Jana sticks to Sunday. Jana Wendt was on the Sunday program
on the Nine Network yesterday, hosting as if the damaging attack on her by unnamed network management in last Friday’s Daily Tele never happened. After those unnamed executives
attempted to destroy her on the Tele‘s front page with their suggestion that Ellen Fanning was set to replace her, Jana’s appearances in The Weekend Australianand Sunday Telegraph
represented a defiant counter-attack from the Sunday
host. She gave every impression she wasn’t
moving or allowing the snide attacks to undermine
her. And then there was this story in the
Sunday Telegraph,
complete with pictures taken Saturday in Hyde Park of
Jana. It was a defiant, ‘sack me’
confrontational approach to McGuire and others in the Nine management. Coming so soon after the PR disaster
involving the Mark Llewellyn affidavit, the crude attempt in Friday’s Telegraph
has backfired. If Wendt is sacked or removed or
replaced and given another gig, it will trigger a nasty PR disaster that Nine
and Eddie cannot win, not so soon after the ‘boning’ Jessica Rowe allegations in
the Llewellyn affidavit. Watch for McGuire and Nine
management to deny everything, just as Nine management
have done in the past, and then act on the initial
impulse. Watch also for Nine to try and move Wendt to another program to try and use
the ‘changed business conditions’ excuse for removing her or closing down Sunday and
offering her a lesser role. It
is a real battle of strength and after the Mark Llewellyn and Jessica Rowe PR
disasters, McGuire and the management team around him (and at Park Street) can ill
afford a third PR disaster of equal magnitude. And
a footnote: Nine sources say that despite the denials, a new hosting team for
the Today Show is being sorted. Nine will wait until Jessica Rowe goes on
maternity leave but there will be new male and female hosts in
2007. – Glenn Dyer

Vautin cops it.
The knives are out for Paul “Fatty” Vautin after he was “ordained” as Eddie McGuire’s replacement as host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in Friday’s Daily Telegraph. 2GB’s morning announcer, Ray Hadley claimed Vautin would be the only person who would host Millionaire and ‘would
have to phone a friend to help ask a question’. (Hadley
and Vautin don’t get on; it has something to do with
the affairs of the Manly NRL League club in Sydney). Hadley
said that if the Wendt and Vautin stories were true
than McGuire was heading for a new program called ‘I’m
TV Executive Skating on thin ice”, a reference to Nine’s under performing
program, Dancing On Ice. Vautin’s old ‘mate’ News Ltd sports
columnist, Rebecca Wilson entered the debate yesterday with a snipe headed ‘Fat
Chance of Getting Millions”. She
said Vautin was never going to be a host of Who Wants
To be A Millionaire
and claimed that Eddie McGuire
phoned through a denial to Hadley’s producer about the story in The
Telegraph.
Eddie
is now denying anything, having taken advice to do so from professional
quarters. ‘ – Glenn Dyer

Two more Packer books on the way? Two updates of old books are underway as the Nine Network’s
woes shows no sign of slowing in the wake of Kerry Packer’s death. The
death obviously started Paul Barry thinking about updating his book on Packer
and PBL, The Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer. There’s
obviously a lot of material to be covered from then till his death and beyond to
the flounderings of Nine
since 2002 and the complete lack of interest son and heir, James, is showing in
the TV business. But the
more interesting update is by Gerald Stone, a long time Nine staffer (first EP of 60 Minutes) and lately board member
of SBS. His
book, Compulsive Viewing was published in 2000. He is
casting round former and current Nine executives and
employees for information and views. The
most interesting comments will come from the likes of David Leckie, Peter Meakin and John
Stephens (all former Nine folk now at Seven) and
especially David Gyngell and Sam Chisholm, the last
two CEO’s of Nine before Eddie brought the AFL Footy Show mob to
town. The
James Packer-Roz Packer-Kerry Packer relationship is
one that should be explored because much of the answers lie there in those
tangled emotions. Likewise Kerry Packer’s insistence in his will to be
buried at his Elleston property at Scone in NSW (and
nowhere near his old family home at Bellevue, his wife and son), could be a
fruitful area for both authors to explore. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings.
The Winners:
Nine first, Ten second, Seven third. The third Lord of The Rings movie
fell very flat last night. It drowned, whipped by a
combination of CSI on Nine and Big Brother and Law and Order Criminal
Intent
. CSI was the most watched program with 1.842 million people from
8.30 pm, Nine News was second with 1.588 million, the Big Brother
Eviction
was 3rd with 1.551 million, 60 Minutes was 4th with 1.528
million, then Seven News with 1.513 million, CSI Miami (Nine, 9.30 pm),
averaged 1.481 million, Seven’s It Takes Two (6.30pm), 1.454 million,
Nine’s repeat of 20 to 1 at 6.30pm, 1.371 million, the ABC’s Planet
Earth
at 7.30pm, 1.292 million, the 6.30pm Big Brother, 1.217
million, Seven’s True Stories, 1.043 million, Nine’s Sunday Football,
1.043 million and the 7pm ABC news, 1.028 million. 13 programs in all
with a million or more viewers.

The Losers: The third
Lord of The Rings: just 685,000 brave souls watched for hour, after
hour, after hour from 8.30pm on Seven. True Stories: not so much a failure but gallantry in battle when
given an inadequate position to defend by Seven programmers.

News & CA:
Sunday night and Nine News won, but not by much: only 75,000. Nine won
Sydney and Adelaide by enough to offset Seven winning in Melbourne,
Brisbane and Perth. Unexpectedly close. The AFL and League games at 4pm
didn’t help in Brisbane or Melbourne yesterday. Ten News at Five
averaged 734,000 in the usual solid Sunday night half hour result, the
ABC 7pm news averaged 1.028 million, 60 Minutes averaged 1.528 million. Seven’s Weekend Sunrise was the most watched Sunday am
chat show with 358,000. Seven Sportsworld followed at 9.30am with
314,000, Sunday (Nine), 292,000, the ABC’s Landline, 235,000 at Midday
(it broke the free range egg substitution story last week, with no
credit, even from within the ABC), Business Sunday was off a bit at
158,000 but so was Seven’s My Business (11am) with 155,000. The
Offsiders
was up a touch at 143,000, Inside Business, 76,000, a
repeat of Nine’s Business Success at 7.30pm, 83,000 and Ten’s Meet The
Press,
45,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 31.4%
(31.3% a week ago) from Ten with 25.6% (22.9%), Seven with 24.0%
(24.1%), the ABC with 15.0% (16.3%) and SBS with 3.9% (5.4%). Nine won
all markets except Adelaide where Big Brother pushed Ten to victory.
Ten finished third in Melbourne.

Glenn Dyer’s comments:
Seven would have been very surprised at this result: the Lord of the Rings movie looked gold plated. long yes….? And so it was finishing
after midnight. I couldn’t make it and I don’t have the dedication of
many TV viewers, so why Seven programming expected the Australian
public to be that dedicated (after cinema release and DVD etc etc),
especially on a Sunday night with school work and uni the next day. But
Seven could take heart from what It Takes Two did at 6.30pm, beating
Nine’s 20 to 1 repeat with good old Bert working hard. Desperate times at Nine when they bring
out the oldest man on Australian TV (Peter Cundall excepted on
Gardening Australia on the ABC) and work him like a Trojan. Eddie
McGuire and the lads from the AFL Footy Show must have a great team
talk: ‘Listen Bert, we want you to take the ball up again, and to play
ruck, rover, and kick a few goals..and don’t forget top defend 5.30 pm
as well.’ Tonight it’s the season final of Desperate Housewives and
Grey’s Anatomy at 9.30pm, Grey’s moves back to 8.30 pm next week and
Criminal Minds, which premieres next Sunday night, and then moves to
9.30pm Mondays. Nine has What’s Good For You and Cold Case: Ten of
course goes mad with the result of Big Brother: there’s two programs:
Big Brother and the winner (will the Turkey Slapped one win?) On the
ABC Enough Rope goes bush in Victoria: now that could be the proverbial
fate worse than .. Bert Newton’s Family Feud All Stars on friday! Poor
Debbie Reynolds. And where was Don Lane, Bert, Eddie? if you are going
to be exhuming TV relics, go the whole hog!

Peter Fray

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