Cricket won the night for Nine, and won back hundreds of thousands of Australian TV viewers as well with a solid performance, especially capital Steve Smith with his big ton and super catch. The evening session which saw NZ batting and chasing Australia’s 324, averaged 1.651 million viewers nationally, including 1.109 million in the metros and a top rating 543,000 in the regions. The first session where Australia batted averaged 1.159 million with 789,000 in the metros and 370,000 in the regions. And if anyone wonders why this week-long ODI series of three games, to help Nine win one of its few weeks of the year, even if it is out of official ratings.

In the regions the second session of the ODI was tips with 543,000, Nine News was next with 509,000, Seven News had 508,000, Sunday Night was fourth with 407,000 and the first session of the ODI was fifth with 370,000.

And then there was The Shawshank Redemption 10th nationally with 688,000 viewers for Seven. That’s right, Seven, not Nine which was its “spiritual home”. Nine obviously thought what an network executive in 2014 called a ratings  “evergreen” had turned a bit yellow and no longer justified whatever pittance Nine was paying for the rights, so Seven slipped in there and grabbed it. Next Crocodile Dundee will depart Nine’s vault for greener pastures … Seven perhaps with its Paul Hogan biopic next year?

Insiders finished the year in style and safely at the top of the political chat shows – each week its figures show the viewing pubic wants considered, critical chat aimed at all sides of politics, not the lazy, slovenly stuff you get most nights on Sky after 7pm from the likes of Bolt, Credlin et al. David Speers stands out at Sky above the ravers ad rightwing drones, just as Barrie Cassidy stands out at the ABC among the flock of wannabees and pretenders who would kill for his role. Insiders managed 474,000 viewers nationally yesterday, a solid end to a very solid year.

ABC TV’s Offsiders had a look back at the year and revealed a couple of good news points – the first is that there will be a summer version of the program in January and early February and that the ABC is bringing back the Sports personal of the year. There was a lot of chat of the big stories and it seemed the general agreement was that the rise of women’s sport (AFL, soccer, rugby, netball) was the big story. They didn’t mention women’s NRL (Roy Masters did in his usual end of year sparring match with Caroline Wilson, which seemed to be another draw).

But talking about the highlights of what has been a weak year for Australia they missed two great results. The first was the most unexpected gold medal of the Olympics by pentathlete Chloe Esposito, a typically Australian underdog story, without all the bells and whistles of the tanking swimmers, moaning athletes and some of the other whiners of Australian sport. She also won a competition where Australia has been a long also-ran, and her win came out of the blue.

And in her own way that win was just as meritorious as the wins by the Bulldogs (AFL) and the Sharks (NRL).The other big moment was Tyler Wright continuing the great tradition of Australian women in winning the world women’s surfing title. Ms Wright won the final tournament of the year at the weekend, her fifth. Surely that was the equal of any other win by an Australian sports person this year, so why not mention it? — Click here for Glenn Dyer’s full TV Ratings. 

Peter Fray

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