It still isn’t Today‘s day. Amid the plethora of end of year stories in TV, one stood out in the Daily Telegraph, especially for this paragraph: “By mid-year McGuire, having lured news presenter Jessica Rowe from Channel Ten to host Nine’s Today morning breakfast show, found she and co-presenter Karl Stefanovic did not generate the chemistry to combat the rapport between Channel Seven’s Sunrise hosts Melissa Doyle and David Koch.” Nothing could be further from the truth. McGuire can be rightly accused of many atrocities at Nine in 2006 (Beaconsfield, Footy Show World Cup broadcast), histrionics in threatening to resign, poor leadership and indecision plus being a cipher for the Park Street toecutters, but he shouldn’t be blamed for hiring Jessica Rowe from Ten. That was the responsibility of his predecessor Sam Chisholm and those at Park Street who signed off on it. Rowe was aboard the Nine ship in January of last year. Eddie was made CEO in early February. So Eddie inherited Rowe and her lacklustre performance, but how is Sarah Murdoch, Eddie’s choice for Today for summer, going? Well, after four weeks, not all that well. Sunrise on Seven continues to do well and even though its holidays its audience has not fallen noticeably. In fact, if anything it’s up on this time a year ago. Last Friday, for instance, the 7am Sunrise averaged 437,000 viewers; the 7am Today, 234,000 people. That’s a little down on what Today was getting with Rowe and under the levels in the first two weeks of Murdoch’s stint. The lighter Richard Wilkins in the co-host’s chair is not helping her or Today: the program is lightweight when compared to the pairing of regular Sunrise host David Koch and Mel Doyle’s replacement, regular Sunrise newsreader, Natalie Barr. — Glenn Dyer

A spectacular departure. Departing 2SM newsreader Victoria Owens went out on a high note, thanks to a little bit of copy rewriting by station news editor Christine O’Malley. — Christian Kerr

“Content is king” debate continues. The West Australian probably has the worst website of any major metropolitan newspaper in Australia – but as it such a bad paper, that’s only par for the course. The Canberra Times actually has some decent stories. Its site, though, leaves plenty to be desired. Which makes it even more interesting that Fairfax box David Kirk used a talk to the folks back home in Kiwiland in the middle of the silly season to call for the federal government to fund better broadband services. Why should our taxes be spent on that when you provide pap, David? Or something that rhymes with pap, more like it. — Christian Kerr

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Happy New Year. Warnie’s gone, the Poms whitewashed, all is right in the world. So Sunday night and Nine starts the week well and Seven is weak. That’s the way it was last week, week one of the year (but not official ratings which start February 11), that’s the way it was in 2006 and 2005 and before then And that’s the way it was last night. Only three programs with a million ore more viewers last night. Nine News was tops with 1.237 million, then Nine’s repeat of What’s Good For You at 7.30pm with 1.144 million and Seven News was third with 1.134 million people. Ten’s So You Think You Can Dance averaged 993,000 for two hours from 7.30pm and kept the network in the game. Seven’s Massive Nature at 6.30pm averaged 948,000. Not bad for a repeat. 
 
The Losers: Well, how about most of the schedule for last night and most nights in summer, with the exception of isolated programs? (Midsomer Murders on Nine and the ABC are popular, for example.) Last night, even the presence of our Cate Blanchett couldn’t save Seven’s movie, Veronica Guerin, from bombing. Just 704,000 people stayed with it from 8.30pm. It was a first run movie: Ten repeated Mission Impossible with the Scientologist starring. Just 675,000 watched from 9.30pm. The odd start time of 7.10pm didn’t help You Got the Job on Seven. It averaged 751,000, around 300,000 on what it was getting (and a bit more) when it started. The ABC’s amusing doco on whistling called Pucker Up: The Fine Art of Whistling was also not popular, averaging 641,000 from 7.30 pm for an hour. 
 
News & CA: Nine News won nationally and in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Seven won Brisbane and Perth, as usual. The 7pm ABC News averaged 957,000 viewers; Ten News (half hour), 783,000. Seven’s Weekend Sunrise averaged a solid 336,000. 
 
The Stats: Nine won with a share of 27.7% (28.2% last week) from Ten with 24.2% (24.8%), Seven with 23.4% (22.5%), the ABC with 13.1% (16.9%)and SBS with 11.7% (7.7%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. In regional areas Nine affiliates WIN/NBN  won with 28.4% from Southern Cross (Ten) with 24.3%, Prime/7Qld with 23.3%, the ABC with 13.4% and SBS with 10.7%. Last week (the first week of 2007) was won by Nine with a share of 28.0% from Seven with 27.3%, Ten with 20.3%, the ABC on 17.9% and SBS with 6.5%.
 
Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine win last week was boosted by the fifth Test from Tuesday to Thursday night. Friday’s finale didn’t have an impact on the evening ratings as it finished before lunch. Nine has made millions from its telecasts and will make more from the One Day Internationals which will do more to boost its ratings being day-night games. Even though Seven started the week poorly (as usual) and Nine had the boost from the cricket which overran or ran close to 6pm Tuesday to Thursday, Seven got very close with FAQ programs. This is a trend we saw before Christmas: that apart from the cricket Nine isn’t doing well this summer in general evening programming. Ten is stumbling along as well, its New Year’s Eve telecast was appalling in parts and has left a bad taste. The Network got into trouble with the adult versions of Big Brother in 2005 and 2006. Surely it should have known that any risqué material, even post 9.30pm on New Year’s Eve (or any night for that matter), would buy it an argument from some viewers and a big reaction from tabloid papers and talkback radio in a slow news period.

Peter Fray

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