Battle of the quiz shows. It’s
rare that the ABC draws a counter-attack from the commercial TV networks – mostly
they just ignore it, steal its talent or ideas and continue on
regardless – but to
illustrate the dearth of new TV programs in this country, the Seven Network is
taking on the ABC’s most successful program head on. Seven
will of course deny this, but it has positioned its new quiz show called The
Master
up against Spicks and Specks at 8.30pm on Wednesday nights. Spicks
and Specks
has built an audience that regularly tops a million viewers with its clever mix of personalities, good wit and baby
boomer-Gen X and Gen Y questions relating to music. Seven sports reporter,
Mark Beretta, will host and the program will see five contestants trying to beat Martin Flood, the
man who finally got the big prize on Millionaire last year. If
they do there’s a million dollars to be won. But Seven
is hedging its bets: only seven programs have been ordered, enough to
take it into October. But a program like this won’t hurt Spicks and Specks. It has maintained its
audience at between 900,000 and 1.1 million viewers every week, despite what
Nine, Ten or Seven might have up against it. – Glenn Dyer

Nine producer bounces back from a boning. Over at Nine they are a forgiving lot. A year ago Steve Wood was
“boned” (though the use of the world wasn’t in the TV lexicon last
year) by Sam Chisholm in a general clean-out at Nine. Wood was Head of
Daytime TV for Nine. So he went into exile before Seven got him back
several months ago to oversee its forthcoming Celebrity Survivor in Vanuatu. And now he’s back at Willoughby getting up a new
series called The Big Question for screening in late October. The Big
Question
will be lightweight: full of questions about what’s the best TV program,
city etc. Eight episodes will be made. A host
is still to be decided. Adam Hills at Spicks and Specks would be ideal.
Nine has no one on the lot, except in the AFL Footy Show, whose members of course
have to be consulted before any decisions are made. A new
gig for Trev Marmalade perhaps? – Glenn Dyer

Dancing on Ice slips again. Another
week, and another dip in the audience numbers for
Nine’s Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on
Ice
.
The program went the whole hog last night with a Las Vegas theme (no
casualties were sighted) for no real result: the audience sagged
to 1.268 million after it seemed to steady last week, rising 8,000 to
1.404 million. It was again thoroughly beaten by Seven’s combination of
Border Security (2.226
million), Medical
Emergency
(1.784 million) and All Saints (1.393 million). Last
night was the halfway point for Dancing on Ice.
It started with an average audience of 1.610 million and based on last
night, it has lost just over 20% of that figure or 352,000
viewers. In comparison Seven’s
It Takes Two on Sunday nights started with 1.736 million, reached a low of
1.367 million and has rebuilt to around 1.454
million last Sunday night. It
Takes Two
finishes this Sunday night and will probably get something north of
1.5 million as an average audience, which Seven would say is not
bad. Nine will also be hoping for a final audience of
around 1.5 million or so for Dancing on Ice. Certainly no talk any more at Nine of two million viewer audiences. – Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Tuesday night and
it’s now Border Security first (last night with 2.226 million. Nine’s
Dancing On Ice isn’t worrying it), Medical Emergency second (at 8pm
with 1.784 million. Then comes Seven News (1.495 million) or Today
Tonight
(1.449 million). But they were split last night by Seven’s Home
and Away
in fourth spot with 1.462 million (no more Big Brother and around
200,000 viewers return). Nine’s Temptation is usually a good performer
and last night it was sixth with 1.417 million (a BB boost as well?),
Seven’s 8.30pm medi drama was seventh with 1.393 million viewers; Nine
News
was next with 1.328 million, A Current Affair, 1.314 million,
Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice was tenth with 1.268 million (that’s
almost a million viewers behind Border Security); Rove Live averaged
1.059 million, and the return of The Closer on Nine averaged 1.013
million from 9pm, which is a sort of light nothing start time. But
Dancing On Ice is now down to 90 minutes. The ABC started the first
Tuesday Book Club hosted by Jennifer Byrne last night around 10.05pm.
it averaged 376,000. You can see why Garry Linnell at Nine is a big fan
(from The Bulletin magazine) and wants her to return to the network.

The Losers:Bert’s Family Feud down to 609,000 down a bit. Not a loser. Still third
place behind Deal or No Deal, 888,000 and Ten News At Five (924,000),
which doesn’t make the program a raging success, especially for a bloke
being paid a million bucks a year. The big loser was the
first episode of Ten’s Yasmin’s Getting Married. The hour long
introductory program averaged 778,000. If it doesn’t make the million
mark by around week two, it will be The Biggest Loser and Yasmin had
better find a bloke quick smart. In its
defence Ten’s The Biggest Loser started slowly and built. Ten needs
young women to flock to the program to give it a boost. Ten’s bogan
comedy, The Wedge, is fading, down to 804,000. Too much bogan TV on Ten
last night. Yasmin and then The Wedge (or life in Melbourne’s outer
suburbs?)

News & CA:Seven News and Today Tonight
again won nationally and in every market bar a couple: Nine News won
Brisbane, A Current Affair beat TT in Melbourne. Seven News and TT
national margins were bigger than the margins in Perth. Ten News At
Five
averaged 924,000, not bad, the 7pm ABC News, 979,000 and The 7.30 Report sagged to 638,000, a big drop on the night compared to previous
nights. Crunched by Seven’s Border Security and Nine’s Dancing on Ice.
Certainly not the second hour of Yasmin. Seven’s Sunrise continues to
outrate Nine’s Today Show from 6am to 7am.

The Stats:
Seven had a larger win last night than the week before. Its share was
31.2% (up from 30.6%), while Nine’s fell to 27.2% from 29.1%. Ten was
lineball, 21.9% (22.0%) as was the ABC 14.6% (14.5%). SBS was on 5.2%
(3.8%0. Seven won all markets. Nine now has a narrow lead over Seven,
27.6% to 27.4%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine should
keep that lead until tomorrow night. Seven is weak tonight: Home and
Away
and Beyond Tomorrow at 7.30 pm will be its strongest. Nine has
McLeod and Without A Trace which will be stronger. Ten has repeats of
House and NCIS and a new Honey We’re Killing The Kids. But it could be
hurt by Yasmin at 7pm in a half hour strip. It might work in a shorter
format, but it will want to get a move along. The studio panel can do
with some makeover work as well. There’s a judge on Dancing on Ice on Nine
who would be great for the panel for Yasmin: arch, a great turn of
phrase. The panel are the best thing on Dancing on Ice. Sammi Lukis is
starting to look a bit wild-eyed and Jamie Durie is still wondering why
he’s there and where’s the beast shovel or concrete block to heave. And
here’s an interesting battle. Nine has programmed its Twisted Two drama
series from Bryan Brown at 9.30pm on a Monday night where it will go
up against Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope and Criminal Minds on Seven (which moves there after Grey’s Anatomy moves to 8.30pm) That’s a vote
of confidence in the new series by Nine. Nine has put a lot of its eggs
in the Dancing on Ice basket on Tuesday nights and it is not working
out like it was planned. A pity.

Peter Fray

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