Newton's tell-all a turn off in the ratings
Nine's heavily promoted 60 Minutes interview with disgraced actor Matt Newton did not deliver the ratings windfall the network may have hoped for, with just 1.21 million viewers tuning in.
Overall it was not a strong Sunday night for television: the number one show was Nine's news, with 1.23 million.
A strong Sunday night would have the top-ranked programs commanding audiences closer to two million viewers in the mainland capital cities.
Matthew Newton failed to hold the nation's attention during his 60 Minutes interview about his violent past.
A program like 60 Minutes would expect an audience above 1.5 million for a blue-chip interview, or an interview that had been heavily promoted in the same manner as Newton's tell-all.
Last year, for example, a heavily promoted 60 Minutes interview with legendary BBC broadcaster Sir David Attenborough drew 1.66 million.
A number of other factors may also be at play, including schedule congestion with MasterChef, Downton Abbey and The Block now competing for Sunday night eyeballs.
Newton's personal history - notably a series of assaults between 2007 and 2012, two of them against two different girlfriends - may also have been a turn-off for audiences.
Inclusive of regional ratings, 60 Minutes' audience was 1.74 million nationally.
Interestingly, while 60 Minutes beat Seven's Sunday Night in the mainland capitals, inclusive of regional ratings, Sunday Night overtook 60 Minutes.
Across the board, however, numbers are down.
Seven's Downton Abbey, a notably high-performer for its first two seasons, is performing below expectation this year.
Just 1.3 million viewers tuned in for its third season debut episode.
That slipped slightly to 1.21 million this week. Despite the slip, Downton Abbey was still the #2 ranked show overall, a powerful indicator of how depressed the numbers are.
Nine strategically shifted The Block into a Sunday night berth, no doubt to try to lift its flat weeknight numbers. Another historically high performer, since its launch this year it has stalled at or just below one million viewers.
In its new Sunday night timeslot it lifted, but only slightly, to 1.11 million. Its arrival also had the knock-on effect of soaking up eyeballs from MasterChef: The Professionals which slipped from its steady Sunday rating of around 1.1 million+ viewers to 859,000.
The return of 60 Minutes would also have soaked up some of MasterChef's audience.