Nine’s night, in spite of Seven grabbing a tiny winning margin overall. Married at First Sight on Nine was the most watched program in the metros, third in the regions and most watched nationally, again topping My Kitchen Rules. The ABC pushed Ten back to 4th with a solid efforts from Grand Designs and the first of the new series of Vera which was the most watched non-news and non -reality program around the country.

Married averaged 1.59 million viewers across the country, a news series high; MKR ended with 1.57 million. Close, but bragging rights to Nine and more pressure on Seven management. In the regions Seven News was tops with 525,000, MKR was second with 519,000, Married was third with 429,000, followed by Vera with 417,000 and Sunday Night with 408,000. And Fox Sports and Foxtel finally broke out the ratings for Fox Sports 503, the Foxtel Pay TV channel showing the test cricket from India. Why wasn’t it done for the first test? The play yesterday rated more than 260,000 at its peak and was the most watched program on Foxtel.

Ten’s 4th place (and 4th again for all of last week for the second time this ratings period), has finally registered in Fairfax’s Media Monday morning. Of course Ten’s weak performance will not be highlighted by the gang at News Corp Australia where the company indirectly controls the broadcaster via Foxtel and Lachlan Murdoch’s shareholdings totalling more than 21%. But Ten’s slide helps explain its loss warning from last month and why there is a whacking great impairment loss coming. ASIC will be keeping a close eye on that. 

Insiders dominated the morning chats with 531,000 national viewers on the ABC and News 24 as Barrie Cassidy inveigled Pauline Hansen into doing an interview. She did not do well, but one thing you can say about her, at least she fronted Insiders, something Tony Abbott could never bring himself to do as PM (or now as he goes to his friends at The Australian or Sky News for soft chats or easy ope eds). And there was Tom Switzer in the Fairfax papers this morning claiming that Abbott is the only candidate for “the centre right void”. Until Abbott finds a backbone and fronts Insiders (and eschews  lightweight chats with his right-wing mates on Sky News) then the former PM has no cred. 

Tomorrow’s cuts at the ABC and claims of a $50 million content fund established will not help the ABC – it is the talent as senior and creative TV executives that is necessary, along with similar people in radio. They should all take a look at yesterday’s Landline to see what can be done on the smell of a very small oily rag. A story on protective cropping and the boost it brings to horticulture. Doesn’t sound much, but it will change the way fruit and vegetables are grown, keep costs under control and maintain supplies. And it allows growers to confront climate change and use land not previously suitable. It’s an Canadian idea whose time has arrived in Australia. And if hadn’t been for Landline, the urban, politics-obsessed main stream news and current affairs programs would have ignored it. — Read the rest on the Crikey website

Peter Fray

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