Moments before Seven and Nine were meant to appear in court to battle it out over who in fact won the breakfast TV ratings for 2016, it appears the case has been settled out of court.
The pair of networks have politely decided not to air all their dirty laundry in public, instead coming to an agreement, which by the sounds of things involves Nine ceasing to claim the Today show is number one.
A Nine spokesperson told B&T, “We are pleased Seven has seen fit to drop the case against the Today show. And we congratulate our Today show team on winning the most weeks across the five capital cities for 2016. We know they will power on for the rest of this year and into 2017”.
To give context, Nine claimed it had won – for the first time since 2003 – based on the amount of weeks it dominated ratings in the five metro cities, per OzTAM. Based on this, Nine had come out in front for 21 out of 40 weeks.
Seven, on the other hand, expanded to include regional audiences outside of the five metro cities, to prove Sunrise was actually the most watched breakfast program with the biggest audience.
B&T understands that with Seven dropping the court case, it will affect Nine’s ability to call Today Australia’s most watched breakfast program or the number one in the country.
In a statement from Seven, Michael Pell, executive producer, Sunrise said, “Sunrise is a show for all of Australia. We’re grateful to our loyal viewers, who have chosen to make us their most-watched for more than a decade. We’ll never take it for granted.”
Craig McPherson, network director, news and public affairs, added “We’re pleased Nine has now admitted Sunrise is Australia’s Number 1 and most-watched breakfast show. The truth was always going to prevail over premature elation.”
Last night, an anonymous source shared an internal email from Today EP Mark Calvert with B&T, which congratulated the show’s team on being the best. Despite its spokesperson this morning refraining from calling the program “number one” or “most watched”, Calvert’s email maintains the success.
After an incredibly busy few days, I wanted to send you a quick note, to thank each and every one of you.
Your 24/7 service to our incredible viewers is awesome to witness.
You produce the greatest breakfast show on TV. No doubt.
And now you have the number one breakfast show, based on the industry standard of survey weeks won, in the five big metro markets.
We are also tracking ahead of the other lot on the daily average across those five cap cities.
You’ve all seen the reports about our so-called rivals disputing our position. Tomorrow, they will spend money, and take up court time, arguing that we are “not number 1.”
They are doing this because you have them rattled. They’re behaving like the narky kid who gets beaten in a kick-about on the oval… so he takes his ball home. They’re Donald Trump, only accepting the result if he wins. They’re bad losers. They’ve forgotten that breakfast television is fun.
Be in no doubt, by the key measure, in the 5 cap cities, we are undeniably, indisputably, NUMBER ONE.
Be proud of your achievement. I’m certainly proud to be a part of this great team.
We’ll continue to work tirelessly for our viewers.
And we’ll continue to celebrate, because as a wise man once said: “Winners have parties. Losers hire barristers.”
We know our numbers.
They all add up to one simple truth…
YOU ARE THE BEST BREAKFAST TEAM IN AUSTRALIA.
Here’s to you!
Here’s hoping 2017 provides us with a clearer outcome.