Is Wendt gone? More
reports around late Friday that Jana was being “boned” as Sunday host made it
into the weekend media and the silence from Nine
CEO, Eddie McGuire, his News and Current Affairs boss,
Garry Linnell, and ambitious would be hosts Ross
Greenwood and Ellen Fanning, was deafening. Despite all this, Jana
fronted up again yesterday hosting Sunday, which must have made for great camaraderie in the Nine studio with Greenwood hosting Business
. Perhaps
Eddie has had too much on his plate to pause and offer public assurance
that Jana will continue (after all, she’s been sitting in the host’s chair for
the studio run throughs for the new look
Sunday). Friday
saw McGuire front a lunch for the new Nine drama series, Two Twisted at the swish Liquidity Eatery on
the water at Rozelle in Sydney’s west. The
journos lucky enough to be invited observed it was a quick lunch by Nine standards, but they had obviously
forgotten Eddie’s other gig: president of Collingwood, which
required him to teleport to Melbourne for that night’s game against Essendon. So
Eddie wasn’t around when news broke that Jana was to
be replaced. As for her rumoured replacements, Fanning
is favoured by John Lyons, the EP of Sunday, and Garry Linnell, while Greenwood is favoured by John Alexander (who it should be remembered
parachuted Jana into Sunday without the then Nine
management being told back at the start of 2003). With two hosts the program will look like
Weekend Sunrise on Seven which is hosted by Andrew
O’Keefe and Lisa Wilkinson. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery in TV; it is
also the surest sign of a lack of any ideas and original
thought. There
will be a new set, new opening titles, playoff stings and music and
look. Only
the Sunday name will be retained. Which is a pity for such a fine name because Garry Linnell is busily trying to remake Sunday into a video
version of The Bulletin. John
Lyons and Linnell were active in the cross-promotional area between Sunday, Business Sunday and The Bulletin until Sam
Chisholm ordered it to end last year. And
will Tim Blair the conservative blogger clamber aboard
the new Sunday gravy train at Nine now that he’s spat
the dummy and resigned from The Bulletin? Glenn Dyer

Seven’s new effort falls short. Seven’s
You May Be Right went to air for the first time last night and
debuted in less than impressive style with only 1.093 million watching
– down from the 1.3 million who sat through Where Are They
at 6.30pm. There
were numerous examples of where Seven’s pale imitation failed to match Spicks and Specks (or the rough charm of
RocKwiz on SBS). Even extending the subject areas past music
to TV and movies was not enough and having a studio band certainly wasn’t enough – it
detracted from the entertainment, such as there was. You May Be Right used “celebrities” (netballer Liz Ellis and Matt Parkinson from Triple M
and sometimes the ABC’s Einstein Factor) as panellists to not much
effect. Nothing
wrong with most of the talent except they just didn’t click. You May
Be Right
‘s host, Todd McKenney is not a patch on Spicks and Specks host, Adam
Hills: programs like this need a comedian as host, not a “performer” like McKenney
who is a great dancer and a solid judge on Dancing With The
. You May
Be Right
lacks any proper pace, it’s too long at an hour: it really needs someone
like Andrew O’Keefe (from the Seven stable) or a strong
comedian. Glenn Dyer

Seven blows its lead and loses the week. The
Seven Network blew a strong lead on Saturday night to lose the week after
leading by almost two clear percentage points after Thursday
night. Nine trimmed Seven’s lead on Friday night with the Collingwood-Essendon game in
the AFL and the Newcastle-Manly NRL game. And then that tired old programming trick of putting Crocodile Dundee
1 and 2 back to back on Saturday night did the trick for Nine as it
escaped what could have been a miserable week. Seven will have to do
more work on its Saturday night programming – the absence of an
interesting AFL game on Saturday night in Sydney probably hurt Seven
and helped Nine. Nine won the week with a share of 29.2% (28.6% a week
earlier) to 28.3% for Seven (27.6%), Ten with 21.4% (22.4), the ABC
with 15.7% (16.0%) and SBS with 5.3% (5.4%). Nine won well, taking
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide (where Seven was third behind
Nine and Ten). Seven won Perth.Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Big crash on Seven: viewers don’t flock to watch: it was Seven’s
worst Sunday night for months, if not this year – a new program debuts
in You May Be Right and viewers switch to Nine or Idol the time away on Ten. Seven finishes third behind an Idol-driven
Ten, which had nothing else to give it a push. Nine’s old faithful, CSI,
averaged 1.874 million from Nine News with 1.798 million and 60 Minutes
with 1.660 million. Australian Idol on Ten averaged 1.621 million (up
134,000 from the second Sunday night of last year); CSI Miami 1.551
million, Nine’s repeat of 20 to 1 was next with 1.521 million and then
Seven news with 1.462 million. Where Are They Now 1.317 million, You
May Be Right
1.093 on Seven at 7.30pm, Nine’s Sunday Football 1.066
million and Law and Order Criminal Intent on Ten at 9pm, 1.025 million.

The Losers:
has had its Clever and Magda’s Funny Bits, Ten gave us four eps of
Yasmin’s Getting Married before separation: has Seven found its very own
bomb in You May Be Right? The 1.09 million viewers (average) were barely
enough. If it slumps next week to below a million then ding dong, a
very short run. Seven should have made it tighter, with more pace, and less like Spicks and Specks: there’s surely
enough questions in Video, TV and movies and enough ideas to present
those areas that music (the heart of Spicks and Specks) becomes
secondary. And Todd McKenney is OK but not the driving force that the
host in this sort of program should be. Seven’s 8.30 movie called Stuck
On You
: a dog, 628,000 for two hours. No wonder Seven shed share.

News & CA:
Sunday night and Nine News wins easily, 1.798 million, the 4pm
football broadcasts handing Nine News a starting audience of well over
a million people. Seven news did OK, winning only Perth. The 7pm ABC
News averaged a solid 996,000 while Ten News at Five averaged 735,000.
Sunday morning and the chat shows were all down, maybe it was the City
To Surf in Sydney and on Ten, maybe it was the almost Spring weather in
some cities: Weekend Sunrise was the best: 368,0000 viewers,
Sportsworld had 309,000, Nine’s Sunday 287,000, Landline on the ABC at
noon 274,000, My Business (11am on Seven) 171,000, Nine’s Business
162,000, Insiders on the ABC 131,000, Business Success (Nine
7.30am) 99,000, Inside Business 91,000, Offsiders, ABC10.30am,
88,000 and Meet The Press on Ten 59,000 at 8am.,

The Stats:
Nine won with a share of 35.3% (31.1%) from Ten with 24.4% (22.3%),
Seven with 21.4% (28.6%), the ABC with 14.4% (13.7%) and SBS with 4.5%
(4.3%). Nine won everywhere, Ten was second and Seven was third.
Nothing to redeem the night for Seven. In Regional areas a very similar
result: Win/NBN (the Nine affiliates) averaged 35.6%, Southern Cross
(Ten), 24.6%, Prime/7Qld, 20.4%, the ABC 14.6% and SBS with 4.8%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments:
A night Seven will want to forget, but shouldn’t – they’ll need to remind themselves
of what has to be done to avoid losing heavily. Nine’s night, pure and
simple. Ten will be happy with Idol‘s progress: its less Gen X or Gen Y
or whatever the target audience calls itself. The judges, with the
exception of Ms Hines, need to be recalled and replaced. Tonight it’s
Bryan brown’s Twisted Two drama series on Nine at 9.35pm, right up
against Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope. Nine commissioned this under the
old regime of Posie Graeme Evans and it deserves to be successful. But
let’s hope it doesn’t develop into a benefit for the Australian acting
profession: while the acting has to be strong in programs like this,
the story lines and writing has to be even tougher and even more
outstanding. Writing is always the weakness in Australian comedy and in
Australian drama. But at least its a bit of risk taking from that most
risk averse organisation, the Nine Network.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.