Radio shock jockettes in TV feud. The long-simmering feud between 3AW shock jockettes Neil Mitchell and Derryn Hinch has erupted audibly this week. Mitchell’s readily tapped sense of outrage was fuelled by news that the mysterious Hinch Illness that last year reduced the “Human Headline” to something closer to a “Human Footnote” would be the subject of a special report on this Sunday’s 60 Minutes. According to Mitchell, Hinch owed his 3AW audience first dibs on the story. “Mitchell is full of pious umbrage saying that the 3AW audience owns me,” Hinch told Crikey this morning. “That’s rubbish. 3AW doesn’t own me, the audience doesn’t own me, my wife doesn’t even own me.” The Hinch-Mitchell kerfuffle dates to the aftermath of cricket star David Hookes’s death in January 2004. It was Hinch who broke a collective silence in the Melbourne media concerning the reality of Hookes’s failed marriage. Mitchell was outraged and the pair have been uneasy 3AW cohabitants ever since. And yes, 60 Minutes did pay, Hinch said. “I’m not going to lie about it, they paid. If you saw the medical bills coming in last year and this year, you’d understand why. I’m glad we sat on it for a year. There have been developments.” And how is the health, Derryn? “Nice try. Watch on Sunday.” — Jonathan Green

South Australia to lose its favourite Daughters? Thanks to well-timed FOI request from The Advertiser in Adelaide, we now know that the Nine Network is threatening to take McLeod’s Daughters away from South Australia, despite receiving more than $2.5 million in subsidies over the years and with another $200,000 to come this year. But according to the story in the Advertiser, McLeod’s daughters costs $19 million a year. That’s up 20 per cent or around $3 million or so on the 2004 budget which was over $15 million:

An internal SA Film Corporation document obtained by The Advertiser reveals the makers of McLeod’s Daughters last month made an urgent appeal for State Government funding in a bid to convince the Nine Network to commit for another season of the show.

“In the February 8 production investment application to the SAFC Board, the show’s creator, Posie Graeme-Evans, stated: “In light of major restructuring and cost-cutting that is taking place within the Nine Network, the production company, Millennium Television, is seeking support from the SAFC to secure a commitment from Nine for the eighth series.”

SAFC chief executive Helen Leake yesterday said an additional $300,000 for the show was being sought from ArtsSA, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Trade and Economic Development. If the show was axed, the $500,000 would be returned.” A further problem for McLeod’s is that it is dying in the ratings. It started fading midway through last year when Ten programmed Thank God You’re Here against it, which sucked away around 200,000 to 300,000 viewers. They haven’t returned. So far this year it has been averaging a touch over 1.1 million and is being easily beaten by re-cuts of Seven’s Border Security at 7.30pm and the Kiwi produced Serious Crash Unit at 8pm. Nine is losing money on McLeod’s and will very likely move production to Sydney to shoot all interiors and do outside shots and sequences either in South Australia or rewrite the script and move the outside locations closer to Sydney. — Glenn Dyer 

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Thursday night was again Nine’s night. RPA was number one with 1.506 million and Missing Persons Unit (an hour early at 8.30pm) averaged 1.350 million. Seven News was next with 1.283 million, followed by Today Tonight (1.238 million), Nine News (1.193 million) and My Name Is Earl (1.182 million). Lost continues to fade for Seven and averaged 1.150 million. Something new may be needed there soon. Law and Order SVU at 8.30pm averaged 1.147 million, A Current Affair was down to 1.129 million (after its little surge past TT earlier in the week) and Ten’s The Biggest Loser won the 7pm battle with 1.101 million. Nine’s Getaway languishes at 7.30pm with 1.042 million (surgery is needed) and Home and Away averaged 1.008 million. Ten’s Saving Babies averaged 986,000 at 8pm, Catalyst on the ABC at 8pm had 858,000 (a bit Beyond 2000 in places) and the ABC had an interesting doco on lightning at 8.30pm which averaged 813,000.
The Losers:
 Bones on Seven at 9.30pm was a loser with 752,000 and dragged down the night for the network. Also not helping the continuing low figures at 7.30pm was How I Met Your Mother with 854,000, off 200,000 or so on last year. The Catch Up on Nine at 1pm averaged 162,000 and seems to be settling. That’s still under Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless and well behind Seven’s movie and now Oprah on Ten is doing better; but it seems to be holding.
News & CA: Seven News won nationally by 190,000 and 135,000 in Perth. Seven lost Sydney but won Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Today Tonight won by 109,000 nationally and by 87,000 in Perth. It lost Sydney and won elsewhere. Nine should win Sydney News and 6.30pm battle this week. The 7pm ABC News averaged 934,000 and The 7.30 Report jumped to 876,000 because it was more interesting and not self-indulgently allowing a debate between two pollies and nothing else. Lateline averaged 215,000. Ten News averaged 817,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight, 453,000 but Nine’s Nightline averaged 483,000 at 11.30pm (but don’t wait up tonight because there is no Nightline – a cost saving?). SBS News averaged 181,000 at 6.30pm and 145,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise 400,000; 7am Today, 260,000.
The Stats:  Nine won with a share of 31.9% (32.9% a week ago) from Seven with 25.0% (26.8%), Ten with 23.1% (23.3%), the ABC with 14.9% (12.8%) and SBS with 5.1% (4.3%). Seven still leads the week 30.3% to 28.1% and  Nine won all five metro centres and regionally as well where WIN/NBN averaged 32.4%, Prime/7Qld, 26.8%, Southern Cross (Ten), 21.4%, the ABC 14.7% and SBS 5.1%.
Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven will win the week because it’s clear of Nine and it has the AFL pre-season game in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth tonight. And it has Better Homes and Gardens, the number one program on Friday evenings. The ABC has another Dalziel and Pascoe (which is now Midsomer Murders standard, a big slide). Nine has got Airline and Airport in at 7.30pm instead of the Kings of Comedy capers re-cut and then a repeat of that nice movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Ten has Love Actually. Seven’s movies in Sydney at least are Freaky Friday and The Silence of the Lambs because the AFL is on in the south. Tomorrow night SBS has a new ep of Rockwiz, the ABC has The West Wing, Nine has two movies, Chicken Run and The Witches of Eastwick (and Frasier makes a welcome return at 11.40pm!) Ten has two movies then late AFL. Sunday is Kylie on the ABC, Betty/Grey’s on Seven (and the talent show at 6.30pm), Nine has 60 Minutes and the two CSIs plus Bert on 20 to 1 at 6.30pm. Ten has got rid of the dog show at 6.30pm and more Simpsons plus a Futurama will replace it. It also has The Biggest Loser and the Cool Aid special at 8.30pm which is all about global warming, climate change and making Al Gore fun and cool. I wonder if Ten and its producers have worked out the greenhouse/carbon impact of the two hour special?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey