Seven’s House Rules can be put on the endangered list after last night’s second outing of this series which saw the program again saved from being a big flop by solid support from regional viewers where it was the second most watched program on the night, compared to the metros where the program could only manage tenth spot). In fact thanks to Seven running two episodes of House Rules last night (a late decision) the program managed to push Seven to a win in the regionals over Nine and its Thursday night NRL game, which usually rates solidly in the biggest regional markets in NSW and Queensland.

The NRL game helped Nine (especially in Sydney) to a win in the metros (but not Brisbane where Seven won narrowly), aided by the AFL Footy Show which delivered a big win for Nine in Melbourne.

House Rules had 1.121 million national viewers (686,000 in the metros) for the first episode and 881,000 for the second (542,000 in the metros). In the regions though it had 436,000 viewers for the first episode and 339,000 for the second. House Rules ran from 7.30 pm to 9.45pm and those solid figures in the regionals pushed the network to a win, while in the metros, they exposed the program as being a loser so far as viewers are concerned.

In the metros the first episode of House Rules was beaten by the ABC’s 7.30, and then The Checkout at 8pm. Nationally, the first episode of House Rules finished in front of 7.30 (1.005 million) and The Checkout (1.112 million) because of that stronger support from viewers in regional markets. With only the NRL and AFL Footy Shows on Nine to oppose it, House Rules should have really done better if it is the killer reality program Seven has been claiming. But like 2015, it’s flaws have been exposed by an audience tired of home renovation formats. Seven made a late decision to run House Rules last night, and then doubled up the episodes (a sign of early nervousness) after the return on Wednesday. it will be a nervous crew at seven this weekend as they await the ratings on Monday morning to see if there the list in House Rules grows under pressure from Masterchef and The Voice on Sunday night.

And by the way, anyone who watched Gogglebox on Ten last night (752,000 nationally), or on Foxtel the night before (187,000), would have seen bad news for Nine and the 60 Minutes adventure in Beirut. The condemnation from the Gogglebox viewers was scathing, almost unanimous, with no defence of Nine’s actions, or those of the 60 Minutes team, or reporter, Tara Brown. That is heartening from the point of view of those who believe in the wisdom of viewers – bad for those at Nine and 60 Minutes who still can’t see any wrong in the attempted kidnapping in Beirut. Nine should start wondering if the 60 Minutes Beirut story has the capacity to damage its News and Current Affairs reputation, as some poor stories on Today Tonight did for Seven years ago.

Today moved back in front of Sunrise in metro breakfast, with 337,000 viewers to 295,000. Sunrise won narrowly nationally. And on Fox, sorry Sky News, The Bolt Report did well, doubling its first night audience of 13,000 to 27,000 by last night for the weak Tony Abbott interview. Still the 27,000 was a fraction of what he was attracting on Ten at 10 am or on repeat in the afternoon over an hour.

Network channel share:

  1. Seven (32.2%)
  2. Nine (25.0%)
  3. Ten (19.0%)
  4. ABC (18.6%)
  5. SBS (5.2%)

Network main channels:

  1. Seven (24.1%)
  2. Nine (18.3%)
  3. ABC (13.6%)
  4.  Ten (13.1%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.4%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. 7TWO (4.9%)
  2. GO (4.1%)
  3. ABC 2 (3.4%)
  4. Eleven (2.9%)
  5. 7mate (2.8%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Nine News — 1.329 million
  2. Seven News — 1.309 million
  3. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.287 million
  4. ABC News — 1.160 million
  5. House Rules (Seven) — 1.121 million
  6. The Checkout (Seven) — 1.112 million
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 1.048 million
  8. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 1.021 million
  9. Seven News/ Today Tonight — 1.006 million
  10. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.005 million

Top metro programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.054 million

Losers: House Rules, for a second night, should really have done better, especially in the metros. Viewers were more loyal in the regions and gave House Rules strong support, enabling Seven to score an easy win over Nine despite the solid Sydney-based NRL game between Wests and Souths which should have done a lot better in the NRL heartland of regional NSW and Queensland. The NRL game though, being between two Sydney teams, didn’t rate well in Brisbane (or regional Queensland). WIN, Nine’s regional affiliate,would not have been happy. It had earlier lost a nasty court case against Nine in the NSW Supreme Court where WIN effectively sued itself (it is Nine’s biggest shareholder with 14.9%)

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.054 million
  2. Nine News 971,000
  3. Seven News/ Today Tonight — 968,000
  4. Nine News (6.30pm) — 933,000
  5. A Current Affair (Nine) – 839,000
  6. ABC News – 796,000
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 733,000
  8. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 507,000
  9. Ten Eyewitness News — 486,000
  10. The Project 6.30pm (Ten) — 433,000

Morning TV:

  1. Today (Nine) – 337,000
  2. Sunrise (Seven) – 295,000
  3. The Morning Show (Seven) — 174,000
  4. News Breakfast (ABC, 90,000 + 57,000 on News 24) — 147,000
  5. Today Extra (Nine) — 138,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) — 71,000

Top five pay TV channels:

  1. Fox Sports 1 (3.3%)
  2. LifeStyle  (2.4%)
  3. Fox 8  (2.3%)
  4. TVHITS  (2.2%)
  5. UKTV (1.7%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. NRL: Souths v Wests (Fox Sports 1) — 232,000
  2. NRL Thursday Night (Fox Sports 1) — 162,000
  3. NRL Thursday Night (Fox Sports 1) — 106,000
  4. The Simpsons (Fox8) — 95,000
  5. AFL: 360 (Fox Footy). The Simpsons (Fox8)  – 85,000

*Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2015. 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
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey