A week after the on-air promotions proclaimed that Eddie McGuire and Who Wants To Be a Millionaire
was going back to ordinary folk after four weeks of stunts, Nine has
announced another stunt to try to revive the flagship show’s flagging

Tonight, the gold medal Championship Special, staring
the likes of former swimmer, Petria Thomas and athlete Tamsyn Lewis
will do battle with Seven’s domineering Desperate Housewives, while
promoting the kick-off of the ticket deals for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

Games will of course be televised on Nine and last week Our Eddie
became a board member of Athletics Australia. So the dual purpose of
promoting the games and using the likes of Thomas, Lewis and former
games marathon champ, Steve Moneghetti as contestants, had logic (as
does trying to boost the program’s audience numbers).

With an audience of just 1.046 million last week (only enough to put the program into the top 50 at 44), Millionaire is off more than 20% so far this ratings period. Last year Millionaire was a regular top 20 finisher in the weekly rankings.

Meanwhile, Eddie’s AFL Footy Show
had a less than exuberant return last Thursday, and with the AFL season
proper starting in a fortnight, it will be tough for Nine to gather a
higher audience until then, even with Carlton winning the final of the
pre-season cup on Saturday.

And despite the Friday night Rugby League game in Sydney and Brisbane, Fatty’s Footy Show,
also lost narrowly to rival Seven in a week of ratings the network had
high expectations of winning. That makes three wins for Seven, a tie
(disputed by Nine which claims a win by 1,000 viewers!) and one clear
win to Nine in the first five weeks of official ratings.

bottom line last week was that as well as Nine did on Friday and
Saturday nights with the football, the extra ratings share was not big
enough to make up for those bad losses on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
nights. When Seven finally finesses its way to a better Sunday night
line-up and closes the gap on that night’s battle, Nine will be facing
even more pressure.

CRIKEY: Read Glenn Dyer’s full analysis of last week’s ratings battles on our website:

Ratings: Ten’s programing woes

big story in TV today is the continuing slump in the ratings for
X-Factor, the first of the Ten network’s “Big” shows for 2005.

would be in the terminal ward, if it wasn’t such an expensive program
for Ten, with more than $20 million in licensing fees and production
costs. The show had a further sharp fall in viewer numbers last night,
with the audience down more than 165,000 on a week earlier, to just
over 700,000 viewers.

This caps a bad year for Ten so far with the local version of Queer Eye off to die later in the year. American Idol, its replacement, has not done well so far, nor have the older programs like Law and Order. Only Medium and Medical Investigation, two new programs, are gaining traction.

Last night though belonged to Nine with 60 Minutes boosting its audience to 1.844 million people. CSI followed it with 1.791 million, Celebrity Overhaul’s last episode was next, and then Nine News with 1.5 million people and boosted in Sydney and Brisbane by the first Sunday NRL game of the season.

won the night with the biggest margin of the year so far, more than 13
points, 37.1% to Seven’s 22.9%, Ten with 20.3%. The ABC had 17.0% and
SBS, only 2.8%. Nine won everywhere, even in Perth.

The size of the win, a repeat of the performance the week before, will go some way to offsetting Nine’s loss last week to Seven.

Seven, Nine, poaching and rejected dead fish

Another week, another win for the Nine News nationally, but with a falling margin over Seven. Another week, another win for Seven in Sydney over Nine and also TodayTonight over A Current Affair.

That brought the spinners out from both sides as you can see from this piece in The Australian’s Media section last Thursday. Then on Sunday there was another snipe from Nine in the Sydney Sun-Herald
with ‘sources’ pointing out the number of Nine staffers who have said
‘no’ to Seven and its News and Current Affairs chief, Peter Meakin.

story doesn’t seem to be online, but Meakin is quoted as confirming
he’d spoken to a number of Nine staffers. “I think they used me to
parlay themselves pay rises,” he told the paper. “I feel like John West
– they are the fish I reject”.

Nine claims he has talked to
producer Anthony Murdoch, sports journalist Andrew McKinlay and
reporters Mark Burrows and Damian Ryan. There have been others and the
same has gone on in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Nine, of course, has
sniffed around Seven people, such as young Sydney reporter, Sam
Armtyage. That’s the nature of the business which is why Nine is
attempting to disparage its rival’s news in Sydney as being

But if all else fails, there is of course sex to make the news more watchable, or rather lingerie and legs as this Sun-Heraldpiece explains. What will they think of next, Nude News?

Meanwhile, a well-regarded former Nine director, Mark Kaminavaryi, has recently begun working at Seven on Sunday Sunrise, among other programs, joining the growing number of ex-Niners working for Little Kerry.

CRIKEY: Read more from Dyer on Sydney’s 6pm News on the site here: