TV Ratings September 31: NRL GF draws big crowds despite decline

Mediaweek editor James Manning rounds up last night’s TV ratings

• NRL Grand Final secures second 3m+ national weekend audience
• Seven secures weekend’s biggest audience with 3.38m for AFL
• Both AFL and NRL Grand Final audiences down year-on-year
• Seven’s cricket hits a six on debut with women’s cricket record


Up against the NRL, Seven replayed Rahni Sadler’s wonderful ABBA special at 7pm where she interviewed former members who revealed earlier this year the startling news the group would be touring – sort of – with holograms and a live band. The audience of 680,000 made it the most-watched non-news and non-sports show of the night.

The Story Of The Royals then continued in what is something a Royal Week at Seven. Last night’s episode did 425,000.

On Saturday, Seven’s AFL Grand Final audience of 2,601,000 was down on last year and was the smallest audience since 2,491,000 in 2008.

Seven’s strong Saturday continued with its first cricket match under its new rights deal, and the Australia v New Zealand match had an average audience of 398,000.


Coverage of NRL Grand Final day dominated with the match, the pre-game entertainment and the post-match entertainment all attracting 1.5m+ crowds.

The victory by Eastern Suburbs saw them get away to an early lead. The match audience of 2,122,000 was the smallest in a decade and down on last year’s 2,301,000.

The win gave Nine a huge start to the week with a Sunday 6pm-12midnight audience share of 40.2%. The Sydney share was a massive 57.7% and in Brisbane 48.8%. The NRL also helped Nine to wins in Melbourne and Adelaide.


The network had plenty of star power even if it wasn’t reflected in the ratings, given the NRL Grand Final on Nine.

The Sunday Project just made the top 20 with 260,000 watching Leigh Sales join the panel where across the hour she discussed her new autobiography and the current turmoil inside the ABC. Co-host and celebrity look-alike Lisa Wilkinson played some of her interview with Sally Field, also promoting a new book, including a chat about how Lisa looks like Sally. Finally the show ended with guests Nash Edgerton and Brooke Satchwell talking about the new Foxtel series Mr Inbetween.

The star power continued on an episode of The Graham Norton Show, which was his first since the summer break and one that went to air just last Friday in the UK. Guests were A Star Is Born actors Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, First Man star Ryan Gosling, the new Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker and rocker Sir Rod Stewart. The episode just missed the top 20 with 231,000.


The channel’s best was ABC News on 614,000. Episode two of Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure did 481,000 followed by Rake on 364,000.


SBS World News drew the channel’s biggest audience with 160,000 at 6.30

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