Seven sends Mooney back to Queensland. Seven has made Today Tonight EP, Neil Mooney head of its Queensland regional TV business. The Network announced today that Mooney had been made general manager of Seven Queensland, but would continue to work with Craig McPherson in running Today Tonight. It’s a return to the sunshine state for Mooney, who was manager of QTQ9 for a number of years until he was sacked by David Gyngell. He was then head-hunted to fix up TT which was struggling against A Current Affair back in late 2003. He took over from McPherson who remained as the supervising producer but will resume the EP’s role on September 1. This appointment is a bit of a risk for Seven – ACA is stronger than it was this time last year and Nine News is making a strong comeback. But Seven people say there’s no risk and Mooney will still be overlooking TT. – Glenn Dyer
Musical chairs in Nine’s Deep North. Shortly before jetting off to the footy on Friday, Eddie McGuire “boned” another of Sam Chisholm’s appointees – Chris Taylor, the head of QTQ9 in Brisbane. Taylor is the son of former Nine executive and sports rights consultant, Lynton Taylor. He had run Prime NZ for Nine and Prime TV in less than spectacular fashion, leaving when PBL handed Prime NZ over to News Corp-controlled Sky Television. Then he was parachuted into Brisbane to replace Cameron Murray, who was flicked during the brief regime of Sam Chisholm. Murray, in turn, had replaced Neil Mooney, who was flicked by David Gyngell. Meanwhile, former Nine star Mike Willesee doesn’t think much of Eddie right now. Willesee is on Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope tonight, and in excerpts from the program he’s quoted as saying: “I haven’t seen any reason to believe that Eddie has the control that [former bosses] David Leckie had or Sam Chisholm before him … You know, I think he’s part of a much bigger team … and I don’t know quite where he slots into that team.” – Glenn Dyer
You May Be Right is definitely wrong. After debuting poorly last week, Seven’s You May Be Right (7.30pm Sunday evenings) will be lucky to survive beyond this afternoon after its audience plunged dramatically to just 726,000 last night. That was less than the first episode of The Master got last Wednesday night (744,000 average). The Master was cancelled Thursday lunchtime after the figures were analysed. You May Be Right averaged 1.093 million a week ago, so it shed more than 460,000 viewers last night. Terminal! That means Seven’s ambitious back end revamp of its schedule is in tatters: of five new programs only Celebrity Survivor has done well (more than 1.3 million), while Forensic Investigators returned well two weeks ago and Seven now hopes it will stop the rot on Wednesday nights at 8.30pm (it was shifted back to 9.30pm last week to make way for The Master). High profile new US series, Criminal Minds and Bones, have underwhelmed on Monday nights and Thursdays. Tomorrow night Seven hopes new program The Force, an observational series built around the activities of the West Australian police force, will do well. Seven needs it: last night’s loss to Nine was pretty emphatic. And after dominating or running neck and neck with Nine for most of the year, the network is becalmed. It has Dancing With The Stars to return and a couple of other programs, but it will be much tougher from now on. – Glenn Dyer
Slumping Seven crushed by Nine. The old Seven Network showed itself last week: the one that has the ability to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory. Nine won the week with its clearest margin for weeks: It finished with a 30.1% share and won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, Seven won Perth. Seven finished a distant second with 26.5% to 21.5% for Ten, 15.8% for the ABC and 6.1% for SBS. Nine won Friday and Saturday nights with ease. – Glenn Dyer
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Today resorts to pregsploitation. Today Show host Jessica Rowe has so far played her pregnancy fairly straight without any exploitation… but no more. Yesterday Nine was running coy ads for “an intimate conversation” about the pregnancy between Rowe and Today co-host Karl Stefanovic. No broadcast date was revealed in the ads: it was a teaser forcing the audience to watch Today each morning this week so as not to miss this special event. How tacky. It confirms the feeling many people in and out of TV have that Rowe lacks judgement when it comes to the important matters. She won a lot of viewer support because of her steadfastness in the face of the “boning” quotes from Eddie McGuire in July. The audience rose slowly – Nine is now boasting that Today is up 11% (it neglects to point out that rival Sunrise has seen a much greater rise in its audience). “Stars” like Rowe are quick to complain about paparazzi intrusion and “stalking” by nutty viewers. But when you turn your pregnancy into a cheap commercial trick, you have no one to blame but yourself if it happens. Rowe should remember that only a few months ago many viewers wanted her yanked off TV. And Nine should remember the old adage “less is more”. – Glenn Dyer
Vic’s new opera company onto a winner. Having said unkind things about the birth of Victoria’s new opera company, I can now declare myself a fan after what I saw on Saturday night – the premier of the Victorian Opera’s production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, the first fully-staged opera presented by Richard Gill’s fledgling outfit. As Peter Burch concurs in The Oz today, Gill got it right on so many fronts, from the casting to the choice of venue. I had been critical of Gill’s decision to launch the company in June with a student production of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde. I hope it wasn’t my criticism that resulted in the VO removing any mention of Noye’s Fludde from its website. When I tried to find the appropriate page on the site today this is what I got. Richard Gill was in the pit on Saturday night conducting Orchestra Victoria and occasionally accompanying the orchestra on the harpsichord. He left the stage direction to Jean-Pierre Mignon, a major figure in Melbourne’s theatre scene for nearly three decades. Mignon achieved that rare thing on Saturday night – getting strong acting performances out of opera singers. This production doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel but it managed to look sumptuous on a shoestring budget. – Stephen Feneley
Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Ouch! Sunday nights are now a big headache for the Seven Network. CSI topped the list with 2.136 million viewers, its biggest audience this year, 60 Minutes was next with 1.851 million, one of its biggest for the year, and then Nine News with 1.723 million. Australian Idol though is back to solid levels with 1.681 million for Ten, CSI Miami was 5th for Nine with 1.648 million; Prehistoric Park at 6.30 pm for Nine, 1.626 million and then Seven News with 1.429 million. Seven’s Where Are They Now?, 1.216 million at 6.30 pm and the ABC News at 7 pm, 1.076 million. Ten’s Brainiest Idol at 6.30 pm, 950,000.
The Losers: You May Be Right with 726,000, the Seven movie, Icon, 624,000, the Blackjack movie on Ten Ace Point Game, 850,000; not so much a loser but crushed. It was better than Icon, and You May be Right.
News & CA: Nine News was the easiest of winners, even with the 4pm football averaging less than 900,000 viewers. The ABC 7 pm news was solid while Ten’s News At Five averaged 592,000. Weekend Sunrise won the Sunday morning battle with 408,000 viewers, Sunday was back over 300,000 with 304,000 viewers, Seven’s Sportsworld slipped to 279,000 and the ABC’s Landline was down a bit at midday with 224,000 viewers. Nine’s Business Sunday in its second last program averaged 176,000, Seven’s My Business, 150,000, Business Success on Nine at 7.30 am (almost an infomercial) averaged 120,000; the ABC’s trio Insiders (102,000) Inside Business (71,000) and Offsiders (47,000) were all down, especially Offsiders. Ten’s Meet The Press averaged 47,000. Sunday’s audience obviously benefited from having so many American voices on the program, with a profile of Carlos of Santana to a Mike Wallace interview with the President of Iran.
The Stats: Nine won with a share of 38.5% (35.5%) from Ten with 21.2% (20.2%), Seven with 20.8% (21.4%), the ABC with 13.9% (14.2%) and SBS with 5.5% (5.6%). Nine won all five metro markets and did very well in regional areas as well. There its affiliates WIN/NBN won with a 37.6% share from Prime/7Qld with 21.4%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 20.6%, the ABC with 14.1% and SBS with 6.2%.
Glenn Dyer’s comments: A very big night last night for Nine. Apart from the bravado of the Beaconsfield miners, it was probably Nine’s best night under Eddie McGuire, just as last week was the best since Eddie jumped to manage the dotty Nine machine. Seven has suddenly become a little out of touch while Ten is struggling to recover from the Yasmin debacle. In that vein what was Girlband, the program at 6 pm Sundays? Popstars for The tweenies? It averaged just 339,000 viewers last night. The 10th repeat of Simpsons would double that quite easily. That audience was down for the 365,000 that watched the first ep the previous Sunday. And another thing, Australians moan about there not being enough good local product on TV and yet when they get something they don’t watch. Nine’s Twisted Two did OK (barely) on debut last Monday night is a good example and last night another of the excellent Blackjack movies on Ten was bombed by the pap that’s CSI. Tuesday night more than a million people will tune in to watch a repeat of CSI, while the same number will watch repeats of House and NCIS that Ten will show on Wednesday night. Some viewers say the Network shouldn’t do this. I say they only show repeats because viewers watch. If viewers turn-off then no repeats. And if viewers want good, well made Australian programs, especially drama, then they should watch, not ignore them and moan about there being ‘nothing on TV worth watching”. Viewers only have themselves to blame, not the networks, the actors or the producers. And it’s no good moaning about scheduling. TV networks are competitive, it’s the nature of the beast. You wouldn’t want it any other way because if it wasn’t then TV would be run by public servants (and I don’t mean the ABC or SBS). People who are dull, boring and predictable. Tonight Seven will bounce back because of Grey’s Anatomy. Nine has What’s Good For You and Cold Case and the second outing of Cold Case. Ten has more Idol and a double ep of Law and Order SVU.