Oh, The X Factor had a final last night. Did anyone notice? Anyone? In the metros? Nope: just 751,000. Regionally? Sort of, a reasonable 472,000. Nationally? 1.223 million. Now that is better than Sunday Night’s 1.065 million, but way,way down on the figures for last year. Seven knows the 2016 series is a flop because it did not break down the ratings in the Grand Final and then the winner’s announcement as it did last year.

So combining the figures for both in 2015, the final averaged 1.775 million nationally, 1.1125 million in the metros and 650,000 in the regions. The way Seven treated the final’s ratings makes you wonder if it is coming back in 2017. At the moment the answer would be “no”. Those figures for the program last night was its death warrant. The loss in the regions was smaller than in the metros: from 650,000 to 472,000 — making a fall of around 27% against the 33% slide in the metro audience (from 1.125 million to 751,000). Seven shook up the format, changed the judges and tried to make it more appealing to younger viewers. That sorted of worked, but there were nowhere near enough of them to get an improvement on 2015. So viewers deserted the program over its time on air and especially last night.

The X Factor did enough for Seven to easily win the ratings in both metro and regional markets, but Nine says it won 25 to 54 in the metros. Nine was second and the ABC again forced Ten back to third, despite a solid final episode performance from Have You been Paying Attention which averaged 1.076 million nationally and 757,000 in the metros (6,000 more than The X Factor!)

In the regions, Seven News was tops with 592,000 viewers, then Home and Away with 552,000, Seven News/Today Tonight was third with 486,000, The X Factor was fourth with 472,000 and the 5.30pm bit of The Chase Australia was fifth with 415,000.

Australian Story (1.096 million nationally) and Four Corners (1.061 million nationally) ended 2017 with reminders why they matter to Australian TV, doing difficult stories no one else will do in the same, sympathetic way that don’t resort to bathos (as commercial programs are wont to do for ratings purposes). And Q&A reminded us that its success is all about the panellists: even if they include deadheads such as Senator Eric Abetz, and the normally reasonable Greg Sheridan, The Australian’s Foreign Editor whose defence of that Bill Leak cartoon was reduced to rubble by writers Nakkiah Lui and Benjamin Law. Q&A finished with 661,000 nationally – it deserved more. — Click here to read Glenn Dyer’s full TV Ratings. 

Peter Fray

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