Now tell me which commercial TV network would devote 40 minutes or more to looking in depth at the impact of drought on a stressed part of rural Australia, as Four Corners did last night. Amid all the hectoring and hype around the ABC last week (including an unfortunate tweet from Four Corners’ EP, Sally Neighbour), Four Corners program on the Quirindi area of NSW last night again confirmed (as it has with banks, aged care operators etc) why it is head and shoulders above the commercial pretenders. 687,000 national viewers last night for one of the program’s better reports this year.

Yes, the confected competition on Nine’s The Block did well with more than 1.6 million viewers last night (a Monday night peak this season and Nine won the night), but all that spending on a bunch of Melbourne apartments could have been more usefully donated to small towns in regional Australia doing it tough and needing a bit of spruce up, such as the Quirindi CWA. 

In breakfast, Today’s metro audience dipped back under 200,000 for the second time in a fortnight with 196,000. But since it was a holiday in NSW yesterday, the fall shouldn’t be too alarming (Sunrise’s metro audience dipped to 245,000, down around 35,000-45,000 on a week ago), but it does tell us that Today’s hold on its viewers is very, very weak. 

In regional areas Seven’s 6pm News was on top last night with 557,000, then Seven News/TT with 547,000, with The Block third with 447,000, the Jimmy Barnes biopic was fourth with 413,000 and ACA was fifth with 400,000.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (31.3%)
  2. Seven (30.2%)
  3. Ten (17.1%)
  4. ABC (14.9%)
  5. SBS (6.5%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (23.2%)
  2. Seven (22.5%)
  3. Ten (11.9%)
  4. ABC (11.4%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.5%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. GO (3.8%)
  2. 7TWO (3.7%)
  3. ONE (3.5%)
  4. Gem, 7mate (2.7%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. The Block (Nine) — 1.613 million
  2. Seven News — 1.580 million
  3. Seven News/Today Tonight — 1.515 million
  4. Nine/NBN News 6.30 — 1.329 million
  5. A Current Affair (Nine) — 1.320 million
  6. Nine/NBN News — 1.310 million
  7. Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy (Seven) — 1.148 million
  8. 7pm ABC News — 1.007 million
  9. Home and Away (Seven) — 970,000
  10. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 938,000

Top metro programs:

  1. The Block (Nine) — 1.166 million
  2. Seven News — 1.023 million

Losers: No one really — a solid Monday night

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.023 million
  2. Nine News— 987,000
  3. Nine News 6.30 — 974,000
  4. Seven News/Today Tonight — 968,000
  5. A Current Affair (Nine) – 920,000
  6. 7pm ABC News – 677,000
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 558,000
  8. Australian Story (ABC) — 503,000
  9. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 492,000
  10. Four Corners (ABC)  — 461,000

Morning (National) TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) – 414,000
  2. Today (Nine) – 301,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC, ABC News) — 226,000
  4. The Morning Show (Seven) — 198,000
  5. Mornings (Nine) — 173,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) — 76,000

Top pay TV programs:

  1. AFL: 360 (Fox Footy) – 89,000
  2. Mr Inbetween (Showcase) — 87,000
  3. The Bolt Report (Sky News) — 53,000
  4. NRL: 360 (Fox League) — 49,000

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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