masterchef tv ratings
The MasterChef Australia judges (Image: Ten)

Oh dear, Australian commercial TV’s horror year just got more horrible last night, with new seasons of Ten’s MasterChef Australia and Nine’s Lego Masters both slumping into flop territory from the get-go.

For that we can blame COVID — or this year’s absence of lockdown and siege-like conditions. MasterChef‘s national audience of 853,000 for the season launch was 45% lower than 2020’s 1.56 million, which had been the strongest start to a series for five years. Last night was the worst start for years, failing to even make the national top 10.

Nine’s Lego Masters saw its opening audience slump as well — from 1.64 million a year ago to 1.11 million last night. The 530,000 loss was a fall of nearly a third. It seems that rather than the 2020 figures representing a comeback for these show formats, they were simply a COVID-driven aberration. The 2021 figures may signal a return to the trend of falling audiences as seen in 2018 and 2019.

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Married At First Sight saw a fall across the series (and the finale), Holey Moley on Seven started at more than 1.5 million and ended well under a million and struggling. Ten’s The Cube has been a flop from the start and slowly going backwards. The Amazing Race was solid at the end and perhaps the best performer this year so far. Amazing Grace on Nine started OK but was supported by having MAFS as the lead-in. Dancing With The Stars is back on Seven after visiting ten and failing. This year has seen the usual start: audiences solid, then a slow fade.

In breakfast Sunrise’s metro slide continues, while Today has saw the gap narrow to just 11,000 in the five big markets on Monday. Pressure will be on Seven to halt that slide. Losing Sam Armytage isn’t looking like such a clever move now, is it? Elsewhere, ABC News Breakfast’s slow slide is also continuing.

Network channel share:

  1. Nine (28.4%)
  2. Seven (26.8%)
  3. Ten (21.6)
  4. ABC (16.0%)
  5. SBS (7.3%)

Network main channels:

  1. Nine (22.0%)
  2. Seven (19.5%)
  3. Ten (14.6%)
  4. ABC (12.4%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.43%)

Top 5 digital channels:

  1. 10 Bold (3.8%)
  2. 7TWO (3.1%)
  3. 7mate (2.7%)
  4. 10 Peach (2.5%)
  5. 9Life (2.1%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.651 million
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 1.595 million
  3. Nine News 6.30 — 1.304 million
  4. Nine News — 1.296 million
  5. Lego Masters (Nine)— 1.117 million
  6. A Current Affair (Nine) —1.069 million
  7. 7pm ABC News — 1.032 million
  8. Home and Away (Seven) — 1.001 million
  9. Dancing With The Stars All Stars (Seven) — 945,000
  10. The Chase Australia 5.30pm (Seven) — 865,000

Top metro programs:

  1. Seven News — 1.047 million
  2. Seven News 6.30 — 1.018 million

Losers: Lego Masters and MasterChef Australia — return debuts both slumped from 2021.

Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Seven News — 1.047 million
  2. SevenNews 6.30 — 1.018 million
  3. Nine News 6.30 — 962,000
  4. Nine News — 961,000
  5. ACA (Nine) —769,000
  6. 7pm ABC News — 677,000
  7. 7.30 (ABC) — 537,000
  8. The Project 7pm (Ten) — 517,000
  9. Australian Story (ABC) — 495,000
  10. Four Corners (ABC) — 494,000

Morning (National) TV:

  1. Sunrise (Seven) — 417,000/232,000
  2. Today (Nine) — 311,000/221,000
  3. News Breakfast (ABC) — 268,000/162,000
  4. The Morning Show (Seven) — 207,000
  5. Today Extra (Nine) — 171,000
  6. Studio 10 (Ten) — 49,000

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. AFL: 360 (Fox Footy) — 77,000
  2. The Bolt Report (Sky News) — 64,000
  3. AFL: On The Couch (Fox Footy) — 61,000
  4. Alan Jones (Sky News) — 52,000
  5. Credlin (Sky News) — 52,000

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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