Nine’s dog of a week:

Rumours are that the Nine Network is planning major changes to the look
of its struggling Sydney 6pm news broadcast. The news, read by Mark
Ferguson, is falling behind Seven and the past week has been one of the
network’s worst this year so far. Discounting the rusted-on Sunday
night audience, Nine News in Sydney has battled to make any headway.
Last week, even with the ODI cricket as a lead-in, Nine News again
struggled in Sydney and lost quite comprehensively on Friday night when
the cricket had its biggest audience. Nine’s news broadcasts in
Melbourne and Brisbane were boosted by the cricket.

So now
I hear that Nine’s Sydney news boss, Tony Ritchie,
is looking at ditching the “live” skyline shot and going with
a new set. Nine’s
keyed in backdrop forced Seven to change its set background at least twice since
it went to the Martin
Place studios in the Sydney CBD just over a year
ago. Nine
also has a “strategic re-branding” exercise underway, which involves new livery for the Nine News
Helicopters in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. They
were to be delivered sometime this month but there are now suggestions that
won’t be till much later in the year.

So far
in calendar 2005, Nine’s News average audience in Sydney is off 15% at 330,000
(390,000 in the same period of 2004). Seven’s
is up 3% at 360,000 from 350,000.


Surgeon’s
diagnosis:
Ten
took a risk on The Surgeon, but unfortunately the viewing jury was hung last
night. Using a
second episode of House as a lead-in showed the
extent to which Ten wants The Surgeon (starring Justine Clarke and Sam Worthington) to succeed by the end of its eight week run.

But
viewers were not so happy. An average of 1.6 million people watched House from
8.30pm to 9.30pm, making it the most watched program on the
night. But
there was a big turn-off for The Surgeon, which will worry Ten. By the
time the program was over, the audience had fallen to an average 934,000 people, which is OK
but not brilliant.

Ten of
course sees the impact it made in the 16 to 39 age group as being most important
and that’s where they will be a little happier.
It
finished second in the 16 to 39 age group in its timeslot and was the seventh
most watched program in the demographic on the night. The
Surgeon

was up against RPA on Nine which did
very well, attracting an average of 1.424 million people and easily winning the
timeslot.

Last night’s TV ratings:

The Winners Nine won but again Seven will have a head scatch and will look
at the way Las Vegas/Crossing Jordan crossover episode blew the night. After House topped the list, Home and Away (1.462
million) was second, RPA (1.424
million) was third, then Nine’s new program 20 to 1 (1.408 million)). Seven’s
Today Tonight (1.397 million) was next and then The Mole (1.397
million), beating Getaway (1.345 million) in the competitive 7.30pm timeslot.
But by the time 8.30pm came around viewers weren’t watching Las Vegas. Its audience
crashed through the million mark to average 967,000 and that’s where
Seven lost the night.
The Losers

And to make matters worse, after the Las Vegas gamble
failed along came Alias, the big loser on the night for Seven as it hacked more than 400,000 out of the low figure for Las Vegas.
Who cares, the Network should find something better.

News & CA Seven News beat Nine narrowly on a national basis, but in Sydney,
Nine fell to 296,000 and Seven was 37,000 viewers in front. Nine won
Melbourne and Brisbane as usual and lost Adelaide and Perth. Today
Tonight
was a clear winner over A Current Affair nationally and in all major markets. A clean sweep, but don’t ask me
why.
The Stats Nine won 31.0% to 26.0% for Seven, 23.0% for Ten, 15.7%
for the ABC and 4.3% for the SBS. Nine won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide
and drew Perth with Seven. A near clean sweep!
Glenn Dyer’s
comments
So Seven’s weekly lead over Nine is now
just half a per cent, 28.6% to 28.1%. Tonight sees the ABC with a
strongish line up but Seven, Nine and Ten have resorted to movies, to try and win the night. The one off cricket test
involving Australia vs the rest of the world won’t have much of an
impact until the conclusion, assuming it lasts five or six days and
finishes close to 6pm on Tuesday or Wednesday next
week.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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