Today newsreader jumps to Seven. The Nine Network can’t take a trick at the moment. Within days of revealing that Sarah Murdoch will be sitting in as co-host of the Today show for at least a month over summer, Nine has lost long-time Today newsreader Sharyn Ghidella to Seven. But her departure has nothing to do with the impending arrival of Ms Murdoch at Nine, although the news didn’t help. Ghidella is from Queensland (Babinda) and family ties as much as anything are behind her decision to head north. Her new gig is weekend newsreader in Brisbane, which will put her much closer to home. It means that Nine has another problem on Today. Not only do they have to find a replacement for Jessica Rowe (if she doesn’t return from maternity leave), they also have to find a new newsreader. Given the gender imbalance on Today (too many males) the reader will almost certainly be female. — Glenn Dyer

Mark Day bangs the corporate drum over AFL rights. As a faithful News Ltd veteran, Mark Day is summonsed whenever the corporate need arises and at the moment that need is the failure of Foxtel to do a deal with Seven and Ten on the AFL coverage from 2007. Foxtel refuses to talk to Ten and or Seven and has made just one offer which falls far short of what the two networks want (they want $60 million for four games a week; Foxtel has offered $45 million for four or around $21 million for three). Day has done a number of stories pushing the Foxtel negotiating barrow, as have sports/AFL writers on the Melbourne Herald Sun. Today’s effort in The Australian’s Media section is more of the same: “Australian football rights holders Channel 7 and Channel 10 are looking to community television stations in Sydney and Brisbane to meet their obligation to broadcast eight live AFL games a week and avoid a financial black hole on Friday and Sunday nights”. It could happen and SBS is looming as a possibility, but Mark Day won’t report why Foxtel won’t talk to Seven and Ten. Which shareholder is refusing to OK a deal on the AFL for Fox Sports and its new Fox Sports 3 channel (half-owned by News and PBL who in turn own half of Foxtel between them). News and PBL would baulk at what Seven and Ten want but is Telstra really the sticking point? — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: As expected Seven’s Border Security worked it’s magic last night without competition from Thank God You’re Here. Border Security averaged 1.721 million viewers — it really grabs the audience — and Police Files at 8pm, straight after, was lifted to 1.634 million, Seven News was third (1.456 million), followed by Home And Away (1.411 million), Criminal Minds (1.350 million) and A Current Affair (1.230 million). Spicks and Specks left us for the year with a very nice 1.220 million (there’s still a “best of” next week and then a Christmas edition in a few weeks). Nine News averaged 1.203 million, then Temptation (1.163 million), McLeod’s Daughters (1.155 million), CSI Miami (in repeat, 1.122 million) and the 7pm ABC News (1.010 million). The loyal audience of The Glass House continue to flock back home: it averaged a very high 945,000 last night (probably its best ever). It won its timeslot (how’s that ABC?).

The Losers: Is Tripping Over on Ten at 8.30pm a loser with 803,000 people? It’s the best local drama for yonks and Ten is returning it next year but these sorts of figures would produce a small twinge of concern. It will be OK, as long as it does very well in 18 to 49. If it doesn’t, there will be changes. Seven’s The Unit, 801,000; Nine’s ER, 782,000; Ten’s NCIS repeat, 781,000, all whipped by The Glass House between 9.30pm and 10pm.

News & CA: A strong night for Seven News and Today Tonight. Both won nationally and all five metro markets and didn’t need the big margins in Perth. Ten News at Five averaged a strong 877,000, and after the strong ABC News, The 7.30 Report averaged 722,000 after running into Border Security on Seven at 7.30 pm. Today averaged 238,000 from 7am, Sunrise, 425,000 from 7am.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 31.3% (28.6%), from Nine with 26.7% (26.5%), Ten down on 19.6% (26.2%), the ABC up on 17.7% (15%) and SBS with 4.6% (3.6%). Seven now leads the week 28.6% to 28.3%. Seven won four metro markets (Adelaide by Nine). In regional areas though a win for Nine with WIN/NBN averaging 31.2% from Prime/7Qld with 28.0%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.4%, the ABC with 15.8% and SBS with 5.6%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven won, Ten fell without Thank God and House on that night Ten launched its 2007 line-up. No worries about a risky schedule, the best new shows and old ones revived. Ten’s performance last night showed that compared to Seven it still doesn’t have depth in programming but next year will see a few more layers added. Nine continues to stagnate, boxing clever at times with old favs like McLeod’s but staring down the barrel of a difficult year. Has it got the guts and TV know-how to pull off next year the way Ten did this year? Not with the current management of the network or PBL Media. Tonight its Seven v Nine plus Jamie’s Kitchen Australia with its final ep. I would’ve liked to have seen and heard more of the stories of the kids, even though some of the outlines were tough. It was very interesting and involving when they were at centre stage. Seven has Bones and The Amazing Race, Nine has Getaway, Big Questions and RPA. The ABC has the year’s sleeper, Family Footsteps. The ABC started it how long before a commercial network grabs the idea and runs with it: it would grip viewers at 6.30pm on a Sunday.

Peter Fray

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