A pretty miserable night for the networks with the audience either sleeping, jaundiced or just in a snit about something because last night’s offerings all seemed to under-perform. The likes of The Secret Daughter and Have You Been Paying Attention certainly didn’t justify their treatment last night.

Seven and Nine drew the night in the metros in total people, Nine won the main channels narrowly with the ABC third and Ten again fourth. In the regions, a bigger win for Seven from Nine with the ABC third and Ten a weak fourth.

The Secret Daughter on Seven averaged 1.187 million last night nationally which was OK, but a week ago it had 1.398 million – so the 200,000 slide was pretty noticeable, but it was also hard to explain just on what was in that program last night. The answer lies with the slide in The X Factor to 982,000 national viewers from 1.231 million a week earlier. That is a nasty fall of more than 28%. A bit of a thumbs down there perhaps? But it is hurting a higher-quality program.

Ten’s Have You Been Paying Attention have been solid performers for their networks up to last night. With Australian Survivor gone, Have You Been Paying Attention dropped viewers to a national figure of 815,000 from 1.039 million a week ago. That was to be expected, but it is an entertaining program and its target audience should have kept on watching. Put that down to fickleness.

The Secret Daughter was again penalised by The X Factor drifting to levels that spell danger for its return in 2017. Seven and the production company have spent a lot of time and money trying to shake it up by giving it an appeal to younger female viewers, and they have returned that investment by spurning the program. Ungrateful lot. But the format is now quite old in the teeth (it dates back to Idol) and the drift in viewing in the past six weeks tells us the audience isn’t that much interested any more.

Nine’s Hyde and Seek  (906,000 a week earlier, 873,000 last night) continues to fade. At this rate it will stagger to the end of its season and sent to the spelling paddock for a long break. It lost more viewers last night.

The top five in regional markets were: Seven News, 572,000; The Secret Daughter, 493,000; Home and Away, 478,000; Seven News/Today Tonight, 470,000; and The Block was fifth with 459,000.

Finally, a word in favour of Q&A last night from Mildura in northwestern Victoria. Good discussion, solid contributions from everyone on the panel — even the two federal pollies, Sussan Ley and Joel Fitzgibbon. But the standouts were well-known Mildura restauranteur, Stefano de Pieri, and Emma Germano, a farmer and local National Farmers Federation representative.Very honourable assists from Dean Wickham of Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council and Katrina Myers, an avocado farmer and mental health advocate. They gave the viewer a rare view of local culture, politics and the struggles of living in regional Australia (hint, it is made tougher by Mildura being in one of the safest National Party seats in Australia, so very little gets done). — Click here to read Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings

Peter Fray

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