Jane to get the gong?

ABC folk have been chatting noisily this week about a “gong” in the upcoming Queen’s Birthday Honours list for Jane Singleton, one of three members of the ABC’s new look Complaints Tribunal – along with former federal court judge Michael Foster and former Westpac executive Susan Brooks.

We don’t know what sort, but most likely an ordinary Bunyip Gong, it will represent interesting recognition for Jane, a well known small ‘l’ liberal in a Melbourne Age stance in days gone by who ran talk shows on ABC Radio, fronted for trade unions and other causes, and ran her own issues management consultancy.

Help wanted – but who wants it?

A prominent ad in the Media section of today’s Australian for four positions at a “Major Television Network” looking for staff for a new program has set tongues a wagging in Teleland.

Who the ad’s for? The best answer is the Seven Network, trawling for talent through a head hunting firm for supervising producer, public affairs, a producer, reporter and researcher.

Seven is close to greenlighting a program with the working title of True Stories, which Crikey in the past has revealed is a clone of Australian Story, the highly successful ABC program.

The Nine Network will receive a pilot in about a month of a similar program produced by Andrew Denton’s company, Zapruder’s Other Films.

The piano player’s wife joins the cast

The cast of Cocoon, AKA the Nine Network, is growing. After Don Ameche (Sam Chisholm) was joined by a host of other supporting actors – Lynton Taylor, Brian Henderson, Tony Ritchie in News – now Katrina Harvey, Chisholm’s former PA is back working for her old boss.

She’s the wife of Geoff Harvey, the former Nine music director who was famously and bitterly fired by David Leckie in the late 90s. Since then he and his wife have been living in the Southern Highlands, south of Sydney. He played the piano at the memorial service last week for Graham Kennedy.

Ratings: Seven bounces back

It had been a ratty week for Seven, but last night the second episode of the new series Beyond Tomorrow did even better than its debut the previous Wednesday night.

How long before Nine and maybe Ten start trying knock-off programs? BT‘s demographics are especially strong in the 16 to 39 and 18 to 49 age groups – the ones Ten is protecting and Seven and Nine are attacking.

Olympic sprinter, Matt Shirvington, must be pleased that his first real TV gig is a success: 1.44 million viewers last night, just behind tired old Brian Henderson topping and tailing the Queen’s Castle special on Nine. BT will prove to be much tougher competition to Nine’s McLeod’s Daughters when it returns from its State of Origin holiday.

Nine News beat Seven nationally, as did A Current Affair ( by 14,000 and 6,000 viewers, respectively), but both programs again lost in Sydney, so wins in the other markets don’t really matter.

Nine won narrowly, 28.8% to 27.8% with Ten back on 25.1%, the ABC with 14.3% and SBS with 4.0%