Glenn Dyer writes:



The Big Fella – ratings winner?
So how did The Big Fell do?
Well, not too bad at all: 1.521 million people and solid audiences all
around. But it didn’t win the night or the timeslot, as some of the
Nine urgers were claiming that it would do. Seven’s Lost had
that honour with 1.814 million people. And to rub it in, Seven won the
night by a comfortable margin from Nine that struggled, apart from the
doco on its former driving force. Seven had five of the top six
programs. But there’s a big side benefit of the Packer doco. That it
pleased the family and did well with viewers will help some of old
Chisholm regime (who dreamed it up) withstand any threat from the new
guard of Eddie and the Visigoths from Park Street. These include Mark
Llewellyn, appointed by Chisholm as Nine’s News and Current Affairs
boss late last year, Peter Hiscock, Ben Hawke and Sunday
reporter (and Seven reporter and adversary) Graham Davis. They all did
well in what was the toughest assignment on Australian TV for some time.

Barnaby’s ABC senate estimates capers:
Late on Monday night, Russell Balding made his farewell appearance
before the Senate Estimates Committee. No Santo Santoro this time
around, but perhaps the star turn was Senator Barnaby Joyce. Barnaby
was a jokester with a couple of lines but its clear that if he wants to
play in the same league as Senator Santo, or Senators Campbell or
Conroy on the Labor side, he has to go into some serious training.
Here’s a highlight from Barnaby:

Senator JOYCE—I like the ABC. I reckon it is great. Radio
National is like the University of the Third Age; it is great to listen
to. Triple J wakes you back up when Radio National is sending you to
sleep. I have a couple of brief questions. Do you have to have The Planet on every day on Radio National? It is very boring.

CHAIR—It is a late-night music program.

Senator JOYCE—Do you ever listen to it?

Mr Balding—I have listened to it occasionally, but these are programs—

Senator JOYCE—I put it on in the house and the cat fell asleep. – Glenn Dyer

Does Russell Crowe have a new manager?
Wendy Day, the legendary Sydney-based agent (and wife of News Ltd
veteran Mark Day) used to handle our Rusty and our Nicole, but Rusty
and she parted company late last year. Word round Park Street is that
Rusty’s new handler is Mr Grant Vandenberg. Known to some as The
Hindenberg in appreciation of his girth and his ability to float
through the corridors of Park Street, the Macquarie Network, various
magazine offices, Ottos and other leading pubs and eateries in the
Emerald City. Rusty and Grant have been very visible in the lead-up to
the Packer doco on Nine last night and Friday’s memorial service at the
Opera House. Of special interest is the close friendship between PBL
CEO, John Alexander and Grant H, as well as some at the ACP magazines
biz of PBL that JA used to run. And of course there’s the close
friendship between Grant and the king of the Sydney airwaves, Alan
Jones. Sydney’s media networks take on amazing complexities at times.

A subscriber writes:

Australian Story
under fire:
Australian Story
is taking some hits for the dishonesty of the Scott Rush story. This
story is building and raising issues about media honesty and ethics. The Australian Story
guestbook on its program website is running strong on comments about
the Scott Rush story, with over half of the comments complaining about
the ‘almost’ or real dishonesty of the story in concealing the criminal
record of Rush, which is highly relevant in a story designed to move
viewers. The concern is being magnified by a video presentation on the
website by the producer/presenter Helen Grasswill who states she
intended to highlight political issues. This desire for political spin
raises doubts about the legitimacy of the story. Australian Story
now has added a standard moderator comment trying to deflect the
criticism by saying that ABC have been playing down issues potentially
relevant to the sentencing, but that comment appeared only after the
media furore after disclosure of the facts by SMH and the Courier Mail. This is a highly significant debate about the boundaries of journalistic ethics.

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners

Seven and ……daylight. Nine’s Packer doco tribute did well (1.521 million), but Lost did better (1.814 million), Seven’s News(1.409 million) and Today Tonight (1.477 million) bested Nine’s efforts easily (News, 1.196 million and A Current Affair, 1.092 million), while Deal or No Deal (911,000) cleaned up Bert’s Family Feud (523,000) comprehensively. Ten’s The Biggest Loser (1.112 million) continues to make life difficult at 7 pm. Seven’s Home and Away was watched by 1.333 million. Nine’s Temptation (915,000) will appear in the next group. Nine veteran Getaway was strong (1.315 million).
The Losers

Nine, Bert’s Family feud, Temptation, John Farnham in
concert, which followed the Packer Tribute, was watched by 613,000,
compared to the more than 1.5 million watching KP. Appalling
programming, especially as Seven had the Winter Games on (Gold Medal
and all, I know) which averaged 1.346 million.. Now Bert, down 4,000 to
523,000. Just not good enough when Deal or No Deal increases
its audience on a normally lowish viewing night like Thursday. There is
now a clear choice at 5.30 pm in the type of game show, the energy and
attractiveness of the hosts and contestants and the overall pace and
energy of the program. Bert’s skewing old and that’s as good as it is
going to get. Temptation still hasn’t cracked the million viewer mark in its first week back this year. Comedians are not all that funny, unless it’s Blankety Blanks type programs. Bert is a solid second banana who won’t go gold (but will grow rapidly older) doing the 5.30 pm gig.
News & CA

Seven news and TT easily over Nine News and ACA.
Seven News ran second in Melbourne, but got a solid beating in Sydney.
Still the Sydney audience for Nine at 6 pm has been over the 300,000
mark this week, which is at least something to be glad about.
The Stats

Seven with 35.8%, easily from Nine with 26.9%, Ten with 21.6%, the ABC with 10.6% and SBS with 5.1%. Seven won everywhere.
Glenn Dyer’s comments

It wasn’t that Nine gave up the night to Seven by programming the Packer tribute (which was ad free, so no revenue). Getaway
was a Top Ten performer. It’s just that the hour from 6 pm to 7 pm let
the network down badly and the terrible John Farnham thing from just
after 9.30 forced people to turn off and go to bed or switch to watch
7. The turnoff – was around 900,000 on Nine, but from Lost to
the Olympics, it was only around 500,000 on average. Another
interesting point that’s emerged this week has been the low numbers
some nights for the ABC, culminating in the 10.6% average share last
night. Now that is low. ABC News was back over 900,000 viewers, but the
7.30 Report is still low (774,000) and it was a poor night from then on. The hairdressing soap, Cutting It only managed 375,000 viewers on average up against the KP tribute and Lost and Medium
on Ten (976,000). Are ABC viewers really closet Kerry Packer groupies?
The mimes wander at the thought, but all things are possible these
days!

Peter Fray

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