Eddie’s three year plan: By all accounts Eddie McGuire’s (AM) Melbourne BBQ at Bendigo Street
Richmond was a genteel affair. Staff came, they listened to Eddie and
wondered why John Alexander said nothing, even though as the CEO of
PBL, he is Eddie’s boss. And they were also mystified why the Network’s
Chief Operating Officer,
Ian Audsley, wasn’t more forthcoming about his tight-fisted
approach to spending. After all, speak to Nine staff and program makers
and you hear the common complaint that Audsley and Nine CFO, Brent
Cubis, are working hand in glove to control all spending, even in
editorial areas in News and Current Affairs. Air fares and payment to
freelance contributors need “third floor approval” in most cases.
Eddie’s words left Nine staffers with the very strong impression that
while Nine will try and be competitive in 2006 and 2007, Eddie sees
2008 as the year when Nine is back being a strong Number 1 again. A
three year plan that effectively writes off the next two years! Profits
before ratings! But people wonder if Eddie is really on top of things.
On Millionaire on Monday
night he told a female contestant (who is a fencer) that “now that I am in
charge of budgets around here… ” But
it’s most peoples’ understanding in and around Nine that
Eddie doesn’t have any budget control. Audsley and Cubis have control at the Network and Park Street oversees
it all. – Glenn Dyer

Magda joins Nine’s terminal list: The
Nine Network now has three new programs on its
hands that have comprehensively failed. Magda’s Funny Bits is hardly that and last night Australian viewers chopped it: only 696,000
people watched, down from the 856,000 who watched the opening episode last week. It
joins Clever and Bert’s Family Feud on the failure list, while Temptation has been battered by Ten’s The
Biggest Loser
and the strength of Home and Away. Magda’s Funny Bits attempts
unsuccessfully to tap nostalgia with the old Janelle segment from Fast Forward. Magda herself is a bit dated and for a network responsible for a fine program like RPA, for example, to screen something like Magda (and
Clever and Bert) is mystifying. Seeing
it’s up against Seven’s ratings powerhouse in Dancing With the Stars, you get the impression that Nine has buried
it at 7.30pm Tuesdays because of embarrassment and nothing
else. Magda finished fourth in the 7.30pm-8.30pm timeslot behind Dancing With The Stars, The
Simpsons
and Futurama on Ten
and The 7.30 Report on the ABC. – Glenn Dyer

Ten aims to revitalise Idol:
The Ten
Network is planning some far reaching changes to the format of Australian Idol
to try and make it more interesting to its target
audience. Ten has
already revealed more auditions and a lift in the maximum age to 30 to try and
encourage a more mature type of performer and thereby expand interest in the 25
plus section of the demographic. Now the
spin-off program, Inside Idol has been killed off because it was a boring
underperformer that had no hope of capturing the success of Big Brother
Uncut.
And Idol
will not start until Big Brother is finished, thus avoiding the
spluttering start last year when the programs overlapped. Viewers
in the 16 to 39 age group had to choose, and they chose BB. Idol‘s
average audience in 2005 was more than 30% down on 2004. There are several other significant changes to come, but
there are risks and the younger end of the demographic (16 to
22-23) might not necessarily watch older
performers. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners Seven because of Dancing With the Stars (2.229 million
up the opening of 2.186 million)), with All Saints hanging on to its coat tails
at 9.30 pmish with 1.546 million, Today Tonight with 1.522 million, Home and
Away
with 1.421 million and Seven News with 1.419 million. Nine News (1.175
million) was Nine’s best with which shows you the problems it had last night in
meeting the Seven challenge. Ten’s best was The Biggest Loser at 7 pm with 1.037
million. Seven did Ten in the 16 to 39 age group last night as well. The ABC’s
best was the News at 7 pm with 909,000. That meant Nine’s Temptation was again
fourth with 846,000.
The Losers Losers? Let’s see. Magda’s Funny Bits 696,000 and
fourth behind Seven, Ten and the ABC. Temptation is still under pressure. Bert
was a little better with 476,000, but behind Deal or No Deal on Seven (914,000)
Family Feud was no help to programs that followed. It though got no help from
the Antiques program at 5 pm which was watched by just 321,000, compared to
492,000 for Wheel of Fortune on Seven. Another odd Nine programming decision.
Seven’s filler program at 10.30 pm, Medical Incredible was watched by 895,000:
No wonder Sunrise does well in the mornings. Lots of people are tuned to Seven
when they go to bed and merely turn-on the TV in the morning when they are
having brekkie or getting ready for work or school or the day ahead. Helps
Sunrise, but Today is doing better here and there in quarter
hours!
News & CA Seven News and Today Tonight with big wins. Seven News
nationally and in Sydney and Melbourne. Melbourne Nine News (327,000) actually
got lower share than Sydney (347,000) with higher viewing levels in Melbourne.
Now that tells us something about how Nine is being hurt by Seven, Bert, Deal
and various other problems. Nine though did win Brisbane. The ABC News with
909,000 at 7 pm wasn’t bad, but they didn’t stay around for the 7.30
Report
(722,000). They had an appointment on Seven, dancing! Ten News at Five
averaged 795,000. Seven News crushed Nine in Perth (as did Today Tonight) That
really is PBL’s biggest external concern in TV. Adelaide (Southern Cross
Broadcasting) does well most nights. Perth is a disaster area. TT (1.522
million) easily accounted for A Current Affair with 1.097 million. Early half
that loss came in Perth.
The Stats Seven with 40.8%, daylight, then Nine with 22.1%, Ten
with 19.4%, the ABC with 13.3% and SBS with 4.4%. Seven had a clean
sweep.
Glenn Dyer’s comments Its doing better than previous series, which must
delight Seven. Nine seems to have decided to wait out the current series of
Dancing With The Stars. Wise move, but a bit gutless. Although if you have run
a program like Magda’s Funny Bits to amortise it in these days of profits before
ratings, what better timeslot than against Dancing With The Stars.. But new eps
of CSI New York are being burned against the second hour of Dancing. Tonight
will again be interesting. Can Seven engineer a solid win when Nine has McLeod’s
Daughters
and Without a Trace? Seven has Beyond Tomorrow, which is a slow
starter this year, but Prison Break should help at 8.30 pm and Air Crash
Investigation at 9.30 might be competitive with a slowing ER. Tonight expect Ten
to do well with The Biggest Loser, Jamie Oliver,Bondi Rescue and House, with
NCIS at 9.30 pm. Seven had the Winter Games a week ago to give it a very good
win. Tonight should be closer. Seven though has a solid lead in the week
already, 33.8% to 26.2% for Nine.

Peter Fray

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