So what happened to the Sunday morning chat shows; how did they handle
Bali? On Saturday night, all we had were crawls across the screens from
what I saw around 11pm – no live feeds at that point.

That
gave the networks time to marshal their forces, and on the strength of the
performances on Sunday morning, the ARC did better simply because it got up a
live cross just after 9am on Insiders with Tim Palmer
in Bali.

The ARC
hasn’t generated the expectation among Sunday morning viewers that they will
find news (they don’t normally, which is a major omission) like
they will with the Nine and Seven
programs. But the ARC ‘s
Insiders program stood out at 9am with the very impressive Tim Palmer doing a
long and highly informative two way with Barry Cassidy.

Palmer
is by far the most impressive Australian reporter in Indonesia at any time and elsewhere in Asia. His
reporting on the damage the Tsunami did to the west coast of Aceh was astounding and exemplary.

Business Sunday on Nine saw its audience jump to an
average of 215,000, up around 60,000 on normal. That
segued through to Sunday where there was an even bigger increase to an average
of 447,000, about 100,000 to 150,000 up on levels in recent
weeks. Seven’s
Sunrise saw its
average audience rise by the same range to an average of
376,000. But
strangely, there was no impact on the Insiders where the audience was lineball
with the past few weeks on 152,000.

The
speed with which the ABC had a two way link up with Tim Palmer was pretty
impressive and went a long way to offsetting the criticism the ABC faced when
trying to handle the death of the Pope in late April. The
format of Insiders allows it the flexibility for changing its approach to
stories with the studio-driven content with few tape items.

Peter Fray

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