It’s no
wonder Nine CEO Eddie McGuire is trying so hard to get the two Beaconsfield miners, Brant
Webb and Todd Russell, onto tonight’s Footy Shows and into the Nine camp. Thanks
to another strong effort from Ten and Seven (led by its News and Today Tonight)
Nine has again finished third on a Wednesday night.

Last night’s ratings show that Seven News and Today Tonight continue to
hold the massive audiences gathered earlier in the week, while Nine News and
especially A Current Affair have lost ground. Today
was the most watched program last night with 1.741 million, around half
a million viewers in front of ACA which averaged 1.32
million and finished 11 spots behind in the most watched list. Seven
News was second with 1.653 million, while Nine News was 7th
with 1.349 million.

So despite Eddie’s shouting of the bar and gladhanding of the miners, viewers haven’t been convinced to
stay with Nine.This is
best shown in the morning battle between Today and Sunrise.
Wednesday morning Sunrise averaged more than half a million viewers again –
549,000. But
Today‘s audience almost halved from Tuesday’s 529,000 to average 266,000 from 7am yesterday. In fact
it could also be argued that the huge shift has been a
reaction to Eddie being everywhere. But that won’t upset the Nine CEO. He was
all over the Today show on Nine this morning promoting
tonight’s Footy Shows: the
miners will be on both the AFL and NRL versions.

But TV
producers say that it will also be a low cost way of screen-testing the two
miners to see what sort of TV talent they are and whether it will be worth
paying a lot of money for exclusive rights. Tonight
could show that one or both are natural TV talent (think Scott Camm on Backyard Blitz:
typical Aussie bloke type, good with his hands, loves a beer). That
will be known within 90 seconds of them appearing on TV and starting to
speak and answer questions.

If either are not good
talent then Nine’s ardour will ease (as will that of Seven) and the
price will fall. Consider the Footy Shows tonight a trial run, but one
which could deliver the night’s ratings to Nine, which
would be a bonus.