Elections, elections — how many ABC correspondents does it take to cover a US election? A whole lot more than is needed. There’s Michael Rowland from News Breakfast, and Chris Uhlmann from the ABC’s Canberra bureau, plus regular Stephanie March, Zoe Daniel and Michael Vincent in the US, Phillip Williams, the ABC’s chief foreign correspondent. Charlie Pickering, the host of The Weekly is there (privately). So a cast of light-bulb changers. Chris Ulhmann stands out as the odd person there. Why? John Barron from Planet America (he’s in the ABC studios in Sydney today) would be more informed and better able to easily explain the oddities of the US electoral and voting systems. He is a trainspotter on the issue who isn’t, well, boring.

Nine and Seven shared the honours in the metros, but Nine had better figures in the demos. In the regions, another big win by Seven.

First Dates on Seven had more oomph than The Block (which is in its predictable phase of setting up the final episode and auction on Sunday night). The Block had 1.313 million national viewers and was the most watched non-news program. First Dates was second. First Dates’ audience edged up to 1.240 million viewers nationally from 1.204 million a week ago (last night was the second episode in this series). The metro audience rose to 854,000 last night from 798,000 a week ago — a development that will please Seven.

Don’t be surprised if First Dates wins the local gong for the best reality program of 2016. It is said to be a favourite.

The top five regional programs were: Seven News, 587,000, Home and Away, 521,000, Seven News/Today Tonight, 476,000, The Block, 416,000, The Chase Australia, 5.30pm, 397,000. — Read the rest of Glenn Dyer’s TV ratings on the website

Peter Fray

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