The Wendi Deng profile has more legs. Having been commissioned then controversially dumped by Fairfax’s Good Weekend magazine and later rescued by white knight The Monthly, the article has now been published in Chinese news magazine New Century Weekly. The article, written by Eric Ellis who works as Fortune magazine’s South East Asia correspondent, was also supposed to appear in The Guardian a week ago, but was spiked for unknown reasons, reports China-based expat-run media source Danwei. Ellis confirmed this with Crikey. The Guardian — which made one of 20-odd international offers Ellis received to publish the piece, from publishers in Argentina, China, Italy, Switzerland, HK and the UK, among others — “praised” the work, he says, photosourced, edited and legalled it, only then deciding not to publish. Their reasoning in a nutshell: on reflection, a businessperson’s spouse is not fair game (Wendi is a director of News’s MySpace operation in China). Ellis is unsure what caused the change of heart. It’s ironic, he says, that the Western press, “which doesn’t mind criticising the state-controlled media in China — admittedly with justification” has been hesitant about the piece, while the Chinese “had no qualms about publishing it, and were very professional and thorough”. Perhaps a little schadenfreude at Rupert’s expense is enough to keep the censors at bay. As Ellis notes, the Chinese are willing and keen to publish such a story as it sends “a message about what they think of News Corp.” And that is, not much, as Bruce Dover is set to explore in an upcoming book, Rupert Murdoch’s Adventures in China. — Jane Nethercote

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Seven News was again tops with 1.664 million people and Today Tonight second with 1.511 million. The Chaser’s War on Everything was third with 1.454 million, impervious to last week’s slings from Nine and Seven. McLeod’s Daughters averaged a very solid 1.401 million (it pulled out the wedding card last night) and won the 7.30pm slot easily. Ten’s fresh ep of House also did well at 8.30pm with 1.395 million with the ABC’s Spicks and Specks close behind with 1.376 million. That meant a narrow win to the ABC from 8.30 to 9.30pm on averages. Nine News was next with 1.359 million people, followed by Home and Away (1.263 million), A Current Affair (1.254 million), Seven’s Police Files at 8pm (1.221 million), Temptation (1.196 million), Cold Case (1.156 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.114 million), The New Inventors on the ABC at 8pm (1.099 million) and 7pm Big Brother (1.074 million). Nine’s Without A Trace averaged 1.063 million at 9.30pm and The 7.30 Report made it into the club with 1.039 million, which was a very solid result.

The Losers: None really stood out. Seven’s Prison Break with 903,000 isn’t really setting the schedule on fire as it did for the first three eps. Cold Case isn’t doing well at 8.30pm. The competition is just too hot on the ABC and Ten. Seven’s Last Chance Learners had 977,000 at 7.30pm. Not good when the program following averages more than 1.2 million.

News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight again won nationally and in every market. Both maintained their high audience levels from earlier in the week while Nine News and ACA faded a little. Ten’s late news/Sports Tonight averaged 428,000; Nightline, 349,000. Lateline, 281,000; Lateline Business, 140,000. SBS News, 191,000 at 6.30pm; 220,000 at 9.30pm. Dateline, 192,000. 7am Sunrise jumped to 493,000, the highest for some weeks. Today eased a bit to 270,000. Sunrise scored a rare tiny win in Melbourne, but a big win in Sydney where Today is being thumped.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 27.9% from Seven with 26.0%, Ten on 22.8%, the ABC with 19.0% and SBS with 4.3%.Nine won Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Seven won Perth.Seven leads the week 29.0% to 28.0%, which is a bit closer than most weeks. In regional areas a win for Nine through WIN/NBN with 32.7%, from Southern Cross (Ten) with 23.4%, Prime/7Qld with 22.8%, the ABC on 16.1% and SBS with 5.1%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven’s new morning show had 239,000 viewers yesterday, up from Tuesday’s 223,000 but Nine’s KAK was also up to 127,000 from 111,000 and Ten’s 9am with David and Kim was also up at 97,000 compared to 78,000. So a form of regularity settling in after three days: Seven in front and Nine and Ten there or thereabouts for second and third. A bit like Sunday mornings. The Chaser‘s fresh eps have gone for several months and it will be interesting to see how the repeats will go. The Chasers also replied nicely to those “set-up” stories on TT and ACA last week. The program’s figures were not impacted at all and the 509,000 in Sydney was still by far the biggest single audience in any market last night. Tonight Seven has Lost, Earl and returns the underwhelming That 70s Show to the 8pm timeslot. Nine to win with RPA: Where Are They Now and the Footy Shows doing the business. It is a bit closer than last week. Could Nine sneak home? It all depends on Friday night.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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