News Corp management shuffle underway? The first part of the great 2007 global News Corp management shuffle appears to be underway with reports from London that James Murdoch is about to go to the US in a senior management role. That was reported in the Mail on Sunday which said James would move to New York in the British summer, leaving BSkyB to be run by Tom Mockeridge, who would move from heading up Star Italia for News Corp. That means Mockeridge would not be returning to replace John Hartigan (who is due to step down this year) at the head of the Australian operations. Murdoch family member, Alistair McLeod (son of Rupe’s first daughter) is the one who could eventually run Australia. He is currently running Nationwide News, a main part of the News Corp presence in Australia, but has no experience in the broadcast area.  Richard Freudenstein, the former number two at Sky in London, is back in Australia and is also in the mix to run all of News’s interest in Australia. He is trusted and has considerable broadcast experience. He was at Foxtel before going to London. At the moment he is overseeing News Digital in Australia. The other person in the running for the top News Ltd post here is David Malone, currently running Premier Media for News and PBL. In Australia the changes have started with Herald Sun editor, Peter Blunden, being promoted to run the Melbourne operations when Julian Clarke retires shortly. — Glenn Dyer

News Ltd’s Eddie bashing continues. Yesterday’s Herald Sun had a story claiming that there was a botched question on the recording of the first episode of the new Eddie-hosted game show 1 vs 100. That story was picked up by the Daily Tele‘s Sydney Confidential column and The Oz‘s Strewth column this morning: “The taping of the Nine network’s giant quiz show 1 vs 100 has begun in earnest, and all the poor journalists who went to the launch will be watching carefully to make sure the computer is behaving itself. A lot of people were asked to name the unit of time comprising 60 seconds (the questions were not hard). After answering “a minute”, they were buzzed off as wrong. Everyone was frazzled, including, seemingly, host Eddie McGuire. Most difficult were the hot television lights, searing the contestants at the top of the set. One journalist actually took his trousers off in a futile attempt to cool down.” For all the luvvies in the world and at News Ltd who don’t understand, producing a TV program is hard, it’s difficult and not the cakewalk some journos think. The lighting IS hot, especially for game shows where the sets are usually very large. Game shows are pre-recorded and there are often stop-starts, pick-ups and go-agains with questions being re-asked or reworded because of mistakes. There is always a disclaimer in all closing credits about the programs being edited and those edits not affecting the result. And with all new programs there are teething problems. — Glenn Dyer

Blame the Beeb, says SBS. Last night’s screening on SBS of Top Gear, the BBC program for revheads and other greenhouse gas lovers, carried this slide at the start of the program with accompanying voiceover. Basically it says “if there are any problems with poorly edited content, it ain’t us, blame the BBC”…

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: A solid comeback by Seven after being well beaten Sunday night by Nine and its cricket. Seven last night rode the back of a million plus audience for three hours of prime time viewing to win the night. Today Tonight was still the top show with 1.376 million viewers, followed by Home And Away (1.374 million), Seven News (1.363 million), A Current Affair (1.321 million – thanks Tracy!), Nine News (1.218 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.165 million), Motorway Patrol (Nine, 7.30pm – 1.162 million), the repeat of CSI Miami (1.145 million) and the tennis from 7.30 pm (1.046 million). Ten’s Supernatural averaged 988.000 at 8.30pm and Cops had 953,000 at 9.30pm. West Wing on the ABC averaged 638,000 at 8.30pm.

The Losers: It is summer and there’s sport on. Top Gear averaged 571,000 and was SBS’s best program followed by South Park with 297,000 in repeat. Nip/Tuck on Nine at 9.30pm, 783,000, beaten by Cops and the tennis on Seven. Outrageous Fortune on Nine at 10.30pm had 383,000. There are some critics who like the program. It is a good New Zealand program but should not be considered as Australian content. That’s why it’s a loser because it is only being shown to manipulate the Australian content rules for commercial TV by Nine.

News & CA: Seven News won nationally by 145,000 and 120,000 in Perth. Nine won Sydney and Melbourne (welcome back Ian Ross in Sydney on Seven!). Seven won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Today Tonight won by 55,000 nationally and 65,000 in Perth. ACA won Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. TT won Brisbane and Perth. SBS World News Australia, 241,000 viewers in all its new glory, the half hour program at 9.30pm, 249,000. The 7pm ABC News was solid as was The 7.30 Report with 961,000 viewers. Ten News was also solid with 941,000 viewers. Ten’s Late News/Sports Tonight averaged 465,000 at 10.30pm. Nine’s Nightline, 274,000 an hour later. In the morning Seven’s 7am Sunrise, 418,000, Nine’s 7am Today, 244,000. Early Sunrise, 183,000, Early Today, 118,000.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 30.0% (27.7% a week earlier) from Nine with 27.0% (28.0%), Ten with 20.6% (21.2%, the ABC with 15.0% (15.1%) and SBS with 7.4% (8.2%). Seven won Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Brisbane they tolerate tennis compared to repeats and Kiwi accents on Nine. Nine leads the week 34.8% to 25.2%. In regional areas a close win for Nine through WIN/NBN with 29.8% to Prime/7Qld with 29.4%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.1%, the ABC with 13.7% and SBS with 8.0%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Tracy Grimshaw returns to ACA and up goes the audience. Around 200,000 viewers were added from the very low levels reached last week when Leila McKinnon was hosting. ACA saved! Stronger performances in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. The Damien Martyn interview might have helped but did the new “body suit” that smooths a woman’s curves? Was Tracy wearing one last night? Seven’s Tennis did a lot better last night. Tonight is a challenge, though, with NZ playing the Poms in Adelaide in the ODI. Ian Ross had a losing start to his year at Seven in Sydney. It can only get better. Ten returns NCIS tonight at 8.30pm and that’s the only opposition to the sport. The tennis only beat Nip/Tuck from 9.30pm which gave Seven its win.

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