Stokes revealed as anonymous VC buyer.

The rumours
are true. The mysterious anonymous bidder who last
night paid a record $1 million for Australia’s
last privately owned Victoria Cross earned at Gallipoli is none other
than
Seven Network head honcho Kerry Stokes. The RSL has this morning
confirmed that
it collaborated with Stokes in securing the medal that was posthumously
awarded
to Captain Alfred Shout and which will be donated to the Australian War
Memorial. Bidding anonymously at the Sydney auction, the
media mogul also purchased the George Cross group of
eight
medals awarded to Lieutenant George Gosse, a group of four WWI medals
awarded
to Charles Dedman, and a group of six WWI medals awarded to Colonel WKS
Mackenzie. A keen art and artefact collector for more than 30 years,
the former Perth
property developer’s collection also includes silver coins that he
personally helped salvage from the sunken
Dutch ship “Batavia”,
wrecked on the WA coast in the 1600s. “I just want to acquire nice
things and
make sure, in particular, certain things that mightn’t come to this
country do
come and do stay and that where possible we keep our heritage,” Stokes
told ABC’s
Lateline back in 2001. So far so good. – Sophie Vorrath

More
program murders at Nine.
On Sunday
night Nine killed off Turn Back Your Body Clock and You Are What You
Eat
and last night it sent the ailing Close to Home to the restroom at
Willoughby. All
three were guilty, in the eyes of Nine management, of
failure. Last night, Nine
ran a new and then a repeat episode of Cold Case from 8.35pm to 10.35pm in the hope of blitzing Seven and Ten. But it
didn’t do the trick. The double program was coded with
a two hour duration and averaged just 1.2 million people; it was comprehensively
beaten by Desperate Housewives and then Grey’s Anatomy on Seven.
Nine is
being rather quick and a bit cavalier in “resting” some of its underperforming
troops – it’s not like the network has a vault full of high performers in
reserve. And what does this ruthless policy mean for Two and A Half Men and the New
Adventures of Old Christine
? Both are now under a million viewers, which was the crime Close to Home committed on
Monday nights. And
what are we to make of the policy of tolerating Frasier in double
repeats for an hour on Friday nights where it rates less than 900,000
viewers? The comedy repeats will be given a rest… for
this Friday at least. Nine has cobbled together a NRL and AFL all-stars version of Family Feud to show at 7.30pm instead. It’s a
sure sign of a shortage of programming ideas and nous when a network has to go to “stunt” programs (i.e.
one off ideas) or mine the well of an existing format to fill holes in its
schedule. – Glenn Dyer

Today Tonight ignores Brown trial. Missing
from last night’s line-up on Seven’s Today Tonight was any coverage of the trial
of Sydney security guard, Karen Brown, who is accused of shooting a man who had
just robbed her in 2004. Today
Tonight
, or rather the Seven Network, paid $100,000
for her story in a sorry example of chequebook
journalism. That money was later frozen after a
public outcry when it became known that she might be charged. Brown has pleaded not guilty. Today
Tonight
was also given a good blast by Media Watch last night
about a story that was recorded in early 2005 and not run until late 2005 after
the central character had died: the story was used by TT as a “spoiler” for a
similar story on A Current Affair featuring the mother of the deceased central
character in the TT story. It’s a
bit involved, but worth reading the transcript for the argument used by TT executive producer, Neil
Mooney to explain why he sat on the story for five
months. The
mother of the dead woman is now pursuing Today Tonight with the main TV
regulator, ACMA. Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
The girls and guys of Wisteria Lane again did it for Seven last night:
1.631 million viewers on average for Desperate Housewives was the
stand-out of the night. Seven News was second with 1.576 million
followed by Today Tonight with 1.546 million. Nine News and A Current
Affair
were fourth and fifth respectively with 1.493 million and 1.409
million. Seven’s Grey’s Anatomy (9.30 pm) averaged 1.390 million,
Nine’s 7pm show, Temptation, 1.366 million, What’s Good For You,
1.332 million at 7.30 pm. Home and Away was ninth with 1.254 million,
Ten’s Big Brother Live Nomination (the last for 2006, but wait, there’s
an eviction tomorrow night, out with the lot!) averaged 1.219 million.
Cold Case averaged 1.201 million (from 8.35 pm to 10.35 pm) that little
ratings ploy failed. Seven’s The Great Outdoors, 1.179 million, the 7pm ABC News, 1.137 million (good numbers), Big Brother at 7pm, 1.118
million and Australian Story was the 15th program with a million or
more viewers with an average of 1.004 million for the second part of a
good story on a WA legal case.

The Losers:Bert’s Family
Feud
averaged 666,000 (The Devil’s Number) which was down from the
usual 700,000 plus the program gets on Monday nights. Seven’s Deal Or
No Deal
was also down around 60,000 or so viewers on the recent Monday
night figures of a million plus viewers with an average of 973,000 last
night from 5.30 pm.

News & CA:Seven News won
nationally and in Sydney and Perth, but it was the 168,000 margin in
Perth that pushed it ahead of Nine nationally by 83,000. Nine won
Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Today Tonight won nationally by
137,000, but the Perth margin was 133,000. Close. TT won Sydney,
Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. ACA won Melbourne where Nine seems to
have moved back in front of Seven News and TT in the past month. Ten News at Five and the 7pm ABC News had solid figures, while The 7.30 Report
averaged 930,000. Four Corners was a buy in (an interesting story) and
it averaged 705,000, Media Watch, 701,000, Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope,
885,000 (for a dressed up best-of program) while Sunrise beat Today by
big margins from 6am to 7am and from 7am to 9am.

The Stats:
A solid win to Seven, on a 30.9% share (30.3%) from Nine on
27.7%(25.8%), Ten, 19.4% (21.4%), the ABC on 16.0% (16.3%) and SBS on
5.9%(6.2%). Seven won Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, Nine won
Melbourne. Nine leads the week 29.6% to 27.4%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments:
By dropping Close To Home Nine succeeded in arresting its post 9.30 pm
slide in share, but only for an hour. What’s Good For You was down on
previous weeks at 7.30 pm but still won the slot. Its a sort of SeaChange with a dash of health and medicine thrown in as our Siggie wafts
through each intro, back announce or voiceover. Tonight it’s the
Dancing on Ice mob, led by the charismatic Torvill and Dean, and Jacki
Kelly the Liberal backbench hack who will attempt to be this week’s
skating survivor, although the promos have featured her with a cast or
bandage on one arm. The Ice mob will be up against Border Security and
Medical Emergency on Seven from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm when people will
turn over to Nine to watch the program move towards a conclusion. Will
the audience top last week’s 1.395 million? That’s the crucial test.
Ten continues its bogan humour with The Wedge and its last OC for the season.. Awwww! The ABC has a painting program with Rolf Harris at
8pm. Seven has Miss Universe at 9.30 pm (No Jennifer Hawkins there for
us, just the winner who fainted because her dress was too tight!)

Peter Fray

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