Blaring
all over the back page of the Sydney Sunday Telegraph
was a story suggesting that former Nine Network newsreader in Sydney,
Jim Waley, was talking to Seven. But if you read the column piece by
Sandra Lee carefully you would have
realised the headline said more than the story – Waley did have a
brief conversation with Seven at the time of his legal victory over
Nine several months ago.

As part
of his settlement Waley can’t talk to anyone else
other than Nine for several more months and you’d think that Seven is quite happy with its current newsreading roster.

Ian Ross has a couple of years to go tormenting Nine in the Sydney 6pm
news timeslot and others are in the wings, including Anna Coren and the
talented young reporter, Sam Armytage. In Melbourne, Seven has just
re-signed its newsreader, Peter Mitchell, for another four years. His
6pm news has pinched viewers for Seven this year and narrowed the gap
behind Nine to less than 100,000 on average from 150,000 a night a year
ago.

But the
most intriguing comment in the Waley story was the
suggestion that the Seven network was eyeing a 60
Minutes
-style current affairs program. Well,
it’s not. While such a program is the dream of some at Seven, it isn’t the dream of News and Public Affairs boss,
Peter Meakin.

He’s of
the belief that after the abortive attempt to match Nine with the program known as Witness (Witless to many in
the industry) Seven would be mad to go down that route. There are the added costs and lack of a timeslot, plus
the uncertainty of being able to match 60 Minutes in an economic
fashion.

After
all, the big story in TV in 2006 will be cost control and maximising soft revenues, even on Seven. The Network
is already raising eyebrows in the investment community with its
spending at a time when revenue gains have been meagre
for the past two months.

A high cost, low revenue, low
rating 60 Minutes clone would be the last thing Seven would be wanting to flog
to advertisers and investors in 2006.

Peter Fray

Save up to 50% on a year of Crikey.

This extraordinary year is almost at an end. But we know that time waits for no one, and we won’t either. This is the time to get on board with Crikey.

For a limited time only, choose what you pay for a year of Crikey.

Save up to 50% or dig deeper so we can dig deeper.

See you in 2021.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

SAVE 50%