WSJ sale moves closer: The Bancroft Family has met with Rupert Murdoch and News Limited executives in discussions that appear to have advanced Rupert Murdoch’s case for aquiring the Wall Street Journal. According to bloggers Fierce Finance:

 ”No one really thought the Bancrofts were united in their decision to spurn Rupert Murdoch. Indeed, the offer, generous on the surface, came at a time of generational transition within the family. While the elders opposed a deal, their children were more willing to think about it. Some, according to the New York Times, thought that the company needed some strong medicine to cure years of poor performance. Still, it took family member Leslie Hill to push the family to take action. The result is that the family changed its tune and is now willing to speak with News Corporation. I’m not sure what this will amount too. Many are betting on another bidder emerging. Stay tuned.”

The New York Times has the detail.

Bi-partisan ABC board: two views. Its nice to have a smidgin of ALP media policy released, but the front page prominence given by The Australian to the story that Rudd would have a bipartisan process to appoint the ABC Board is a bit puzzling. What Rudd said is little more than a reiteration and detailing of existing ALP policy, as restated relatively recently here, here and here. Bi-partisanship in Government appointments is the kind of policy loved by Oppositions and abandoned by Governments, so despite the fact that this is old news, its good to see Rudd putting it out there once again. It suggests that this time — unlike the last time it was in Government — Labor might actually do what it says it will do. Next question: what about ABC funding? — Margaret Simons

Nine can’t capitalise on a faltering Sunrise. For the first time in three years Sunrise’s audience is falling, not by much, but it is no longer growing like it did over the past three years. This year, 7am Sunrise’s audience is down to an average of 406,000, from 442,000 for the same period of the 2006 ratings year. Early Sunrise from 6am to 7am is also down, not by much, from 222,000 to 218,000. In contrast 7am Today is up from 245,000 to 257,000, and early Today is up from 116,000 in 2006 to 132,000. Today has beaten Sunrise in Melbourne on a number of morning in the past couple of months, but it’s not that Today is doing significantly better, it’s that Sunrise has lost audience share, most noticeably in Melbourne. Now these losses for Sunrise are not program-threatening and in reality, were to be expected given its long run of rising audience levels, but they do show the tiniest chink for Nine to take advantage of with Today. But it can’t. The arrival of Lisa Wilkinson as Today‘s new co-host had no impact last week. Nine has no one in charge who could exploit the change of host and the generally favourable publicity Wilkinson’s move generated. Wilkinson and co-host Karl Stefanovic are operating in an old world format and a set that remains isolated from viewers. Fixing that costs money and a bit of vision but Nine has neither with the new team in charge, CVC Asia. The factor driving Sunrise’s small loss of audience is boredom and familiarity: viewers are used to the program and hosts David Koch and Mel Doyle. It’s actually a symptom of success, not failure. — Glenn Dyer

At the ABC, “resting” actually means taking a break. “Resting” in TV can be a horrifying term — it usually signifies the end, never to be seen again, except perhaps late at night or on weekend afternoons. There have been numerous instances of “restings” in the past year, including Seven’s You May be Right and Nine’s Who Wants To be A Millionaire and Big Questions, to name just a few. But if the phrase “resting” is used at the ABC, it means just that. The ABC has decided to “rest” The Chaser’s War on Everything from 27 June until early September, while the Saturday evening program, The Sideshow with Paul McDermott is also being sent on a rest and refresh break — rather than coming back to Saturdays at 7.30pm (where it will be replaced by the latest series of Dr Who) The Sideshow will be back at 9.30pm Saturdays with an edgier feel. The Chaser goes on holidays later this month with repeats from last year’s series in its place until 5 September. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A close night last night thanks to 1 vs 100 which produced a good result for Nine. Seven still won, but it was closer than most Monday nights this year. Seven News was on top again with 1.648 million people, followed by Today Tonight with 1.540 million. 1 vs 100 averaged 1.473 million, its highest audience for some weeks. It beat Seven’s Desperate Housewives with 1.392 million viewers. Nine News was next with 1.326 million and Home And Away had 1.311 million. Nine’s 7.30pm lifestyle program, What’s Good For You averaged 1.282 million and was first in the timeslot. Seven’s The Rich List was next with 1.277 million, followed by A Current Affair (1.240 million), Temptation (1.230 million) and the repeat of CSI (1.088 million). The 7pm ABC News averaged a solid 1.047 million, Big Brother’s Live Nomination at 7.30pm had 1.037 million, Deal or No Deal, 1.036 million and Seven’s Brothers And Sisters averaged 1.018 million.

The Losers: None really last night. Bert has gone and pushing Antiques Roadshow up to 5.30pm saw its audience jump to 716,000. The replacement for Bert, Bargain Hunt, was dropped into the 5pm slot and averaged 619,000. Strangely, that improvement in audience numbers didn’t really help Nine News and especially ACA, with Seven News and TT getting a boost from that million plus audience for Deal. Some days it’s tough to pick.
 
News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight had convincing 300,000 viewer plus national wins last night and also won all five metro markets. Chris Bath has done well for Seven filling in for Ian Ross in Sydney. Ross was supposed to return last night but has the flu. The 7.30 Report averaged 886,000 last night; Nine’s Nightline, 366,000; Lateline, 274,000. Ten News, 902,000; Late News/Sports Tonight, 384,000. SBS News had 234,000 viewers at 6.30pm; 179,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise, down to 351,000; 7am Today 262,000.

The Stats: Seven won with a share of 30.1% (30.8% last week) from Nine with 29.0% (27.0%), Ten with 19.5% (19.4%), the ABC with 15.2% (16.0%) and SBS with 6.3% (6.8%). Seven won Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Melbourne and Brisbane. Nine leads the week 30.3% to 28.9%. In regional areas a win for Nine with WIN/NBN with a share of 30.8% to Prime/7Qld with 27.5%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 20.1%, the ABC with 14.3% and SBS with 7.4%.
 
Glenn Dyer’s comments: Andrew Denton’s More Than Enough Rope had 772,000 viewers for the ABC at 9.35pm with recuts of interviews with Al Bond, Chopper Read and the main part with convicted conman, Peter Foster. That was better than the Australian Story effort but again showed the dangers of interviewing people whose stock in trade is their ability to lie. No matter how the questions were asked and what was said, you knew that whatever came out of Foster’s mouth was somehow a “shaped” version of whatever he chose to believe and tell us at that moment. Tonight it’s the debut of Mick Molloy’s new effort on Nine at 9.30pm called The Nation. Will it stand comparisons to The Panel etc etc? Seven has It takes Two and All Saints. The ABC had The Choir of Hard Knocks at 8pm. Ten has BB and a repeat of NCIS and of course, three eps of The Simpsons. Nine also has Crime and Justice and Neighbours At War.