Networks prepare for massive live rescue coverage. Standby for a
live broadcast extravaganza from all five networks if and when the two
trapped miners at Beaconsfield mine in Tasmania are found and brought
to the surface. It could very well be the biggest local coverage of a
story ever, out-ranking any of the Azaria Chamberlain decisions, such
has been the media interest and the advance in technology. And the
competition between Nine and Seven in particular has been very intense,
especially with the big two staging a battle for news supremacy in the
2006 ratings. Seven won last week with its 6pm News and Today Tonight. TT and
its rival ACA have both been hosted from Beaconsfield
as have the Melbourne news broadcasts. No one
is taking a backward step and the move by Ten, Seven and the ABC to vote against
Nine being the pool broadcaster for the rescue has
rankled Willoughby. Newspaper journalists are being pushed into the
background as TV and radio jostle for the best shots, grabs and the breaking
news. – Glenn
Dyer

Warnie takes Fairfax down the tabloid path. The old
fashioned Fairfax papers, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age are rapidly heading down the tabloid route, even though they
remain broadsheets, which is supposedly a mark of a quality
newspaper. Not anymore
if their efforts reporting Shane Warne’s so-called romping with a couple of
English models is any indication. Both The SMH and The Age
ran a report and a fairly explicit picture on their websites and The SMH even had the picture in the paper. So much for the quality approach to journalism in Sydney
and Melbourne. The News Ltd papers ran reports but not the explicit black and white
pics the Fairfax papers
did (even though it was News Corp’s News of the World that broke the story in London). And in
a further plunge down the ladder of tabloids, the SMH devoted
the top of Page 3 to a big picture and a report on TV’s Logie Awards last night. The Australian ran a more restrained report while the Tele buried the
Logies report, preferring to concentrate more on what
was going on at Beaconsfield. The
Tele
put a small Logie report on page 5 with
a picture of the Hewitts from last night, but had a
more extensive frocks section in its Confidential gossip pages. Glenn Dyer

Normal transmission resumes in weekly ratings. Normal
rankings in Australian TV were restored last week after Ten’s win the week before.

Nine
won in a close finish from Seven, helped by Friday
night’s Rugby League Test between Australia and New Zealand. Nine
won with a share of 29.4% (26.9% the previous week) to 28.1% for Seven (27.1%),
23.8% for Ten (27.3%), 14.0% for the ABC (14.2%)and
4.7% (4.4%) for SBS. Nine
won Friday night with a 36.3% share to 26.1% for Seven
and 18.2% for Ten. But Today Tonight (1.444 million) and its host Naomi Robson had the
last laugh on the Daily Telegraph and the campaign against her. TT easily beat Nine’s A Current Affair (1.216
million). Saturday night it was Ten with 28.3%
to 24.6% for Nine and 24.0% for Seven. Ten
won because the AFL averaged 930,000 (excluding Sydney). In Melbourne the football averaged 468,000, the highest audience in
the country that night. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV
ratings

THE WINNERS: Sunday night, The Logies, Richard Carleton’s shock death,
speculation about Beaconsfield, poor weather in Melbourne where there was also a
big AFL game – it’s no wonder Nine won the night so comprehensively. Nine
News was the top show with 2.485 million, then the Red Carpet follies at the
Logies with 2.271 million, then the awards themselves with 2.1 million, then 60 Minutes with 2.062 million (at 6.30 pm, boosted by the news and the death of
Richard Carleton). Seven’s Where Are They Now with 1.380 million, then Nine’s
late Football (NRL and AFL) with 1.304 million, then the Big Brother Live
Eviction
with 1.293 million (7.30 to 9pm). Seven news averaged 1.293
million, Ghost Whisperer on Seven was 1.070 million and Big Brother Sunday (6.30 to 7.30pm), 1.049 million. Seven’s Movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
averaged 1.026 million, which isn’t bad for an unknown movie these
days.

THE LOSERS: None really, the combination of The Logies, the
news of Carleton’s death, the Beaconsfield story meant it wasn’t a
typical Sunday. In the afternoon there was football from 1pm on Nine
and it was interesting that just 174,000 people in Sydney watched the
Swans beat Brisbane in Brisbane, while 284,000 watched in Melbourne and
157,000 watched in Brisbane. They were not very high figures for Sydney
or Brisbane. The Carlton-Collingwood game at 4pm at the MCG drew
450,000 in Melbourne. The audience in Sydney on Friday night of more
than 700,000 for the Rugby league test between Australia and New
Zealand was the highest sports audience of the weekend.

NEWS & CA:Nine won easily, almost doubling Seven’s share. Ten News
averaged a high 988,000, while the ABC news at 7pm averaged 932,000
(and was hit by 60 Minutes
early start). But the real news from yesterday was the impact of the
Beaconsfield story. There were two parts: the drama of the afternoon
with the miners maybe about to get out, then the drama of Richard
Carleton’s death, followed by the realisation the miners wouldn’t be
out for at least another day. That helped the audiences for Nine news
and 60 Minutes in
particular. But there was another part to the story: the big audiences in the
morning for the news chat shows, which were among some of the biggest in the past couple of
years. That was helped by Seven and Nine broadcasting live from Beaconsfield in
the early morning. Seven’s Weekend Sunrise had its biggest audience ever of
550,000; Sportsworld straight afterward at 9.30 am averaged 507,000. Sunday on
Nine had its biggest audience of the year with 393,000. Business Sunday averaged
240,000, a year high, Offsiders on the ABC had 168,000 a high for the past month
or so, and Inside Business at 10am on the ABC averaged 126,000. Offsiders at
10.30 am on the ABC averaged 107,000. but Ten’s Meet The Press struggled and
only averaged 43,000.

THE STATS:Nine won with a share of 45.6% (33.8%) from Seven with
21.6% (25.3%), Ten was third with 19.3%(24.1%), the ABC with 10.2% (12.8%) and
SBS with 3.3% (4.0%). Nine had a clean sweep with a 52.2% share
in Melbourne.

GLENN DYER’S COMMENTS:
The annual awards fest is over with quite a few egos battered, heads
aching and a slow awakening at Crown Casino this morning. Many of last
night’s celebrants had to awaken early for work. Seeing they’d been
there since 4pm and the ceremony went well past 11pm, victory went to
those who stole away early to get some sleep ahead of the early morning
calls. As entertainment the Logies is up there with the Oscars, a
necessary evil for the industry and viewers. And to think both are decided by two very
un-representative groups of voters – young women in the case of the Logies and
ageing actors, technicians and others in the case of the Oscars. It was also
one of those days, thanks to the Beaconsfield story and the surprise death of
Richard Carleton. Now tonight it’s back to normal competition. Will Desperate
Housewives
keep the losses that emerged last week, will 20 to 1 do well? will
Bert’s Family Feud pick up more viewers? and will Seven News and Today Tonight
resume their now customary position, leading Nine News and A Current Affair? All
deep questions, I know. Joan Rivers had the best comment about the Logies when
she said, quite colourfully that she didn’t know why she was there. The answer
was easy: she was invited, she was paid and her accommodation was looked after.
Just like everybody else in the room. If they had to spend their own money, how
many would have turned up even to accept a Logie?