Kitchen Cabinet last night (1.332 million/ 892,000 metro/ 440,000 regional viewers) completed the leaders part of this solid series. The Kevin Rudd episode attracted around 50,000 or so fewer viewers than the Tony Abbott episode on Wednesday night (1.382 million national/ 921,000 metro/ 461,000 regional viewers) which is neither here nor there and accounted for by the lower viewing levels on Thursday nights.

What these two programs did establish is that Annabel Crabb has morphed from a smart, but at times ditzy interviewer, into a clever, sharp-eyed inquisitor, cloaked in the apparent geniality of someone who cooks a mean cake or dessert. She’s realised there’s no need for the ‘gotcha’ style of TV journalism practiced by others at the ABC or in commercial TV news and current affairs journalism, and imitated in the print media by people who don’t know the first thing about how to interview complex and driven people like Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd. Her questions on faith and God to Abbott and Rudd (both very public Christians) got through their guards and we saw sides of both men that we have only glimpsed in the past. These two programs were the best TV during the campaign (in my opinion). As an aside, both men should sharpen their kitchen skills. Both have great families and Jess Rudd has a sense of humour to be treasured. Ms Crabb also has a great sense of humour (‘Kelova’) and is a treasure of her own. How does she top this success?

And, speaking of success, Upper Middle Bogan (1.274 million national/ 881,000 metro/ 393,000 regional) and It’s A Date (1.032 million metro/722,000 metro/ 310,000 regional viewers) were again the night’s highlights last night, After Kitchen Cabinet at 8pm. Thankfully, the election coverage is now over. But only a day or so to go, and then we get weeks of Senate count, recriminations, jostling for cabinet and shadow cabinet stories.  But before we get there, there’s a special 7.30 tonight –why, when sensible viewers will be watching the AFL or NRL, or drinking or eating? — and a special 7.30 edition on Sunday night (which makes more sense). 7.30 and Leigh Sales deserve all the accolades they have gotten for their coverage of this tiresome election.

A combination of The Footy Show from 8.30pm in AFL states (1.121 million national/786,000 metro/ 335,000 regional viewers) and the NRL  in NSW and QLD (963,000 national/540,000 metro/423,000 regional viewers) helped Nine win the night. The NRL game was on Thursday night because it’s the final round of the competition proper. The NRL Footy Show followed the game at 9.30pm. That saw Nine win both metro and regional markets as viewers came to their senses and sat back in the couch and veged out to sport and talking head rabbiting on about St Kilda players and fire starters (Now a Brisbane Lions player is alleged to have assaulted a man in a wheelchair!). Do some AFL players take idiot pills? Should there be special drug tests for this behavourial drug?

So it’s wall-to-wall sport from now on, including the last home and away round of the triennial wrestling tournament known as the Federal Election. The AFL finals start tonight (Go the Swannies). The NRL minor premiership is decided tonight between the Bunnies and the Roosters. The US Open tennis continues right through to Monday morning. Australia plays South Africa and NZ plays Argentina in international Rugby Union. English Premier League soccer as well. There’s the Tour of Spain for bikes, Golf from the US, a F1 Grand Prix and the first one-day cricket international between Australia and England tonight, our time.

 Network channel share:

  1. Nine (30.4%)
  2. Seven (27.0%)
  3. ABC (19.5%)
  4. Ten (17.6%)
  5. SBS (5.5%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (23.0%)
  2. Seven (19.5%)
  3. ABC 1 (13.8%)
  4. Ten (12.5%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.8%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. GO (5.4%)
  2. 7TWO (3.9%)
  3. 7mate (3.6%)
  4. Eleven (3.2%)
  5. ABC2 (2.9%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.775 million
  2. Nine News — 1.737 million
  3. Dynamo (Seven) — 1.484 million
  4. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.445 million
  5. ABC  News — 1.405 million
  6. Kitchen Cabinet (ABC1) — 1.332 million
  7. Upper Middle Bogan (ABC1) — 1.274 million
  8. Today Tonight (Seven) — 1.266 million
  9. 7.30 (ABC1) — 1.179 million
  10. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.139 million

Top metro programs:

  1. Nine News — 1.214 million
  2. Seven News — 1.192 million

Losers: Please Marry My Boy (755,000 national/ 467,000 metro/ 288,000 regional viewers) and Formal Wars (527,000 national/ 348,000 metro/ 179,000 regional viewers) on Seven. Two more programs that the great god of TV programming put into the schedule at Seven (The Mole as well, Wanted at Ten), to remind us of what good TV really looks like. We will not get the latter from Ten’s latest attempt to lift its tatty profile on Sunday night when The Bachelor starts at 7.30pm and bores us blind for the next 90 minutes. It’s Perfect Match, Blind Date and all those other terrible programs rolled up into a piece of TV pap.Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Nine News — 1.214 million
  2. Seven News — 1.192 million
  3. Today Tonight (Seven) — 994,000
  4. A Current Affair (Nine) — 951,000
  5. ABC News — 936,000
  6. 7.30 (ABC1) –792,000
  7. Ten News At Five — 610,000
  8. The Project (Ten) — 552,000
  9. SBS World News Australia — 189,000
  10. Ten Late News — 174,000

Morning TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) – 357,000
  2. Today (Nine) – 323,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC1,  75,000 + 37,000 on News24) — 112,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. LifeStyle, TV1  (2.6%)
  2. Fox 8  (2.3%)
  3. Sky News (2.0%)
  4. Fox Classics (1.9%)
  5. Fox Footy (1.6%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. AFL: 360 (Fox Footy) – 121,000
  2. Selling Houses Australia (LifeStyle) – 65,000
  3. Paul Murray Live (Sky News) – 64,000
  4. The Simpsons (Fox 8) — 60,000
  5. The White Queen (SoHo) – 54,000

*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.

Get more Crikey, for less

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

Join us this week for 50% off a year of Crikey.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
50% off