Is the television honeymoon over for Eddie McGuire?
Last year, the Collingwood Football Club president crushed the competition when he returned to The Footy Show after a decade-long hiatus.
After lagging behind The Front Bar for some time, Nine's new-look AFL program surged ahead in the ratings. But now it's a much closer race and on Thursday evening Seven's rival programwon the night.
The Front Bar netted around 288,000 viewers across Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth compared to the 264,000 or so who tuned in to The Footy Show.
The majority of those viewers are in Melbourne where The Front Bar earned it's biggest winning margin over The Footy Show with 211,000 viewers to Nine's 176,000.
While The Footy Show won Perth and Adelaide, Seven executives are happy to have snapped up the Victorian capital as it is the city with the highest number of AFL supporters. They are also happy with the fact the show managed to pull ahead in Melbourne despite coming from a lower base compared to Nine.
The Melbourne program preceding The Footy Show on Thursday night (RBT) recorded around 187,000 viewers compared to just 117,000 watching Invitation to a Royal Wedding on Seven.
But with a winning margin of just 24,000 viewers, The Front Bar will need to work hard to maintain its grip in the long-run.
AFL finals season is traditionally The Footy Show's strength. In September last year, the show was pulling around 400,000 viewers per episode across the key AFL cities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Nine's footy talkshow is also down a regular, with Australian Ninja Warrior's Rebecca Maddern currently on maternity leave.
The Front Bar host Mick Molloy told Fairfax Media he was thrilled with his program's recent ratings win.
"We're rapt and humbled that footy fans are enjoying the show," he said. "Sam, Andy and I are having such great fun with all the legends, cult figures and starts of footy. And I get to have a beer at work."
Representatives for the Nine Network declined to comment.
Broede Carmody is an entertainment reporter at Fairfax Media.
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