Freedman jumps from mags to Nine:
another senior executive at ACP has jumped ship. Mia
Freedman, the former editor-in-chief of ACP Magazines’ girlie mags, Cleo, Dolly and Cosmopolitan, will start at Nine as “creative director”. How
very advertising! She
joins her ACP colleague, Gary Linnell, who jumped (or
was moved) to Nine as News and Current Affairs Director in June, setting off the
now infamous Mark Llewellyn affidavit affair. Michael
Mangan, ACP’s IT boss and
head of Network Services, is another senior executive to leave: he goes in about
six weeks. His boss, David Gardiner, the deputy CEO of ACP Magazines to John
Alexander, was the first senior executive to leave. He was
pushed in a re-organisation introduced by Ian Law,
Alexander’s successor at ACP (and personally recruited to replace himself by
Alexander). Freedman’s move to Nine will be a loss for ACP where Pat Ingram
rules as the senior publisher, presiding over the Women’s Lifestyle group which
contains the powerhouses, Woman’s Day and Australian Women’s
Freedman would have been considered a possible successor
to Ingram. The
role she has gone to at Nine is an odd one: she will be
apparently working closely with Eddie McGuire to bring a “contemporary female
perspective” to Nine (according to a quote in MediaWeek this morning.) That
sounds like PBL speak for softening the outrageously blokey, AFL football culture exposed in the Llewellyn
affidavit (sh-t sandwiches, being on the “team” and of course, “boning” Jessica Rowe.) Nine
has lost a steady stream of talented female producers and executives since the
middle of 2004 when David Gyngell
was running the Network. Freedman will continue writing for Fairfax papers, The Sun
and Sunday Age, so she’s obviously gone there on her own
terms. I
wonder if she will have time to do her odd spot of guesting on the ABC’s The
Glass House
“chat” show? Freedman will continue to consult to ACP (she’s sort of
being doing that for a while anyway). The
Seven Network’s Peter Meakin was also a fan and she
had negotiations with them for a possible role.

Moore returns to ABC: Not
only is Ali Moore returning to the ABC to present Lateline Business, but an old hand will be her boss on the
four nights a week program. Colin
Chapman, formerly with FT Television in London, the FT itself, Today Tonight and known
as the editor of The Australian with the shortest tenure, will be the program’s executive producer. He was
also a London
correspondent of Business Sunday in the late 80s and early 90s. Another producer
will be Ruth Dexter, who also spent time on Business Sunday. Both
worked on the program before Ms Moore joined in 2005. Lateline Business will be half an
hour or so four nights a week, Monday to Thursdays, with a short ten-minute version on
Friday nights. The
only competition will be the Sky Business News on Sky News at 8.30 pm (and
repeated at 11.30 pm). It’s
also another interesting sign that the ABC can do more with less, compared to
the downsizing Nine Network which is unable to do anything in news and current
affairs except cut back. It will
also be the ABC’s second attempt to cover business: it tried to do it
several years ago with Business Breakfast but that failed. Business Breakfast
was hosted by Emma Alberici who is now finance editor
on the 7.30 Report. Covering business at the end of the day (and when some overseas coverage can be worked
up out of Asia or Europe) is also a better
idea. Breakfast business coverage also failed on Nine when it found Business Today at 6.30 am too expensive
and too much hard work. When
Business Sunday ends on 27 August, Nine will have gone from
market leader to a token coverage of business, whereas the ABC (and Sky
News for that matter) will have gone from nothing and a bit of dabbling
to full-time daily coverage. Lateline Business will complement
the Sunday program, Inside Business, hosted by Alan Kohler. – Glenn Dyer

Another Nine staffer jumps ship:
Sometime chief of staff and western Sydney reporter for
the Nine Network, Stella Lauri, has quit to rejoin the
Wollongong-based WIN newsroom where she worked before joining Nine five years
ago. She
lives on the South Coast and Nine made her the
network’s south-western Sydney news bureau
operative in its attempt to show Sydney that it was interested in the vast west
and south-western suburbs of the city. That
was tokenism and didn’t last. She
also served as a chief of staff in Nine Sydney. Lauri will combine the role of
Deputy News Director and State News Director (NSW) and will stand in as a relief
presenter across the network for WIN. WIN
claims it is the market leader in regional news: it has moved into south-western
Western Australia and
will begin a newsroom covering the Mackay and Wide Bay
areas of Central Queensland late this
year. Meanwhile Nine has poached 2UE
manager, Ian Sheppard, for the new role of Network Direct Sales Manager. Sheppard will be based in Sydney and oversee direct
sales for the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane markets. It’s a
bit of an “old boys” hiring: his boss will be Peter Wilshire, the former head of
TV sales for Southern Cross, which owns
2UE. Sheppard’s move to Nine comes a
week after retrenching at least nine staff at 2UE (although others say more people
left in the mini-purge). According to Sydney radio
listeners, a fallout of the cuts by Sheppard has been the loss of talkback phone operators at night, so much so that
some evening shift presenters have found themselves answering calls for a
Perth tax
company which has a phone number close to that of 2UE. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Monday night and
Seven wins for the second night in a row. This is shaping up as a most
intriguing week of TV. The Desperate Housewives did the job for the first time for quite a
while: 1.610 million viewers tuned in to watch on average. Seven News was
second with 1.599 million, Today Tonight was third with 1.564 million. Nine’s
7.30 program What’s Good For You again did very well, averaging 1.559 million
people (that’s Very Good for Nine). Cold Case was fifth for Nine with 1.470
million, Nine News was next with 1.464 million, Grey’s Anatomy was next for
Seven at 9.30 pm with 1.432 million
and A Current Affair was eighth with 1.397 million. Temptation (1.369 million)
just beat Seven’s Home and Away (1.359 million) at 7pm. Seven’s The Great Outdoors was 11th with 1.175
million, the Big Brother Live Nomination averaged 1.167 million, Deal or No Deal won the 5.30 pm battle with 1.062 million viewers, Big Brother at 7pm averaged 1.060 million and Australian
averaged 1.038 million for the ABC at 8pm.

The Losers: Bert’s Family
at number 28, around its usual position, with 743,000 viewers. Average for
the Bertster, it doesn’t look he will rise much further. If Nine is looking for
cost cuts, watch Bert and Feud towards the end of the year. He’s not earning his
reported million bucks a year. Will he get to eat one of Eddie’s now legendary
sh-t sambos? But Feud has improved on the early eps. Nine’s Today, 233,000
viewers, Sunrise, 518,000 from 7am. Obviously people turned on to watch an
update on the World Cup final, but didn’t turn on to Today.

News & CA: Seven News and Today
won nationally in a night of shared victories. Seven News won Sydney,
lost Melbourne and Adelaide,
won Brisbane and Perth.
Today Tonight won Sydney, lost Melbourne
and won Brisbane, Adelaide
and Perth. Seven News won by
135,000 nationally and 139,000 in Perth,
so Nine will be thinking: “we won”. Nope. Today Tonight had a win in Perth
by 112,000 and 167,000 nationally. The 7pm ABC News averaged 979,000, The 7.30 Report
887,000, Four Corners, 877,000, Media Watch, 843,000 and Andrew Denton’s Enough
, 910,000.The Japanese News on SBS
averaged 850,0000… what’s that? It followed the World Cup soccer final
yesterday morning. The soccer final averaged 943,000 from 3am to well past 7am
(the game started at 4 am).

The Stats: Seven won the night
with a share of 31.5% (28.9%) from Nine with 28,8% (26.7%), Ten with 18.4%
(20.0%), the ABC with 16.4% (14.8%) and SBS
with 4.9% (9.7%). Seven won every market for the second night in a row and now
leads the week 31.9% to 29.0% for Nine.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven has built a
nice lead going into tonight, the pivotal night of the week and perhaps the
most important for Nine this year. The multi-million dollar Torvill and Dean
Dancing on Ice
program starts tonight: it’s been billed as “Live and
Dangerous” in the newspaper ads (where are the bad and mad?). Dangerous
because a contestant could fall and break an ankle like Peter Everitt did on
last year’s Ice Skating program. There’s a touch of desperation in Nine’s
marketing to call a program “dangerous”. But needs must. It will of
course be up against Border Security, Medical Emergency and All Saints on
Seven. Tough opponents, but Dancing on Ice has to win and win big if it is to give
Nine the momentum it is looking for. It is an expensive program and has to
deliver for the Network and advertisers, otherwise there will be some expensive “make goods” for
the sponsors. Ten is keeping its head down. It will be interesting to see if The
holds its audience above a million viewers tonight at 8pm. if it
does then it has embedded itself with its nice audience. Now also watch a
program called Jamie’s Journey – Hope for Uganda’s
at 10.30 pm. It was shot
last year by Backyard Blitz‘s Jamie Durie and a crew. A question: Did Nine put
up any money for this doco (for a children’s charity)? I’m told it didn’t.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey