Just three days after
its debut on the Nine Network, Bert’s Family Feud is looking terminal. Tuesday
morning Nine was crowing at the perfomance of Bert’s
Family Feud
in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane after it helped Nine News to wins over Seven’s 6pm bulletin. Forget
the hype, the real story was Sydney where there was an assist. No such joy
in Adelaide and Perth as Bert ran a distant second to Seven’s
Deal or No Deal.

But last night Bert slumped –
shedding 151,000 viewers, or a quarter of his audience. The show was
watched by 527,000 viewers compared to 678,000 on Monday (and 873,000
for Deal or No Deal), and to rub
it in, Deal added 53,000 viewers from Monday to
last night. Now this might be a one-off but it’s a good
indicator. The younger
Andrew O’Keefe has far more energy than Bert, who’s wooden, slow and old. And it shows.

As a result, Nine News was done like a dinner by Seven nationally,
and even though the margin in Sydney was close, 354,000 to 339,000, it
was still a loss. The big news was the size of Nine’s loss in
Melbourne, 379,000 to 334,000. Overall,
Seven News was watched by 1.405 million nationally, compared to Nine’s
1.140 million. If this keeps going then Eddie has his first crisis: to
continue with an expensive but ineffective attempt to bolster the 5.30
to 7pm timeslots, or cut the network’s losses and try again. But with
what? Millionaire failed
there in 2004 so Eddie knows about the frustrations at 5.30pm.

And what about Bert? There’s 20 to 1 on Monday nights, a “starring
guest” role on Clever on Sunday night, and perhaps, Millionaire to replace the
boss. But Nine is stuck, it can’t have Bert at 7.30pm with 20 to 1 and then at
8.30pm on Millionaire without copping a lot of stick from viewers who don’t even like
him all that much at 5.30 pm.

Peter Fray

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