Seven’s new Aussie drama. The Seven Network is working on a pilot for a new Australian drama called City Homicide, based in Melbourne, which could cause problems for Ten next year. Chairman Kerry Stokes didn’t refer to it by name but said next year included “a new series that builds on our leadership in the production of Australian drama programming.” The problem for Ten is that Shane Bourne, the host of the very successful Thank God You’re Here, is down to play the male lead, with Nadine Garner playing the main female role in the pilot. Before Thank God, Bourne played a leading role in the ABC series, MDA, and also fronted the ABC’s version of Nine’s 20 to 1 program, which took so long to make and remake that it missed its air date in April of this year and will air now in early December, just in time for the Christmas rush. If City Homicide goes into production with Bourne playing a major role, will he be free to work on Thank God You’re Here next year? – Glenn Dyer
Magazine ownership shuffle follows marriage breakup. It’s amazing the changes a marriage break up can make, especially in the media. Michael Hannan, whose family controls the FPC/IPMG media groups which have printing, local papers and magazines and are based in Sydney, is in the throes of selling parts of his group. It has been the biggest non-secret in the Australian media for weeks now: there’s been an auction going on for FPC magazines, and rumours that Hannan would entertain offers for the suburban and local papers in FPC. News Ltd claims to have won the FPC magazines for a very high $150 million: that left Fairfax, ACP and Seven gobsmacked until word seeped out yesterday that News Ltd was on the verge of buying a 49% stake in the FPC newspapers for $170 million, with the magazines thrown into the pot, possibly for another $150 million. The magazine side of the deal won’t have ACCC trouble (here’s how the SMH reported it) but the newspaper side of the deal might get some attention. If News is able to take the 49% stake, will give have control of the Sydney suburban newspaper market, even if it is a minority shareholder (the ACCC will have to check to see if there are any options or other arrangements over the Hannan 51%). News Ltd’s Cumberland Newspapers is already the major suburban publisher in Sydney. News currently controls 70% of Australian newspapers according to some estimates, and this deal, if allowed, will enable it to tighten its grip. (So much for all the crocodile tears from News about the media law changes). – Glenn Dyer
Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Seven snuck home last night by winning Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. It was a flat night nevertheless as daylight saving continues to reduce viewing levels. Once again the size and level of interest can be seen from the top program: Nine’s Temptation won the night as the most watched program with 1.341 million. Seven News was next with 1.318 million and A Current Affair was third with 1.256 million. Ten’s Jamie’s Kitchen Australia won the 7.30 to 8.30 slot with 1.248 million and Today Tonight was fifth with 1.238 million. Nine’s RPA was solid at 9.30 to 10pm with 1.230 million; Home And Away tailed off in 7th spot with 1.202 million, just in front of Nine News with a low 1.187 million. Seven’s My Name Is Earl (8 pm) averaged 1.135 million and Nine’s Getaway (7.30 to 8.30) averaged a lacklustre 1.124 million. Celebrity Survivor averaged 1.112 million for its finale for the 8.30 pm to 9.30pm slot and won. It was the 11th and final program with a million or more viewers. Big Questions on Nine at 8.30 pm picked up viewers to average 912,000 but was beaten into third place by Family Footsteps on the ABC at 8.30pm with 988,000. Ten’s Jericho averaged 912,000 in a so-so effort. Ten’s 9.30pm program David Tench (486,000) and Ronnie Johns at 10pm (421,000) had less than inspiring numbers although Ronnie Johns can blame the Tench lead-in where the audience halved from Jericho. Seven’s 9.30 program Bones averaged 866,000.
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The Losers: Bert’s Family Feud under half a million viewers for an average of 498,000. That’s the daylight saving impact. Deal Or No Deal (754,000) and Ten News (789,000) recorded a win in the hour. Big Questions lifted so it might be saved. But it is not an interesting program. Seven’s Bones are rattling, Ten’s David Tench fading. Put the Glass House there, perhaps?
News & CA: Seven News won nationally by 131,000 viewers and by 121,000 in Perth. Nine News won Sydney and Brisbane, Seven won Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. There was a 149,000 turnaround between Seven News and Today Tonight and Nine News and ACA. ACA won by 18,000 nationally but lost to TT in Perth by 99,000. ACA won Sydney, Melbourne (Seven News won there) and Brisbane. TT won Adelaide and Perth. Ten News was solid given the time change, the ABC News averaged 889,000 at 7pm and The 7.30 Report eased to 762,000. Seven’s Sunrise won the morning TV battle.
The Stats: Seven won with a share of 30.1% (28.7% the previous Thursday night) from Nine with 29.2% (27.8%), Ten with 20.4% (22.1%), the ABC on 15.5% (15.0%) and SBS with 4.7% (6.5%). Nine won Sydney and Melbourne, Seven won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The nine point win in Perth probably clinched the national win. Nine still leads the week 29.2% to 28.6%. In regional areas a win to Seven through Prime/7Qld with 31.5% from Nine’s WIN/NBN with 27.2%, Southern Cross (Ten), with 21.3%, the ABC with 14.2% and SBS with 5.9%.
Glenn Dyer’s comments: That big win in Perth helped Seven on a fairly average night’s viewing where the two best programs stood out. Jamie’s Kitchen Australia and RPA are head and shoulders above the rest of the offering (although How I Met Your Mother on Seven does have a lot of charm. And I wish Earl would relapse at 8 pm!). Tonight it will be a fairly even night. No Midsomer Murders on the ABC, replaced by another murder series from the UK called Blue Murder. It’s a returning program which isn’t bad with Carolyn Quentin. Seven has a movie, Con Air with Nicolas Cage. It has no redeeming features. That’s after Better Home and Gardens. Ten has a movie, The Core. Who cares! And Nine has an hour of bad New Zealand drivers in Motorway Patrol. (And we have Australia A getting beaten by a Rugby Union game by a club side in Wales!). Nine then has its movie Matchstick Men starring Nicolas Cage. Perhaps the Nine movie is all about the crime that led him to star in the Seven movie. Hey, some cross channel story telling – not! And Seven has another Cage movie at 11 pm. Was there a special on Nicolas Cage movies in Hollywood recent, buy one get a dud free? Nine has slipped Whose Line Is It Anyway? into 11 pm Friday nights. It’s supposed to have been the model for Thank God You’re Here but is not as funny. Ten has another made for TV advertiser product at 11.50 called FHM Girl Next Door. FHM is a men’s magazine. Just the thing to go with Celebrity Joker Poker.