By
Glenn Dyer


Bert’s back but how did he perform?


Bert Newton’s reappearance on Family Feud
last night did OK at 5.30pm and provided some spark for Nine News, but that
quickly died, leaving A Current Affair to lose badly to Today Tonight,
while Temptation at 7pm was belted by Ten’s The
Biggest Loser
and Home and Away. That
will furrow brows at Nine today, as will Eddie McGuire’s
second last gig as host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? It averaged 1.187
million viewers. Not bad, but not up to previous
standards. Family
Feud
was watched by an average 678,000 people but Seven’s Deal or No Deal was watched by an average 820,000, thanks to the boost from the
renewed Wheel of Fortune at 5pm (463,000). However, at 7.30pm there was a bit of a different story with the Bert-hosted 20 to 1
doing well with 1.226 million viewers. Not bad, but it was up against the second half of the first episode of The Biggest Loser (1.407 million)
which was the big success on the night.

Foxtel’s summer of content
Summer’s come and gone and has once again produced the usual collection of win-win
situations for Seven, Nine and Ten. The
figures show Seven beat Nine narrowly as the most
popular summer network (from 1 January to midnight last Saturday night). Seven
won by a few thousand viewers, and Ten says it was the
most watched network by the 16-39 age group. Analyses of the viewing figures show total TV viewing was down 1% in
the summer period (officially the first six weeks of 2006). The
audience for Ten fell around 5% between 6pm and 10.30pm, Seven’s fell
3.3%, Nine by 2.9%, ABC was down almost 14%, SBS was up almost 14% and
Pay TV’s audience rose 26.4%.
That produced much cheering at Foxtel, but the rise was from virtually
nothing to almost nothing. Perhaps the most interesting point was how much Fox Sports was down
compared to winter… When the AFL, NRL and Super 12 and Rugby Union
tests are on, Fox Sports 1 and 2 dominate viewing on Pay TV. But with
little in the way of gripping local sport in summer, they lingered in
the pack with market shares around half the 0.8% to 1.3% they sometimes
pick up.
No wonder joint owners, PBL and News, are resisting calls to allow
more digital TV broadcasts from 2008.

Nine’s tribute to the Big Fella

Sixty
three minutes (not 60 Minutes), give or take a few seconds, of tribute to The Big Fella will go to air on Thursday evening at 8.30pm – the Nine
Network’s ode to Kerry Packer. Niners say Mrs Ros Packer became very emotional when she saw the finished
program yesterday and there are all sorts of
rumours about who is in it and what was said.
So much so that it would be misleading and dangerous to mention some of them
in case they are whipped out or changed. James
Packer, the six billion dollar heir, talks about his father and there’s chat that
the full interview with the PBL executive chairman might be seen in a much
longer format, perhaps this week on either Business Sunday or
Sunday. No ads
at all in the program. What would have The Big Fella have
thought about that loss of revenue?

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners Night two of 2006 ratings and there was one big, new
winner, and a couple of pretenders, old and new. Ten’s The Biggest Loser
averaged 1.407 million from 7pm to 8pm in its premiere episode – making a mess of Temptation on Nine (901,000) and nipping at
Home and Away (1.372 million). No matter how the others spin it, Ten’s gamble of
running the program at 7pm is off to a solid start. Seven’s Desperate
Housewives
was also a winner, with 1.939 million and clearly the most watched
program on the night.
The Losers Losers…. hmm Nine would point to the 1.102 million
average for the Winter Games on Seven. But that’s not quite the
case. That was the average from 9.40pm to 11pm. It in fact cleaned up the
opposition. Temptation was clearly hurt by The Biggest Loser and there’s a chance of mortal damage to the Nine show and some residual
bruising for Home and Away. A total of 13 programs with a million or more
viewers
News & CA Now here’s the interesting thing. Bert clearly helped
Nine in Sydney and Melbourne and to a lesser extent in Brisbane. But in Adelaide
and Perth it was a case of Bert Who? and Nine News (1.347 million) got beaten nationally by Seven
(1.411 million), despite having solid figures for the first time in several
weeks. The Nine win in Sydney would have been sweet. But by 6.30pm no impact at all and A Current Affair (1.198 million) was
done over by Today Tonight (1.584 million).
Although it’s early days yet, Tracy Grimshaw isn’t getting any traction with viewers. Four Corners averaged
760,000 and Media Watch, 702,000 in its first outing with Monica
Attard.
The Stats Seven with 32.3% to 27.0% for Nine, 20.4% for Ten (which
won the 16-39 age group), the ABC on 14.7% and SBS with 5.6%. Seven won all
markets.
Glenn Dyer’s comments Well, Bert came, he was seen,
woodenly at times, but didn’t quite reclaim the audience. He’s too old for many
viewers and while the spirit might be willing, the flesh is clearly a bit
pressed. Ten has clearly taken first points in
the ratings battle with the success of The Biggest Loser. With so much
food-related programming this year Ten could be in for a better year than they
thought last November when launching the 2006 line-up. But it’s clear that Seven
has a lot of firepower and is using the Winter Games intelligently to dominate
the latter hours of each evening. Nine will do that, or it should, for the
Commonwealth Games.

Peter Fray

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