plus flogging at the hands of Nine News — 447,000 to 241,000. Nine returned to the winning list in Sydney at 6pm, but lost Brisbane to Seven. The black hole in Melbourne seems to have re-opened for Seven at 6PM and at 6.30pm where Today Tonight was also flogged by 200,000 viewers by A Current Affair — 372,000 to just 172,000. Ugly.Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.195 million
  2. Nine News — 1.154 million
  3. Today Tonight (Seven) — 958,000
  4. A Current Affair (Nine) — 952,000
  5. ABC News — 806,000
  6. 7.30 (ABC 1)  – 652,000
  7. Ten News At Five — 558,000
  8. The Project (Ten) — 558,000
  9. Lateline (ABC 1) — 207,000
  10. 7 News at Seven (7TWO) — 166,000

Morning TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) – 402,000
  2. Today (Nine) – 321,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC1, 61,000 + 37,000 on News 24) — 98,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox 8, TV1 (2.8%)
  2. LifeStyle  (2.7%)
  3. SKY News (2.5%)
  4. Disney Jr (2.2%)
  5. Fox Classics, Fox Sports 3  (1.7%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. NCIS (TV1) — 107,000
  2. Location Location Location Aust. (LifeStyle) – 105,000
  3. AFL: 360 (Fox Footy) – 93,000
  4. 2013 election: People’s Forum (Sky News 6.30 pm) — 85,000
  5. 2013 election: People’s Forum (Sky News 7.30 pm) — 80,000

*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.) and network reports.

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Peter Fray
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