A tale of two “current” affair shows

Some huffing and puffing in the News Ltd press this week with Sydney’s
Daily Telegraph claiming an “exclusive” on the switch at A Current Affair with
Tracy Grimshaw replacing Ray
Martin. Then
Amanda Meade weighed in to the story today in her gossip column in the
Australian‘s Media section. Her
contribution raises the question, does she watch TV? In her
piece she wrote “So when Ray Martin signs off for the last time next
Friday…” Um, Ray
signed off last Friday for the year without saying he would be back.

In the meantime, Ellen
Fanning is in the chair at ACA spruiking the same
collection of dodgy stories that Ray was doing. She’s there until December 16 when ACA goes on a summer holiday, leaving
Today Tonight on its own in the 6.30 pm “current” affairs
timeslot. Rather
than the mindless stories about diets, underweight food cans, shopping tips and
other forms of rip-off merchants, TT could tackle one or two hard stories in the
month that it has the field to itself or perhaps, try and tell an interesting
story or three.

Over at Nine, there are suggestions that they’ll use failed US comedy, Joey,to fill thevacated 6.30pm ACA timeslot. That
way it will be able to use up the rest of series one and the episodes from
series two that were made before the Friends spinoff was put on hold in the
US by NBC last week.

Last night’s TV

The Winners No doubt the Nine Network will bask in the glory of yet
another win in the summer ratings, but viewers might ask if any claim of
victory is a bit hollow, like much of the programming on the commercial networks
last night. Top program was Today Tonight (1.189 million) and then Seven News
(1.128 million) and that basically, was Seven’s night. It’s next most watched
program was down at No.17 with a program called 5 Minutes to Midnight
watched by only 796,000 people from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. Ten had a
better night, finishing second overall, with the Simpsons at 7.30pm (1.089
million) and Futurama at 8pm (1.014 million) gathering OK sized audiences. Nine
was best served by Nine News (1.085 million) and ACA (1.047 million) then Third
(960,000) and Judging Amy (897,000).
The Losers

Seven’s Headland was down to yet another low last night, only 613,000, a loss of
101,000 from Tuesday night. The Bachelor V on Nine at 9.30pm had just 575,000 – unwanted even in non-ratings, this tacky show shouldn’t be on TV. It has
outlived its use by date and yet it got a lot of promotion in the TV pages and
liftouts over the past week. It just wasn’t worth all the time and effort from
the Nine publicists. Blackpool on the ABC was watched by
658,000 people in its second episode. It is an interesting program worth keeping with. There’s plenty
of honest risk taking and not much in the way of milking a cynical formula like
Bachelor V.

News & CA Seven won because of Perth and Sydney. The gap between Seven
News and Nine News in Sydney was around 80,000 for the second night running.
Nine News beat Seven News in Brisbane by around 90,000, so a bit of tit for tat
in different markets. The ABC News and 7.30 Report did well for the ABC. The ABC
News in Melbourne drew more viewers (345,000) than Seven News did at 6pm
(315,000), and more in Brisbane (198,000 to 156,000).
The Stats Nine won with a share of 26.4%, to Ten with 24.0%, Seven
with 23.8%, the ABC with 17.1% and SBS with 8.7%.
Glenn Dyer’s
Headland remains the worry
for Seven but I reckon the biggest influence on TV viewing last night didn’t
show up in the official figures because they are not included. It would have
been the Fox Sports telecasting of the second Australia-New Zealand ODI from
Wellington. It was broadcast from around Noon to about 8.15pm and featured a
very thrilling finish. That seems to have drained viewers from the FTA networks.
But that is not to excuse the load of lightweight fluff on the commercials at
the moment..