Anderson joins the Sky News board. More changes within the vast
media web of PBL, with executive director Chris Anderson being
appointed to the board of Sky News, forcing out 60 Minutes executive producer, John Westacott, the
one of the two current PBL representatives. Anderson is the lead PBL
director on Foxtel and the Hoyts movie business and is being paid a
million dollars a year or so for his trouble, according to the 2005
annual report. The other PBL director on Sky News remains Sam Chisholm,
who last week left the PBL board after reading (accurately) the feeling
of the board: that CEO John Alexander didn’t want him there. Alexander
is now tipped to replace Chisholm on the Foxtel board. That should be
fascinating as Alexander has shown no understanding of TV as CEO of
PBL. The one thing you could say about Chisholm is that, despite some
decisions made at Nine last year, he knew TV and especially pay TV. The
smartest man in the whole PBL Empire when it comes to TV – free to air
and pay, advertising and sports rights and broadcasting – is David
Malone, the CEO of Premier Media Group which is half-owned by PBL and
News Ltd. PBL and News can ill afford to lose him: he is highly skilled
at making sure Premier is the only company making real profits (an
estimated $100 million in 2007) from the pay TV market in this country.
– Glenn Dyer

More ACP cuts. Reports of more cuts in the ACP Magazines
business of PBL with the Men’s Lifestyle and Lifestyle/Home area taking
a multi-million dollar budget trim. Group Publisher, Phil Scott,
oversees these areas where the cut has been estimated at $4 million for
2007: a product of some tense chats with the new CEO, Ian law, and PBL’s
chief operating officer, Pat O’Sullivan. Scott is/was a favourite of
John Alexander when he was CEO of ACP and then PBL. Scott’s new
associate publisher is rumoured to be Debbra Bibby, the editor of Real Living, which was the magazine he
started last year. Real Living and House and Garden
aren’t doing well, while Gourmet Traveller, another favourite of Scott and Alexander, is stagnating without
any real growth in its circulation. The
Editor-in-Chief of Belle, Eric Matthews, is also reported to have
been pushed out by Scott in the past week, while several other staff have lost their
jobs down the food chain. Glenn Dyer

Jessica Rowe announces she is expecting. Touching scenes on the Nine’s Today show this morning with
Jessica Rowe telling the world she was pregnant and hubbie, Peter Overton from 60 Minutes,
joining her on set. Rowe will be off air when the kid comes next
January so Eddie McGuire and his mate Jeff Browne (the contracts king)
are very lucky that they didn’t “bone” Jessica Rowe, as claimed in the
now infamous Mark Llewellyn affidavit. Just imagine Rowe being sacked
by Eddie and his clowns, only for her to tell the media, tearfully,
that she was pregnant with her first child. As it is, Rowe has probably
made a difficult decision easier: she now has a graceful way out if she
wants to leave the Today show with honour at the end of the year. The
challenge for Nine now is not to exploit the Rowe
pregnancy and to make it appear normal, although the Woman’s Day and Women’s Weekly
will be clambering for an “exclusive”. Hopefully it won’t be as distasteful as the Woman’s Day
cover on Rove McManus and his wife, Belinda Emmett, which suggested they were
ready to have kids. Woman’s
Day
didn’t speak to the couple at all and made up the story through the use of
past quotes, which were selectively used.Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:Lost was the
most watched program last night with 1.531 million people tuning into
Seven from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm. Then 24 started (678,000) and 850,000
people found something else better to do/watch and Seven lost the night
right there. Today Tonight was second with 1.515 million, then Seven
News
with 1.460 million and Nine News close with 1.409 million. Nine’s
stalwart, Getaway, did the biz at 7.30 pm with 1.389 million, Temptation
at 7pm for Nine with 1.303 million and just in front of Seven’s Home
and Away
with 1.285 million. My Name Is Earl (8pm, Seven), averaged
1.250 million (down a touch from last week) and A Current Affair was ninth with 1.243 million. Ten’s Medium was rare in tenth with 1.125
million, followed by good ole Law and Order, also on Ten with 1.065
million. How I Met Your Mother (Seven, 7.30 pm) managed to attract an
average 1.047 million viewers and the two Footy Shows averaged 1.047
million: The AFL Show was sixth in Melbourne with 399,000, while the NRL
Show
was 11th in Sydney with 305,000 and 24th in Brisbane with just
109,000 viewers. The antics of Fatty and the lads just don’t make it
up north most Thursday nights.

The Losers:Bert’s
Family Feud
did 696,000 which was OK, Deal Or No Deal however averaged
924,000. Seven’s How I Met Your Mother (7.30 pm) is hanging in there,
but sagging. but it is nowhere as bad as Nine’s Two And A Half Men
(993,000) and The New Adventures Of Old Christine (850,000). Both are
bound for the great black hole of TV but Nine will have to keep them
going because there is little in the ratings cupboard to relieve the
situation (How about Joey?). The West Wing again bored us last night
with 401,000 people disagreeing with that notion and watching. Snore.
24, 678,000 viewers watched Seven at 9.30 and watched Jack running,
hiding, emoting, and being deceived. Is no one trustworthy any more?
(Silly question, it’s commercial TV.) I reckon Jack should break into an
episode of West Wing. Now that would be interesting; might stay up for
that.

News & CA:Seven News won nationally and in
Sydney and Perth. It lost Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The
winning national margin was 51,000, the Seven margin in Perth over Nine
News
was 123,000. Close! However Today Tonight bounded ahead of A
Current Affair
, or rather ACA gave up ground. TT won all markets and had
a margin of 272,000, so a big turn off from Nine News to ACA. That won’t
make the dynamic duo at ACA, Dazza Wick and Anthony Flannery, happy.
They’ve experienced that sort of beating in another life at the Today show.The 7pm ABC News averaged 998,000, The 7.30 Report, 838,000 and
Ten News at Five, 833,000. Sunrise beats Today 449,000 to 270,000
(which was the highest for three weeks for Today).

The Stats:
Nine won with a share of 29.4% (28.5%) from Seven with 29.2% (30.0%),
Ten was third with 21.4%(22.2%), the ABC with 11.5% (12.5%) and SBS
with 8.5% (6.9%). Nine won Sydney and Melbourne and Adelaide, Seven won
Brisbane and Perth. The week is locked at 28.4% each for Seven and Nine.

Glenn Dyer’s comments:
Neck and neck they hurtle towards the deadline of midnight (actually
11.59 pm) on Saturday: Nine and Seven locked in an embrace that neither
can break and establish a lead… Well, that’s the potboiler approach to
how the week is travelling. Thanks to the two hours of low rating stuff
on Wednesday night (Las Vegas and 24) Seven has forgone a great chance
to win the week. It still might do so, but the small but hard to bridge
lead it had after Tuesday night was burnt up. Nine, though, is not
without concerns: the hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Thursday nights
is now a looming black hole. Two and A Half Men with less than a
million viewers at 8.30 pm and The New Adventures Of Old Christine,
with less than 900,000 viewers at 9pm, will not improve. When the
Footy Shows disappear in September, Nine’s Thursday nights are going to
be uncomfortable until RPA can be cranked up to provide some late
season impetus. Tonight it’s the usual AFL, NRL matches on Nine, which
will struggle to win because of the hour of Frasier repeats from 7.30pm will be thoroughly towelled by Better Homes and Gardens on Seven.
Assuming another close one tonight (and the last three or four have
been just that), the week will come down to the battle of the movies
tomorrow night. Dare you watch? Seven has wheeled out Mrs Doubtfire: is
Robin Williams still wearing corsets and high heels and doing the
dishes?? How charming! On Nine is King Solomon’s Mines with Patrick
Swayze: that one missed me (I must have been reading a book) and rushed
through to DVD. Ten has the kids tonight (all the turkey slapping fans
on BB) and tomorrow night it’s Everybody Loves Raymond at 6.30 pm (no
we don’t) as a lead-in to the AFL. Nine has Frasier, Ten has Raymond as
the “fill a slot, we have nothing better” programming options. Makes
for brilliant TV, doesn’t it? The AFL might be the best thing on TV
tomorrow night.

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW