Bryan Armen Graham
Thursday January 27th, 2011

Oprah Winfrey

Australia's Channel Seven is attributing the first-week drop in domestic ratings for the Open to, among other things, Oprah's Australian TV special. (AP)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Here’s something else you probably didn’t know about Oprah: she undermined local TV ratings of this tournament, or so says the country’s second-largest network. Australia’s Channel Seven is reporting a first-week ratings drop, with viewership down between 14 and 17 percent. Along with competition from digital channels, one-off cricket matches and underperforming Aussie players, the network cites Oprah’s Australian television special -- which aired here last week -- as cause for the drop. But this marks the second straight year ratings are down. Of course back home the Queen of Daytime doesn’t threaten ESPN’s live nocturnal coverage, and viewership at the Worldwide Leader has been stable. Through the first eight days of the tournament, ratings were flat at 0.4 (as were household impressions), but up slightly for the network’s 3 a.m. windows. That’s impressive considering there’s no Serena Williams in draw (where is she again, exactly?) and U.S. darlings Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick and the rest of the Yankee brigade were all out of the mix by the fourth round. But with world No. 1 Rafael Nadal out of the mix—he was upset by countryman David Ferrer last night—I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a dip in the second-week numbers. If Ferrer gets past Britain’s Andy Murray and makes the final, don’t be shocked if DVR’d Oprah shows win the weekend.

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