The Winners Monday, Desperate Housewives (1.932 million), Seven
wins. New program, Commander in Chief holds on to the Housewives audience (1.746
million average) plus wins by Today Tonight (1.469 million), Seven News (1.433
million) and Home and Away (1.325 million) and that was the night folks. Nine
battled gamely with 20 to 1 the best with 1.271 million. Now, is it odd that Bert
doesn’t work at 5.30pm (his worst result last night 472,000) and yet works at
7.30pm? Answer, well 20 to 1 is a nostalgia show, so Bert as host is merely
part of the show , whereas at 5.30pm he isn’t, and it shows. Most of his possible
audience are dead or in aged people’s homes! Ten’s best was the elimination
final of The Biggest Loser with 1.254 million.
Who Wants to Be A Millionaire with Eddie McGuire (AM) in the chair had its best
outing this year with 1.263 million, thereby underlining the risk of replacing
Eddie as host.
The Losers Nine’s Bert: beaten again not only by Deal or No Deal
(871,000) but Wheel of Fortune (Seven) at 5 pm. Bert gets no help from the
Antiques show at 5 pm. Is Family Feud really an extension of the Antiques Show
with Bert in the chair? Temptation at 7 pm. The Biggest Loser and Home and Away
are giving it a battering. Looking at it last night, there was no reason to stay
long. It is boring!. Temptation was watched by 848,000 on average from 7pm.
That’s terminal if it’s allowed to continue. Ten’s schedule, apart from The
Biggest Loser
, did OK in the 16 to 39 age group, but did nothing for viewers
elsewhere. Neighbours was its next best at 6.30pm with 877,000. Numb3rs (is any
one watching?) at 8.30pm with 856.000. And no one is really interested in
Courting Alex (709,000).
News & CA Yet again Seven News not only won nationally, but won
Sydney and Melbourne last night. It is rapidly becoming the biggest weak point
for Nine, that 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm timeslot. Seven also beat Nine in Brisbane.
The Commonwealth Games might give Nine a boost, and the ASFL and NRL may help on
a couple of nights a week, but if the Network can’t stop the rot Monday to
Thursday at 5.30pm to 7.30pm then it’s history. Dictates from the
know-it-alls at Park Street or the Third Floor at Willoughby will not make
people watch. No people, no ratings, no profits. Simple as that! Even for a
network which boosted its 2006 first half profit by all those cuts in 2005,
especially the cost of the CSI and other programs. But News and A Current Affair
can’t be given an accounting makeover to boost profits in what is the most vital
hour of the network’s night. The ABC News was watched by 1.03 million people at
7pm, meaning that Temptation finished fourth again! Ten News averaged 827,000
from 5pm to 6pm. Media Watch (760,000) and Four Corners
(744,000).
The Stats Seven with 33.7%, Nine with 27.0%, Ten low on 18.7%, the
ABC OK with 14.3% and SBS up (Mythbusters, much better than Clever on Nine)
with 6.3%.
Glenn Dyer’s comments
Commander in Chief
had a very solid start for a
surprisingly engrossing first episode. You can understand why the Yanks loved
the early eps with all that Death in office, Congressional speech stuff, with a
bit of Tom Clancy derring-do by Ms Geena. (Now, who was Thelma and who was
Louise, again?). Jane Fonda is in Sydney this week doing the rounds, finally,
promoting her book and haven’t times changed from when she was known as ‘Hanoi
Jane’ back in the 1960s during the Vietnam war, to where a popular American
drama can feature a woman US president (who did get it by default, but Geena is
there). How NBC and Touchstone in the US allowed the series to run off track to
the point where it shed viewers as production times, storylines etc became
ropey, is one of the great unanswered stories of TV. All that said, I can also
see that Australian interest will ebb. It is very American and very much pitched
to a post-Bush White House, just as West Wing and its Presidency is still pre-
9/11 and all those Clintonian values. But it does again show how, for all the
criticism levelled at US TV, that they do take risks. Certainly there’s more
money and resources, but risky ideas are attempted. Just look at Lost and
Desperate Housewives. Amid all the bagging of US TV in Australia,
what have we done in drama, or comedy that we can be proud of, say in the last
three years? Bert’s Family Feud, Clever, 20 to 1, Where are They Now, The
Biggest Loser?
All licensed or tape driven or nostalgia, archival ideas. Not
much original thought in any of them!

Peter Fray

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