The intense rivalry in Australian breakfast TV, summed up in two tweets

Lisa Wilkinson, Karl Stefanovic & Richard Wilkins during a video for the SBS show The Feed.

It’s been an interesting week for rival breakfast TV shows Sunrise, on 7, and The Today Show, on 9.

Today held a party on the weekend to celebrate finishing the year on top of the ratings, posting photos of the team having fun on social media.

Here’s what Nine said in a media release on Monday:

Today has triumphed in the 2016 ratings year to regain its crown, as the favourite breakfast program across the 5 City Metro Australian markets.

With 40 weeks in the official ratings calendar, TODAY has now won 21 weeks out of the 35 weeks so far this year across the five mainland capitals, putting it in an unbeatable position and awarding it a 5 City Metro ratings victory for 2016.

It marks the first time that TODAY has won the yearly breakfast battle across the 5 City Metro since 2003.

A miffed Seven launched legal action against Today’s claim that it was number one.

The matter was due to be heard today, but the warring sides settled out of court.

So who won?

Here’s Sunrise producer Michael Pell’s verdict:

And here’s Today Show host Lisa Wilkinson explaining what happened.

So that’s that. All cleared up.

According to industry website Mumbrella, Seven dropped the case minutes before the listed hearing in the Federal Court, with the settlement details undisclosed.

And then Nine released this statement:

We are pleased Seven has seen fit to drop the case against the Today show. And we congratulate our Today show team on winning the most weeks across the five capital cities for 2016.

But Seven argues its show is top dog because Sunrise is in front on the average combined metro and regional audience across the year.

Nine’s response is to accuse Seven of hypocrisy because it previously laid claim to being No. 1 based on the metro figures.

And Mumbrella got a hold of an email to staff from Today’s executive producer Mark Calvert which claimed their rival was “rattled”.

“They’re behaving like the narky kid who gets beaten in a kick-about on the oval….so takes his ball home. They’re Donald Trump, only accepting the result if he wins. They’re bad losers. They’ve forgotten that breakfast television is fun,” it reads.

“We’ll continue to celebrate because as a wise man once said: ‘winners have parties, losers hire barristers’.”

Today’s boast also had repercussions for host Karl Stefanovic’s wife, Cassandra Thorburn, who recently split with her husband of 21 years.

A private Facebook post celebrating her estranged husband’s success after 12 years was reported by as an “emotionally-charged rant”. Thorburn then became a major news story this week as she defended being a stay-at-home mum , following an opinion piece that argued Thorburn was proof women should not sacrifice their careers for family.

The antics of the rival stations demonstrated that behind light, bright chirpy faces of their breakfast TV shows, there’s a serious fight for revenue and prestige.

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