Sue Howard: ABC MD contender? With the Federal
Government having seemingly chosen the new chairman of the ABC, it’s time to look
at the search for the new managing director. The ABC board has
appointed Strategy and Communication director, Murray Green as an acting MD
until a replacement for Russell Balding is found. Some on the board and in
the Howard Government want a head kicker, a Jonathan Shier clone to settle a few
scores. But what about an
internal candidate with a bit of attitude? I hear that the head of ABC radio,
Sue Howard, is being urged to toss her coronet into the ring. Initially it was
believed that she’d like to act in the position and add the experience to her
CV. Now to the amazement of senior staff in the organisation it is said she will apply for the
gig. She has strong
support from players such as media buyer, Harold Mitchell through to the most
important player of all, Chairman Donald McDonald, although given the events of
this week, that support may no longer be so vital. Despite being widely
disliked outside of Melbourne in ABC Radio, Howard has gone from
strength to strength by keeping a low profile, giving most of her interviews
(a handful in eight years) to Victorian journos and
avoiding national scrutiny. Something that might count against her
is the poor publicity generated by her continuing use of US
radio consultant, Valerie Geller, to help train on air presenters at a cost of
hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last few
years. – Glenn
Dyer

Where have all the woman gone at Nine? The departure of Sandra Levy
and the absence of any women from the hosting roles on the telecast of
the Commonwealth Games has again called into question the Nine
Network’s commitment to women. For a while in 2003 and 2004, Nine had
more females in senior roles than its competitors with at least five
women in senior operational and service managerial positions, but they
all left in 2004 and early 2005 as Nine’s blokey culture re-asserted
itself (Seven and Ten still have at least one or two). Levy’s
appointment last November changed the make-up, but now her departure,
controversial as it was, again leaves Nine without a significant female
executive area. Posie Graeme Evans departed last year as head of Drama
soon after Levy was appointed, but the two moves were unrelated. The
appointment of GTV producer Cos Cardone to be Nine’s
Director of Light Entertainment will only add to
that blokeyness when he arrives in Sydney later this year. He is close
to Nine CEO, Eddie McGuire. Unlike Seven which used the like of Joanna Griggs as a studio
host for the Olympics, Nine hasn’t slotted a women into a hosting role
at the Games. Nine has female commentators in some sports, with Nicole
Livingstone the stand out and one who should have been used in the
studio as a session host. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners Nine by a mile with the first night session of the
Commonwealth games averaging a very tasty 2.069 million viewers. And that was the
night. The afternoon session averaged 731,000 (makes up for the poor numbers
for Bert!) while the morning session averaged 590,000. Comparisons with Seven’s telecast of the Olympics in
2000 are just misleading. The World Cup rugby is a far bigger deal than the
Commonwealth Games and mid-year the World Cup Soccer from Germany will produce
some big numbers for SBS for the three Australian games and for the
final. But Nine will be happy. Anything else do well? Well The
Biggest Loser
on Ten with 1.081 million against the Games and Home and Away
on Seven with 1.121 million were pretty good efforts. With the
ABC News at 7pm on 766,000 average, the Games had a large minority
share, but not more than 50% nationally. Medium (1.01 million on Ten at
8.30pm) and Las Vegas, 907,000 on Seven at 7.30pm were not far from
their non-Games averages.
The Losers Losers? With the Games, there were none. Bert and
Temptation on Seven were having a break. Seven’s Final Days of Earth, Part Two
with 508,000 out-rated part one on Wednesday night. But it was the sort of
program to run dead with and give everyone at Seven an early night. Once the
swimming ends next Wednesday night, Thursday and Friday nights might be
interesting, although tonight, Nine has the NRL in NSW and Queensland, but only from
9.30pm once the swimming is finished.
News & CA Now Nine News got a boost from the Games and the better
lead in from the afternoon session but a big win in Perth saw Seven win
nationally for the second night in a row, 1.365 million to 1.319 million. Nine
News won Sydney by 1,000, had a big win in Melbourne, but suffered in Brisbane
by going to air at 5pm local time when its audience was sharply lower. Seven
went to air normally at 6pm local and picked up thousands of viewers. Viewers
are creatures of habit still, even in these days of online iPod PVRs! Today
Tonight
beat A Current Affair because of the Brisbane factor and the fact that
it didn’t go to air in Adelaide (to allow the live coverage to be synchronised
around the country). Host Tracy Grimshaw was outside the chunderous yellow studio
look and was the better for it. Nine has not designed the coverage of the Games
to really help ACA or its News. Only the News and ACA in Sydney and Melbourne
will get any real benefit and that’s understandable given it’s the heart of the
Packer part of the Nine network. While ACA had a big win in Melbourne over TT,
the tables were reversed in Sydney where ACA just doesn’t please
viewers.
The Stats Nine with 45.8% (51.6% Wed.), Seven with 20.7% (16.9%),
Ten with 19.3% (17.4%), the ABC with 9.5% (10.7%) and SBS with 4.8%
(3.3%).
Glenn Dyer’s comments Now ain’t that odd. The only network apart from
Nine to lose share last night compared to the Opening ceremony broadcast on
Wednesday night was the ABC. Nine’s loss was to be expected and nothing should
be read into it. It rated well around the country and should do so again
tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. A lot of ABC viewers must like sport and not
opening ceremonies. I know how they feel. Nine will win the week easily. How
will the NRL audience go tonight in Brisbane and Sydney and how will Ten’s NAB
Cup final tomorrow night go? On a night when the numbers don’t really matter,
why didn’t Ten broadcast the NAB Cup final live around the country? 11.15pm in
Sydney is a derisory time for a game of some interest and a diversion to the
Games.

Peter Fray

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