James
Packer certainly gets about.
There he was spotted in the
Ararat Park Hyatt Hotel in Moscow on Monday. Twenty-four hours earlier
he’d been whipping his polo ponies around the field for a few chukkas
in the Old Dart. He’s obviously in Moscow for more discussions with
local partners on the proposed Consolidated Press investment in a
Moscow Casino (that would be like looking into the jaws of a white
pointer given the Russian mafia’s brutal reputation and the propensity
for the Russian Government to snatch prosperous businesses away from
their owners). The Sydney Morning
Herald
reported the interest on 1 May “A Russian newspaper has reported that PBL
is in discussions with a Moscow developer, Crocus
Group, over an agreement to manage a 164,000 square metre entertainment complex being built on the outskirts of
Moscow. The
development, Crocus City, is being marketed as ‘Las
Vegas in Moscow’, and is due to be completed in 2007,
according to statements from Crocus Group… The Crocus Group is a
secretive, private company owned by Aras Agalarov, who, according to Forbes
Russia, has a net worth of $US540 million, ranking him in 84th place of
the country’s richest individuals.” So where will James be for today’s
PBL board meeting that is now underway in Sydney? Dialling in from
Moscow, or from London? Today’s board meeting is tipped to see the
departure of Sam Chisholm as a director, but in all things Packer,
nothing should be taken for granted. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The winners: Seven beat off the Ice Dancing challenge from Nine and
finished with a solid win and the top program in Border Security (1.901
million). That was only a couple of hundred thousand viewers down on a week ago
thanks to Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice with 1.609 million viewers. Seven News
was third with 1.534 million(but that depended on another big Perth win),
Medical Emergency was 4th with 1.522 million (maybe 270,000 to 300,000 down on
previous nights), Today Tonight was next with 1.511 million and Nine News was
6th with 1.484 million. All Saints was next for Seven at 8.30pm with 1.404
million (a loss of maybe 150,000 or so on previous weeks), Home and Away won the
7pm battle with 1.352 million viewers, A Current Affair was 9th with 1.256
million and Temptation was 10th for Nine at 7pm with 1.250 million. Then came
the Big Brother intruder special from 7pm to 8pm with 1.206 million on
average, Seven’s Ghost Whisperer was next with 1.126 million in its last
program for this series; The Wedge at 8pm on Ten was next with 1.057 million,
the repeat of CSI was 14 for Nine after Dancing on Ice with 1.052 million, ABC 7pm news was next with 1.042 million, Deal or No Deal was next with 1.027 million,
Rove Live finished with a very solid 1.013 million and The Bill took 18th spot
with 1.01 million. That’s right a total of 18 programs with a million or more
viewing. Plenty for everyone, including lovers of ice
skating.


The Losers:
Losers? Bert’s Family Feud on 753,000, a solid effort,
Deal or No Deal though on 1.027 million. But not much help to Seven News last
night. Ten’s The Wedge wasn’t hurt by Dancing on Ice (which skewed oldish anyway)
with 1.057 million viewers. It seems to be settling into a nice: Will Ten take a
gamble and renew?

News & CA: Seven News won nationally and in Perth but that was all.
Nine News won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide in its most solid night’s
performance for some weeks. Seven News won by 50,000 viewers nationally and
137,000 in Perth. At 6.30pm a different story: Today Tonight won in Perth by
113,000 but nationally TT won by 255,000. ACA didn’t win a market and lost
Sydney after Nine News beat Seven! The ABC’s 7pm news averaged 1.042 million,
the 7.30 Report, 764,000. The Federal Liberal party leadership story obviously
wasn’t a big draw for viewers. Ten News at 5pm averaged a solid 959,000.
Sunrise averaged 424,000, Today on Nine, 273,000, up a touch. Early Sunrise,
202, beat Early Today, 102,000. Foreign Correspondent on the ABC averaged
701,000.


The stats:
Seven won the night by a surprising margin, given the
debut of Dancing on Ice.Seven won with a 30.5% share (32.3%) from Nine with
29.0% (25.6%), Ten with 22.6% (21.3%), the ABC with 14.5% (15.2%) and SBS with
3.4% (5.6%). Nine won Sydney (Ice Dancing home town show), Seven won Melbourne,
Nine won Brisbane, Seven won Adelaide and Perth where it was a 10 point win and
enough to get Seven home nationally.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Now why didn’t Nine take a real gamble and drop a
new episode of CSI in to the post Ice Dancing slot (it ran over time and
finished at 9.40pm, 10 minutes late). That would have made sure of the win on
the night, or even concocted an ice skating version of 20 to 1 or something that
did better than the tired old repeat of CSI which averaged just 1.052 million.
When you’ve spent millions on Ice Dancing, why not go the whole hog and deliver
a killer blow to Seven by winning the night and narrowing the lead in the week.
As it is, Nine faces an uphill battle to win this week, which will be a tad
embarrassing. Suspicious Minds, though, should do well tonight at 9.30pm but
that’s not enough. It is up against poor old Jack still trying to find out the
time on 24 on Seven. Nine’s moving of Without A Trace to 8.30pm will be
interesting. It’s normally considered a good performing 9.30pm show with some
adult themes. But so was Cold Case until Nine had to shift it to 8.30pm on
Monday nights where it took off. Will the same happen for Anthony La Paglia? If
it does it would be another embarrassment for Nine. Ten though will be tough
tonight with House and NCIS. It debuts its new Fat Show, Honey We’re Killing the
Kids
. Its’ a BBC production. And Finally, after 297 inventions, numbers 298, 299
and 300 tonight on the 100th episode of The New Inventors on the ABC at 8pm. A
worthwhile milestone. After that it’s Spicks and Specks and then the greasiness
of Absolute Power.

Peter Fray

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