Wheel of Misfortune. A
seemingly rare win for Nine and one it will be eager
to claim: Wheel of Fortune, on Seven at 5pm, has been canned, leaving host Larry
Emdur (Come On Down) without a gig. Wheel was doing well but Seven claims forecasts of
audience reaction meant its future was clouded. But the
figures don’t quite support it: Take last Friday as just one example. Nine’s re-run of Antiques Roadshow
(which goes to air first on Foxtel) averaged 399,000 people; Wheel of Fortune, well over 520,000. Wheel
of Fortune
has regularly beaten Antiques Roadshow. Another factor may have been the strength of Ten’s News at Five which regularly wins the 5pm to 6pm timeslot on weeknights and is competitive with Seven’s Deal or No Deal in the 5.30 pm to 6pm
timeslot. But
Seven says that Wheel was
due to be renewed for the rest of the year and the network decided it
could do better in the timeslot: presumably with a cheaper and or
fresher format, or one developed in-house. Seven still has several
months of Wheel to go, so it’s not disappearing –
yet. – Glenn Dyer

Liebmann returns to Ten.

The Ten
Network has hired former Today Show host, Steve Liebmann, to read weekend news for the next three months at
least while the regular reader, Tracey Spicer, is on maternity
leave. Liebmann left Today for health
reasons and has been working on radio and at Foxtel at
a much reduced pace. The weekend news gig takes him back to Ten where he was a
reader before his last, long stint at Today, 20 years ago. Ten
runs a funny, half-hour national bulletin at 5pm Saturdays and Sundays which
has a little bit of this and that from Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra,
Sydney and overseas. It is a
cost and resources driven program: something that Nine
might one day look at, perhaps, as it seeks to reduce its
costs. Meanwhile Chris Bath, the Seven reader in Sydney from Fridays to Sundays, continues to do well: She
had good wins Friday and Saturday of last week in Sydney. Seven News won nationally both nights
and in the week but Nine has narrowed the
gap. – Glenn Dyer

Nine tries to help Today float, but lets Business Sunday sink. The
Nine Network has shown what it thinks of two of its news and current affairs
programs with its topsy-turvy handling of the US Open Golf. Nine ditched its continuous coverage of the US Open on Friday
and Monday mornings in favour
of a sports-flavoured TodayShow featuring golf, soccer and weekend football with news. It saw
Today‘s audience average 201,000 on Friday; but unfortunately its arch
rival, Seven’s Sunrise, averaged 551,000: that’s a sharp jump of around 90,000 from the previous
day. Then on Sunday morning, Nine ditched (in industry parlance, “pre-empted”)
Business Sunday and then started with Sunday just after 9am. It bombed: just
102,000 people on average tuned in up to 9am. That’s around 40,000 to 50,000
less than normally watch Business Sunday. The
pre-emption of Business Sunday
is another ominous message to that program’s shrinking audience and
staff: Nine management is prepared to ditch live coverage of the golf
to try and help Today, but not Business Sunday. With
Australian Geoff Ogilvy in the running at the US Open overnight and the
aftermath of the Australia-Brazil soccer game on Monday morning, Today was
a crazy mismatch of golf, soccer, news and chat until Nine dropped
everything bar the golf from around 8am. But would enough people have
known about Ogilvy’s good position and tuned in? He only won in the
last few minutes when Phil Mickelson self-destructed on the 18th hole:
not a guarantee of a high audience. Ogilvy is the first Australian
golfer in 11 years to win a major tournament. For Nine that’s a very
long time between drinks to justify broadcasting golf live to a
diminishing Australian audience. – Glenn Dyer

Rugby helps Nine win the week. A win last week to Nine as
expected, thanks to the Rugby League State of Origin game played
Wednesday night. That, plus the Ted Whitten
Legends’ “fun” game broadcast by Nine in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, was the difference between Nine and Seven. Nine won
with a share of 28.5% (27.1%) to Seven on 25.8% (29.1), Ten on 20.2%
(23.0%), the ABC on 15.1% (14.1%) and SBS on 10.4% (6.7%). Other influences were the World Cup soccer
games on SBS: the Australia-Japan match late Monday night averaged
2.166 million, equal with Seven’s Border Security
(7.30pm Tuesdays). They were the most watched
programs in the week. Soccer was clearly the most watched sport
last week: the State of Origin averaged just over 1.6 million people
and there was quite a difference between the two Rugby tests screened
on Seven (and on Foxtel at the same time). The first test against
England averaged 1.036 million live on Sunday night (which was
the night before a holiday Monday). That made Seven competitive in
Sydney and Brisbane but nowhere else. Saturday night the second England
test from Melbourne shed 266,000 viewers to average 770,000 from
7.30pm. It was enough, however, to see Seven over the line on the night
a share of 25.8% to 23.8% for Nine and 23.0% for Ten. The Rugby gave
Seven wins in Sydney and Brisbane Saturday night. Friday night it was
Nine in a closeish win over Seven, 28.8% to 26.5%, with the NRL and AFL
games helping Nine, especially in Sydney and Brisbane. – Glenn Dyer

World Cup ennui sets in at The SMH. If you
happened to be looking for some World Cup pics on the SMH‘s website at
about 6 o’clock this morning, you might have been left a little
deflated by the below link (since corrected) in the paper’s online picture World
Cup Gallery
: “Boring World Cup pictures.
Sport photography is uninteresting.”

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners.
A win for Nine thanks to the crass Footy Shows’ shameless exploitation of the World Cup Soccer from Germany. It finished 7th in
the top ten programs, but was third in Melbourne and fifth in Sydney: with the
program lasting well past 11pm, that was enough to give Nine a won in both
markets and a solid winning margin over Seven. Seven News was the most watched
program with 1.617 million (Nine News didn’t make it to air in Perth), Nine News
was second with 1.488 million, Ten’s Society Murders (a bit of ‘faction’ about
the murders of a well-known Melbourne couple several years ago), averaged 1.444
million (It was the most watched program in Melbourne with 592,000 people).
Seven’s It Takes Two was fourth nationally with 1.436 million. The Big Brother Live
from 7.30 pm averaged 1.382 million, 60 Minutes averaged 1.366 million,
the Footy Shows’ World Cup show averaged 1.248 million (it wasn’t such a hit in
Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth). Nine’s Backyard Blitz was eighth with 1.234 million,
The Queen at 80 (ABC, 1.233 million), The 6.30 pm Big Brother show on Ten
averaged 1.142 million and the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.125 million. In all, a
dozen programs with a million or more viewers. While it was an even night it
seems audience levels were a bit down on previous Sundays: perhaps the missing
viewers were out at pubs and clubs and other venues for the World Cup game, or
having a nap before getting up to watch the game live.

The Losers. Losers? None
really, it was a competitive night for all viewers and nothing really bombed.
Seven’s It Takes Two at 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm seems to have steadied after a week’s
break because of the Rugby Union Test broadcast a week ago. It beat both
Backyard Blitz and 60 Minutes (which had a Ray Martin soccer “exclusive”). The
Queen at 80
again rated well for the ABC (where are the republicans) at 7.30 to
8.30 pm. Did that program steal some of 60 Minutes‘ older viewers?

News & CA. Now this is a bit of news: Seven News won Sunday night:
Or, as it should properly be explained, the absence of a 4pm AFL game in
Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and no Nine News in Perth helped Seven win. Seven
won, despite Nine having an NRL game in Sydney and Brisbane at 4pm. The upshot
was Nine won Sydney and Melbourne and Adelaide (Seven won Brisbane). But Nine
didn’t go to air in Perth (because of the live Footy Show telecast that
started at 6.30 pm local), so Seven News had a free kick at 262,000 viewers,
and a rare national win on Sunday night! The ABC’s 7pm News did well with more
than 1.1 million viewers, while Ten News at Five was also well-watched,
averaging 849,000 people. Seven’s Weekend Sunrise won the Sunday morning battle
with 445,000 viewers, Sportsworld averaged 415,000 for Seven. My Business on
Seven at 11am averaged a very high 294,000, Nine’s Sunday, 292,000 from 9am to
11am. Business Sunday was pre-empted by the US Open Golf, (102,000, poor),
Insiders on the ABC averaged 130,000 viewers at 9am, Inside Business, 80,000 at
10am and Offsiders on the ABC at 10.30am, 85,000. Ten’s Meet The Press, 69,000
and Landline on the ABC at noon, 187,000.

The Stats.
Nine won with a share of 27.4%(28.2) to Seven on
24.7%(22.9%), Ten was third with 24.4% (22.7%) the ABC with 15.8% (17.0%) and
SBS with 7.8% (9.1%). Nine won Sydney and Melbourne, Ten won Adelaide and Perth,
Seven won Brisbane in some odd results. (Seven losing Perth!)

Glenn Dyer’s
There was a hit of the size of the audience for the
Australia-Brazil game in the Sunday ratings. The ratings figures are compiled
until 2am. So because of time difference, Adelaide viewers were watching for
half an hour (the coverage started at 1.30 am, the game, 2am Eastern time) and
Perth viewers, around two hours. An average 279,000 tuned in across both cities
in that time: 104,000 in Adelaide and 175,000 in Perth. The full figures will be
released Tuesday morning. We have an idea of the size of the audience though
from the figures for the pre-match program from around 1.30 am. That was 751,000
according to the first figures from Oztam: Perth hadn’t joined the broadcast (it
started there at midnight) and the Adelaide audience for the preliminaries of
51,000 more than doubled to average 104,000 for the first half hour of the
match. The game is being replayed at 5 pm Monday on SBS so those figures will be
of interest as well. Elsewhere it was a solid night by
all networks and a good one for viewers: although the crassness of the Footy
on Nine belong after 9.30 pm on Thursday nights and not at prime time
Sunday evenings. The conduct of the soccer players and fans seems so much better
than that of the hosts (and some Rugby League and AFL players in recent weeks).
Tonight another even battle: will the return of Grey’s Anatomy at 9.30 pm on
Seven help the network to reclaim Monday nights?

Peter Fray

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