Are we there yet? Seven wins again.
Week 45 was the week networks began to worry about the fallout of the US Writers’ Strike, the ABC pulled the plug on The Sideshow and dissed the AFI Awards, competition phone lines got crossed wires and Kylie got back together with Jason.
More importantly, Seven won yet another ratings win, nabbing 28.6% to Nine’s 26.3%, TEN’s 21.8%, the ABC’s 18.2% and SBS’ 5.1%. Seven won Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights with Nine owning Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. Seven won all cities.
The top show of the week was the Melbourne Cup Race with just under 2.2m -that’s without counting people cornered around sets in parties and pubs. Outside of prime time ratings it didn’t count for evening shares. The trade-off was the day’s lead-in it gave Seven, with the top 6 shows of the night (don’t people turn off their telly between arvo and evening?). Dancing with the Stars was the next top show of the week, and for Seven the other biggies were Border Security, City Homicide, Kath and Kim, Surf Patrol, Home and Away, All Saints, Seven News, Today Tonight, Better Homes and Gardens and My Name is Earl. On Wednesday Criminal Minds’ second ep (738,000) was well down on the lead-in its Monday edition (1.17m) gets from City Homicide. Bionic Woman was fourth in its timeslot, matching the lowly place its getting in the US. Is this a show about to fold? National Bingo Night has also slipped, now at 1m. With only three weeks to go, there really isn’t much time for the “J-Curve” effect either. That applies to shows that start big, then sink before slowly building with each week.
Nine’s top show for the week was Sunday’s CSI. It was followed by Missing Persons Unit and, enjoying strong figures, Farmer Wants a Wife. Could it become the elusive 2007 hit for Nine (ok we’ll generously award that to Sea Patrol even though the last weeks were nothing fab). Elsewhere, 60 Minutes, Cold Case, CSI:NY, The Gift and Getaway were its only other noteworthy raters. The fact that Nine won four nights is a credit to its News, A Current Affair and Temptation brands that form the backbone of evening programming. How would they fare with a decent lead-in against AOK’s Deal, Mr Gyngell? Singing Bee sits below the 1m mark which doesn’t warrant a 2008 return, nor the huge fee they must be paying Joey Fatone. And how can Nine salvage Millionaire next year, also sitting below 1m?
You know the deal with TEN: House, Idol, Rove, So You Think you Can Dance, The Simpsons, NCIS and Fifth Grader. It was a particularly strong performance from Rove, helpful no doubt as he mulls contract negotiations with TEN. Once again, Friday and Saturday are abysmal, is the network really trying? And Futurama seems unlikely to keep the 7pm timeslot next year based on its figures. We hear TEN has Friends up its sleeve.
An excellent week for the ABC again with The Chaser topping Wednesday and New Tricks winning Saturday. It’s now an unabashed h-i-t. Spicks and Specks and John Clarke’s The Sounds of Aus also sent the commercial networks packing. ABC News, Australian Story, Rebus and The Librarians were also strong. The comedy is suffering an unsurprising drop as viewers realise it isn’t as edgy as Chris Lilley’s comedy. But they should thank him for being a great seat warmer.
SBS’ best nights were Monday and Saturday.