What happens next for Bert and Ray?

Bert Newton has gone all cute and says he hasn’t signed with anyone, telling viewers on Good Morning Australia on Friday “we have another seven weeks before the show closes.”

But
Bert’s coyness is a bit strange because, on Thursday, Nine insiders were
saying he’s hopped over to Willoughby for a prodigal-like return after
realising that Ten wouldn’t give him what he wanted. There was no
attempt to kill off that speculation until late on Thursday, when we got the
line: “I haven’t signed with anyone.” Perhaps Bert has been reminded by
someone that he can’t sign with Nine until his contractual arrangements
with Ten are completed.

But when Bert wanders across, eventually, we all know the gig he will have in 2006 – hosting the Logies.

Meanwhile,
last night in Sydney also saw a big slap-up dinner to celebrate Ray
Martin’s 40 years in journalism. Sam Chisholm, Jana Wendt, Brian
Henderson, Alan Jones and their respective partners were all there: a
sort of gathering of the greats of the past.

Nine is currently
preparing a big showcase reel to show advertisers. I hear that Nine
management doesn’t want to play up Ray as the face of Nine’s News and
Current Affairs, but want to use his 60 Minutes mate, Jana Wendt.

Now what’s that say about his future at Nine and where his good mate, Sam Chisholm, sees Ray next year?

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners Nine won easily, thanks the rising audience of RPA 1.763
million and 20 to 1 with 1.619 million. Seven was second, despite good numbers
for the final episode of The Mole (1.472 million) and Home and Away, 1.462
million. Home and Away again beat Temptation (1.075 million, its lowest audience
since starting midway through the year) by almost 400,000 viewers. Temptation is
approaching the “we’re in trouble” zone. Nine’s re-cut pommie doco special
Amazing Medical Stories averaged 1.348 million to drive home the win. Ten’s best
was Law and Order SVU with 993,000. That’s means no
Ten program could grab a million viewers last night. The ABC’s best was the 7pm
news with 967,000.
The Losers

Seven and Ten. Seven’s 8.30 to 10.30 pm programs Stupid
Behaviour Caught on Tape
and Alias, Las Vegas, Billy Connolly did badly, even
when the figures are all added up. Seven ran Stupid Behaviour at 8.30 pm in
Sydney and Brisbane, Las Vegas in other markets (442,000 people). Billy Connolly
ran in Melbourne and Adelaide at 9.30 pm, Alias in Sydney and a second ep of Las
Vegas
in Perth. This was because programs were out of sync due to earlier
pre-emptions. It didn’t help Seven and the audience levels were low. RPA and 20
to 1
crushed them. The Stupid Behaviour program attracted just 432,000 viewers
because it only went to air in Sydney and Brisbane. Alias wasn’t much better.
It’s not true that viewers who watch Alias are changing their identities to
protect themselves. Ten’s experimental half hour drama The Surgeon continues to
sink under the weight of RPA. As RPA has added viewers, The Surgeon has lost
them to where it averaged 496,000 last night. Running it against RPA hasn’t
given it a chance.

News & CA Now in a week where Nine News has been troubled in Sydney last
night was an added insult. Yep, Seven News and Today Tonight won nationally and
in Sydney. But Nine News ran third in the Sydney news stakes. Its 266,000 people
was beaten by Seven with 324,000 and the ABC at 7 pm, with 278,000. And no
amount of spin (different timeslots) can put a better complexion on that. The
results were sort of the same elsewhere. Nine wining Melbourne and Brisbane,
Seven blitzing Nine in Perth and winning in Adelaide.
The Stats Nine won with a share of 34.6% to Seven with 26.7%, Ten
with just 18.4%, the ABC with 15.4% and SBS with 4.9%. Nine won every market,
but Perth where Seven won.
Glenn Dyer’s
comments
Seven’s scheduling
shuffle handed victory to Nine as the network knew it would. They knew 20 to 1
and RPA and the re-cut Medical doco at 10 pm on Nine would be too strong and why
battle against it? But what Seven did was a form of throwing in the towel. Nine
has snatched back its lead in the week’s battle, when if Seven had have
programmed more strongly it might have been in a position to stay in touch with
Willoughby. Nine tonight has a bit of a problem: FAQ programs in Sydney and
Brisbane, the round ball International Rules quasi AFL kick-and-giggle game for
the southern markets. It will sort of do well in the south, but Seven with Better
Homes and Gardens
going great at 7.30 pm and Home and Away, should do better
than last night. In fact its a pretty uninspiring night tonight. Heath Ledger as
Ned Kelly on Ten at 8.30 pm:don’t think
so!