Channel Nine claims its morning show Today has beaten its Seven counterpart Sunrise in the ratings for the first time in 13 years.
The Nine program has been battling it out to regain the top spot since 2003, which was the last time it won the annual breakfast battle in the five-city metro ratings bracket.
While Sunrise is still clinging to the number one slot on the weekend, Nine claimsToday is close to dethroning the competition for the first time, requiring just one more ratings win to take the lead.
There are only five weeks left in the 40-week ratings period.
“[Our] biggest thanks of all must always go to the wonderful and loyal Today viewers right across this great country of ours,” Darren Wick, Director of News & Current Affairs for the Nine Network, said in a press release.
“We’ll never let them down.”
Nine says Today, hosted by Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson, has averaged 317,000 viewers a morning this year, compared with Sunrise‘s 310,000.
A Seven spokesperson, however, claims to be baffled by Nine’s ratings data.
“Nine’s claim is slightly perplexing,” the spokesperson says.
“Perhaps maths and understanding ratings analytics is not their strong point.
“The numbers clearly show Sunrise is Australia’s most-watched breakfast television programme taking in the entire country, not just a market here and there.
“The year is defined by an audience average, not weekly wins.
“It remains a tight competitive race on average audiences in breakfast television across the five metropolitan markets and way too early to be making any claims of victory.
“The one indisputable fact is that more Australians watch Sunrise than any other breakfast television program”.
A Seven spokesperson told Fairfax Nine’s celebration was “a bit like a half-time victory lap” given Seven still won when regional numbers were added to the mix.
Seven also claimed its morning show, hosted by Samantha Armytage and David Koch, has bigger average annual audiences despite Today winning on the weekly front.
The last time Today won the weekly ratings, it was hosted by Steve Liebmann and Tracy Grimshaw. Stefanovic joined in 2003 and Wilkinson was close behind in 2005.
Sunrise has been on air since 1996, while Today has been a television mainstay since 1982.
Today has benefitted from increased media attention in recent years, thanks to some clever stunts and scathing political interviews.
In 2014, Stefanovic memorably revealed he had worn the same suit every day for a year to highlight the double standards women in the TV industry faced when it came to their appearance.
The story reached news services around the world.
Wilkinson, meanwhile, has had fiery face-offs with many a politician, labelling Bill Shorten “a dinosaur” and Clive Palmer “a joke”.