What next for Tracey Spicer? So what’s the difference between Tracey Spicer being “boned” by the Ten Network and the Seven Network flicking Di Smith and Laura Csortan from The Great Outdoors? Both are female presenters, but for some reason there’s greater anger at what Ten did to Spicer. I don’t think any one would disagree with Ten’s right to change its staff, just as there’s no real objection to Smith and Csortan being moved off The Great Outdoors, which needs a shake-up urgently. And I don’t think that motherhood entered into Ten’s decision: it was just a ham-fisted way of ending her career. There’s also an impression of Ten being too clever by half — getting her to come back from maternity leave early to front the new look 11am news and then not rewarding that act of loyalty. But contract negotiations break down all the time. Some folk from TV land in Melbourne are wondering if Spicer might end up at Nine where there’s a newsreading gig on the Today show about to fall vacant when Sharyn Ghidella leaves to return to Seven in Brisbane. Spicer and Eddie McGuire would have shared a newsroom at ATV 10 in Melbourne a few years ago but Nine hasn’t had a good track record with Ten newsreaders: Jessica Rowe is the obvious example.

Hypocritical coverage of the Spicer affair. There was some hypocritical coverage of the Ten-Tracey Spicer situation from A Current Affair and Today Tonight last night. Seven’s effort was the more balanced of the two but named former TV journalist Judy Tierney as being the oldest female reporter on TV; which she was on the ABC where in most cases age is not usually barrier to working on air. But it was the stunning hypocrisy of ACA, fronted by Tracy Grimshaw, who should have done better than just sit there and mouth the words. Nine, like Seven, was glad, very glad to be handed an issue with which it could beat up a rival network. Nine hasn’t handled the likes of 47-year-old Jana Wendt at the Sunday program, while there was Eddie McGuire’s attempted ‘boning’ of Jessica Rowe at the Today Show. The sensitivity of Ten to the issue is understandable, but didn’t anyone at the Network stop to think last Friday about how it would look finishing the negotiations with Spicer and her manager by email? Obviously not. — Glenn Dyer

Nine 2007 schedule takes another hit. The Nine Network has lost another US program from its 2007 schedule, taking the number of failures it picked up earlier this year to seven with two doubtful. The latest casualty is the new series The Nine which was screening on the ABC Network on Wednesday nights. It last went to air a week ago and then last Friday ABC pulled the plug on the program, placing it in what the Americans called “hiatus” which is the same as being “rested” in Australia. The Nine was a bank robbery based drama by the same team that created Lost. ABC says The Nine will return later this season, but did not specify when which is a sign the program will probably end up on a low rating Saturday night or in the summer schedule next year. The roll call of Nine’s US TV shows for 2007 now reads: Studio 60 on Sunset Strip – a full season renewal but being shifted to a new timeslot; Men In Trees – so-so performance in current Friday night timeslot but being given another shot behind Grey’s Anatomy where it will run into ER (which is still strong in the US) and Seven’s new hit, Shark. Programs to have been cancelled, placed on “hiatus” or left wondering now include, The Nine, Smith, Justice, Kidnapped, Happy Hour, 20 Good Years, Help Me Help You, Til Death. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: No two million audience for Dancing With The Stars this time around. The final of series five ended with an average audience of 1.789 million from 7.30pm to 10pm. Enough though to give the network a clear win on the night. Today Tonight was second with 1.349 million viewers, followed by Seven News with 1.320 million and Home and Away at 7pm was fourth and averaged 1.301 million. Nine’s 7.30 program, 20 to 1 averaged a solid 1.301 million as well, A Current Affair averaged 1.259 million and then the repeat of CSI at 8.35 averaged 1.251 million. Temptation was eighth with 1.246 million and Nine News was 9th with 1.235 million. It was the last program with a million or more viewers last night. Ten ran repeats of Simpsons eps at 7.30pm (989,000) and 8pm (962,000), as well as at 6pm (766,000). Crossing Jordan at 10pm, 872,000.

The Losers: The OC on Ten at 8.30, 674,000. No repeat of the solid numbers for the second part of the cricket docos on the ABC at 9.20pm. The Fifties only interested 458,000 people. The Bill at 8.30pm, 751,000 but Dancing With The Stars was on Seven so that’s understandable.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally by 85,000 nationally by winning Sydney, Adelaide and Perth where the margin over Nine News was 118,000. Nine News won Melbourne and Brisbane. Today Tonight won by 90,000 viewers nationally and 106,000 in Perth. TT won Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. ACA won Melbourne and Brisbane. The 7pm ABC News averaged a solid 950,000 but The 7.30 Report fell to 642,000 because of Dancing With The Stars. Sunrise beat the Today Show in the morning. 455,000 to 280,000.

The Stats: Seven won the night with 35.3% (34.8% a week earlier) from Nine with 29.5% (27.5%), Ten with 19.4% (19.3%), the ABC with 12.3% (13.7%) and SBS with 3.5% (4.7%). Seven won Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Brisbane. Nine leads the metro week battle 32.8% to 24.9% from Ten with Seven just behind on 24.5%. In regional areas Prime/7/Qld won with 33.6% from Win/NBN for Nine with 31.3%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.1%, the ABC on 11.7% and SBS with 4.1%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Dancing With The Stars is over for another series and another year. Series five was successful but not the ratings killer that Series 2,3 and 4 were. But it was enough to give Seven a steadying win but it hasn’t been the best of weeks. Carlton managed a winner with Anthony Koutoufides (and partner) who beat chess player Arianne Caoili (and partner). Will Seven give it a freshen up like it has with The Great Outdoors? What will Nine do to Getaway which is in need of a similar rebuild? Tonight Seven has the first part of the final Prime Suspect and there’s the final The Glasshouse ep is on the ABC for an hour from 9pm. Nine has back to back eps of ER from 9.30pm to 11.30pm to end the season for this once ratings giant. Ten has the final ep in the first short series of Tripping Over. I think this one is now in “watch this space” for 2007.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW