Hicks’s Scottish stopover. David Hicks’s journey back to Australia took a side trip through Scotland, according to Sky News. The only problem is, the Edinburgh David Hicks passed through was in South Australia — Edinburgh Air Force Base, to be precise. It’s where his private jet landed before his transit to Yatala Labour Prison. — Thomas Hunter
Seven continues to dominate ratings battle. The day after Eddie McGuire moves from being Nine Network CEO back to his old role as an extremely well-paid on air star, he will fly out of Sydney to join other network executives at the LA screenings of the new US network programs for the 2007-2008 season. McGuire steps down on June 30, slap bang in the middle of a ratings battle that Nine will lose heavily, and yet the PBL Media heavies have allowed McGuire this one last junket to which he can contribute nothing. And all this as Nine was once again badly beaten in the weekly ratings battle by Seven. Seven won with a share of 30.2% (29.4% a week ago) to 25.4% (28.5%) for Nine, 20.9% (21.4%) for Ten, 16.9% for the ABC (14.9%) and SBS with 6.6% (5.8%). Seven won all five metro markets and cemented the win on Saturday by programming a repeat of Pirates of The Caribbean, which averaged more than 1.22 million viewers and blitzed the opposition. So at the end of the third survey of ratings, the weekly score is Seven 12, Nine nil, Ten nil. Seven also won the two “non-rating” weeks at Easter, making 14 weeks in a row. It only has to win another 10 weeks over the rest of 2007 to win the year’s battle. And that’s the way Eddie’s reign at Nine will be remembered, not for the intemperate “boning” comment but for his part in the network’s lowest moment, so far. McGuire is leaving the Nine Network a loser, the biggest loser in its history and no amount of spin can change that. But he wasn’t alone; the people left behind at Nine have as much responsibility for the network’s declining performance. — Glenn Dyer
Seven blinks at Aunty’s Wednesday night assault. ABC programs, The Chaser and Spicks and Specks, have claimed a rare commercial victim — inflicting damage on the dominant Seven Network. The success of the ABC’s 8.30-9.30pm Wednesday night line-up has forced Seven to make significant changes to its Wednesday and Thursday night schedules. Heroes will move from Wednesday nights to Thursdays at 8.30pm, while the once mega hit Lost has been pushed back to 9.30pm. The object of the exercise is to protect Heroes which has been renewed in the US for the 2008 season. Seven will move Air Crash Investigations into the 8.30pm Wednesday timeslot to provide a very different alternative for viewers: a more factual style program against the light entertainment on the ABC and the dramas on Ten and Nine. — Glenn Dyer
Einstein Factor gets a little ahead of itself. The ABC let a major stuff up go to air on the Einstein Factor last night evening. At the start of the last segment — the 15 question final challenge — the point scores for the three contestant read from left to right, 1700, 2,000 and 1,400. But at the end of the the second segment host Peter Berner had commented how close the game was with two contestants on 1,300 points and the leader on 1,400. Then the scores started changing back before our eyes. By the end of the final segment the scores were back to 1,700, 2,000 and 1,500. So why were the final scores were known before the start of the third segment? The ABC needs to explain this: it wasn’t a good look. — Glenn Dyer
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Where Are They Now‘s selective memory. Why was Ross Symonds, the former Seven and ABC newsreader, completely missed during Where Are They Now’s otherwise interesting segment on old newsreaders last night. I am indebted to an old friend from the media who prompted this question, so a look at the program reveals that Where Are They Now indulged in some re-writing of history. James Dibble was the long time ABC TV news reader in Sydney and Where Are They Now said last night that he handed over to Richard Morecroft, who was featured along with (Dibble, Margaret Throsby and a host of other old readers. But that’s wrong, Dibble’s replacement was his long time understudy, Ross Symonds who then left the ABC to go to Seven as its main Sydney 6pm reader, and was then replaced at the ABC by Morecroft. Ross would have been hard to forget at the ABC: he was chief news presenter for 12 years before leaving to go to Seven in 1981. So was this a mistake or a bit of history re-writing at Where Are They Now because Symonds and Seven didn’t exactly part the best of friends? — Glenn Dyer
Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A year ago it was the Beaconsfield miners interview on Nine which was the high point of Eddie McGuire’s time as Nine Network CEO. Last night a much closer result but a win to Nine nonetheless. It won thanks to Survivor Fiji at 10.30pm, a slight improvement in the audience for The Lost Tribes at 6.30 pm and another solid outing for 60 Minutes which was in fact the most watched program with 1.662 million. Seven News came in with 1.661 million, Where Are They Now at 6.30 on Seven got 1.538 million and Grey’s Anatomy picked up to average 1.420 million at 8.30. Nine News landed 1.399 million and Nine’s repeat of CSI averaged 1.314 million. Ugly Betty got 1.178 million, the CSI Miami repeat averaged 1.156 million and the Big Brother Live Eviction battled with 1.141 million. Nine’s The Lost Tribes at 6.30 rose a touch to 1.075 million and the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.054 million. Robin Hood averaged 914,000 at 7.30 for the ABC, down on its opening weeks, Rove averaged 902,000 at 8.30pm, Life On Mars on the ABC at 8.30pm averaged 855,000 (well down on The Bastard Boys) and Seven’s What About Brian? averaged 807,000 at 9.30 pm for Seven. Survivor Fiji averaged 508,000 from 10.30pm, well ahead of Seven’s Top 40 Celebrity Countdown which averaged 374,000.
The Losers: Nothing really. Plenty for everyone last night although The Lost Tribes isn’t good TV. Nor was Robin Hood last night: the political correctness (women in the band, a feminist declaration by Maid Marian, the odd person who looked like a Muslim (Saracen)) and a few other odd bits of casting makes you pine for the simplicities of the Richard Green version from my youth. And where’s Friar Tuck, has any one seen him yet?
News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Sydney where the NRL did the trick for Nine. Weekend Sunrise averaged 469,000 and is now doing much better than the weekday Sunrise which has stiffer competition from Today than Sunday is giving Weekend Sunrise. Sunday was down to 200,000 yesterday. 60 Minutes was strong but 60% of its commercial share audience was viewers over 50 years of age. That’s Nine’s biggest problem at the moment, more so than the fading ratings. Its audience continues to age.
The Stats: Nine won with a share of 29.2% (27.8% last week) from Seven with 28.5% (25.2%), Ten was third with 19.7% (20.7%), the ABC was on 16.5% (18.7%) and SBS was on 6.2% (7.6%). Bastard Boys was the big disturber last Sunday night for the ABC. Nothing like that last night. Nine won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide but lost Perth to Seven. In regional areas a clearer win to Nine with WIN/NBN finishing with 30.6%, Prime/7Qld with 26.3%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 19.0%, the ABC with 16.7% and SBS with 7.4%.
Glenn Dyer’s comments: There was an interesting rebalancing of the ratings on Sunday morning on the ABC. Normally Barry Cassidy’s Insiders tops the list for the ABC at 9am with Inside Business at 10am and Bazza’s other gig, Offsiders, fighting it out for second and third. Yesterday morning Offsiders, snuck up on the inside and scored a narrow win — 138,000 viewers to 132,000 — with Inside Business third with 97,000. That audience for Inside Business means there was no lead-in boost for Offsiders, while the audience after Offsiders was the news and then Asia Pacific Focus with 92,000. That means 40,000 people sought out Offsiders deliberately, which I think sums up the relative qualities of the two programs. On Insiders you get lots of political chat with considerable bombast at times from the likes of Piers Ackerman and others. On Offsiders its intelligent discussion of sport without the “you beauty, good one ya” former-player-obsessive-fan-bombast. All three ABC programs are intelligent and fill the hole being left by the Nine Network’s Sunday which was down to 200,000 viewers yesterday. Tonight Seven will go past Nine, build on it tomorrow and on Wednesday night Nine will try and use the Rugby League State of Origin game to catch up. Nine needs a win after last week, its worst ratings week of the year so far. Tonight it’s Desperate Housewives, Rich List, Big Brother, 1 vs 100, CSI something, What’s Good For You, Mythbusters and the Andrew Denton God botherers doco on the ABC at 9.35 pm. And by the way, are we just loving the new sharp imitation of Seven’s Sunrise look by Nine’s Karl Stefanovic on Today? He has ditched his tie for the coat and open-necked shirt look of Sunrise.