Hard on the heels of settling with Jim
Waley, has the Nine Network created another problem for itself by
removing Mark Ferguson from his only winning night in the great Sydney
news reading battle, and replacing him with the clunky and untried Mike

Munro’s debut on the weekend, reading the 6pm news on Saturday and Sunday, has left some around the network a little amazed.

is not the main reader for the future in Sydney. He is a fourth string
option, used after former Nine CEO David Gyngell and News boss Max
Uechtritz fell out with Kim Watkins and promoted Georgie Gardiner, who
then became pregnant and went on maternity leave (she had better be on
her guard when she returns as Kim Watkins was shunted aside when she
went on maternity leave).

Munro’s weekend figures were nothing
to write home about. Beaten Saturday in Sydney by Seven (which is a
usual result for most Saturdays) and a good win on Sunday evening
because, well, it’s the done thing to watch Nine News across
Australia on Sunday nights. The Sunday night news in Sydney was watched
by 457,000 people, down from the 474,000 who watched the previous
Sunday for Mark Ferguson’s last broadcast on that night.

was put into the 6pm news readers gig when Nine sacked Jim Waley. Since
then he and Nine have lost 17 weeks in a row in the battle in Sydney
with Seven, where former Nine reader, Ian Ross, is the spearhead.
Nine’s audience with Ferguson is down 15% on a year ago while Seven’s
is up 11%.

You’d think a smart TV network management, wanting to
develop Ferguson into the future news reading strength of the Network
in Sydney, would at least allow him to have one win a week by reading
the Sunday night news.

Nine says Ferguson will concentrate on
the weekday battle with Seven, which is understandable until you
realise he’s not being allowed the biggest winning night of the year.
That’s been given to a stopgap solution who can’t make headway reading
the 4.30pm News against Seven Monday to Friday.