ABC protects new drama from miners special. We know
the ABC doesn’t worry about ratings, don’t we? It’s a
mantra that seems to be chanted by every new recruit, no matter how junior or
senior: “The
national broadcaster is there for Australians, regardless of commercial
decisions.” So what
then are we to make of this announcement coming hard on the heels of Nine’s
scheduling its Beaconsfield miner’s special at 8.30 pm next
Sunday?

ABC TV has taken the
unprecedented decision to move its landmark television drama, Answered by Fire. The two-part mini
series will be held back one week, now premiering Sunday 28 May, at
8.30pm. ABC Director of Television, Kim Dalton says the decision has
been made to give the two-part Australian drama the best possible
support.

The events of Beaconsfield are a
remarkable story of survival and something that Australians are keenly
interested in at this current moment. Answered by Fire is also the story of a
major chapter in Australia’s recent history – where
Australians put their lives on the line to help a neighbour.

To place these two stories up against
each other is to do a disservice to Australian viewers; therefore by holding
back the premiere of Answered by Fire, ABC TV is giving people the opportunity
to choose both – a win for Australian audiences.

Viewers will say thanks, but isn’t the point of the
ABC mantra that it will broadcast TV and radio programs regardless of what’s on
the commercial opposition? Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Wednesday night was Ten’s once again, thanks to the combination
of Big Brother, Thank God You’re Here, House and NCIS. A powerful line-up that both Nine and Seven can’t defeat at the moment. Seven’s
Wednesday night hopes are in fact slipping as Ten strengthens. That
won’t be the case for the rest of the year, but Seven has to face
Nine’s State of Origin Rugby league games next week and then in June
(successive fortnights). Ten is moving Thank God You’re Here to Tuesday
nights to avoid being crushed by the State of Origin. Thank God
averaged 1.648 million, House was second with 1.638 million, then came
Seven News (1.566 million), Today Tonight (1.441 million), Nine News
(1.314 million), Home and Away (1.282 million), NCIS (1.275 million), A
Current Affair
(1.230 million), Prison Break (Seven), 1.175 million was
10th. Then came Big Brother (1.175 million, Temptation (Nine), 1.130
million), Without a Trace (Nine) 1.123 million and Spicks and Specks on
the ABC was 14th and rounded out the million plus programs with one
million viewers neat.

The Losers:Bert’s Family Feud
at 659,000 which was OK, but Deal or No Deal averaged 973,000 and
clearly won. Seven’s 7.30 program Beyond Tomorrow with 932,000, should
be looking forward to its fate: it’s growing cloudy, cloudy. Prison
Break
is off 200,000 or so viewers from the 1.2 to 1.4 million has been
getting. Temptation was weaker than it has been in recent weeks.

News & CA:Seven News and Today Tonight won nationally and in every market last
night. Seven’s sneak attack on the Beaconsfield miners with still shots
underground, obtained from a miner, certainly put a spring in the
audience. Nine News and ACA were left behind, but will have their
revenge on Sunday evening and hopefully Monday with the miners’
exclusive. Ten News at Five averaged 900,00, the ABC 7pm News,
962,000, The 7.30 Report, 816,000.

The Stats:
Ten with a
strong 30.5% (28.5% a week earlier), from Nine with 26.1% (25.3%),
Seven with 25.2% (28.3%), the ABC with 14.8% (14.1%) and SBS with 3.4%
(3.8%). Ten won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide where Nine
finished third. Seven again won Perth from Ten and Nine.

Glenn Dyer’s comments:
Ten’s night: the State of Origin games means Nine will win three of the
next six or seven weeks, hence Ten’s move to shift Thank God You’re
Here
to Tuesday night next week. That will hurt the second episode next
week of the ABC’s Agony Aunts with Clive Robertson. That had the
non-ratings conscious ABC executives smiling yesterday with an analysis
of audience. Seven went backwards last night and that is danger of that
becoming a habit on Wednesday nights. Tonight it’s the two Footy Shows
for Nine, Lost of Seven and Big Brother for Ten. Of interest will be
how Nine’s Missing Persons Unit and Hello Goodbye go on their second
outing tonight. Good numbers for the Missing show, some slippage for
Hello?

Peter Fray

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