Juanita Phillips rejects Nine’s advances

Currently on maternity leave from her main gig of reading the
ABC 7pm news in Sydney, Juanita Phillips has spurned advances from the Nine
Network for the second
time in three years.

She re-signed with the ABC three years ago after
being approached by then CEO of PBL Media, John Alexander (and then
deputy, David Gyngell). She mulled and said “no” despite the
blandishments from Alexander, who apparently remains a fan.

So
when it became known two months ago that her contract with the ABC was
up for renewal, she re-appeared on the Nine shopping list – this time
to front the Today show in a mooted double header with Peter Overton.

Things went all quiet on that front, Tracy Grimshaw, the Today show incumbent went on holidays, then returned blonde (just like Juanita) and emerged as a possible favourite to take over A Current Affair next year if Ray Martin drops out.

But
despite negotiations involving Nine CEO Sam Chisholm in recent weeks,
Phillips has decided to remain with the national broadcaster.
Apparently she found the negotiating process less than awe-inspiring
and quite draining.

Her agent, Sean Anderson, did a bit of shopping around for her, but in the end the negotiations with Nine were fruitless.

Nine’s cricket win
One Day International cricket will be seen more often during the full
ratings period after the good numbers for the three games of the ICC Super
Series. Australia had a clean sweep and they did the job for Nine, with
1.481 million viewers on Wednesday night and a huge 1.789 million
viewers on Friday night.

Nine
has signed a new long-term broadcasting deal with Cricket Australia and live
prime time telecasts of One Day Internationals must now bring in audiences, especially in
Melbourne, if Nine is to pay for the deal without cutting profit
margins.

And the
key to prime time ratings telecasts is going live into Melbourne. On Friday night an average of 634,000
people watched, compared to only 473,000 in the slightly bigger Sydney
market. Because
it can now telecast all ODIs live against the gate, Nine will be able to
boost what it charges advertisers in Melbourne. Previously it was only the first two hours of live play
that was telecast in the afternoon with low audience levels and low ad
rates.

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners

Nine won thanks to the third ODI cricket game from Melbourne
and its 1.491 million people on average who watched from 6.30pm to around 9pm
when the match finished early. Nine News with 1.910 million was the most watched
program and was boosted by the first session of the cricket with Australian
batting. But Ten will be happy: Australian Idol showed the first sign of life in this
series. The audience jumped 400,000 from the previous Sunday to average
1.531 million and beat the cricket from 7.30pm to 9pm. Seven News (1.411
million) and the cobbled together World’s Craziest Videos (1.279 million) did
well – certainly the latter did a lot better than other things Seven has
scheduled at 6.30pm on Sundays.
The Losers

No real losers but I wonder if Australia’s Brainiest Kid
on Ten is dying with the audience down to 1.064 million last night.

News & CA

Sunday night and Nine News gets big figures. Watching Nine
News on a Sunday night is a habit, not a choice for many people. Seven News also did
well. The ABC news was down and there was no 60 Minutes
because of the cricket. Seven’s Weekend Sunrise at 8am Sunday beat Nine’s
Business Sunday 236,000 to 172,000 people. Sunday was watched by 366,000
people.
The Stats

Nine won 29.0% to Ten on 25.6%, Seven with 24.3%, the
ABC with 14.6% and SBS with 6.5%. Nine won everywhere bar Perth which was won by
Ten. Nine also won last week – 31.9% to 26.8% for Seven and 20.9% for Ten. The
ABC finished with 15.2% and SBS with 5.2%. Nine won because of the NRL Grand
Final on Sunday night, plus good audiences for the first two One Day
International cricket games.
Glenn Dyer’s
comments

Ten will be doing handstands,
boasting wins in the 18 to 39 and 25 to 54 age groups (though they use the 6pm
to 10.30pm timeslot for prime time). Idol certainly perked up, but for how
long? Tonight The
Alice
is well buried in the vault, the mooted 10.30pm timeslot is not even good
enough now. It’s gone and forgotten. Nine pops out a new series of Super Nanny, the
surprise hit from earlier in the year. Will
it flare, then die – or are viewers over Jo Frost and her naughty corner
approach? Also, stay tuned to Eddie’s Millionaire tonight and next week – talk about
good timing.

Peter Fray

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