A close night with Seven and Nine neck and neck – Nine just didn’t have another program to administer a decisive blow to Seven after Married at First Sight (1.7 million) again topped the night. MKR did better for Seven with 1.61 million nationally, but the final ep of this series of 800 Words (1.15 million) faded away. On that performance  will it be back next year?It at least won the timeslot and kept Seven close to Nine in the main channel, and helped Seven nudge in front overall. It also gave Seven a good push in regional markets with 475,000 viewers.

In breakfast another weak morning for Nine’s Today (264,000 in the metros and 414,000 nationally) which was again thumped again by Sunrise (307,000 in the metros and 516,000 nationally). Today is trying to put a harder news edge start from 7am, but viewers are not being attracted back. This morning Sunrise was giving away $90,000, Today was back to ‘just’ $20,000.

But the big story from last night wasn’t Ten’s reclaiming third spot in the ratings. It was another miserable night for The Biggest Loser: Transformed. It averaged 430,000 nationally – 289,000 in the metros (the lowest so far) and 141,000 in the regions. It is destroying Ten’s nights, just as Family Feud is now eroding Ten’s early evening schedule. It could only manage 395,000 national viewers, with just 289,000 in the metros, Just 55,000 people watched Family Feud in regional markets.

Ten’s main channel share last night was 9.8% – it was the 6th night in a row that its prime time main channel share hasn’t risen above 10%. The network’s ratings are collapsing, its finances are under pressure, revenue is falling, profits have vanished and its big debt to the Commonwealth Bank will have to be paid for (at least $100 million). So will Lachlan Murdoch, Bruce Gordon and James Packer step in to rescue the network by taking over the debts and converting them to shares? They have guaranteed the CBA debt and can convert the fees owned under the guarantee to shares, which would give the trio effective control of the ailing network. It could happen (but with Packer trying to sell his stake last month you would not bet on him throwing good money after Ten).

And a further sign of Ten’s problems and juggling — at 7am today the big news from Ten is that Modern Family is returning to Sunday nights. Not a mention from Ten that it is flicking The Biggest Loser from the time slot. In fact Ten’s audience will rise because TBL’s audience is smaller than what Modern Family has been getting. 

In regional markets last night, Seven News was tops with 579,000 viewers, followed Home and Away with 513,000, then by Married at First Sight with 506,000, MKR was 4th with 503,000 and Seven News/TT was 5th with 491,000. Read the rest on the Crikey website

Peter Fray

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