Melbourne still loves Eddie, fails to crack The Code. Here’s someone who didn’t get it about the results of Monday night’s TV ratings battle: “McGuire passes first test“. Or, how Melbourne still loves Eddie and is willing to overlook small points such as 1 vs 100 being beaten nationally by Desperate Housewives. Eddie beat Housewives in Melbourne with 472,000 but in Sydney, Housewives beat Eddie with the biggest audience nationally on the night of 490,000. And Eddie’s audience went backwards (by half a million) while Desperate Housewives added 600,000 and Seven’s Rich List won its timeslot, beating Nine’s heavily promoted The Code. The 1.001 million for The Code was the big surprise on the night, especially for Nine. Network analysts had expected the program to get more but it was beaten by The Biggest Loser on Ten and by TRL on Seven. For a program as costly as The Code, third was not good enough. It lacked depth and tried to cram too much into the first episode, starting from the introduction which lasted more than three minutes (out of total content of around 22 minutes). Another problem is the use of William McInnes, the well known actor: his voice is distinctive and too good for such a program. It needs an anonymous voice so as not to take attention away from the content of the program. And some of the writing was banal — the intro said: “what’s behind the closed doors”, “a unique and never before seen” and a “rare look at how the circle of justice really looks”. It’s not rare; the ABC has had a fine multi-part series on magistrate’s courts, Seven has The Force and Victorians have had a good view of the nitty gritty of their police force and the courts for a number of years with all the gangland murders and associated court cases. For a program built on the unpredictability of police work, The Code was too predictable. Hopefully it will improve. The cases being shown should be telling the story; the voiceover is there merely to take the story forward and to link sections and bridge gaps. I think the Magistrate’s Court part could have been the way to go, looking at people who appear and then using the stories already shot to explain how they came to be in court. The Code had its biggest audience nationally in Melbourne of (336,000) where it beat The Biggest Loser, but The Rich List beat them all with 426,000 down south. — Glenn Dyer

New NBC chief a producer, not a salesman. There’s hope for Adam Boland at the Seven Network: one day he might get to run Seven if events at NBC in the US are any guide. Jeff Zucker is the man who not only presided over the enormous rise in popularity and profits at NBC’s Today show, but also the network’s plunge from first to fourth and now back up the scale again, has just been named overall head of NBC Universal. Zucker is 41 and a legend in US media for what he did with Today (it’s regarded as the most profitable program in US broadcast media), surviving the loss of Friends, Seinfeld and Frasier and then helping find a way for the network to recover with programs like Heroes and Sunday night football. The loss and failure to replace Friends etc. came while Zucker was running NBC but the recent rebound has been enough to convince the company’s owners (GE with 80%) that he should replace Bob Wright as president and CEO of NBC Universal.  Boland is the man at Seven who turned Sunrise into the ratings and financial powerhouse it is today and revamped Sunday Sunrise into Weekend Sunrise and forced Nine to revamp its Sunday program and kill off Business Sunday after 20 years. Australian TV networks tend to go to salespeople for their senior executives: witness Sam Chisholm at Nine in years gone by, Grant Blackley at Ten and David Leckie at Seven but not Eddie McGuire at Nine who prefers to be on camera than behind the scenes. — Glenn Dyer

A Current Affair up to its flabby old tricks. Last night A Current Affair was up to its old trick of bagging an opposing network program without declaring its own self-interest. Ten’s The Biggest Loser started on Sunday night and helped give Nine’s Temptation a towelling on Monday night, so Nine trotted out ACA veteran hack, Howard Gipps, to do the job. He spoke to Dr John Tickell, without declaring that Tickell was the main figure in Nine’s two Celebrity Overhauls and in last year’s recast imitation of TBL called Overhaul (no celebrities). Overhaul ended propping up the 4pm and 5pm timeslots on Sundays after failing in prime time. The criticism levelled at TBL could just as easily be directed at the Overhaul programs, but that point was never made. Of course the talent from Overhaul would bag TBL. Perhaps Nine is narky that its dip into the reality weight loss shows failed miserably while The Biggest Loser is still going strong. No wonder ACA is having trouble getting traction this year, despite the return of Tracy Grimshaw. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Cricket won the night for Nine last night as ratings hostilities were suspended. They are back in earnest tonight. Ten’s NCIS won the night with 1.466 million people as viewers decided they liked that fictional drama more than the fictional reality of England beating the Kiwis in the One-Day cricket (talk about being unable to cheer for anyone!). Second was Border Patrol NZ on Seven at 7.30pm (1.328 million), followed by Seven News (1.303 million) and Today Tonight (1.245 million). Serious Crash Unit on Seven at 8pm was next (1.240 million) – funny how more Australians wanted to watch the two Kiwi docos on Seven than the Kiwi cricket team on Nine. Nine News was sixth with 1.218 million, followed by A Current Affair (1.217 million), Home and Away (1.161 million – its lowest so far in 2007) and The Biggest Loser (1.069 million). The evening session of the cricket from 7pm averaged 998,000. The ABC’s now predictable and fairly boring Grumpy Old Holidays averaged 910,000. How about Grumpy Old S-x or Grumpy Old Shopping? The two eps of The Simpsons on Ten between 7.30 and 8.30pm averaged 968,000 and 972,000 respectively.
 
The Losers: With the cricket dominating, it’s hard to find anything that really “lost”. Seven’s Australian Dancesport Championships at 8.30pm averaged 708,000 and was the difference between winning and losing. In a normal week it would have been down there with 24 in the Loser stakes but last night it was an example of switching off the competitive juices and running something the network had to on a night when it wouldn’t matter. It wouldn’t run next week in prime time, for example.
 
News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight both won nationally but needed their Perth margins to do so. The News won by 85,000 nationally and 109,000 in Perth. Nine News won Sydney and Melbourne (boosted by the cricket), Seven won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Today Tonight lost Sydney and Melbourne but won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth (where the cricket was on delay). Or not at all in Brisbane after the first two hours because the game wasn’t a sellout). TT won by just 28,000 nationally and 95,000 in Perth. The 7 pm ABC News was down to 949,000 and The 7.30 Report was down as well at 731,000. Ten News averaged 831,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight averaged 436,000 at 10.30pm and Nine’s Nightline, 244,000 at midnight. Lateline on the ABC averaged 254,000 at 10.20, Lateline Business, 114,000 at 10.55. World News Australia on SBS averaged 210,000 at 6.30pm and 309,000 at 9.30pm. In the morning, 7am Sunrise on seven averaged 414,000, 7am Today 258,000.
 
The Stats: Nine won the 6pm to midnight battle with a share of 29.1% (27.2% a week ago) from Seven with 25.4% (28.7%), Ten was third with 24.1% (22.0%). The ABC was next with 15.3% (16.5%) and SBS was next with 6.1% (5.5%). Nine leads the week, 31.7% to 26.8%. Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, Seven won Brisbane and Perth. In the zone 1 commercial battle between Seven, Nine and Ten last night between 6pm and 10.30pm Nine was first with 37.1%, Seven was second with 32.0% and Ten was third with 30.9%. In regional areas Nine won with WIN/NBN getting a share of 32.0% from Prime/7Qld with 24.7%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 22.1%, the ABC with 15.4% and SBS with 3.8%.
 
Glenn Dyer’s comments:
Back to competition proper tonight with Seven returning Border Security at 7.30pm  and Serious Crash Unit at 8pm to help its Heroes at 8.30pm and Prison Break On The Run at 9.30pm. Poor old Jack is clock watching on 24 at 10.30pm. Nine returns the tiring McLeod’s Daughters, which sagged badly towards the end of 2006. More male characters have been introduced. Can you have a metros-xual on McLeod’s? Are snags just eaten or are they to be cuddled in the hay shed at the back of the farm? All will be revealed from 7.30pm. Then Nine has Cold Case and Without A Trace returning: a head to head battle, which will be good for viewers. But over on Ten there’s The Biggest Loser at 7pm (what will happen to Temptation?), the new quiz show The Con Test at 7.30pm (which will test viewer tolerance of quiz/game shows in prime time) and House returns at 8.30pm. The ABC returns The New Inventors at 8pm. So it’s almost full ratings lineups tonight.

Peter Fray

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