Howzat for a hit: Packer dominates the ratings

Personal victory ... Lachy Hulme as Kerry Packer.
Personal victory ... Lachy Hulme as Kerry Packer.

Victory in the ratings war is still some way off. But few wins are as sweet as Nine's last night, with more than two million viewers tuning into the first part of its blockbuster miniseries Howzat! Kerry Packer's War.

The first of two parts, dramatising the events behind the formation of World Series Cricket in the 1970s, drew an astonishing 2.09 million viewers nationally.

That result would have very slightly exceeded the market's expectation from the opener for a two-night miniseries in a congested digital environment.

Howzat! is a very personal victory for Nine. Its featured star is Nine's iconic former owner, Kerry Packer, played by Lachy Hulme, and the story of World Series Cricket is, to some extent, the story of Nine's coming of age as a network.

Nine's performance overall was helped by strong numbers for its new iteration of Big Brother: 1.36 million people tuned in.

That result gives some assurance that its softer numbers late last week were part of the weekly cycle - most weekday programs deliver softer numbers on Thursday and Friday nights compared to earlier in the week - and not a sign of some deeper malaise.

Ten, meanwhile, split the final Masterchef: All Stars into two segments, a main program and a winner announcement.

The program drew 802,000 viewers, lifting to an average of 1.06 million for the announcement of Callum Hann as winner. The winner announcement peaked at 1.25 million viewers.

Given the competitive environment of last night's schedule, that's a solid result for Masterchef: All Stars. Ten should be pleased.

Everybody Dance Now, however, dropped sharply to 385,000. It is stark confirmation, as if Ten needed it, that their audience has comprehensively rejected the show.

Seven's Kath & Kim: The Souvenir Editions - a series of Kath & Kim episodes which are essentially repeats with newly-filmed hosting segments - drew 909,000 viewers nationally.

It was the only Channel Seven show in the top 10 which was not a news program. (Seven's news drew 1.51 million, and its Sunday Night program drew 1.29 million.)

Top 10 programs last night

1 Howzat! Kerry Packer's War (9) 2,097,000
2 Seven News (7) 1,513,000
3 60 Minutes (9) 1,512,000
4 Nine News (9) 1,402,000
5 Big Brother (9) 1,365,000
6 Sunday Night (7) 1,289,000
7 Masterchef: All Stars, Winner (10) 1,060,000
8 Kath & Kim: The Souvenir Editions (7) 909,000
9 ABC News (ABC) 822,000
10 Grand Designs Revisited (ABC) 809,000

This story Howzat for a hit: Packer dominates the ratings first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.