Is Tony Barber Nine’s next comeback king? Will
Nine “rest” Bert Newton and his Family Feud show,
now that Clever has been sent to the spelling paddock and Millionaire is on
leave?

Or
would it be smarter to keep Family Feud on air, possibly with a new
host. As I
understand it Tony Barber, the Quiz King of the 70s, 80s and 90s, might just be
willing to answer a call from Willoughby. Barber
has some sort of corporate gig in Melbourne and I hear around the traps that he
wouldn’t mind a go at either Family Feud or Temptation, which is another
headache for Nine at the moment. Bert’s
been popular with 20 to 1 on Monday nights but that’s more to do with
the quality of the content (nostalgia) than his hosting. I reckon Nine won’t sack Bert simply
because he’s being paid so much money. Nine has to get some sort of return. If
they can, they might find a home for him on another program and allow a new host
to have a go at Family Feud. Hence
the mention of Mr Barber. Nine
has nothing else at the moment it can run at 5.30pm. News and Current Affair
needs a lot of help in a good lead-in and Family Feud is better than anything else on
Nine’s radar at the moment.Glenn Dyer

Denton’s back: Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope returns to its
regular Monday night timeslot tonight at 9.35pm and the ABC will be
glad to have it back. Even though the ABC doesn’t chase ratings, its
weekly schedule is unbalanced without Denton’s program, which has
proved that it can still get good guests and attract viewers with two
specials under its belt so far this year. Billy Connolly was watched by
almost 1.3 million in February and Bono
by just under 800,000 in a program that was prepared on short notice
and didn’t have a lot of promotion. It will boost the ABC’s Monday
night share but more importantly it shows that viewers like to see and
hear people talking about their situations in a long interview format.
The ABC’s Australian Story does the same but with a different format: a
producer-driven program with no reporter, the “talent” tells
the story. – Glenn Dyer

Golf bombs for Nine: With a
record number of Australians playing you’d think the US Masters Golf
on Nine would do well on a relaxed Sunday morning. Well,
think again. Once again the male Australian TV viewer, who
are the dominant viewers of golf, has shown more judgement than the Nine programmers. The
third round of the Masters on Nine Sunday attracted just 145,000 viewers. About
what Business Sunday has been doing on an average morning in recent weeks (when
not pre-empted by the Commonwealth Games). It was
beaten heavily by Seven’s Weekend Sunrise, (8 am to 9.30 am) which averaged
410,000 across the 90 minutes, about what the week day Sunrise averages in a good
week. But
that is around 60,000 to 70,000 people more than Weekend Sunrise has been doing
on Sunday mornings this year. To put
the golf in some perspective, the ABC Sunday Arts program from 4 pm to 5 pm
averaged 145,000.
Yes, a
different timeslot and time of day, but it does show the absolute lack of
interest in golf unless an Aussie like Greg Norman is playing. – Glenn Dyer

The week’s ratings:

The
Seven Network hung on to win last week’s ratings, despite the nine Network
winning Friday and Saturday nights with a combination of AFL, NRL (Friday) and
movies on Saturday. Seven
won with a share of 28.9% from Nine with 27.9%, Ten
with 23.2%, the ABC with 14.9% and SBS with 5.1%. Nine
won Friday night with a share of 32.9% thanks to the AFL and NRL which
was combined as Friday night football and watched by 1.426 million people. the football was the most watched program in Sydney,
Melbourne and Brisbane as well. Seven
was second Friday night with 27.6% from Ten on 19.4%,
the ABC on 15.0% and SBS on 4.2%. Ten’s
The Biggest Loser was the second most watched program with 1.337 million, then
Seven News (1.320 million), Today Tonight (1.284 million), Better Homes and
Gardens
(1.144 million), Nine News 1.141 million, and Backyard Blitz 1.076
million. A Current Affair with 1.069 million was 8th, Home and Away was 9th with
1.060 million and a long way from TBL while Seven’s movie Freaky Friday was 10th
with 1.002 million. Temptation averaged 875,000 while Bert’s Family Feud
picked up to 523,000. Saturday night Nine won 27.6%
to Ten with 25.4% (helped by AFL on Saturday night), Seven with 21.6%, the ABC
with 19.0% and SBS. Nine
News the most watched program with 1.2 million, in front of Seven news with 1.160 million. Seven
news won Sydney Friday and Saturday night and in Melbourne on Friday night but
Nine News had a big win Saturday down south Nine also won Brisbane both
nights. Backyard Blitz is heading for Sundays where it should
have been in the first place instead of the below average Clever that was killed
off last week. An
oddity was that Doc Martin on the ABC did well at 7.30 pm with 1.012 million,
but the Seven program, William and Mary
at 9.30 pm, starring Doc Martin (Martin Clunes)
averaged just 466,000, after Blue Heelers (in terminal decline) averaged
743,000. The
coming week is the first of two ‘non-rating’ weeks: a lot of programs are being
rested or specialed (Housewives tonight, Dancing With the Stars are specials, Lost is having a break, House
is repeat Wednesday). The AFL
Footy Show is on Wednesday night with the usual Friday night game on Thursday
night. But the heathens of the NRL are playing Friday night, which will help
Nine in Sydney and Brisbane. Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV
ratings

The Winners Sunday night, Nine, thanks to a bit of footy but a good
effort by 60 Minutes which saw its audience jump to a massive 1.945 million. The
program wasn’t outstanding, it was just one of those nights. Extreme Makeover
was dropped into the 6.30 pm timeslot instead of Clever which was ‘rested’ last
week. Makeover averaged 855,000. Nine would have been better keeping Clever an
extra week; at least it was getting more than a million viewers. But it was
bad. Nine is switching Backyard Blitz from the black hole of Friday night to
Sunday at 6.30 pm and dropping Super Nanny into Friday nights at 7.30 pm where
it will die against Better Homes and Gardens. Seven’s Where Are They Now
averaged 1.899 million, up from the week before (as was 60 Minutes). CSI was
third with 1.679 million, Nine News was fourth with 1.658 million, then Seven
News with 1.408 million. Then it seems much of Australia turned off their TVs.
Seven’s best program from 8.30 pm onwards was the movie Shanghai Knights with
836,000, the second part of the ABC’s The Silence averaged 599,000 at 8.30 pm, a
big loss on the previous week’s first part, Ten’s Law and Order repeat (SVU
859,000 and Criminal Intent at 9.30 with 892,000) and Nine’s much hyped long mini
series, Hotel Babylon averaged 1.194 million. In fact the real story is that the
tacky, sexy promos of Nine failed and more than 480,000 viewers turned it off,
switched channels or read a book! That doesn’t bode well for the second episode
tonight.
The Losers Losers? None really except TV generally with the big
post 8.30 pm-9.30 pm switch off. Clever has gone. Australia’s Brainiest
Cricketer
on Ten at 7.30 faded a touch to 978,000. OK, but earlier eps were over
a million viewers. Ghost Whisperer on Seven with 1.045 million did sort of OK up
against 60 Minutes in repeat.
News & CA The decline in Nine News can be seen from the lack of
strength it has on Sunday evenings at the moment. With the NRL and AFL to boost
audiences nationally, the 6 pm National Nine News has been the top program most
Sunday nights during winter. I know it’s only early in the season but Nine’s
performance is a bit weaker than it was a year ago. That should change as days
grow shorter. Nine saw big wins in Sydney (549,000 viewers ) and Melbourne
(643,000) and Brisbane, 343,000. The hope is that these viewers are reminded of
the ‘joy’ of watching Nine News Monday to Friday. They do in Brisbane, but the
urge hasn’t been as strong in Sydney and Melbourne. The ABC News at 7 pm
averaged 1.012 million and Ten News at Five, 636,000 down from a week earlier
without the F1 cars to boost it.
The Stats Nine with 33.3% (31.3% last Sunday) from Seven with
28.0%(26.9%) , Ten with 19.0% (21.8%) the ABC with 13.3% (14.8%) and SBS with
6.4% (5.1%).Nine won all markets bar Perth.where Seven was a narrow
winner from Nine.,
Glenn Dyer’s comments Higher shares for Nine and Seven on a non-rating
(ha!) Sunday night. Nine will be happy with 1.1 million viewers for Hotel
Babylon
. But there are another seven episodes to go, Monday nights at 9.30 pm.
Tonight will tell if viewers are interested or merely voyeurs.The contrast with
Commander in Chief and Enough Rope will not be too good for Nine the longer the
tacky collection of raised eyebrows, winks and nudges and a bit of fake ‘How’s
You’re Father” goes on. The program should be accompanied by a warning: Lengthy
viewing may destroy your faith in British TV! Give me Dallas or Dynasty any
day! Viewers voted with their remotes last night, turning off Seven from 8.30
pm, Ten from around the same time, Nine from 9.30 pm and the ABC after the News
finished at 7.30 pm (the ABC shed 400,000 viewers or so from the 7 pm news to
the Helen of Troy docu drama) Non-ratings ennui?The lack of any competition
tonight on commercial TV should help Babylon but will the return to Enough Rope
be a spoiler?

Peter Fray

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