Ten’s local dramas. Much singing and dancing from the Ten Network about two new local dramas they have started commissioning, Tripping Over and Secretary. Faced with a shortage of product, Ten is moving further into local program production. We’ve already seen it with Bondi Rescue and the local series of The Biggest Loser, and a local version of Jamie Oliver’s UK restaurant series Jamie’s Kitchen is also planned for Melbourne. But will you be holding your breath for Secretary which
Ten says “peels back the glossy exterior to follow the lives of five
secretaries who work in a smart city law firm and asks, are they cool
Miss Moneypennies or sex bombs in stilettos”? Wow! Remember the email
catfight between secretaries at a Sydney law firm late last year.
Sounds a bit like that: juvenile, soap-driven and aimed at the Bridget
Jones viewers. Meanwhile, producer of Tripping Over, Andrew
Knight says that the show is “about that one time in your life when you
cut loose from all you have been, travel and open yourself up to every
and all possibilities.” After the dramas of Ms Corby and the Bali Nine
the series seems a bit underwhelming. But at least Ten is spending
money. The ABC will be slow to get the ball rolling this year, because
of a new head of TV and a new CEO, even though much has been
commissioned/promised. As for Eddie McGuire, once he has his feet under
the desk at Nine, he will have to wrest control of the budget from Park
Street and the dynamic duo of Ian Audsley and Brent Cubis. Bean
counters do not make program makers: in fact they have no idea. Nor do
the head office types at PBL in Park Street, nor do the many business
managers now scattered throughout Nine and adding to cost levels.
Nine’s head of development, Sandra Levy was hired from the ABC because
of her strong commercial background (at Southern Star) and her
knowledge of the industry. – Glenn Dyer

Cost-saving at TheTele. The latest cost-saving measure at the Daily Telegraph
is to cut the number of copies of their own newspaper that get dropped
into the newsroom. They used to get around 50, now it’s just 20.
Reporters are lining up to read what outrage the subs have perpetrated
on their copy. – Crikey reader

Sunday gets Hypothetical. Nine’s Sunday program is about to record the first of up to a dozen Hypotheticals
with Geoffrey Robertson, a move first disclosed in Crikey last year.
The first one will be recorded in around three weeks for broadcast
around the end of April. It is being done in conjunction with ACP’s Bulletin magazine with its editor Gary Linnell playing a major role in the planning, along with Sunday‘s
executive producer and Park Street favourite, John Lyons. It will run
for an hour and fill the softer second half of the two-hour program,
which has been experiencing a lift in viewers compared to the
harder-edged first hour. The Hypotheticals started on Nine back
in the mid 80s, went to the ABC and then popped up on the Seven Network
around 2000. The program finished on Nine when one program was
reportedly not broadcast because it traversed some of the “goanna”
claims from the Costigan Royal Commission. Like the return of Bert
Newton, the return of the Hypotheticals was strongly supported by former Nine boss Sam Chisholm. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners Seven in a much closer result than Tuesday. Last night was notable for the fading of Seven’s high profile US import, Prison Break. Still a solid 1.414 million viewers, but not enough to beat Ten’s House with 1.437 million. Seven’s Today Tonight was clearly number one program with 1.511 million, from House and then Seven News (1.414 million)and Prison Break. McLeod’s Daughters was Nine’s best with 1.374 million, followed by Home and Away (1.309 million), NCIS (1.248 million), Nine News (1.222 million) and A Current Affair (1.142 million), just ahead of Ten’s The Biggest Loser (1.128 million) and Jamie Oliver’s Italian Escape
(1.125 million). As you can see a very even night with 15 programs
watched by a million or more people. Ten had a very solid night while
Nine was competitive. Seven came back to the pack.
The Losers Not many except the usual problems for Nine. Bert Newton, though he added a few more viewers at 493,000 people, but Deal or No Deal was still well ahead on 884,000. Temptation (959,000) and ER (929,000) still remain under the acceptable million viewer mark. Seven’s Beyond Tomorrow is yet to show any real strength this year after averaging 1.120 million last night. McLeod’s and Jamie Oliver are making life tough, along with Bondi Rescue on Ten.
News & CA Seven News and Today Tonight with big wins. Seven News
nationally and in Sydney and Melbourne (narrowly). Nine News won
Brisbane. Nine wasn’t helped again by comprehesive thrashing in Perth
of the News and ACA. ABC News with 918,000 was solid, but the 7.30 Report was down to 706,000. In the mornings Sunrise still outpaces Today.
The Stats Seven with 29.1%, Nine with 26.3, Ten with 25.9%, the ABC with
14.7% and SBS on 4.0%. Seven won everywhere but Adelaide where an odd
result occured – Ten won from Seven with Nine third. Prison Break is not liked in Adelaide, House and then NCIS won it for Ten. McLeod’s Daughters also did poorly in Adelaide, even though its based in South Australia. In Perth, Nine was third behind Seven and then Ten.
Glenn Dyer’s comments Prison Break is losing viewers faster than some of Seven’s
other big US hits. It has lost around a quarter of its opening audience
of just over 1.9 million. House is solid and the other Ten
programs on Wednesday nights help drag viewers away from Seven, but not
so many from Nine.The ABC had a very solid night thanks to 900,000 plus
audiences for Spicks and Specks at 8.30pm and Little Britain at 9pm. The New Inventors was down to just over 800,000, still way down on its closing figures last year. Tonight it’s Lost and Seven will win, even though Lost
shed viewers last week. A lot of people in TV will be watching to see
if that was a blip or a continuing trend. If it’s continuing then Nine
and Ten might take some heart! Seven leads the week and will win.

Peter Fray

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