Bath gives Seven News a weekend boost. There has been a
noticeable improvement in Seven News audiences on Friday to Sunday
nights in the past two to three weeks. Some would attribute the
improvement to the move putting Chris Bath in to read those three
nights in Sydney, replacing Ann Sanders who is now reading the national
morning edition at 10.30am. And Bath is about to be elevated even
further. During the next ratings break at the end of this month she’s
due to fill-in for Ian Ross – who reads news from Monday to Thursday
– who will be off air for ten days. The weekend readers haven’t been
officially announced yet but Sam Armytage and Mike Armor are in the
running. There were suggestions in the weekend gossip sheets in Sydney
that Ross might not be around next year to read but Seven sources say
he has yet to start thinking about it. – Glenn Dyer

More Ronnie Johns for Ten. The Ten
Network has signed on for another series of the comedy program, The Ronnie Johns
Half Hour
. It will
be the third series for the program, which is produced by Jigsaw in Sydney with
Nick Murray and Glenn Robbins as
the executive producers. Thirteen episodes have been ordered by Ten. Meanwhile, Ten has gone all coy
about its new “reality” program after airing a casting call over
the weekend. The network says it will be unlike anything on TV. We’ve heard that before,
but then Ten has this year produced two successful new
programs that are unlike anything on TV: Thank God You’re Here and The Wedge. The on-air casting ads called for couples and mentioned “romance”. The
mind boggles – Perfect Match returns from the grave? Ten is
remaining silent. Glenn Dyer

Melbourne’s opera scene: you win some, you lose some. A couple of weeks back Victoria launched the first season of a new opera
company to make up for the supposedly inadequate service the Sydney-based Opera
Australia was providing marvellous Melbourne. But how much has been gained from the establishment of the Victorian Opera
when, as a direct result of that move, the national company has announced it is
winding back its presence in Melbourne? Robin Usher reports in The Age today that Opera
Australia is downgrading its Melbourne subsidiary OzOpera because its two key
personnel, director Richard Gill and general manager Anne Frankenberg, have
defected to the VO. OA chief executive Adrian Collette hinted at this when I spoke to him on
18 May at the launch of the VO season. He was decidedly non-committal when I
questioned him about the future of OzOpera. Usher reports that two projects under development by OzOpera, Alan John’s
Through the Looking Glass and Brian Howard’s Metamorphosis, will
now be transferred to the VO. OzOpera’s role will be reduced to regional touring and education and Usher
quotes observers as predicting that the outfit will more than likely be
relocated to OA headquarters in Sydney. – Stephen Feneley

Australian Galleries celebrates 50 years. It’s a rare thing
to see pictures from a state art gallery hanging on the walls of a
commercial gallery. That
was the case last night at the 50th birthday party for Australian
Galleries in Melbourne, without doubt the longest surviving commercial
art business of any significance in the country. The National
Gallery of Victoria lent paintings by John Brack and Arthur Boyd, both
of whom were among the first crop of artists to show with Anne and Tam
Purves, the rag traders who turned their pattern-making factory in
Collingwood into an art gallery back in June 1956. Tam Purves
passed away in 1966 and Anne in 1999 but the business, now run by son
Stuart, has grown to include four galleries in Sydney and Melbourne.
The pictures on loan from the NGV included a set of portraits of Anne
Purves by Boyd and a portrait of Tam Purves by Brack. Last
night, Derby St in Collingwood was closed to traffic so a marquee
could be erected in front of the gallery to accommodate the overflowing
crowd of freeloading art luvvies, myself included. – Stephen Feneley

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners:
A narrow win to Nine in what was a carbon copy replay of last Monday
night: Seven does well, but Nine nips in and wins with a better
performance at 9.30pm as Seven’s Commander in Chief disappears up its
own scriptline. Today Tonight was the most watched show with 1.688
million (with the paid for Lincoln Hall story), with
Desperate Housewives second with 1.670 million (building again) and
Seven News third with 1.643 million (thanks to a 140,000 margin in
Perth). Nine’s Cold Case was 4th with 1.603 million, Nine News was 5th
with 1.575 million, then What’s Good For You at 7.30 for Nine with
1.546 million (Nature’s Own works for Nine and Siggie!). A Current
with 1.495 million was 7th, Home and Away was 8th with 1.378
million and Temptation was 9th with 1.293 million. The Big Brother nomination episode from 7.30pm averaged 1.265 million for 10th spot
and the BB episode at 7pm averaged 1.236 million. Seven’s The Great
was 12th with 1.155 million, Close to Home was next for Nine
with 1.100 million at 9.30pm and Ten News at 5pm was 14th with a very strong 1.016 million.

The Losers:
Seven’s Commander in Chief, sinking slowly with only 887,000 viewers.
Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope beat it at 9.35pm with 906,000 viewers on
average while the adults only version of Big Brother on Ten at 9.40pm was
fourth with 881,000. Nine’s Today Show and Early Today Show, both badly
beaten by Seven’s Sunrise which doubled their audiences. Something
needs to happen, Sunrise averaged 453,000, Today – 212,000, Early
– 209,000 from 6am to 7am, Early Today – 95,000.

News & CA:
Seven News won nationally and in Melbourne and Perth where that big win
got it home. Nine News won Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Today Tonight
beat ACA nationally but lost Sydney (Nine must have had a chortle this
morning with the paid for Lincoln Hall interview not doing well in
Sydney for TT).But TT won Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The
ABC 7pm news averaged 993,000 viewers, The 7.30 Report – 857,000, Media
– 722,000 and Four Corners – 770,000.

The Stats:
Nine won with a share of 29.0% (28.4% last week) to Seven with 28.0%
(27.8%), Ten was third with 21.5% (23.4%), the ABC with 15.6% (14.6%)
and SBS with 5.9% (5.8%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and
Adelaide, Seven, Perth. Nine continues to make up ground on
Seven in Sydney .

Glenn Dyer’s comments:
A close Monday night once
again. Seven needs to get rid of Commander in Chief. But there’s only a
few episodes to go so it will keep it going. Its now very soapy and not
very interesting. Siggie Thornton is doing well for Nine with What’s
Good For You
. That comes from hiring the mouthpiece for a well-known
brand of vitamins and supplements in Nature’s Own. Instant credibility in
some viewers minds. Tonight its Border Security and Medical Emergency
plus All Saints for Seven, a repeat of CSI and a new CSI New York for
Nine and The Wedge is the interesting program on Ten. Will Agony Aunts
on the ABC at 8pm do better than it has been? We should call our Aunty
tomorrow to discuss the ratings! Seven leads Nine in what will be a
close week.

Peter Fray

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