Nine bets big on game shows for 2007. Nine is betting big on game shows to plug the holes in its 2007 schedule. It has also signalled the odds that Who Wants To Be A Millionaire will be back next year are lengthening, meaning that it has become too hard for the network to find someone to replace CEO, Eddie McGuire. Nine revealed yesterday that it had commissioned Endermol Southern Star to make local versions of the UK and US game show 1 vs. 100. Show Me The Money is another new production which Nine describes as a “prime-time game show for the whole family”. Contestants must answer a minimum of five trivia questions, “while being entertained by a bevy of dancing beauties…After each answer, the contestant then chooses from one of eleven stunning dancers on stage, each of whom holds the dollar figure to be added or subtracted – for correct or incorrect answers – to the player’s total.” Nine says Show Me The Money started on the US ABC network last week and reached an audience of 15 million viewers. Sounds like an absolute ripper. With Family Feud and Temptation, Nine will be overloaded with game shows in 2007. One will no doubt be tried at 6.30pm on Sundays — probably Show Me the Money — while 1 vs. 100 sounds like the sort of program Nine would drop into Monday nights at 8.30pm to replace Millionaire. — Glenn Dyer

Light entertainment turns to Ashes for Nine. The AFL Footy Show approach to managing the Nine Network’s programming and TV schedule blew up spectacularly last night with its two hour special, Ashes to Ashes. It was the best example yet of how low Nine’s production skills have fallen in the key area of light entertainment. It was worse than Clever, Magda’s Funny Bits, The Great Weight Debate and Abbamania. Last night Ashes to Ashes was not only embarrassing but also a dud. TV viewers proved it by opting for the 50 minutes of cricketing history on the ABC from 9.30pm, rather than Nine’s miserable effort. It averaged just 461,000 viewers from 9.30pm to around 11.35pm. Some 627,000 watched the ABC’s doco on the 1986 tied test in Madras, which was a reminder of what Test cricket was. What was amazing was the way Nine couldn’t convey the anticipation many sports lovers in this country have for the Ashes series which starts tomorrow. It was like having a gold nugget in your hand and watching it turn to lead in two hours. It showed why there’s no way there will be a cricket version of The Footy Shows. Nine has long had ambitions, especially the new regime. Not after last night — Glenn Dyer

No summer break for Weekend Sunrise. The Seven Network plans to keep the pressure on Nine on Sunday mornings by keeping Weekend Sunrise going through the summer break. Presenters, Andrew O’Keefe and Lisa Wilkinson will be fronting, either together or sharing with guest presenters while the other holidays. Nine’s Sunday program is only on air during ratings, so this Sunday (November 26) will be the last before official ratings finish up for the year. There has been speculation that Sunday will be axed once its off air but that is said to be unlikely: more general cost cuts are planned. At the ABC, Lateline Business will return next year and host Ali Moore is down to do two weeks hosting The 7.30 Report over the break. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Tuesday night and no upwards move in the audience for Dancing With The Stars but it was still popular enough to be the most watched program on the night with 1.717 million viewers from 7.30pm to just after 9pm. Second was the final ep of All Saints for the year with 1.617 million, followed by Nine’s A Current Affair with 1.477 million, a fresh ep of 20 to 1 on Nine at 7.30pm with 1.440 million, Nine News with 1.380 million and Home and Away at 7pm with 1.372 million. Nine’s repeat of CSI at 8.30pm averaged 1.351 million, Seven News was next with 1.323 million, followed by Today Tonight with 1.273 million. Nine’s Temptation was 10th with 1.225 million viewers and Crossing Jordan jumped to average 1.010 million.

The Losers: Seven’s Commander in Chief at 11pm, propping up the night with 445,999 viewers. Ten’s The Wedge (681,000) and The OC (697,000). Not hot figures. Why was The Wedge renewed for 2007 with these sorts of figures? The real loser was Nine’s two hour failure called Ashes To Ashes which tried to do cricket like an AFL or NRL Footy Show Grand Final program with live acts and live audience. It bombed: 461,000 viewers managed to stay the distance. People like their cricket real and being played, which is why the ABC special at 9.30pm on the tied test in Madras out-rated Nine with 627,000 viewers.

News & CA: Nine News and A Current Affair were surprisingly easy winners over Seven news and Today Tonight. Nine News won by 57,000 viewers nationally but Seven News won by 102,000 in Perth. Nine News won by 99,000 in Melbourne! Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane while Seven won Adelaide and Perth. ACA won Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne (by 183,000). TT won Adelaide and Perth. TT won by 69,000 in Perth, ACA won nationally by 204,000. The 7pm ABC News averaged 949,000, The 7.30 Report, 722,000, Ten News At Five averaged a solid 866,000. Sunrise (405,000) and Early Sunrise (278,000) beat Today which eased to average 254,000 viewers from 7am

The Stats: Seven won 34.8% (33.6% a week ago) from Nine with 27.5% (28.7%), Ten with 19.3% (20.1%), the ABC with 13.7% (13.2%) and SBS with 4.7% (4.5%). Nine still leads the week 30.6% to 27.4%. Seven won all five metro markets. In regional areas Prime/7Qld won with a share of 34.5% from WIN/NBN with 28.7%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 20.0%, the ABC with 12.0% and SBS with 4.8%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Dancing had some flare last night and next week’s final holds some promise. AFL Footballer Anthony Koutoufides and chess player Arianne Caoili will be in next week’s final. Tamsyn Lewis left last night. The program finally showed some spark last night, at long last. The Nine effort was a disappointment, the ABC cricket doco up to the standard of its predecessors – good sporting history that put both teams in context, and the umpires. Tonight its the final of Spicks and Specks and Ab Fab. The Glass House is also on. Seven has Border Security and Police Files followed by Criminal Minds which will be an 8.30pm performer next year. Nine has a tiring McLeod’s Daughters, CSI Miami and ER. Ten has Tripping Over. Will it really return in 2006, there is a small doubt I hear.

Peter Fray

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