Seven gambles on Headland:

The
Seven Network seems to be having a big, big bet on its new drama series Headland. Seven
has only ordered three months’ worth of Blue Heelers from Southern Star for
2006. That’s
just 12 episodes, which would take it to early May, assuming two programs don’t
go to air because of the Winter Olympics in February.

That’s
why Seven is doing its utmost to make Headland work
with viewers before the end of 2005. If it
doesn’t, Seven could revisit its great aptitude to snatch defeat from the jaws of ratings victory: it’s
almost in the gene pool at the network. The
series is being produced in-house by Seven with Channel Four money (it goes to
air in Britain in late November) helping pay for it.

Seven’s schedule for the week starting November 13 has some big changes compared to this week. The
most important are on Tuesday and Thursday. On
Tuesday November 15, Headland starts at 7.30pm in the timeslot where Dancing
With the Stars
has been. Seven has pushed Dancing With
the Stars
(a shorter one hour ep for the first dance off) back an hour to 8.30pm and left All Saints running on the coattails of
Dancing as usual at 9.30pm. Thursday November 17 sees the second episode of
Headland followed by the underperforming Billy Connolly touring New
Zealand.

The actual schedule may look very
different because
Seven and Nine are making last minute changes every
week now to confuse each other. But it
is interesting that Seven has moved Dancing With The
Stars
to give Headland a boost. That
way, Seven hopes Headland can build an audience by
avoiding a turn-off. It
needs to. If Headland doesn’t work, more Blue Heelers?

Seven News is listening:
According to Monday evening’s 6pm Seven News in Sydney, more than four thousand people
replied to the network’s “Seven Listens poll.” The
figures were given in a story which claimed a majority of those replying to this
highly unscientific survey wanted the death penalty “for some
crimes” (54%).
The
crimes were not listed but Seven’s “listening” seems to be a counter to the poll run by Nine in Sydney and the rest
of NSW actually through the Sunday Telegraph a week earlier.

A short
story in Sunday’s Tele on Sunday said that more than 5,000 people had replied to
the survey. That’s
pretty poor actually, given that more than 330,000 people on average watch Nine
News each night while the Sunday Tele’s readership is put at more than 1.5
million people (its circulation is more than 700,000 every
Sunday).

The
Seven poll was nonsense of the worst kind; no
weighting, the question was not given in the report, and the main bits of talent
were a former policeman who resigned from the force in NSW because he claimed
courts were being to soft on defendants, and Andrew Stoner, the NSW National
Party leader. Hardly the most objective commentators for subjects like the death penalty.

Last night’s TV
ratings:

The Winners Nine won from Seven, Mary Bryant did well again for Ten, but
lost 250,000 viewers from Sunday night, the verdict episode of Australian Idol
dipped under the million mark and Seven’s Grey’s Anatomy and Home and Away
finished one and two on the list of most watched programs. Home and Away was
more than 200,000 in front of Temptation. Seven’s The Great Outdoors was down
(1.178 million) and beaten by Nine’s Super Nanny USA (1.225 million).
Cold Case did well for Nine with 1.178 million and probably won the night for
Nine. Australian Story
(1.018 million) was the ABC’s best performer.
The Losers

Losers: None really in a night with 13 programs having
a million or more viewers. Nine’s Who Wants to be a Millionaire was weak, down to
1.116 million people. It’s a long away from the millionaireepisode of three
weeks ago. The verdict episode of Idol was down almost 100,000 viewers compared
to the previous week, even though tension is supposed to be building as the end
approaches. But Idol and Mary Bryant (1.327 million) did the job for Ten last
night.

News & CA A win nationally for Nine News, but a loss in Sydney, again.
Today Tonight snuck home by around two thousand viewers over A Current Affair.
Daylight saving remains the biggest influence at the moment. ABC 7pm
News with 971,000 viewers was pipped by the 7.30 Report with 998,000. Four
Corners
averaged 754,000 people and Media Watch 732,000.
The Stats
Nine won with a share of 27.3% to 26.1% for
Seven, 24.4% for Ten, 15.9% for the ABC and 6.3% for SBS. Nine won Sydney,
Melbourne and Brisbane, Ten won Adelaide (Seven was third) and Seven won Perth.
A fairly even night’s viewing.
Glenn Dyer’s
comments
The big mystery from last
night was the impact of daylight saving, especially in Melbourne where audiences
are down more sharply than in Sydney. Perhaps it’s also the long weekend and a
certain horse race. The biggest audience in the country was Home and Away in
Sydney with 468,000 people. In Melbourne it was Mary Bryant with 442,000. Tonight it’s Dancing With
The Stars
. A big night for Seven, with All Saints expected to do well after
Dancing and Home and Away will again mug Temptation. Seven broadcasts the horse
racing from Melbourne. Will today’s coverage be any less a product placement
fest than the Derby coverage was on
Saturday?