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
Caribbean
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.

Peter Fray

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