PBL settles on NBN Newcastle. PBL Media (about to become part of the Conslidated Media Holdings branch of PBL) has settled the deal to pay $250 million for NBN Newcastle and other media assets. The sale of the assets was completed yesterday. “In the short term, part of the proceeds will be used to retire debt,” SP Telemedia said in an ASX statement today. — Glenn Dyer

More former Nine executives turn up at Foxtel. Brian Walsh is jokingly known as the second most powerful man at Foxtel, after Rupert Murdoch. He’s the Pay TV company’s Executive Director of Television and Marketing and PBL has tried at least three times to lure him away to run the Nine Network. Despite coming from the Ten Network, Walsh loves former Nine executives and employees. So it should come as no surprise that Nine’s former Publicity Director, Jamie Campbell has been appointed to the new position of General Manager, Program Publicity & Talent at Foxtel and Sally Goodman, a Nine production manager of considerable experience, has been hired. Goodman will take up a major planning and management role, overseeing Foxtel’s increasing slate of local productions. Foxtel’s Senior Executive of Publicity, Brendon Moo, will oversee all strategic publicity for the platform and new media and continue to oversee the Factual Channels, which includes The History Channel and Crime & Investigation Network. — Glenn Dyer

Ian Ross heads to the beach to consider future. The Seven Network’s Sydney newsreader, Ian Ross is going on a nice, long holiday at the end of this week. It’s smack bang in the middle of ratings but he and the Sydney news team have done well this year, fighting off a challenge in March and early April from Nine and re-asserting its dominance in the past month. He’s off overseas (Hawaii or California) for the best part of three weeks to relax and to think about the next couple of years. Ross (Roscoe to those who know him) is off contract at the end of this year and if he was to retire it would be a blow to Seven in Sydney but he would almost certainly be replaced by Chris Bath who is doing very well Friday to Sundays in Sydney and is a class act. But Roscoe is also class act and I wouldn’t rule out him wanting to have another crack at Nine next year, just to prove to the current management over there (John Alexander) just how silly they were to send him on gardening leave from the Today show. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A surprisingly strong night for Seven but that was because Nine ran dead: did a Tuesday night by running repeats for two hours from 8.30pm to 10.30pm. But Nine was weak from 6pm and didn’t pick up at all. Ten got very close. 17 programs had a million or more viewers. Seven News was tops with 1.632 million, Today Tonight was second with 1.585 million and The Chaser was third topping the 1.4 million mark for the first time with 1.410 million. Spicks and Specks at 8.30pm on the ABC also floated higher with its Mothers Day special with 1.378 million viewers. A new House on Ten at 8.30pm averaged 1.367 million; Home And Away was 6th at 7pm for Seven with 1.3 million and Nine’s A Current Affair was next at 6.30 with 1.225 million. Police Files Unlocked on Seven at 8pm averaged 1.196 million, Nine News was 9th with 1.191 million and McLeod’s Daughters lost ground on the week before and got no kick from its Logies success and averaged 1.184 million. Seven’s Last Chance Learners improved from the week before and averaged 1.162 million and Nine’s Temptation averaged 1.106 million at 7pm. The Big Brother special at 7.30pm averaged 1.091 million; the 7pm ABC News, 1.047 million, Heroes on Seven at 8.30pm, 1.046 million (third in the slot). Big Brother at 7pm averaged 1.033 million (and 4th in the slot) while The New Inventors on the ABC at 8pm was again over a million at 1.004 million. It was also the last of the ‘millionaires’ on the night. Seven’s Prison Break (On The Run) averaged 976,000.

The Losers: Bert’s Family Feud averaged 558,000 the night it died, its putative replacement, the Antiques Roadshow, 512,000 at 5pm. Deal or No Deal 947,000. Nine’s 8.30pm-10.30pm scheduling: repeats of Cold Case, 958,000 and Without A Trace, 893,000 people. Not good that programs marked at fresh eps in early weekly guides become repeats in later weekly guides. Not good for viewers who are deserting the network anyway. The Catch-Up: out of the top 100 programs and below 10,000 viewers. Dead Show Walking!

News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight again had big wins nationally and in every metro market. Seven News won by 441,000, TT by 360,000. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane all big wins; odd given that there’s not much difference, especially at 6.30pm, in content that is. The strength of the ABC News helped The 7.30 Report to reach 994,000, recovering from Tuesday night’s budget led slump! Lateline averaged 295,000, Lateline Business, 142,000. Ten News At Five averaged 817,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight 409,000. Nine’s Nightline, 244,000. SBS Dateline, 224,000, World News Australia, 174,000 at 6.30pm and 187,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise, 428,000, 7am Today down to 232,000 (and Lisa Wilkinson wants that?).

The Stats: Seven won with 28.5% (26.2% a week earlier), from Nine with 24.3% (26.6%) from Ten on 24.0% (23.5%), the ABC with 18.7% (unchanged) and SBS with 4.6% (4.9%) in regional areas a different result with Nine winning through WIN/NBN with 28.9% from prime/7Qld with 26.4%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 23.2%, the ABC with 16.8% and SBS on 4.6%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Did Nine throw the night away last night? Up to a week or so ago Wednesday nights were close between Seven and Nine. And when The Chaser started at 9pm, they got closer as Spicks and Specks audience rose as well. Nine should have won a few Wednesdays; last week they did, narrowly. Last night Seven won. Nine repeated Cold Case and Without A Trace which were not signalled in earlier program guides. Is Nine running out of new eps to run and remain competitive? Or is Nine allowing the ABC to go against House on Ten at 8.30 and not wasting its new eps in a three way fight? The ABC equalled the week before and again had a high rating night. Nine News and A Current Affair both fell from Monday and Tuesday levels while Seven News and TT held up, opening a huge gap. Seven News and TT have been stronger than usual these past two to three weeks. Tonight its the AFL and NRL Footy Shows for Nine and the last Missing Persons Unit in Sydney and Brisbane. Elsewhere its RPA, Where Are They Now in southern states. Getaway is also there. Seven has How I Met Your Mother, My Name Is Earl, Lost and The Amazing Race. Ten has Big Brother, Jamie Oliver and the two Law And Orders. The ABC has our Kevvie at 7.30pm in his first major speech on TV and then two docos. Nine to move back in front and the week might be decided by Saturday night.