Reporting the demise of Jana’s Sunday. The Australian‘s Media section today has made a pretty ignorant effort commenting on the problems at Nine’s Sunday program. The old Sunday, anchored by Jana Wendt since 2003, ended last weekend and the new one starts this Sunday. Here’s some of the paper’s preview piece by TV writer Michael Bodey: “The last episode in the old format showed why Sunday had become problematic for Nine… The only newsworthy moments were Laurie Oakes’s interview with Finance Minister Nick Minchin and Wendt’s own sign-off, in which she quietly lamented the demise of the 25-year-old program… Media understands the program will continue to place its greatest weight on investigative journalism and agenda-setting political interviews, albeit in a tighter, busier show that will now include sport.” Self serving rubbish. Bodey obviously doesn’t understand TV. It is similar to newspapers in that writers do not decide on the content: it’s the editors, or Producers or Executive Producer in the case of Sunday. The man responsible for this “limp” program was John Lyons and he is still there and will be responsible for Sunday‘s new programs. Meanwhile it was nice seeing former ABC producer and hack David Salter venting his spleen, also in today’s Media section, about Jana Wendt. He is spot on about our print media’s obsession with television personalities and the dominance of outdated “great person” thinking in news and current affairs TV. But his comments about Jana hark back to the 1990s when he was a vocal critic of Ms Wendt and the ABC’s outsourcing content production. The only objection I have to Nine’s treatment of Jana is that it has been crude and unnecessary. If they want to get rid of her, do it and pay what is due to her: if they have something else, offer it in an acceptable fashion. Messrs Salter and Bodey wouldn’t like to be treated the way Nine is treating her, so why endorse it in any way? — Glenn Dyer

Job sharing at Nine. Will the Nine Network split the job of Managing Director of GTV9 when they replace Paul Waldren shortly, like they have done in Brisbane? Waldren is still at GTV as Nine actively searches for a replacement, but there’s a growing belief that the role should be split like it was in the “old days”, because combining the roles of Station Manager and sales Director puts too much pressure on one person, jeopardising the all important sales effort. Nine has done just that in Brisbane. Les Hart, a group sales boss from Sydney, was sent north to be managing director and sales boss of QTQ 9 and sources now say that Lee Anderson, the QTQ 9 News Director, has also been appointed station manager. That means all the day to day administrative stuff — transmission issues and other technical requirements can be handled by Anderson, while Hart can concentrate on the sales and finance side. That is actually the old Nine model. Footnote: the former head of QTQ, Cameron Murray, who was appointed by David Gyngell and then removed under Sam Chisholm, is now working for the new NRL side, the Gold Coast Titans, as marketing manager. — Glenn Dyer

SBS announces new head of Radio. SBS has found someone to replace Tuong Quang Luu, the 17 year veteran who stepped down as head of SBS Radio in July — the last major SBS executive to be “departed” since Shaun Brown’s arrival in November last year. And the winner is: Ms Paula Masselos, Director of Sudler & Hennessey Multicultural, a communications and marketing agency that targets the multicultural community. SBS MD Shaun Brown says: “As convenor of the Multicultural Community Radio Association, Ms Masselos was at the vanguard of multicultural broadcasting, overseeing the licensing of FM 2000, Australia’s first commercial multicultural FM radio station.” She was also chair of Sydney’s Carnivale Multicultural Arts Festival for five years, served two three-year terms as a Community Relations Commissioner in NSW and was a member of the Ethnic Television Review Panel in 1979-80, which oversaw the establishment of SBS Television. SBS sources say she’s like her predecessor in that she’s a well-known mover and shaker in “multicultural” circles, without any knowledge of day to day programming or technical understanding of radio. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Don’t get me started. No more complaints about repeats on TV (I sound like a broken record, I know). And why the rave this time? The most watched program on TV last night was a repeat of House with 1.545 million people. Why encourage them by watching? Second was the latest semi-final of Australian Idol with 1.495 million. Nine’s Temptation was third with 1.378 million followed by Nine News (1.357 million) and A Current Affair (1.356 million). Seven News was 6th with 1.349 million, Home and Away was next with 1.337 million, Today Tonight averaged 1.329 million in 8th and Nine’s Without A Trace was 9th with 1.268 million. Spicks and Specks was 10th with 1.230 million, its second week with more than 1.2 million for the ABC at 8.30pm. Ten’s repeat of NCIS averaged 1.193 million (a big difference to House), and Seven’s Beyond Tomorrow averaged 1.083 million as the 12th and last program to average more than a million viewers.
 
The Losers: Bert’s Family Feud down to 587,000, just under average. Deal Or No Deal averaged 872,000 and Ten News At Five, 810,000. McLeod’s Daughters, 400,000 in Melbourne only as Nine had to bring all markets back into sequence with the closing eps of the series this year. At 7.30pm Sydney and Brisbane had the filler Hey Hey By Request (no 4), a repeat, just 506,000. Nine’s Last Days of Krakatoa at 9.30pm went off with a whimper with 765,000, beaten by the ABC’s Glass House in the first half hour with 808,000 from 9.30pm. Krakatoa went until 11.30pm and Crossing Jordan with 783,000.
 
News & CA: National wins to Nine News and A Current Affair on the strength of very solid victories in Melbourne and Brisbane for both programs. That was after Seven News and Today Tonight won Sydney by a surprising margin and of course, Perth by bigger margins. Seven News won Adelaide, ACA won the 6.30pm slot. The 7pm ABC news averaged 962,000 viewers, the 7.30 Report 839,000. Sunrise still won but the margin narrowed: Today‘s audience reached a non-stunt high of 323,000 from 7am to 9am yesterday. Sunrise was down to 403,000. Perhaps it was Georgie Gardiner’s announcement of her second baby (She said she was four months pregnant). Jessica Rowe and now Ms Georgie. Sharyn Ghidella will be under pressure, when she returns, to produce a sprog. Now I can hear them asking at Nine, what about Karl? We’ve put him in tights and on ice.. a bub??? Early Today also closed the gap with 151,000 people. (Sunrise at 6am, 232,000)
 
The Stats: Ten won with a share of 27.6% (24.0%) from Nine with 27.4% (28.9%), Seven with 24.5% (25%), the ABC with 16.5% (18%) and SBS with 4% (unchanged). Ten won Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Melbourne. In the bush, it was Nine with NBN/WIN with a share of 30.4% from Sth Cross (Ten) with 25.5%, Prime/7Qld with 23.8%, the ABC with 15.5% and SBS with 4.8%. Nine leads the five major metro market battle 29.5% to 27.5%.
 
Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine lost last night because it had to bring McLeod’s Daughters into sequence. Melbourne had to catch up. If it had a normal episode it would have added another 300,000 or more viewers from 7.30 to 8.30pm and ensured a neat win on the night. Krakatoa was a soft option at 9.30pm. Just there to fill two hours and 765,000 average was over two hours, but the best of The Glass House was funnier. After last night’s effort you can understand why Seven is moving The Force to 7.30pm Wednesdays along with another thing called Police Files (to help make up the numbers and keep the police theme going through Forensic Investigators). Beyond Tomorrow is retiring. Seven could be more competitive if it had a crunch show to boost mid-evening audiences. Forensic Investigators is paddling hard to average around 875,000 which it did last night and needs help. Ten will be much more competitive next week. Idol did it for Ten in a big way, the experiment of having semi-finals this week a big success (except  for Tuesday night where it was belted by Border Security and The Force). Tonight its Idol as a lead into the David Tench program at 8.30pm followed by Ronnie Johns. Nine has a normal 60 minute Getaway and then Two and A Half Men and not Old Christine’s New Adventures as in some programs, but another episode of Two and A Half Men at 9pm. Got to warm the audience up for the Footy Shows at 9.30pm. Seven has Earl, How I Met Your Mother, Celebrity Survivor and Bones at 9.30pm. Close, maybe Seven by a nose, or a dead heat with Nine.

Peter Fray

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