NGV staff boycott Gould gallery event. Lindy Ivemey does weird things with animal bones, which some people find discomforting. But in the art world causing discomfort is no bad thing, and Ivemey’s exhibition openings are usually packed with all manner of influential movers and shakers. She’s a popular figure among fellow artists, collectors and museum curators. But, alas, last night the curators were nowhere to be seen, or at least none of the curators from the National Gallery of Victoria. Ivemey could usually rely on a gaggle of five or six NGV staff to show up for one of her opening parties. But before last night’s event, each one of her normally loyal band of NGV supporters begged off, claiming sudden and more pressing commitments elsewhere. One brave NGV staffer did attend the opening but declined the invitation to go on to dinner. Why this sudden aversion to be seen in Ivemey’s company? Well, perhaps she shouldn’t take it personally. Ivemey’s opening was at the South Yarra establishment of art dealer Robert Gould. Apparently being seen at Gould Galleries is not considered a good career move for NGV staff at the moment. Gould is the ex-partner of Geoffrey Smith, the suspended curator who is waging a battle against the NGV over conflict-of-interest allegations. The sudden avoidance by Smith’s colleagues of Gould Gallleries is just one more bit of collateral damage for the art dealer, who’s been inadvertently caught up in a drama over which he has no control. Ivemey’s show is worth seeing, even if the NGV’s custodians of culture were too chicken to look. — Stephen Feneley
Seven believes in True Stories. Why else would it have flown its LA correspondent, Anna Coren, half way around the world to Sydney to do a special edition for next Sunday night? Two of the stories in the special “The Power of Love” edition are cut down versions of True Stories episodes which are in the can but not yet put to air. The third involves the dead son of guitarist Eric Clapton. There is apparently some sort of “exclusive” vision of Conor Clapton. It was considered special enough to fly Coren back from Los Angeles for a studio recording this week and then back to the US for the September 11 commemorations from later this week. It is also the first Mark Llewellyn produced effort for Seven since he moved there from Nine amid all the publicity around his affidavit about life at Nine. Seven’s use of True Stories continues its schizophrenic approach to the program which is a sort of Australian Story clone. Seven programmers used four episodes in July and early August at 8pm on Sunday nights as fillers because It Takes Two was only 90 minutes in four of the last five episodes. Apart from the Sophie Delezio episode which was hosted by Chris Bath, the short run bombed because it was the wrong night and it was up again the Nine veteran, 60 Minutes. There are suggestions True Stories will return next year, but there are also reports that more might be made before the end of the year. If that’s the case who will host with Ms Coren off in LA? Glenn Dyer
Family Circle goes pear-shaped. Fresh from its best results, the Seven Network’s magazine arm, Pacific Magazines, is closing Family Circle which has suffered a sharp slide in circulation since 2003 when Pacific purchased a licence to publish it in Australia from its US owners. Pacific was in fact the kiss of death for Family Circle, which was started in 1973 and was the first to push into the supermarkets. Family Circles sales slumped around 39% under Pacific to 71,853 a month in the latest audit to the end of June (down more than 17% in the 12 months to June). — Glenn Dyer
Last night’s TV ratings
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The Winners: Tuesday night is Border Security night and it averaged its biggest ever audience, 2.362 million people. The Seven special on Steve Irwin was almost as strong with 2.114 million, but there was a long way to the next most watched programs: Seven and Nine News back on 1.535 million in a dead heat. Nine’s repeat of CSI was fifth with 1.497 million, A Current Affair was next with 1.493 million, All Saints was just behind it at 8.30 pm with 1.461 million (don’t get me started on viewers and repeats versus new drama programs). Today Tonight was 8th with 1.455 million, Home and Away was first at 7 pm with 1.455 million from Temptation on Nine at the same time with 1.415 million; with the first in the new series of 20 to 1 on Nine swamped at 7.30 pm and only registering 1.285 million viewers across the hour. Ten’s new Simpsons episode averaged 1.101 million and the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.089 million at number 13 and last on the programs with a million or more viewers.
The Losers: Nine’s The Closer at 9.30 pm Tuesdays, down to 849,000, another US import dies for Nine. It was beaten by Seven’s Crossing Jordan, 919,000. Ten’s The Wedge at 8.30 pm, 851,000 and Real Stories at 9 pm, 757,000. Not good, but for Ten not a complete disaster. Rove Live though just 795,000 and not being helped by the two programs in front of him. Ten still won the 16 to 39s. Bert up to 673,000, Deal or No Deal down to 842,000.
News & CA: Seven News and Nine News drew nationally with 1.535 million. Seven had a 113,000 margin in Perth which helped it as it won Sydney, lost Melbourne and Brisbane and won Adelaide. Nine won Melbourne and Brisbane. ACA beat TT again for the second night running by 38,000 people. The power of Karl Stefanovic perhaps? TT had a 114,000 lead in Perth, so ACA was much stronger elsewhere. ABC News was again strong by as usual. The 7.30 Report (694,000) was crushed by Border Security on Seven.
The Stats: Seven won with a share of 33.2% (31.4% a week ago) from Nine with 28.7% (29.9%), Ten with 19.5% (21.3%), the ABC with 14.4% (13.5%),and SBS with 4.2% (3.9%), Seven won Sydney, Melbourne, Nine won Brisbane in a bit of a surprise, Seven won Adelaide; and Perth by 17 points! Seven leads the week 29.8% to 28.3%. In the bush, Prime/7Qld won with a share of 33.9% to 30.2% for WIN/NBN for Nine, 18.7% for Sthn Cross (Ten), 13.1% for the ABC and 4.1% for SBS. Border Security was the top program in the bush with 972,649 people watching. That means more than 3.3 million people watched that program for 30 minutes across Australia last night. The Steve Irwin special on Seven was second with 881,231, making the national figure just over three million.
Glenn Dyer’s comments: Even though Seven’s Steve Irwin special last night was light on for talent and a bit ropy in places, it nevertheless met the viewing public’s demand for things Steve Irwin with a quite amazing set of numbers across the country. Seven showed it still had the agility to beat Nine to air by 24 hours. Many in mainstream Australian media treated Irwin as a bit of a larrikin and a person to take a poke at: it is yet another example of the media being out of touch with the viewing and reading public. TV executives have been very much surprised by the dramatic lift in audiences for Monday night news, Denton’s program and the special last night. The decision by the ABC to re-run the 2003 Denton interview on Monday night instead of the Raelene Boyle interview is still causing waves with the ABC luvvies who continue to moan about how Australian Story‘s program on the Irwin family was left on the shelf. I think there was opportunity to run both but for all those handwringers, those making the decision were Kim Dalton, head of ABC TV, Sue Lester, a senior executive, and John Cameron, head of ABC news and Current Affairs which is where Australian Story is sourced from. Tonight an interesting night. Seven has relocated The Force, the police observational documentary from Tuesday night at 8 pm to tonight at 7.30 pm to try and bolster Wednesday nights. Ten returns Thank God You’re Here at 7.30 pm directly against The Force. Nine has its Steve Irwin special at 7.30 pm followed by Without A Trace. the ABC has The New Inventors, Spicks and Specks and Extras. Too hard to call, but should be a good night. If I was running Nine (and thank the Lord I’m not, sir) I’d give the Irwin special as much time as possible and let it run over.