Hang on to your hats folks as the TV networks produce a dazzling array
of new and changed programming for the beginning of hostilities in 2005.

More jostling and bumping as the ratings battle starts a week early
this week. The last week of summer, has become the first ‘non-official’
week of official ratings. If Seven, which has pushed the move, triumphs
it will crow, if it fails in anyway, Nine and Ten will chortle.

move has forced Nine and Ten to try and counter is early blitz, which
continues. Seven’s got a newer and bigger and more expensive version of
Deal or No Deal at 5.30pm from Monday. I can’t wait to see
whether this helps the still struggling news service compete with Nine,
or whether it is a bore.

Nine has a repeat of the Price is Right’s Monster Showcase
from last year, so it has again been surprised by the Seven move, or
more probably, is keeping to its plan to start lesser programs like Price the following week when official ratings start.

News in Sydney will have a new Sydney skyline backdrop tomorrow night,
replacing the live out the windows shot in Martin Place. Apparently the
backdrop that was simply sensational last year and live, has proven to
be too much of a distraction for all concerned and Ian Ross wants
something less disconcerting.

Seven has moved Better Homes and Gardens, fronted by Jim Courier’s friend Joanna Griggs, to Fridays at 7.30 pm, straight into the slot occupied on Nine by Burke’s Backyard.

No doubt Seven is hoping to attract all those viewers left bereft by the disappearance of their Don, and by the shift of Gardening Australia by the ABC from Fridays at 6pm to Saturday evenings.

How long will it be before Nine shuffles one of its lifestyle shows, such as Renovation Rescue, into the 7.30 pm Friday slot until Scotty’sPlace,
the supposed replacement for BBY, is fit and ready for screening?
Rumblings are still coming from Hobart that all is not well with the
ABC’s program.

Eddie McGuire’s Who wants to be a Millionaire (no one so far in five years!) shifts into 8.30pm from Monday February 7.

Cold Case which is there on Monday January 31 is a temporary stopper against Seven’s new Desperate Housewives. More a case of desperate nine programmers, an interesting comedy series!

Nine sources suggest that the Network will dump the Sunday movie and put its new CSI, shot in New York, up against Ten’s first run Law and Order Criminal Intent on Sunday evenings at 8.30 pm.

Ten’s local version of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is going to take on Nine’s McLeod’s Daughters at 7.30 pm on Wednesdays.

the new Nine ‘variety’ show, which starts tomorrow night looks like
only being in the Monday 7.30 pm timeslot for a short time as Ten
starts the X-Factor the following Sunday and Monday and Nine doesn’t want Starstruck to be crushed.

If you are watching tomorrow night wait for Starstruck to run over to about 8.40 pm. It’s live and the overrun will be an attempt to stop viewers switching to Desperate Housewives. Desperate times make programmers do desperately childish things, on all networks.

Thursday night will be a battle royal. Seven’s running the US series Lost in the 8.30 pm slot, after the new series return of My RestaurantRules has seen Nine dust off a Bronte special (Ray Martin tear jerker) and then the first ER of the new series. As we said, desperate times!

And how desperate? Well look at how Seven is trying to maximise the audience for Desperate Housewives and Lost. Desperate Housewives is being repeated the next night at 9.30 pm on Tuesday and then again on Saturday at 9.40 pm. Lost is being repeatedat 11.30 pm on Friday and then on Saturday evening at 8.30. Next, they’ll be showing it after Sunrise! It’s an old trick, but a goody.

Finally, a couple of other points. Seven’s describes the duo of pommy women sleuths, Rosemary and Thyme as the ‘latest Forensic Investigators’. Nothing could be further from the truth for this slow moving, slightly clumsy British program on Saturday nights at 7.30pm.

The Seven series Forensic Investigators is much better, locally made and far more gripping than the pretensions of a couple of would be Pommy Poirots.

Finally, both Nine and Seven saying that the new programs (Lost and ER)
are “exclusive” to Seven, or “exclusive” to Nine. Duo’h, if they
weren’t exclusive to Nine or Seven, they wouldn’t be promoted and we
would have some sort of TV democracy. Now that would be news!

Desperate times folks!