The curious case of the philanthropic artist. Artists are
usually on the receiving end of philanthropy as opposed to dispensing
it. But few artists have been as clever with their money as the wily
old Margaret Olley. Now 83 and still amazingly sprightly, Olley is an
acerbic yet extremely charismatic character, who’s infinitely more
interesting as a person than she is as a painter. Nevertheless, the
well-heeled art luvvies of Sydney’s eastern suburbs simply adore
anything she does (bowls of fruit, bunches of flowers, intimate views
of harbourside suburbs). Margaret’s done very well selling her work
over the years and she has done even better investing the proceeds in
the property market. And all that has been extremely good news for the
Art Gallery of New South Wales, the chief beneficiary of Olley’s
extraordinary largesse. Over the past 25 years, Olley has donated more
than $7 million dollars worth of art, mainly work by European masters,
to the Sydney gallery. Yesterday she handed over four works
by Picasso, Bonnard, Cezanne and Vuillard valued on paper at half a
million dollars. Olley used the announcement of the donation to put in
a plug for her alma mater, the National Art School, the old-fashioned
Darlinghurst institution under threat of being absorbed into the
University of NSW. Olley said the NAS needed to survive because it
remained one of the few places that still taught basic art-making
skills. Referring to art schools linked to universities, Olley said:
“They get people to do painting for a day and then write about it for
the rest of the week.” That’s not quite true but, hell, coming from
someone as forceful as Olley, no-one dared disagree. – Stephen Feneley

From bad to worse for Eddie. Is this
Eddie McGuire’s worst week at the top of the Nine Network: even more so than a
fortnight ago when he clumsily tried to suppress the Mark Llewellyn
affidavit? In the
week that Eddie’s most expensive sign-off, Torvill and
Dean’s Dancing On Ice
, debuted to solid but not
spectacular ratings, Nine has lost five nights in a row to
Seven. This
was the week that Nine was confident would swing the
momentum back. Seven
jumped Nine on Sunday with the success of the first run Pirates of the
and hasn’t looked
back. It’s
not that Nine hasn’t been competitive; it has. It’s
just that Seven is doing better than it
expected. It won
last night 30.0% to 28.5% to lead the week 30.5% to 28.3%. Nine
can close the gap tonight with the AFL and NRL games and tomorrow night because
Seven has the Rugby Union test live from Brisbane (though it will do
well in Sydney and Brisbane ), but
Seven leads the week by a surprisingly large
margin. And
there’s also some chat that Nine has gone out and
promised ratings figures to advertisers for Dancing on Ice above the 1.6 million
recorded for the first program. Eddie already has the black mark against him at PBL HQ for the advertising “make
goods” following the Footy Shows one-off special in Germany last
month. And now the costs of trying to suppress
the Llewellyn affidavit have gone against Nine: they
have had to pay the costs of Fairfax, News, Seven and Mark
Llewellyn. That’s
well over $100,000. The
Eddie McGuire reign is proving to be expensive and not that successful where it
counts: in the day to day grind of the ratings battle with Seven and Ten. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Thursday night
and Seven scored a narrow but convincing win over Nine, despite having
weak post-9.30pm programming when it’s Jack on 24 up against the lads
of the NRL and AFL Footy Shows. Lost though did the business as the
most-watched program with 1.490 million people watching from 8.30pm.
Seven News (1.482 million) and Today Tonight (1.459 million) were second
and third. Nine News was 4th with 1.343 million, My Name is Earl
averaged 1.334 million for Seven at 8pm, Home and Away won the 7pm
battle with 1.275 million, Nine’s A Current Affair was 8th with 1.240
million. Nine’s Temptation was 9th with 1.190 million and Seven’s How I
Met Your Mother
was 10th with 1.127 million. Ten’s Medium with 1.097
million was its best with 1.097 million, Big Brother at 7pm averaged
1.088 million for 12th spot, Two and A Half Men averaged 1.043 million
for Nine, Law and Order, 1.029 million and the 7pm ABC News a round
million for 15th spot. The Footy Shows averaged 987,000, 24, 813,000
but Law and Order won for Ten from 9.30pm to 10.30pm.

The Losers:
Bert’s Family Feud 671,000, its now normal Thursday evening dip under
the 700,000 mark. The New Adventures of Old Christine fell under a
million to 931,000, West Wing averaged 471,000 on the ABC. Deal Or No Deal averaged 896,000 at 5.30pm.

News & CA: The
News and current affairs battle was again close. Seven News won
nationally by 144,000 viewers, and 107,000 in Perth. Nine had a big win
in Sydney, but big losses also in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Today Tonight had a bigger win over A Current Affair and in every
market. The wins in Sydney and Melbourne were close, but were wins nonetheless. The
7pm ABC news averaged one million viewers, very solid, The 7.30
, 796,000. The Ten News At Five averaged 848,000. Seven’s Sunrise
had big wins over Early Today and Today.

The Stats:
Seven won for its fifth win in a row this week. Seven finished with a
30.0% share (29.0% a week earlier), from Nine with 28.5% (30.2), Ten
with 22.2% (20.9%), the ABC with 12.5% (12.4%)and SBS with 6.9%
(5.4%). Seven won Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Nine won Melbourne and
Adelaide. Sizeable wins in Brisbane and Perth pushed Seven home past
Nine. Ten was solid.

Glenn Dyer’s comments:
Close but no
gold banana for Eddie and his team of programmers at Nine. A solid
night for the network was not enough. A miserable week is coming.
Welcome to the realities of Network TV Eddie. Even winners lose
sometime. Nine can still grab back the 30.5% to 28.3% lead Seven has
and tomorrow. But Frasier up against Better Home and Gardens on Seven
at 7.30 pm might just decide the whole week in favour of Seven. Frasier
is good, even in its umpteenth repeat, but to a declining group of
viewers. My Name Is Earl is still holding up at 8pm, as is How I Met
Your Mother
at 7.30pm. There is actually a solid turn-on for Earl, so
it’s now anchored in viewer habits. Two and A Half Men is hurting The
Adventures of Old Christine
which don’t seem all that new anyway. The
Footy Shows also fell short of a million viewers: over-exposure for the
thick necks?

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey