The Seven Network has passed on its opportunity to do a deal with Don Burke for one of the three pilots that his CTC Productions has going at the moment. Green thumbs say Burke has been chatting to Nine in Melbourne (he doesn’t like the people at Nine in Sydney) about a lifestyle/gardening program involving the Garden Gurus who appear on Nine in Perth. (Here’s their website.)

Nine in Perth is owned by Sunraysia TV, with Southern Cross Broadcasting a major shareholder. Seven sources say that the network looked at what Burke had to offer, but passed. He has also pitched an idea to the ABC in Sydney. Burke himself can’t appear in any program. His CTC Productions has the high-rating Backyard Blitz on Nine at 6.30 pm. He discovered Jamie Durie and Scott Camm, who are both now signed with Nine.

Camm’s new show, Our Place started on Nine on Friday with a solid opening audience of 1.154 million nationally. It beat Seven’s Better Homes and Gardens by 100,000 viewers, which is what Nine would have wanted to see. But Better Homes and Gardens beat Our Place in Sydney, where both programs are located. That’s not good for the long term health of the program. A good result, but the days of huge 1.5 million viewer audiences like Burke’s Backyard in its heyday are behind us. Lifestyle gardening is a tougher market these days!

Meanwhile Nine in Sydney is using repeats of Burke’s Backyard at 5 pm on Saturdays as filler material. Nine had been showing the Sydney Postcards program there with Matty Johns, of the NRL Footy Show . It was canned as a cost saving.