Seven embraces the Buzzcocks. There’s
nothing like imitation to flatter someone. So what are we to make of Seven’s decision to do a commercial version of the ABC hit
Spicks and Specks, which is based on the BBC program Never Mind The Buzzcocks and averages around a million or more viewers on Wednesday nights. SBS also has a version of the show, RocKwiz,
which gets several hundred thousand viewers when it appears on Saturday
nights. Seven’s version will be
hosted by Todd McKenney, a judge from Dancing With The
Stars
, and there has been talk of
team captains or a panel with Lizzy Lovette from Nova and Matt Parkinson of Triple M (who’s
often a member of the brains trust on the Einstein Factor). Seven
claims the program will be more than music and will be stretched to cover movies
and TV. And
Nine is going back to the 20 to 1 format with a program that will look at a different
year each week with updated interviews with some of the people making news in
that year. It
sounds a bit like the popular Seven nostalgia program,
Where Are They Now, with a dash of 20 to 1 thrown in. – Glenn Dyer

WSJ to allow front pages advertising. The
pace of change to age-old conventions in the world of newspapers
continues. Yesterday it was the New York Times
cutting the size and look of the paper and closing a printing plant to save more than $US40 million a
year. Today it’s the equally venerable
Wall Street Journal grasping the nasty nettle and deciding to put ads on its
front page. Show horror! The
change will happen sometime in September or October and will generate millions
of dollars a year in much needed new advertising income, which will come as a
godsend to a paper that is struggling in the internet
age. The
WSJ has a circulation of 1.7 million copies a day, the second largest circulation in the
US, and looks like going for a boxed ad in the bottom right hand corner and a
strip ad across the bottom. The
reaction in the US to the WSJ‘s move sounds a bit
like the hand-wringing amongst all the SBS luvvies
when the broadcaster decided to show ads during programs. For
example, reports in American papers and other media have
used the phrase “relentless financial pressure” to put
the decision in context with the suggestion that it wouldn’t have been made if
the financial pressure wasn’t there. Instead of “We Blame The Czar”, “We Blame the Internet” will become the
justification for all inevitable decisions in the “old”
media. – Glenn Dyer

All hail the Groper in Chief:
Alternet
is calling it “undoubtedly the most embarrassing official trip abroad
for
any American president” and
The Huffington Post is calling Bush “Groper in Chief.” Days after letting the s word slip while talking through a mouth full
of bread roll to his mate Tony Blair while his microphone was on,
George Bush has created another storm by playfully massaging German
Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G8 summit. The footage that’s being buzzed about on blogs around the world shows Bush waltzing into a G8 conference room and pausing
to place his hands on Merkel’s shoulders, which he squeezes several
times. Needless to say, Merkel is not impressed and grimaces before
shrugging off the friendly President’s advances. This is as
inexplicable as Zinedine Zidane’s head butt in the World Cup final,
says Doc Strangelove. It may even eclipse George Senior’s unfortunate chunk-hurling
on the Emperor of Japan. – Sophie Black

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Ten returned to the top of the pile last night with House getting its biggest ever audience of 1.894 million. It was sort of handed the win by Seven’s decision to use a single episode of Las Vegas at 8.30pm. It bombed, so viewers who had liked Seven’s Prison Break either headed for Without a Trace on Nine or for House. After House came Seven’s Today Tonight with 1.549 million, then Seven News with 1.542 million. McLeod’s Daughters finally got traction with viewers (more blokes helps). It averaged 1.501 million. Solid numbers. Ten’s NCIS was 5th with 1.465 million and that sewed up the 9.30pm timeslot. Nine News was next with 1.449 million, then Temptation at 7 pm with 1.428 million. ACA was 8th with 1.420 million, Home and Away, 1.318 million and Ten’s Honey We’re Killing The Kids, 1.313 million (its best so far and building). Without a Trace was 11th with 1.255 million. Seven’s Beyond Tomorrow lost 200,000 viewers to settle at 1.132 million, the ABC’s Spicks and Specks averaged 1.075 million, Ten’s 7pm Big Brother, 1.021 million and the ABC News, 1.018 million. It was the 15th program with a million or more viewers.

The Losers:Las Vegas for Seven, 24 for Seven. Bert’s Family Feud eased to 696,000, Deal or No Deal 971,000. Las Vegas was an M-rated program so had to go at 8.30pm. Seven has a new program called Born to Kill from next week with stories on Ivan Milat and Fred West.

News & CA:
Seven News again won nationally and in Adelaide and Perth, but Nine was
strong, winning Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Seven news by 130,000
in Perth and 11,000 in Adelaide, the national margin was only 93,000. Today Tonight lost Sydney and Melbourne won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Nine is more competitive overall. Ten News At Five averaged 935,000, the 7pm ABC news 1.018 million, the 7.30 report, 862,000. Seven’s Sunrise won the morning battle easily: the 7am show doubling Today‘s 225,000 and a bit more (464,000).

The Stats: No Prison Break
and Seven loses the night and finishes third behind Ten and Nine. Ten
won with a share of 28.7%(25.9%), from Nine with 26.6% (25.8%), Seven,
24.0% (27.8%), the ABC 15.1% (15.4%) and SBS 5.6% (5.1%). Seven’s lead
now down to a matchstick: 28.2% to 28.1% for Nine.

Glenn Dyer’s comments:

Could the whole week’s battle turn on two hours of TV on a Wednesday
night? We won’t know until Sunday when the week’s figures are released,
but Seven’s effort from 8.30pm to 10.30pm was poor – week-losing poor
if Nine gets its act together tonight and tomorrow night. But will
Nine’s Frasier repeats on Friday night be the counter programming
decision that lets Seven back in the game? Putting Las Vegas in to the 8.30pm timeslot against House on Ten was ‘courageous” to use the words of Sir Humphrey. 24 at 9.30 pm is not performing so Seven had two weak programs (Las Vegas
of 878,000 was around 250,000 to 300,000 down on what it was averaging
on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm). Poor Jack and his mates on 24 were only watched by 664,000, which is around 100,000 down on what it has been getting on Wednesday nights.Tonight it will be Lost for Seven in front of The New Adventures of Old Christine and the appalling Two and A Half Men. And of course the two Footy Shows. Seven has My Name is Earl at 8pm, Nine has Getaway at 7.30pm: Ten is chasing the kids and the ABC bores for America with West Wing.

Peter Fray

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