Eddie McGuire is normally not stumped for words, but he’s played this hand badly.

You would have thought a bloke with his media savvy would have squeezed the first winner of the million dollar prize on Who Wants to be A Millionaire?
(tonight at 8.30 pm) for all it’s worth. Instead, he’s been scooped by
radio, newspapers and Crikey to varying degrees in the past month, with
the latest article by Ross Warneke in The Age this morning.

way in which this great event for Eddie and Nine has been allowed to
leak into the public arena, deflating the impact of the Nine publicity
machine, is also a sign of just how much clout the Packer-owned Network
has lost this year.

It seems to suggest there’s no-one in Nine
publicity or management at GTV 9 who could have enforced a black-out or
argued strongly with rival media to try and protect Millionaire‘s winner and the associated publicity and ratings boost.

This at a time when Eddie needs a ratings boost after seeing his audience bled by the Seven Network mega hit Desperate Housewives in the 8.30pm timeslot on Mondays.

So far this year Millionaire has
averaged 1.289 million viewers in that 8.30pm time slot. Respectable,
but down on the 1.505 million in 2004 (when signs of viewer tiredness
emerged, especially late in the year) and the peak since the program
started of 1.690 million in 2002.

Despite what Nine might think, this is a PR nightmare.