Why is Fairfax ignoring the One.Tel hearing? If you read the Fairfax or News Ltd papers or watch the Nine Network you wouldn’t know there’s a very interesting court case involving One.Tel going on in the NSW Supreme Court at the moment. It started Monday and the ABC has been the only media outlet following it (a business/courts reporter from The Australian was briefly sighted on Monday) — here’s the transcript from last night’s PM program. The hearing is examining events around the aborted $132 million rights issue that News and PBL were to underwrite in May 2001 before it was pulled at the last minute. As the ABC report explains:

The Supreme Court appointed special purpose liquidator Paul Weston of Deloitte to establish whether One.Tel creditors have the right to pursue legal action against the Packers, the Murdochs, their companies and or their advisers regarding those decisions.

The statute of limitations on whether anyone can be sued over the rights issue’s failure expires at the end of next month, hence the speed of the present hearing. With Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer stars in the One.Tel failure it’s no wonder News and Nine are running dead. But Fairfax? — Glenn Dyer

Entertaining friends on Easter Monday? Easter starts officially on Thursday, but why is the Nine Network running a cooking program called Entertaining Friends this Easter on Sunday at 6.30pm. Isn’t Sunday evening a bit late? — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: The perils of running dead were once again shown for the Nine Network which allowed Seven (and almost Ten), to whip them in last night’s primetime ratings battle, though it was still a better result for Nine than the previous Tuesday when it finished third. Even with Seven programming a chat/highlights/gossip special of Dancing With The Stars last night, Nine or Ten couldn’t to get a look in. A fresh ep of All Saints was too strong and Crossing Jordan perked up as well. “Final Countdown” for Dancing With The Stars was top with 1.576 million (around what a normal ep in series five late last year was doing), followed by All Saints, Seven News (1.514 million) and Today Tonight (1.414 million), which was well ahead of A Current Affair which topped 2 million to average 1.286 million. Will it stay there? Ten’s half hour ep of The Biggest Loser at 7pm averaged 1.234 million, then Nine News (1.218 million), Home And Away (1.206 million), Ten’s NCIS repeat (1.108 million) and the new Simpsons ep (1.058 million). The 7pm ABC News had 1.056 million and beat Nine’s Temptation into 4th slot with 1.011 million. Crossing Jordan averaged 1.003 million for Seven at 9.30pm. Nine’s repeat of CSI at 9.30pm averaged 912,000; I Shouldn’t be Alive on Nine at 7.30pm, averaged 858,000; Numb3rs on Ten at 9.30pm averaged 780,000.

The Losers: I Shouldn’t Be Alive really should be known as I Shouldn’t be On Air. Nine’s swimming Duel in The Pool at 8.30pm was another programming dud. On the ABC, The Bill is down to 720,000 and is a poorly made program at best these days. The equally disappointing Neighbours on Ten at 6.30pm averaged 813,000 last night. The ABC’s First Tuesday Book Club only had 318,000 viewers at 10.00pm; “Wake up and watch”, the crew on Lateline yelled to the audience as 10.30pm approached!

News & CA: Seven News won nationally but lost Sydney and Brisbane. It didn’t need the winning margin in Perth. That was the same experience for Today Tonight in its battle with ACA. Nine News has been strong in Sydney for most of the past fortnight, Nine’s Nightline averaged 308,000. The Catch Up at 1pm averaged 162,000 and beat Oprah on Ten. Ten News averaged 864,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight, 394,000. The 7pm ABC News was again solid as was The 7.30 Report with 854,000. Lateline averaged 191,000. SBS News averaged 168,000 at 6.30pm; 169,000 at 9.30pm. Insight averaged 288,000 at 7.30pm. 7am Today up a touch to 265,000; 7am Sunrise well in front with 429,000. Kelli Connolly continues to go well on Today.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 32.7% (36.3%) from Nine with 24.0% (23.3%), Ten with 23.5% (unchanged), the ABC with 14.3% (12.0%) and SBS with 5.5% (4.9%). Seven won all five metro markets and now leads the week 28.1% to 26.5%. In regional areas, Prime/7Qld won with 30.1% to WIN/NBN with 26.2%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 23.7%, the ABC with 13.8% and SBS with 6.3%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine’s Antiques Roadshow subsided yesterday between 5pm and 6pm and Bert Newton will be welcomed back with open arms. Nine’s re-voiced I Shouldn’t Be Alive at 7.30pm is already a deadweight in the key timeslot. And there’s an explanation for the performance of both programs. They are Pay TV programs dressed up for rebroadcast on Nine by management short of good programs. If more than a million people watch Pay TV in primetime most nights, and hundreds of thousands at other times, don’t you think many FTA viewers have already seen them? Tonight it’s Spicks and Specks and The Chaser on the ABC from 8.30pm. Seven has Heroes and Prison Break. Nine has repeats of Cold Case and Without A Trace as well as a program on teenage ballroom dancers from Britain. Ten has House and Medium (both repeats). Dateline reports from Iran on SBS.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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