(Image: AAP/Natalie Boog)

A week ago the players ran around empty stadiums, and last night the TV schedule was as empty as the MCG would have been — had we been able to see inside.

The dependance of Seven, Nine and Foxtel on filling Thursday, Friday, and weekend timeslots with wall-to-wall sport has been exposed as a flawed strategy. The networks have gradually wound back spending on new programs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to the point where their schedules are wastelands outside sport.

The prime time slots are full of dud movies in constant repeat (how many times do we have to watch Crocodile Dundee in all its forms). Ten at least has scheduled som interesting non-sport programs on Thursday and Friday nights, even if Gogglebox Australia (which did very well last night with 1 million, the most watched non-news program), is someone else’s program.

The ABC is no better. Last night was the second series of The Heights (moved from Fridays), and a buy-in from Foxtel in Grand Designs Australia.

Despite all that it has been years since we saw a Thursday night with all the top 10 most-watched programs with a national audience of a million or more viewers, but that’s what we saw last night.                         

Nine won the night from Seven, Ten and the ABC. Nine boasted that its news had its best figures this year on a Thursday night, but Seven News was more than half a million in front. In breakfast, ABC News Breakfast got to within 5000 national viewers of Today‘s second place — News Breakfast had 399,000, Today, 404,000.

But in the metros (which Nine prizes more highly), News Breakfast had 277,000 to Today’s 267,000. Sunrise lifted the game and had 611,000 national and 360,000 in the metros. 

Network channel share:

  1. Nine    (27.1%)
  2. Seven  (23.4%)
  3. Ten      (21.8%)
  4. ABC   (18.5%)
  5. SBS    (9.2%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (24.9%)
  2. Seven (16.8%)
  3. Ten (13.0%)
  4. ABC (10.3%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.8%)

Top 5 digital channels: 

  1. Gem (3.6%)
  2. 7TWO (3.4%)
  3. 7mate,10 Peach (3.3%)
  4. ABC News (2.8%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News  — 1.980 million
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 1.888 million 
  3. Nine/NBN News 6.30  — 1.476 million
  4. Nine/NBN News   — 1.470 million
  5. 7pm ABC News —1.357 million
  6. 7.30 (ABC) — 1.120 million
  7. ACA (Nine) — 1.094 million
  8. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) —1.023 million
  9. Gogglebox Australia (Ten) — 1.008 million
  10. Seven News: The Latest — 1.003 million

Top metro programs: 

  1. Seven News — 1.245 million
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 1.188 million
  3. Nine News — 1.133 million
  4. Nine News 6.30 — 1.114 million

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News  — 1.245 million
  2. Nine News  — 1.188 million
  3. Nine News — 1.133 million
  4. Seven News 6.30 —1.114 million
  5. 7pm ABC News —937,000
  6. 7.30 (ABC) —789,000
  7. ACA (Nine) — 786,000
  8. The Project 7pm (Ten), Seven News: The Latest — 636,000
  9. Nine News COVID-19 Special — 559,000

Morning (National) TV:

  1. Sunrise: National: 611,000, Metro: 360,000 
  2. Today: National: 404,000 Metro: 267,000 
  3. News Breakfast (ABC, ABC News) — 399,000/277,000
  4. The Morning Show (Seven) — 386,000
  5. Today Extra (Nine) — 233,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) — 99,000

Top five pay TV programs: N/A

  1. Paul Murray Live  (Sky News) — 99,000
  2. The Bolt Report (Sky News) — 76,000
  3. Credlin (Sky News) — 71,000
  4. PML Later (Sky News) — 67,000
  5. Selling Houses Australia (LifeStyle), Outback Opal Hunters (Discovery) — 60,000

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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