Macquarie Media Group. It’s the company considered most “likely” to a deal with anyone and yet the shares have badly lagged the market since listing in November last year. “It” is Macquarie Media Group, the media offshoot of the Millionaire Factory and the worst performing of all the many arms of the bank with the holey dollar. Since listing at $2.75 it has assembled a national regional radio network that is very profitable but now generating more bad publicity than any other part of the Macquarie Empire, including Sydney Airport — which is saying something. The shares closed at $2.93 yesterday: that’s a rise of just 17c in 11 months, or just over 6 per cent (plus dividends). The market has boomed in that time; rising by around 23 per cent and media stocks have gone mad: if they are targets and not buyers like MMG (And Seven Network). The shares have been as high as $3.19 and as low as $2.47. But it has been the company’s cost-saving “hubbing” of news and radio programs from places like the Gold Coast to Tasmania and Western Australia that has caused most friction with its communities and with parts of the Federal Government that in the end caused serious damage to its business model. Media Watch had another go at the issue in its last program in its present format on Monday night. But at yesterday’s annual meeting in Sydney not a murmur or whisper about this: the hacks only wanted to know if executive chairman Tim Hughes (who is allowed to chair another listed company, Photon) would be plunging into the media free for all buying Fairfax, TV or even the regional media giant, WIN. —Glenn Dyer 

How Murdoch embraced Clinton. Here is yesterday’s New York Post editorial endorsing the re-election of Hillary Clinton as a New York senator. Next stop for Rupert and Hillary: the White House?

CLINTON: 12 MORE YEARS

The Post today also endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton for re-election to the United States Senate. Surprised? Well, so are we — a little. But, then, there really isn’t much of a choice in this race. Clinton has an insurmountable lead in the polls. She’s worked hard the last six years, and it shows. And the Republican candidate, John Spencer, isn’t a credible alternative. He’s a down-to-earth, if not earthy, fellow who once served Yonkers well as mayor and who now appears to be running for another term in that office. If so, we endorse him — for mayor. As for Mrs Clinton, well, she’s been a pretty good senator — popular with her colleagues and as productive as a first-term legislator from the minority party probably can be. Think of her as Sen. Pothole Redux (apologies to Alfonse D’Amato). Meanwhile, her positions on numerous issues – particularly involving national security — have been much closer to the political centre than we would have expected. That’s not to say that some of her positions haven’t already begun “evolving” toward the Democrats’ party line — especially on Iraq, where she has slowly, but surely, begun inching her way over to the “Bush lied” crowd. For now, however, the fact remains that she has been, to repeat, a pretty good senator. But what about the question of the hour? What about the White House? Well, New Yorkers simply expect their major officeholders to be presidential aspirants — and the pols always rise to the bait (occasionally delivering ludicrous results; has anyone seen George Pataki in New York lately?). So Hillary’s caught the bug. So what? But we think she’s done such a good job these last six years that she’d do well to serve six more. If not 12. Re-elect Hillary. In 2012.

Ten folds on Celebrity Joker Poker. The Ten Network blinked and pulled Celebrity Joker Poker from its Tuesday lineup very quietly after just two of the four advertiser-financed and produced programs went to air. And it wasn’t before time, the target audience had switched off in droves from the first broadcast when 756,000 people had tuned in at 8.30pm fortnight ago and only 559,000 tuned in a week ago. That sealed its fate and the realisation that it wasn’t the best made TV program. As a TV production it was made from the advertisers’ point of view and someone at Ten made the mistake of looking at the cost and income relationship and not the quality. Even though product placement is in every commercial drama and light entertainment program these days they are not the reason for the program being made and shown. There has to be an entertainment value that transcends everything else. Celebrity Joker Poker was certainly more downmarket than where Ten wants to be in the TV market, especially as it is now chasing the 18 to 49 demographic (as well as the 16 to 39s). It’s definitely not a program for 35 plus singles, couples or families with high incomes (unlike Thank God You’re Here). — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
A narrow win for Seven even though Dancing with the Stars was the most watched program with 1.667 million. That was just over 200,000 in front of the CSI repeat on Nine at 8.30pm with 1.434 million. Third was Nine’s 20 to 1 special on Love Songs with 1.411 million, followed by A Current Affair (1.351 million and a way in front of Today Tonight), then Seven News (1.349 million and a way out in front of Nine News). Nine’s Temptation averaged 1.316 million (and beat Home and Away), All Saints was next with 1.314 million (it started just after 9.15pm) and Home and Away was eighth with 1.271 million. Today Tonight averaged 1.231 million, Nine News averaged, 1.205 million, The Closer on Nine at 9.30pm averaged 1.036 million and the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.002 million.

The Losers: Ten’s The Wedge is fading slowly, Seven’s Crossing Jordan is now stocking filler at 10.15 with 625,000; Bert’s Family Feud averaged 525,000, Deal or No Deal, 718,000, Ten News at Five 788,000 as viewers remembered it was daylight saving.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. The national margin was 144,000, the Perth margin was 105,000, so a clear win. But A Current Affair blitzed Today Tonight by 180,000 (ACA won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. TT won Perth by 75,000). That’s a turnaround of more than 320,000 in that time with pronounced turn off and switching in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. TT and Naomi still on the nose on some nights. ABC News was solid, The 7.30 Report averaged 735,000. It was the dancing on Seven and the lurve songs on Nine. In the morning battle Nine’s Today show averaged 230,000 from 7 am, Sunrise 429,000 and Early Sunrise from 6 1m to 7 am 264,000 (Early Today from 6 am, 126,000. That’s a cost saving to me).

The Stats: Seven won with 32.5% (33.7 the previous Tuesday) to 31.6% for Nine (31.1%), 17.9% for Ten (17.3%), 14.0% for the ABC (13.1%) and 3.9% for SBS (4.8%).Seven won Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Melbourne and Brisbane. The 11 point win in Perth clinched it for Seven. Nine leads the week 29.2% to 28.7%. In regional areas, Nine’s affiliates, WIN/NBN won with a 33.2% share from Prime/7Qld with 30.0%, Southern Cross with 18.8%, the ABC with 13.6% and SBS with 4.3%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine did well with the love songs on 20 to 1 which handed good audiences to the CSI repeat and beyond. But the fact that 1.43 million people chose to watch a repeat rather than Dancing on Seven shows the problems with this series of the Seven giant. For a program that has been the most popular on Australian TV up to the present series, Dancing with the Stars would certainly be puzzling the Seven Network and pleasing Nine at the moment. There’s around 500,000 to 600,000 viewers missing from this series who watched the three previous series this year and last year and the back end of series one. From averaging over two million, this series will probably come in around 1.6 million. That’s given Nine a sniff on Tuesday night, as we saw last night. Perhaps it will all change the week after next when all that Ten will have left will be Australian Idol (Thank God You’re Here ends next week) so there might be some viewers in need of some light entertainment. Some how I don’t think so. So why is Dancing dead this time around? The celebs are average, the dancing is OK but not electric, no one looks like they want to bonk their partner and as a result the judges are being nice and Dazza Somers hasn’t sung. Tonight it’s Ten with Thank God You’re Here, the second ep of Tripping Over (1.291 million first time out last week) and NCIS. Seven, though, drops Border Security into 7.30pm. Will it get the two million plus it was dragging in on Tuesday evenings at the same time? What it does mean is that poor old McLeod’s Daughters on Nine will be wounded. It needs tarting up anyway. Seven also drops Criminal Minds into 8.30pm in an interesting trial for next year. And it’s Spicks and Specks and the fifth last edition of The Glass House tonight at 9.30pm in the ABC. Watch and show the fools who axed that they were wrong to buckle.

Peter Fray

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