The TV programmers’ lot is a desperate one. With all the Network’s big
guns away at MIPcom in Cannes trawling for new product for 2006 and
beyond (especially the Nine Network), decisions are down to
subordinates and network heavies not involved in programming. And last
week they got to earn their big bucks with the Pope’s funeral and the
wedding of Charlie and Camilla.

They had to decide funeral and/or wedding? Nine chose both, Ten chose
nothing and Seven went each way for the wedding and missed the funeral.
The ABC also went each way, opting for the funeral and not the wedding
as they had their own on The Bill on Saturday night. So who made the right calls?

First off, Nine bombed with the funeral, as did the ABC. Seven won for
not having the funeral and covering the wedding, and Ten also won for
covering neither. That necessitated a lot of jiggling and juggling,
with the Nine Network forced to postpone the launch of its new
lifestyle program, Our Place for a week, despite having a ritzy launch party at the Nine studios at Willoughby on Wednesday night.

The anchor piece for the end of the week was supposed to be the wedding
of Charles and Camilla. First it was set for Friday and the Seven
Network was starting its telecast at 9pm and rival Nine was down to
kick its coverage off at at 11pm, well after the hostilities, sorry,
festivities had concluded.

That was supposed to be after the premiere of Our Place , the new lifestyle show that’s a desperately needed replacement for Burke’s Backyard,
and then the NRL and AFL match of the night. Then il Papa went and
carked it and his funeral was slotted for Friday, forcing Charlie and
Camilla’s knot tying ceremony to be put back a day. (Rome one, the
Church of England 0 and what will the Evangelical Anglicans in Sydney
under the reign of the Glorious Jensenites have to say about that
decision?)

That saw Nine decide to start its coverage at 8.40pm after Seven had
indicated its would start at 9pm. Nine boasted about being first on
air, but the decision makers at Seven reacted quickly, advancing their
coverage half an hour to 8.30pm Saturday. Who cared?

Seven did well, Nine didn’t and Ten was probably the star as its
wedding-less night saw it draw level with Seven, principally due to the
telecast of the Swans/Lions match that did very well in Melbourne, but
not as well in Brisbane and Sydney! Ten’s programming of Lions’ and
Swans’ matches continues to go down badly with AFL fans in both cities.
Ten won Melbourne on Saturday night but was fourth in Sydney (distantly
so) behind the ABC and third in Brisbane.

And what was Seven doing, resurrecting the dead like that? Who? Wasn’t
that the Queen Mum in the on-air promos on Saturday night? Was this
another example of the media bringing a dysfunctional family together,
from the hereafter and the present? And Tony Squires was nowhere to be
seen, having withdrawn because he’s a republican. Sensible lad!

Peter Fray

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