Scientologists target the Packer fortune? Well,
here’s a piece of speculation worthy of an episode of South Park. According to Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, the
Church of
Scientology doesn’t want
James Packer for his spirituality, it wants him for his money. The
story surfaced in News Ltd papers in Australia yesterday and paranoid or not, the News Corp papers seem to have it in for
Scientology judging from some of the quotes in the Tele‘s Sydney Confidential column:

Scientology is having difficulty attracting new members
thanks to a growing celebrity trend towards Kabbalah, the religion
favoured by Madonna and – ironically – Packer’s girl Erica Baxter.
And without new, wealthy recruits, cash flow is an issue. “There are
the big earners like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kelly Preston and
Kirstie Alley, but even they don’t earn like they used to,” a source
tells the newspaper. “The thinking is that Cruise has groomed this guy
to be a big giver to follow in Cruise’s footsteps.”

Glenn Dyer

NSW Police join the spin game. It’s
not just politicians and big business who can “spin” a story. The NSW
police used the Daily Telegraph today to spin this yarn in an attempt to deflect attention from an incompetent and ham-fisted investigation
into the death of Brisbane woman, Dianne Brimble.

Her death has been the subject of a
sensational coronial inquiry in Sydney for the past month or
so. Part of the disclosures have been
about the incompetent original police investigation of her death (and the
equally incompetent handling of the crime scene by staff on the
P&O cruise liner, Pacific Sky) – investigating police danced with witnesses on the ship before
questioning them, according to evidence at the inquest.Five days ago the SMH ran the damning story:

are withholding criminal intelligence on some of the eight “persons of interest”
in the death of Dianne Brimble on a cruise ship three
years ago. And senior NSW Police believe officers
investigating the case were out of their depth but failed to seek help from the
Homicide Squad.

And yet strangely, this detail wasn’t mentioned in the Tele‘s page one splash, headlined: “Police act on cruise death”. – Glenn Dyer

Ten fattens up Biggest Loser. The Biggest Loser continues to be the winner in
the 2006 new program stakes. Ten is
very happy Loser is doing so well, with the elimination episodes rivalling the popularity of Big Brother eliminations. So to
celebrate, Ten is giving us
an extra ep of Loser, based on the intruder concept of
Big Brother. Yes, a special edition of Loser when the contestants are down to the final three, where all past contestants
will come back for a “challenge” and the winner gets to re-enter the
competition. Monday
night’s elimination episode was watched by an average of more than 1.4 million
viewers. Glenn Dyer

O’Keefe makes his move. Andrew
O’Keefe’s move to Sunday mornings happens this weekend when he replaces Chris Reason as the male
co-host of Weekend Sunrise. Reason
and normal co-host, Lisa Wilkinson, were absent from their chairs during the
Commonwealth Games as Seven preferred to keep weekday Sunrise presenters, David
Koch and Mel Doyle, going as the talking heads. But now
the Games are over, and with the return of the Nine Network’s Sunday program,
its back to normal hostilities, with O’Keefe’s takeover, mooted three weeks ago,
becoming a formality. Reason
is going back to the Seven newsroom in Sydney at this
stage. O’Keefe, who presents the successful Deal or No Deal, filled in for Reason while the latter was in
Turin for the
2006 Winter Games broadcast and Weekend
jumped to be the most popular Sunday morning chat shows with
O’Keefe giving it a new pace and direction. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV

The Winners Seven, with Dancing With The Stars, although the gap
between Seven and Nine narrowed compared to the Tuesday night before the start
of the Games. Dancing averaged 1.998 million last night compared to 2.27 million
a fortnight ago. Seven’s share was lower and Nine News and A Current Affair had
a better night as well, compared to a fortnight ago and Monday night. But Seven
News was still the clear winner with (1.459 million from Nine with 1.174
million) Today Tonight was third with 1.432 million (ACA 1.211 million), All
was third with 1.383 million and Home and Away was 5th with 1.334
million. It beat The Biggest Loser (1.317 million) narrowly. Nine’s best was ACA
followed by a repeat of CSI with 1.176 million, Nine News and then CSI New York
with 1.154 million. The All New Simpsons averaged 1.076 million for Ten and
Survivor Panama, 1.054 million on debut.
The Losers Losers? Family Feud with Bert Newton: 444,000 people
and flogged by Seven’s Deal or No Deal with 923,000. Bert’s audience was 26,000
down from Monday night, despite cash again being flashed about on screen. Cash
was also on offer on Deal. Same cash, same motives, different ways of getting
there, different hosts, ahhh! Temptation picked up a touch from Monday night to
937,000 but is still suffering from TBL and Home and Away blues. It beat ABC
news last night. Nine’s Today Show still outside the Top 50 while Sunrise
averaged 400,000 people. The cut off for the top 50 was 243,000 for the Ten
program, It’s All Relative.
News & CA Seven News and TT won: Seven won Sydney, blitzed Nine in
Melbourne by 100,000 viewers, 450,000 to 350,000. There’s been a turnaround of
upwards of 200,000 viewers on some nights in Melbourne this year compared to the
same time last year! Nine won Brisbane well (thanks to Brisbane Xtra), but lost
Adelaide and Perth where the loss was again heavy and due to the poor profile
for STW 9 in the West. ACA though lost to TT but won Sydney (lifted its audience
from Nine News!), won Brisbane, but lost Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. That was
better going than Monday night. The ABC 7pm news averaged 921,000, down a touch
from Monday night, The 7.30 Report eased to 793,000 and Ten News at Five also
slipped from Monday to 835,000.
The Stats Seven with 35.2 (40.3% a fortnight ago), Nine 26.8% (up
from the low 21.2% a fortnight ago), Ten, 20.1% (19.9%), the ABC
12.7% (13.5%) and SBS 5.2% (5.1%). Seven won all five metro markets but Nine still
leads the week because of Sunday night.
Glenn Dyer’s comments It’s amazing what having a real stinker taken out
of the schedule up will do to your audience size and that’s the story from last
night. The appalling Magda’s Funny Bits averaged 645,000 a fortnight ago (and
hopefully has gone to God). Its post Games replacement, Survivor Panama, 1.054
million. Four hundred thousand extra viewers for a program seven weeks old is
not bad and it was enough to add some respectability to the Nine performance. It
meant more people available for the following CSI repeat and CSI New York and
once again highlights the decision to commission a dud like Magda’s Funny Bits.
Seven’s audience for Dancing was 272,000 down on the level of a fortnight ago.
Seven ran a highlights package a week earlier which did OK against the Games,
but there’s nothing like the real thing. Seven though won every timeslot from
5.30pm to 10.30pm and that’s the story from Tuesday night. No Games halo for
Nine, just that there are more people interested in Survivor than in Magda!.Tonight it should be a more even night. Ten’s best night with a double ep of
Jamie Oliver in Oliveland and a new ep of House. Nine’s McLeod’s Daughters.
Seven’s new ep of Prison Break plus its strong performance in the early