Goodbye Business Sunday. Well,
there have been some amazing promises over time: who can forget Neville
Chamberlain’s promise of “peace in our time” after Munich in 1938, or Bob
Hawke’s “no child shall live in poverty by 1990”. Now we
can add Eddie McGuire and the Nine Network to that list with their promise that
no programs would be axed in the plan to cut 100 jobs, mainly from the
Sydney-based news and current affairs programs of the
network. Last night, the longest surviving business program on TV in this country, 20-year-old Business
, was killed off and “folded” into an as yet unknown but “new look” Sunday program, despite that promise by McGuire
and Nine. The
decision to axe the program, hard though it might be (I was associated with it
from its start in 1986 to early 2004) is smarter than trying to keep it on air
with a skeleton staff. Most of
those working on it have indicated they want redundancy: the
future of host Ali Moore is uncertain. Sunday
has lost up to ten staff, leaving it half strength to do a two hour program. Senior
Sunday producer, Peter Hiscock, is believed to have
left Nine yesterday. The position of host Jana Wendt was unknown, although she
is understood to be staying. Ms
Wendt hosted yesterday’s lunch for The Bulletin magazine in Sydney that named Rupert Murdoch as Australia’s most
influential person. The new
look Sunday is due to be revealed to the viewers on 3 September (which, from memory, was the
start of World War II: so much for Munich!). It is being revamped into a more discursive program to be launched by the end of
September. Business Sunday will be a part of it, probably with Ross Greenwood
doing the finance component, if he can be prised free
from the Today Show and his many other activities at Nine and ACP. The combined
program will probably start at 9am. What
Nine will run in its place at 8am is up in the
air. Seven’s
Weekend Sunrise will have open slather for the first hour of its broadcast
unless Nine can manage to conjure up a strong
competitor. – Glenn Dyer

Beautiful one day, redundant the next. The
Nine Network cuts have also reached Queensland. Its Gold Coast bureau has in effect been gutted after a decade,
with presenter Rob
Readings and Bureau Chief/Presenter Chris Brown being told to pack up their
desks. Staff
are now worried the entire half hour local news bulletin will go altogether.
Several were told to apply for redundancy packages which should be announced
later. Nine
runs the Gold Coast News at 5.30pm while in Brisbane it runs the very successful Brisbane
Extra which helps its 6pm news win most nights against Seven. Some at
QTQ9 worry that Nine will gut Brisbane Extra and reduce the 6pm News’s effectiveness against Seven. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings:
The winners: Monday night and Seven’s Desperate Housewives and Grey’s
did it from 8.30 pm to 10.30 pm. But the most watched program wasn’t on
Monday night, it was Tuesday morning with an average 2.212 million watching the
first hour of the Australia-Italy World Cup game on SBS from 1am to 2am when
ratings finished for the night. The rest of the figures for 2am onwards will be
out tomorrow along with complete averages for the game. So excluding the soccer,
Seven News could say it was the most watched program in prime time with 1.626
million. Nine’s What’s Good For You (7.30 pm) followed with 1.531 million, then
Today Tonight with 1.505 million, Desperate Housewives with 1.474 million, just
pipping Cold Case with 1.469 million. Then came Temptation (Nine, 7 pm) with
1.412 million, which also just pipped Seven’s Home and Away with 1.408 million.
Nine News was 9th with 1.392 million, ACA was tenth with 1.359 million, Grey’s
was 11th with 1.269 million and the Big Brother Live Nomination was 12th
with 1.265 million. Seven’s The Great Outdoors (7.30 pm) was 13th with 1.187
million, Big Brother at 7pm averaged 1.103 million and the pre-game program on
SBS before the Italy game averaged 1.018 million. Ten News at Five averaged
1.015 million and Deal or No Deal topped the million mark, just with 1.001
million. Sixteen programs in all with a million or more viewers: take out the
first hour of the soccer and the lead-in program and there were 14 programs in
prime time last night (if you include the Ten News at 5pm) with a million or more

The losers: Losers? Bert’s Family Feud did its usual Monday bounce,
ending up at an average of 718,000. No real losers elsewhere. Nine’s Close to
has a bit of a fade going. Deal or No Deal clearly won the timeslot with
more than a million viewers, which seems to be its Monday

News & Current Affairs:
Seven News again won nationally by 234,000 viewers, with
151,000 of those coming in Perth. Seven lost to Nine in Sydney but won Melbourne,
Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Today Tonight beat A Current Affair nationally,
won Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, but lost Melbourne. The 7pm ABC News
averaged 982,000, The 7.30 Report, 812,000. Ten News at Five averaged 1.015
million in a strong performance which won it the 5pm to 6pm timeslot.

The Stats: Seven won the night with a share of 28.9% (28.8% a week
earlier) from Nine with 26/7% (28.2%), ten with 20.0% (20.4%), the ABC with
14.8% (14.3%) and SBS with 9.7% (8.3%). Seven won all five metro markets but
Nine leads the week, 29.5% to 27.2%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: No more reasons for a bad night’s sleep. So sad: the Italian Dive, with full twist and pike, should become an Olympic event.
Certainly it’s part of World Cup lore. Everything last night before the game
would have been just something to watch for hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Due to the match starting at 1am we had the unlikely sight of a TV audience
peaking at a huge two million plus at the fag end of the night! Earlier
Nine was a bit more competitive between 6pm and 7pm but then faded a touch:
its newish drama at 9.30 pm, Close to Home, was no match for Seven’s Grey’s
. Housewives did well, but wraps up next week. Grey’s will move back to
its old slot of 8.30 pm. Nine’s Cold Case will give Grey’s a good run.Tonight
it’s Border Security and Medical Emergency that will dominate viewing, judging from the previous week. Nine is trying to warm up viewers for its ice dancing thingy with
Torvill and Dean which starts in the Tuesday 7.30 pm timeslot in a fortnight.
Tonight Nine screens a Hey Hey It’s Saturday special featuring Daryl Somers, the
host of Seven’s Dancing With The Stars which usually runs in the Tuesday 7.30 pm
timeslot. Nine is obviously hoping viewers won’t notice the difference and are
used to watching Dazza in the 7.30 pm timeslot.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey