Big executive salaries at Seven. It pays to dig around in company annual reports. There’s the CEO’s and chairman’s salaries and packages detailed and there’s the five “named” executives, the company’s five best execs who are not directors. They are most highly remunerated executive non-directors of the company. In the case of the Seven Network, while CEO David Leckie was paid a total of $2.268 million, including a million dollars worth of options, his base salary was $1.203 million. That’s a touch less than the $1.242 million in 2005. Seeing how Seven moved past Nine in terms of earnings in 2006, the slight fall in base pay means they are a bunch of tough markers at Seven on the board remuneration committee. With the value of his options though, his total pay was higher than the $1.71 million paid in 2005. But drop down the list and that’s where you find the interesting payments. Forget options and just look at base pay and 2005’s big earner, News and Current Affairs boss, Peter Meakin (with $683,490 in base pay) dropped to $537,185. A pay cut! But unlike 2005, he did receive a bonus of $150,000 in 2006, pushing his cash pay to $687,000. But he has been passed in terms of base pay by someone who wasn’t even on the list of the five top executives who are non-directors in 2005. Tim Worner, Seven’s programming chief, earned a base pay of $723,587, and a $150,000 bonus to take his total cash pay to $873,000. That confirms stories at Seven during the year that Tim Worner had won a major pay rise from the board late last year. Meakin’s base pay was also overtaken by Sales boss James Warburton ($658,993) and Melbourne Seven and Network boss, Ian Johnson ($679,857). But when options and other benefits are taken into account, Nick Chan, the boss of Pacific Magazines at Seven, topped the list for the second year in a row. Including $613,229 worth of options he was paid $1.215 million in 2006 compared to $1.009 million in 2005 (which included options with a value of $525,342). — Glenn Dyer

Footy finals figures. It’s that time of year again: the head to head finals battle between the AFL and NFL codes of football and on last weekend’s first qualifying games, it’s the old story of entrenched loyalties. Once again the AFL showed it’s by far the most popular code, with even its free to air telecaster, the Ten Network, conceding that by giving Foxtel the live broadcast of two Friday night finals in NSW, the ACT and Queensland. Ten wouldn’t show the Friday night game live in NSW and Queensland and Canberra for ratings reason, so they did the next best thing and gave it to Foxtel. Is that how the AFL rights will be handled by Ten and Seven over the next five years? In contrast, Nine affiliates in Adelaide and Perth replay the NRL games late at night and even Nine in Melbourne is hesitant about showing them live. The most watched game of the AFL and NRL finals was Saturday’s close win by the Swans in Perth over the West Coast Eagles. It averaged 1.263 million viewers. The next best was the Adelaide-Fremantle on Saturday afternoon with 1.170 million. The biggest audience for the NRL was Sunday’s last elimination final between Melbourne and Parramatta, averaging 907,000 viewers. Friday night’s NRL final between St George and Brisbane averaged 847,000, and Saturday night’s NRL finals (there were two games on Nine from 6.30 pm) averaged 760,000. The figures for Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth were all minor because the games were on late night replay. Friday night’s AFL final between Melbourne and St Kilda averaged 1.141 million with a huge 617,000 watching in Melbourne alone, more than 50% of the audience. This was the game broadcast live in NSW, the ACT and Queensland on Foxtel because Ten was only showing the game late in Sydney and Brisbane. And if you’re wondering about the Western Bulldogs-Collingwood game on Sunday, the audience averaged 1.109 million, with 541,000 watching in Melbourne, 115,000 in Sydney (it was live), 182,000 in Adelaide and 187,000 in Perth. Ten has again given the live telecast of this Friday night’s final between Fremantle and Melbourne to Foxtel for NSW, Queensland and the ACT. It will be replayed later in the night on Ten. — Glenn Dyer

Who’s watching what on Sunday night? Sunday was a very intriguing day for ratings for the rest of this year and next. There was a glimpse of what life will be like on Sunday nights for Nine in Melbourne. Nine News averaged just 312,000 viewers without an AFL lead-in. In Sydney with the NRL qualifying final game (played in Melbourne), it averaged a massive 644,000 and in Brisbane (who were watching the League) it averaged 378,000 people. The reason for this was the 541,000 watching Collinwood get beaten on Ten up to around 5.30pm. Seven News in Melbourne averaged 350,000, about normal for a Sunday evening. Seven though may have found a place for True Stories, in a different format, over an hour with a trio of tales in each episode. Sunday night’s one-off special was called The Power of Love and it did a respectable 1.333 million, far better than when it was a 30 minute afterthought at 8 pm against the second half hour of 60 minutes. 60 Minutes topped Sunday night with a strong 1.823 million people. Seven’s tribute to racing car driver Peter Brock averaged 993,000. That was OK but it was no Steve Irwin result. Seven’s first part of the 9/11 two parter averaged just 709,000 from 8.30pm and is why Seven finished third on Sunday night behind Nine and Ten. It ran from 8.30pm to 11.50pm which is a big ask of viewers on a Sunday night. The ABC’s best was the Tony Robinson The Worst Jobs in History at 7.30pm. Up against 60 Minutes and Idol it rated well, averaging 1.195 million and giving the first part of Elizabeth (Helen Mirren) a good lead-in. But Lizzie only could manage 850,000. Idol continues to power along for Ten with an average 1.537 million people watching Sunday night. Nine’s 50 Years, 50 Stars did ok with 1.311 million across two hours and 40 minutes from 8.30pm. There was 600,000 difference between Nine and Seven from 8.30 pm to around 11.10, a telling and winning difference on the night. — Glenn Dyer

Nine hits paydirt. A big win to the Nine Network last week and on Sunday night. Nine won last week with a share of 29.1% (29.5% a week earlier) from Seven with 26.6% (26.7%), ten, 23.1% (22.8%), the ABC with 16.4% (15.8%) and SBS with 4.8% (5.2%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; Seven was second. Ten won Adelaide with Nine second and Seven third and in Perth Seven won from Ten with Nine third. Ten did well because of the AFL in Perth on Saturday night which saw the Swans win narrowly. In regional areas Nine’s affiliates, WIN/NBN won with a 31.7% share from Prime/7 Qld with 27.0%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.5%, ABC with 16.5% and SBS with 5.4%. Sunday night Nine started the week with another victory, winning with a share of 32.8% (32.1%) from Ten with 25.9% (23.7%), Seven with 22.0% (25.3%), the ABC with 16.3% (15.0%) and SBS with 3.0% (3.8%). Nine won all five metro markets. In regional areas WIN/NBN won with 33.0% from Southern Cross with 23.5% for Ten, Prime/7Qld was on 22.3%, the ABC was on 17.5% and SBS was on 3.7%. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Everything is back to normal after the machines at ratings figures collector, AGB, had something of a brain-snap for a while yesterday and delayed the numbers. Sunday night Nine won easily from Ten and Seven. Last night Seven won easily with Ten almost sneaking past Nine into second place nationally, while in the bush another win to the Nine affiliates, WIN/NBN. Seven’s Grey’s Anatomy was the most watched program with 1.651 million. Australian Idol (live verdict) was second with 1.575 million, Seven News was next with 1.537 million and Home and Away was on 1.483 million at 7 pm for Seven. Today Tonight was 5th with 1.464 million, followed by Nine News with 1.424 million, A Current Affair with 1.403 million (Karl Stefanovic still doing well) and Temptation was 8th with 1.298 million. Nine’s repeat of 2005’s 50 Years, 50 Stars averaged 1.271 million and the 7 pm ABC News was 10th with 1.167 million. Law and Order SVU on Ten averaged 1.160 million at 8.30 pm. Seven’s The Great Outdoors (7.30 pm) was 12th with 1.081 million and the repeat of Law And Order SVU at 9.30 averaged 1.078 million and was the 13th and final program last night with a million or more viewers. Australian Story on the ABC at 8 pm averaged 975,000 people.

The Losers: Last night, Two Twisted on Nine, delayed around 10 minutes to 9.40 pm by Nine’s 50 Years of TV repeat, Two Twisted averaged just 642,000. Not good. Bert’s Family Feud averaged a normal 625,000 at 5.30 pm, Deal or No Deal on Seven, 881,000, Ten News at Five, 965,000. One program which is not a loser because it is highly entertaining is Top Gear on SBS at 7.30 pm; 699,000 average last night isn’t to be sneezed. Not Mythbusters level, but good figures anyway.

News & CA: Seven News won nationally by 113,000 and by 112,000 in Perth. Seven won Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Today Tonight won by 61,000 nationally and by 110,000 in Perth. TT won Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. ACA won Sydney and Brisbane.The 7pm ABC News had a strong night with more than 1.1 million viewers while The 7.30 Report averaged a high 906,000 with an Al Gore interview. Al Gore also popped up on Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope at 9.35 pm which averaged 971,000. Four Corners averaged 808,000, Media Watch, 728,000. Sunrise benefitted from the US tennis on Nine. Sunrise averaged 548,000. The US Open tennis, 263,000 which is around the current level of Today. Today was pre-empted on Friday as well and it makes it hard to compete head-on with Sunrise when that happens.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 28.1% (29.2% a week earlier) from Nine on 24.6% (26.3%), Ten with 24.2% (20.0%), the ABC with 16.6% (17.2%) and SBS with 6.5% (7.3%). Seven won Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Nine won Brisbane, Ten won Adelaide. Nine leads the week 28.8% to 25.0%. In regional areas another win to WIN/NBN for Nine with 29.6% from prime/7Qld with 24.3%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 23.4%, the ABC with 15.8% and SBS with 7.0%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Compared to the mad Monday night of a week ago after Steve Irwin died, it was a ‘normal’ night last night. Nine repeated last year’s program marking last year’s 50th anniversary of TV last night! It did about as well as Cold Case does at the moment. But Cold Case is better entertainment. The second part of Seven’s 9/11 series ran last night from 9.30 pm and averaged 677,000. The first part on Sunday night averaged 709,000. Four Corners did better than both last night with 808,000 people who watched Liz Jackson look at life after 9/11 in the fight against terrorism. That says something about what Australians are interested in. Tonight it’s Border Security and Medical Emergency back at 8 pm on Seven. All Saints follows at 8.30 pm. Nine has 20 to 1 at 7.30 pm with a repeat of CSI at 8.30 pm and then The Closer. Ten has fresh Simpsons, The Wedge and Real Stories. The ABC has a poignant final episode of Star Portraits with Rolf Harris. Watch it to find out.

Peter Fray

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