A big night for the Nine Network and erstwhile CEO, Eddie McGuire. It’s the debut of the Great White Hope for 2007, the Eddie-hosted game show, 1 vs 100.

Based on the amount of hype and free publicity generated, if Eddie isn’t watched by a consistent audience of 1.8 million or more for the hour from 8.30pm then he and the program will be a shot duck. But his rivals do expect the program to rate well and Nine to blitz the night.

Ratings proper don’t start til February 11 but Nine is trying to do a Seven and jump the gun. There’s a risk though that the audience for 1 vs 100 might become a little jaded by February 12.

Both Seven and Ten are not programming all that hard against Eddie. Seven is repeating the concluding ep of Desperate Housewives again at 8.45pm but that won’t rate as well.

Seven is also running its new game show, The Rich List, hosted by Andrew O’Keefe, at 7.30pm as a sort of spoiler to Eddie, but it won’t do much either — The Rich List only lasted one ep in the US.

Eddie will have Steve Irwin’s last special, Ocean’s Deadliest, on at 7.30pm as a lead in: it averaged around 1.6 million on US cable TV although Discovery Channel claims “10 million people” watched the program (that was a cumulative figure).

Nine also shows another Irwin program called Crikey, What An Adventure! at 10.30pm after Justice, the premiere of a new US program. Unfortunately there are only 13 episodes because it was killed off in the US.

Other programs returning or debuting in the next week include a two hour ep of 24 on Tuesday, the Fox thriller from the US which is well past its use by date in Australia. It did badly last year for Seven but to start it early in the year means Seven must be confident in this series.

On Wednesday night that tired concept The Kumars at No 42 returns to the ABC at 10.10pm: I won’t be able to wait up. Seven has a big night with the much anticipated Heroes at 8.30pm followed by Prison Break: On The Run. Medium returns on Ten at 8.30pm Wednesday: Nine has a boring “summer” night.

Thursday Nine will be trying on Thursday with good old Getaway returning at 7.30pm. That’s either a courageous or very foolish move by Nine. Getaway died late last year in ratings, just as Seven’s The Great Outdoors did.

Missing Persons Unit and RPA follow in hour long formats: again a promising move or one that’s a bit desperate? Can viewers really cop two hours of heart wrenching emotional content?

Seven will have the next two hours of 24 while over on Ten Law and Order: SVU and Law and Order: Criminal Intent return at 8.30pm and 9.30pm respectively: it will be a close night.

Peter Fray

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