Chisholm shakes up Today

There are more
changes at the Nine Network as Sam Chisholm continues to unwind the
David Gyngell era. This
time, Gyngell’s wife Leila McKinnon loses her Today
newsreading gig after today’s program. She’s being replaced by Sharyn Gihdella who’s been reading the 11am News this week.

change was made late Thursday and came only four days after Today went back to
its three-hour format to try to compete with Seven’s Sunrise. So far it’s had no
impact on the viewers. Bringing in Gihdella should help because McKinnon was almost universally rejected by traditional Today viewers when the change was made by Gyngell at the start of this year.

There’s also a rumour of a Peter Overton/Jessica
Rowe pairing for Today from next year. Overton, who’s on 60 Minutes, says it’s all news to him while Rowe co-reads the 5pm news for Ten in Sydney. But her contract is up at the end of the
year and Nine is wooing her to jump to form a hubbie and wife team for

SBS cricket coverage hurts the ABC

broadcasting of the Ashes cricket Tests, which started last night, has had a significant impact on ABC viewing figures. ABC
insiders expected it and say they are not

But the
ABC looks like having a rough two and a half months because of the Ashes.
The first day’s play averaged 737,400 people between 7:30 and 11:10pm.
As a result SBS’s national share was a huge 15.9%, with the ABC down on

Nine and Seven were clipped by around a point,
while Ten also suffered.

The cricket audience also helped boost viewing numbers of the Tour de France, with more than
388,000 tuning in to watch the telecast from 11:10 pm.

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners

SBS because of the Test match. Seven because of another win. Seven
, Today Tonight, and the “recap” of Lost with 1.529 million viewers, were
the most watched program on the night. Nine battled vainly and remains on
half a win for the week. Home and Away on Seven beat Nine’s Temptation by
1,100 viewers nationally. A tight finish! Nine could consider itself a
winner though because it said “no” to the Tests, which would have given Seven an
easy win on the night and made life miserable for the next ten weeks with
below normal audiences.
The Losers

The ABC, which expected to be hit by the SBS broadcasts
and Ten, which was within a couple of points of SBS in some capitals
last night. The cricket dragged viewers from the AFL and NRL footy shows:
nationally the audience dropped to 892,700, with the Sydney audience of 240,000 down but not too
far under the average for this year. In contrast, the audience in Melbourne of 325,000
was much lower compared with recent figures.

News & CA

Seven’s Today Tonight and News again won
nationally from Nine News and A Current Affair, although the margins
were tight. Seven News won Sydney by a surprising 90,000 viewers, but
lost again in Melbourne. TT beat ACA in Sydney by only 10,000. Today
is on the verge of winning its 21st week out of 22
weeks of official ratings so far this year. That will give it victory
over A Current Affair for the year. Seven News should
also be on the verge of winning the battle with Nine for the year
because it has a similar set of figures to Today Tonight nationally.

The Stats

Seven won with 28.0% from Nine with 26.5%, 17.9% for Ten, 15.9% for SBS
and 11.7% for the ABC.
Glenn Dyer’s comments

Numbers from around 10:50pm were jumbled by live
crosses by Seven and Nine and other networks to London for the latest bombings. Seven, for
example, pre-empted the Amazing Race in Adelaide
and Perth.and
Lost was reshown later in the night in Perth. Seven leads the week narrowly 27.0% to 26.9%. Nine
will be confident of grabbing the week on the basis of the AFL and NRL games
tonight. But will the cricket on SBS, with Australia in a strong position,
frustrate Nine by drawing viewers away? Seven’s Saturday evening line-up
is stronger than Nine’s.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey