tip off

Media briefs: ABC ratings … Clarke & Dawe wave … UK Leveson reax …

ABC TV’s big year … Clarke & Dawe sign off … UK Leveson reax …

Clarke and Dawe sign off. 7.30 host Leigh Sales informed viewers last night she was bidding adieu for 2012 and that political editor Chris Uhlmann will fill in until February. Veteran satirical duo Clarke and Dawe also signed off with a signature sketch blending cricket and the AWU affair. “That was the final Clarke and Dawe for this year,” said a beaming Sales. “I am delighted to say they’ll be back on ABC1 in 2013.”

No mention, you’ll note, of them returning to 7.30. If Clarke and Dawe are indeed getting the heave-ho from the high-profile current affairs program after 12 years’ service, a more meaningful goodbye is surely in the works. An ABC spokeswoman told Crikey today she was unaware where Clarke and Dawe will end up next year, but said Insiders and the state-based Friday version of 7.30 had been considered. — Matthew Knott

Thanks Ten for a bumper ABC year. Taxpayers should thank Lachlan Murdoch and James Warburton for their help in pushing ABC TV to one of its best years. Channel Ten’s woes in the past four months have seen the ABC zoom past Ten to become the third-ranked network for the past 15 weeks (overall and the main channels). That in turn has helped lift the ABC’s overall performance for 2012.

A year that started poorly for the ABC — with the loss of long-time ratings giant Spicks and Specks and weak figures for several other stalwarts — was halted by Ten’s implosion later in the year, with bombs The ShireBeing Lara BingleEverybody Dance NowI Will Survive and Don’t Tell The Bride. Ratings for 7.30 started kicking higher as the program shook itself free of the ghost of Kerry O’Brien, Australian Story grew its audience in the back half of the year and Four CornersMedia Watch and Q&A improved.

Figures released by the ABC this morning show the overall five-city network prime share rose to 13.5% — up from 12.9% last year. Each channel grew: ABC1 from 10% to 10.1%, ABC2 from 1.9% to 2.1%, ABC3 from 0.5% to 0.6% and ABC News 24 up from 0.6% to 0.7%. The ABC says iView traffic also increased in 2012, from 8.3 million program plays in March to 12.5 million in October. Interestingly, with the launch of an iPhone application program plays from those devices quickly represented 45% of the total. —  Glenn Dyer

Front page of the day. The UK press have been anticipating what the much-awaited Leveson Inquiry would have to say on the state of the media. Here’s The Independent’s take on Prime Minister David Cameron’s reluctance to legislate control of the press, as recommended by Leveson:

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