Asher Keddie, Offspring

Gold Logie winning captain, Asher Keddie steers Offspring into safe ratings waters.

When you're having a year like Network Ten is - consistently pushed out of their birthright third spot in the ratings by the ABC - you celebrate the small victories. So it was that the 12th position attained by Offspring on its season debut on Wednesday night was trumpeted from the network's highest towers.

To put this all in context, Ten still came fourth overall for the night, but they were a lot closer to the ABC. While Nine won Wednesday again with 22.4 per cent of the audience, ahead of Seven on 20.1 percent, Ten drew in viewers from all four rival networks to jump from 11.9 per cent to 13 per cent, closing on the ABC's 13.8 per cent.

Ten had high hopes for one of their few flagships that still floats, particularly its gold Logie winning captain Asher Keddie who was promoting the debut right up to a spot on The Project desk last night on an otherwise Gatsby-themed show.

And for Ten, the results were good. Ranked 12th for the night with 868,000 viewers it nearly doubled the audience for the timeslot, where a meagre 454,000 tuned in for the final episode of Mr & Mrs Murder last Wednesday. Crucially, in a commercial television landscape where one million viewers is the magic number, the audience peaked at 1,003,000.

Impressively while viewer numbers tend to decline in later seasons of most dramas, the audience was actually a 20% increase on the first episode of the 2012 Offspring season. Advertisers will be pleased that the show skewed young and female as well, coming in number three for the night in the key advertising-friendly demographics.

Seven also recorded a win, as House Rules continued its resurgence from a diabolical ratings start, jumping to 900,000 viewers from 784,000 in the same slot last week. It even mirrored Offspring's moment of triumph, with an audience peak of 1.093 million.

On an otherwise relatively uneventful night, Nine saw Arrow level out at a very healthy 963,000 viewers. Having debuted on May 1 to 1.3 million in third, it has stabilised around the mid 900,000 mark, which is a healthy result for the American import.

Free to air TV ratings Wednesday 22 May
1 Nine News Nine 1,387,000
2 Seven News Seven 1,263,000
3 A Current Affair Nine 1,188,000
4 The Big Bang Theory Nine 1,160,000
5 The Block Sky High Nine 1,156,000
6 Today Tonight Seven 975,000
7 ABC News ABC1 966,000
8 Arrow Nine 963,000
9 Home And Away Seven 920,000
10 7.30 ABC1 903,000
11 House Rules Seven 900,000
12 Offspring Ten 868,000
13 QI ABC1 817,000
14 Criminal Minds Seven 749,000
15 Hot Seat Nine 726,000
16 Ten News At Five Ten 720,000
17 Adam Hills Tonight ABC1 689,000
18 Criminal Minds (R) Seven 646,000
19 The Biggest Loser Next Gen Ten 596,000
20 Deal Or No Deal Seven 587,000
SOURCE: OzTam