Seven will of course deny the problem exists, but it, Nine and Ten have all been through it – what to do after one of their ratings tent poles reaches its tipping point. Ten couldn’t save Australian Idol when it started its slide, but it did with Masterchef Australia. Nine has halted the slide in The Block, but it faces a big test with The Voice in a few months after it went off the boil last year. Nine quickly killed off Australia’s Got Talent (which Seven discarded when its ratings collapsed) and Big Brother (a Ten discard for the same reason).

Seven faces the same question around House Rules and The X Factor – will they be back this year? Dancing With The Stars was chopped (or rested) last year and there’s no talk of it being revived. But the biggest test of management right now is stabilising and reversing the rapid slide in ratings for My Kitchen Rules. The weakness appeared last year, but it was still a ratings monster. This year the ratings (except for last week) have dropped alarmingly, culminating in its defeat in metro markets last night – by only 1,000 viewers – to Nine’s Married At First Sight.

Nationally MKR won, 1.54 million to 1.50 million for Married. But gone are the two million plus audiences across the country (only two so far the season, and one of those was after adding in seven day viewing and viewing on digital devices). Married has all the momentum and buzz, especially in the key younger demos and among female viewers (which is supposed to be Seven’s ratings strength). If MKR continues to slide, or just stays at current levels, Seven faces a very tough six weeks or so. The program is made and nothing can be changed. 

Elsewhere Seven News was again solid and 800 Words was OK, thanks to regional audiences. Travel Guides started on Nine after Married at First Sight. Travel Guides managed 908,000 nationally (and 650,000 in the metros and 258,000 in the regions). 800 Words averaged 1.08 million nationally with 647,000 in the metros, and 442,000 in the regions. Once again Seven’s regional dominance has saved another program. 

In the regions, the five top programs were: Seven News with 556,000 people, MKR in 2nd with 524,000, Married With Children was third with 482,000, Home and Away was 4th with 478,000 and Seven News/Today Tonight was 5th with 467,000

In the morning Today picked up in the metros and beat Sunrise, 306,000 to 288,000, closing the gap in overall ratings on Sunrise (which had 515,000 national viewers to Today’s 459,000). And ABC’s News Breakfast continues to attract solid audiences – another 270,000 plus yesterday morning across the country. — Read the rest on the Crikey website

Peter Fray

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