SBS dips its wick in reality TV. Each Friday night in summer around 11pm the Nine Network has the infomercial program called Shopping For Love where men and women compete for each other’s attention by spending a couple of thousand dollars on a Virgin credit Card at Chadstone Shopping centre and then consummating the relationship, one way or another at the Crown Casino Promenade Hotel. The men and women are found on the dating website, RSVP, which is owned by Fairfax Media. It’s a tacky, highly commercial and quite soulless program designed to reward the advertisers and Nine as much as the participants. So with that in mind what are we to make of the following ad which has just appeared on RSVP?

Single Men Wanted for SBS TV Documentary

An award-winning documentary company is looking for a number of men to
interview for a series to be screened on SBS TV in 2007.

In particular, we are looking for a man aged between 35-55 years old to
undergo a makeover – perhaps you’ve been divorced and are dating again, or you want to improve your image to impress future dates.

Additionally, if you fall into the following categories we would greatly
appreciate hearing from you:

  • If you are a father raising a teenage son/s.
  • If you are a single father with sole or shared custody of young children under 5yrs of age.
  • If you are making a sea change or downsizing your working life.
  • If you are currently going through, or have just gone through a divorce/separation.

We would prefer people who live in NSW, Queensland or Victoria. If this sounds like you, then please email your RSVP name, contact number and a brief description about yourself to [email protected] with “SBS Show” in the subject line by 9th February 2007.

Wonderful, so the odd man with a teenage daughter or daughters is out. Sounds like a high commercial “reality style” TV program of the sort Nine, Ten or Seven might look at, especially with the mention of “makeover”, “downsizing” and “sea change”. In fact it sounds a bit like, well Shopping For Love, or is it The Real Seachange, or You’ve Got The Job? But it does raise the question why SBS wants to compete in a highly commercial space like reality TV. Is this a good use of the money SBS receives from taxpayers or will the millions from advertising be used to finance this highly “commercial” project? — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Tennis again and another surprisingly weak night for Nine News and especially for A Current Affair, shark story and all. Today Tonight was tops with 1.391 million viewers from Seven News (1.322 million), Home and Away (1.295 million), Close To Home (Nine, 8.30 pm — 1.229 million), Seven’s tennis from 7.30pm to 10.30pm (1.138 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.086 million). Nine News was next with 1.081 million, followed by ACA (1.050 million) and Two and A Half Men (1.019 million). Nine’s The New Adventures of Old Christine averaged 942,000 and Ten’s finale of Australian Princess averaged 881,000.

The Losers: Remember, it’s summer and if you don’t like tennis or cricket… Men in Trees on Nine at 9.30pm will hopefully go away soon: 784,000 viewers.

News & CA: Seven News and TT had wins nationally and in all markets and didn’t need Perth. Including Perth TT won by 341,000 viewers and Seven News by 241,000. ACA wasted the shark exclusive (paid for). Were they panicked by a promo for a spoiler story on TT which had nothing from the diver? Ten News was again solid with 813,000 viewers. The ABC’s 7pm News again helped The 7.30 Report which averaged 860,000. SBS’s World News Australia (aka The Stan Grant Show) averaged 210,000, its 9.30pm update, 183,000. It was very noticeable last night that Stan was playing CNN man and Mary was anchor Mary.The SBS news is the only place we can see that good former Nine reporter, Michael Holmes and the former Nine Melbourne reporter, John Vause in their CNN efforts. Ten’s Late Night News/Sports Tonight averaged 489,000, Nine’s Nightline, 203,000 at 11.30pm, after Outrageous Fortune, the Kiwi Content Buster with 368,000. 7am Sunrise with 417,000 beat 7am Today with 222,000 and 6am Sunrise beat 6am Today.

The Stats: Seven a clear winner with 32.7% (32.5% last week) from Nine with 25.6% (26.4%), Ten was third with 20.3%(19.7%), the ABC was on 15.5% (14.3%) and SBS with 5.9% (7.2%). Seven won Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Brisbane.Nine leads the week 30.3% to Seven’s 27.8%. With the ODI Australia v England tomorrow from Adelaide, Nine will win the week easily. In regional areas a win to Seven with Prime/7Qld with a share of 31.4% from Nine’s WIN/NBN with 29.3%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 18.8%), the ABC, 14.2% and SBS, 6.3%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Including the shark story, A Current Affair has reportedly paid around $55,000 for stories in the past few days. The latest apparently was $5,000 to a fat man in the Queensland city of Rockhampton. The $20,000 deal for the diver was done by a mate before Harry M Miller appeared on the scene. He’s trying to do something with overseas media. The Nine deal was with Woman’s Day. So far it’s not done Nine much good. With Tracy Grimshaw back in the chair, the program did well Monday and then slid: Seven’s tennis has helped but not by that much. Nine News is weakish. Seven’s Ian Ross had his first win of 2007 (in three nights) last night in Sydney. Tonight it’s tennis and not much else. Cricket and tennis tomorrow and Sunday/Sunday night, and tennis Saturday and Midsomer Murders, again. There’s an Australia Day message from a bloke claiming to be the Gov. General. Isn’t that a small bloke with glasses who wears the flag and an Australian track suit? Aren’t we lucky, a proper long weekend. Yippee!

Peter Fray

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