Another quiet night. Seven was a narrow winner in the metros both in total people and the main channels, but in the regionals, an odd outcome: Seven clearly won total people, but Nine was a narrow winner in the main channels because of the success of Doctor Doctor in its series final for the year (482,000 regional viewers and 1.267 million nationally, and 785,000 in the metros).

Seven’s First Dates again last night and the first date between a lesbian couple didn’t go well. It made your heart bleed for the incompatibility both showed in the after date talk with an off camera producer. Even though this is a cast program (the daters are not off the street amateurs), there is a lot of assessment of their “suitability”, and you have to marvel at the bravery the daters show in fronting up after what has not been a good night out.

According to the back announce, only one of last night’s couples had gone on to more than a second date. The lesbian duo didn’t look at each other, didn’t want to talk about it. It was heart rending. And it is why in this second series, First Dates is good TV – not for the ‘reality’ or the ‘perve value’ but for the way the daters are not scared to show their emotions, their enjoyment, and occasionally (as we saw last night), pain and discomfort. Even though I am so far out of the demo for this program I am in another country, I would still watch it over the likes of Ten’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and My Kitchen Rules. In fact, First Dates has what The Bachelorette and The Bachelor can only dream of: occasional bursts of real emotions, joy and obvious hurt – real human feelings instead of the confected rubbish we get on Ten’s lurve programs.

First Dates had 1.149 million national viewers, down from Tuesday (but fewer people watching overall last night) 758,000 in the metros and 391,000 in the regions. First Dates mopped up the demos that matter. Ten’s The Wrong Girl ended last night. Its figures were not good: 607,000 nationally, 445,000 in the metros and 162,000 in the regions. This one should have done better but seems to have been afflicted by the disease that brought down a previous Ten attempt at this sort of rom com/drama – Wonderland. Weak scripts and a storyline that seems to have gone from start to finish and everything in between in the belief that this would be a one off series. Poor development of storyline and characters and it didn’t have to be like that. They should look at First Dates for some clues for season 2.

Nine News won Sydney and Melbourne, but lost Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth to be down 98,000 in the metros. But nationally the margin was a massive 379,000 viewers: 1.486 million for Seven News to 1.107 million for Nine News. That is a hiding. No wonder Nine and Southern Cross are spending millions to try and lift the regional news performance. It is a blackhole and reflects the neglect Southern Cross (Nine’s affiliate) has shown for years in regional markets. Regional viewers learned they don’t watch Southern Cross for news in any great numbers.

The five most watched regional programs were Seven news with 537,000, Doctor Doctor with 482,000, Home and Away was third with 464,000, Seven news/Today Tonight was 4th with 436,000 ad The Chase Australia 5.30pm, was 5th with 402,000.
Now this column is about TV, but here’s an item about radio, for people of a certain age. Roy and HG are back! Roy Slaven & H.G Nelson are about to become a regular part of the Triple M network with a permanent return to the network in 2017! They will host a national Saturday morning show, The Sporting Probe with Roy & HG, from 10am-12pm in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. First up will be Rod Laver Arena where they will observe the antics at the Australian Open on Saturday January 28. They hosted a daily show on Triple M during the Olympic Games in Rio earlier this year. For 22 years they hosted This Sporting Life on Triple J. They have also done Olympics related programs for Seven, including the 2000 games in Sydney. Welcome back lads. Imagine what they could be doing with the Australian cricket team! — Click here for Glenn Dyer’s full TV Ratings. 

Peter Fray

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