More executive turmoil at Sensis. Our story on the departures of senior Sensis executives brought a follow-up in The Australian this morning:

Mr Trujillo has appointed Carol Johnson, former sales director at US West Direct, to run the print and online Yellow and White Pages business at Sensis, which represents 80 per cent of the group’s revenues.

The move comes amid a flurry of senior executive resignations and only 10 days after The Australian reported that Mr Trujillo made a pitch to a group of leading advertising agencies for a bigger slice of online spending. Telstra is targeting $1 billion in online and mobile advertising, a fivefold rise from its present position.

A Sensis spokeswoman said it was a coincidence sales executive director Cam Rojo was leaving the company. Ms Johnson, who has been consulting to Sensis for some months, will assume his duties.

Sensis finance chief John Coates and Trading Post managing director John King also resigned last week.

A Crikey informant says that “along with John King, John Coates (CFO) and Cam McIntyre (Coates’s 2IC) have also resigned. Apparently more senior exec’s resignations are on the way. Staffer said stress levels, which have been steadily increasing since Sol came on board are unbearable.” — Glenn Dyer

The Catch Up‘s days look numbered. The moment of truth approaches for Nine’s day time chat show, The Catch Up with its lead-in program, Dr Phil, moving to the Ten Network under its deal with CBS from May 1. That will cut The Catch Up‘s audience sharply because Dr Phil often has an audience of well over 200,000 viewers at midday. Last Friday a repeat of Dr Phil averaged 273,000 and won the Noon to 1pm timeslot. The Catch Up averaged 174,000. Nine is moving the cooking show Fresh to midday and expanding it to an hour: it averaged 143,000 on Friday at 11.30am. It is hard to see a longer Fresh attracting any more viewers at midday especially when it will be up against Dr Phil on Ten. Dr Phil will deliver more viewers to Oprah at 1pm which already regularly beats The Catch Up. Seven’s movie also has more viewers than The Catch Up. With WIN having dropped the program from its line-up and refusing to make any contribution to the costs or revenue, The Catch Up‘s time is limited unless there is a dramatic turn around in its audience numbers. The way it looks and sounds now that is unlikely. It is a poor program, one dimensional. And to think Nine got rid of the Young and The Restless to make way for The Catch Up, knowing that Dr Phil was leaving. Extending the duration of Fresh will cost a bit more and the budget for The Catch Up is larger than the cost per ep of the Young and The Restless, so where’s the programming for profit sense in that. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: The Seven Network bounced back strongly last night while Nine fell away sharply in a surprise loss of audience and share. Seven News was tops with a year high 1.645 million and then Today Tonight with 1.526 million. The Rich List returned and ran third with 1.351 million; Desperate Housewives was next with 1.306 million, giving Seven the four top programs on the night. Ten’s The Biggest Loser won the 7pm to 8pm slot with 1.302 million but Home And Away was slightly more popular from 7pm to 7.30pm and averaged 1.273 million. A Current Affair was Nine’s most watched program in 7th spot with 1.267 million viewers. Ten’s 8pm program, Bondi Rescue averaged 1.261 million, Nine News had 1.226 million, 1 vs 100 had its lowest audience so far with 1.148 million and Ten’s Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala averaged 1.098 million from 8.30pm. The 7pm ABC News had 1.051 million viewers. Nine’s Temptation averaged 963,000; CSI New York (941,000) was beaten at 9.30pm by Brothers and Sisters on Seven (983,000) but they were both beaten by Ten’s laughs. Mythbusters on SBS, 568,000.
 
The Losers: Bert’s Family Feud had 513,000 but Deal Or No Deal crushed it with a surprise climb to a huge 977,000. Nine’s What’s Good For You slid to 887,000 with a new ep. It’s dying and needs to ask “What’s Good For Us?”. It’s a question Nine won’t answer. Australian Story crushed it from 8pm with 936,000. CSI New York didn’t shine at 9.30pm.
 
News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight won nationally and in every market. The news by more than 400,000 viewers, TT by a quarter of a million. Seven News was a big winner in Sydney over Nine. The publicity over THAT dawn service and Messrs Rudd and Hockey hasn’t hurt Sunrise, it averaged 389,000 at 7am; Today, 257,000. Just no traction. The ABC News’ strength helped The 7.30 Report to 935,000 and third place. Lateline averaged 216,000; Lateline Business, 89,000. Ten News, 927,000 and solid; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 351,000. SBS News at 6.30pm 231,000; 9.30pm, 175,000. The Catch Up on Nine at 1pm, 148,000: it beat Oprah but not Seven’s movie. A Difference of Opinion on the ABC at 9.35pm, 405,000.
 
The Stats: Seven won with a share of 29.5% (26.2% a week earlier) from Nine with 24.9% (29.1%), just in front of Ten with 24.8% (22.4%). The ABC was on 13.9% (14.3%) and SBS was on 6.9% (8.1%). Seven won all five centres, in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth Nine was third.Nine leads the week 28.0% to 27.5%. In regional areas a different result with Nine winning through WIN/NBN with 29.2% from Prime/7Qld with 27.2%, Southern Cross (Ten with 22.4%), the ABC on 13.3% and SBS with 7.9%.
 
Glenn Dyer’s comments:
 A wake up call for CEO Eddie McGuire with his vehicle 1 vs 100 losing a surprising amount of ground last night. Eddie wasn’t helped by the weak effort from What’s Good For You. It was a surprising rise in Seven’s audience from 5.30pm onwards; or possibly a not so surprising fall in Nine’s audience, helped by the strength of Ten. Ten had a solid night, winning its demos, 16 to 39 and 18 to 49. Seven won the 25 to 54s. Tonight its Dancing With The Stars for Seven and nothing else matters, plus All Saints. Ten has TBL and a new NCIS. The ABC is a bit of a wasteland and Nine has repeats of 20 to 1 and CSI and the re-voiced I Shouldn’t be Alive at 9.35pm.

Peter Fray

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