No Married at First Sight on Nine last night gave Seven a clear run in metros and regionals and it won easily. Ten’s I’m a Celebrity did took advantage of Married’s absence, adding 100,000 or more viewers for both the lead up and the elimination section, compared with Tuesday night. The My Kitchen Rules figures hardly moved from earlier in the week. It did well, clearly besting Celebrity and the rest of the pack, but Seven’s very clear win was thanks to it doubling eps of Murder Uncovered from 9 to 10.30pm (when the main part of prime time ends). The two programs had more than a million viewers each nationally, far ahead of the competition, and made sure Seven moved ahead of Nine in the weekly ratings battle. 

In fact it is now clear that Nine does not have enough programming to battle Seven on a Wednesday night and its MKR ratings giant. That is a serious weak spot and means a tough year for the network if it can’t fill the hole on a regular basis (which it will attempt to do when The Block returns). The Voice, which is next up for Nine, is not a four nights a week program for most of its run, so the Wednesday night remains a hole.

Tonight Seven runs dead as Nine starts week two of its 2017 NRL coverage. The AFL season start is still two weeks away on March 23.

The ABC had another weak night with the 7pm News and 7.30 standing out as black holes. The News averaged 1.004 million national viewers, while 7.30 averaged 698,000 and a metro figure of 470,000. That was a bit better (in the metros) than Tuesday’s 455,000, but the national figure was down from 717,000 the night before.

ABC MD, Michelle Guthrie’s big selling point for her first restructuring was a $50 million content fund, with $20 million of that available for 2017-18 and the rest becoming available “quickly soon after”.

Well, the ABC can’t wait that long, judging by the slide on Tuesday night’s in its main channel share in metro markets. Tuesday night saw the ABC main channel share dip to 8.7%, from 9.8% the previous Tuesday, 10.1% on February 21 and 10.2% on February 14. The 8.7% share is one of the lowest for a very long time on a week night. In regional markets it was the same story with a 8.9% share reported for Tuesday night. The problem is the weak performance of the 7pm News and 7.30, with a weak lead in for both from 6 to 7 or at 6.30pm – Guthrie at least has that right, with her reported desire to find a program for the lead in position for the news.–  Read the rest on the Crikey Website

Peter Fray

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