The national TV ratings race, David Dale, Sun Herald blogs
If Seven's programmers were worried that politics or pollution might put Australians off switching to Beijing, they can relax now. On Friday night an average of 3.3 million people in the mainland capitals watched the Olympic opening ceremony between 10 pm and 2am, with a peak audience of 4.4 million for the singing and 2.5 million still awake when the Australians marched in. (By comparison, the Athens opening in 2004 was watched by 3.04 million, Sydney scored 6.5m in 2000 and Atlanta scored 3.1m in 1996.
Then on Saturday evening, 2.2 million watched the heats. Seven estimates that 11.8 million Australians saw some part of the coverage on Friday or Saturday, offering some compensation for the disappointing performance of Make Me A Supermodel, which drew only a million viewers on Wednesday and Thursday and fell way behind Nine's gloriously silly new game show Hole In The Wall.
Seven's most watched non-sporting program of the week was The One -- Australia's Most Gifted Psychic, while Nine scored with 60 Minutes and The Farmer Wants A Wife . The ABC drew 1.4 million to Spicks and Specks and 1.2 million to Foyle's War, but Freezing, which replaced The Gruen Transfer on Wednesday, managed only 859,000, a drop of 400,000, while The Hollowmen has now sunk to 803,000.
Ten's only entry in the Top 40 was a repeat of NCIS, with 1.1 million, while SBS drew a remarkable 1.04 million to Top Gear and 347,000 to the Men's Cycling on Saturday.
The most watched shows on Pay TV included NRL: Knights v Eels (Fox Sports 2) 299,000; NRL Sharks v Rabbitohs (Fox Sports 2) 249,000; America's Next Top Model (Fox 8) 220,000; Futurama Fox 8) 190,000 and Project Runway Australia (Arena) 173,000.
Of course, Seven won the week, averaging 34.8 per cent of the prime time audience to Nine;'s 24.8, Ten's 18.4, ABC's 16.7 and SBS's 5.3.
What Australia watched, week ending August 9
1 BEIJING OLYMPICS: OPENING CEREMONY Network 7 3,307,000
2 SEVEN NEWS - SAT Network 7 2,218,000
3 BEIJING OLYMPICS: D1 PRIMETIME Network 7 2,214,000
4 60 MINUTES Network 9 1,747,000
5 BEIJING OLYMPICS: D1 FRINGE Network 7 1,717,000
6 THE FARMER WANTS A WIFE Network 9 1,698,000
7 TWO AND A HALF MEN Network 9 1,660,000
8 SEVEN NEWS - SUN Network 7 1,606,000
9 SEVEN NEWS Network 7 1,580,000
10 THE ONE - AUSTRALIA'S MOST GIFTED PSYCHIC Network 7 1,556,000
11 HOLE IN THE WALL Network 9 1,545,000
12 BORDER SECURITY (R) Network 7 1,489,000
13 NINE NEWS SUNDAY Network 9 1,478,000
14 THE FORCE - BEHIND THE LINE (R) Network 7 1,469,000
15 TODAY TONIGHT Network 7 1,402,000