Confidential c-ck up. Normally the accidents, gaffes and other errors in radio and TV are grist for the mill for the Confidential gossip pages of the News Ltd tabloids around Australia. Big Brother on Ten; the antics of Seven’s Today Tonight; The chaps from the Chaser on ABC TV; John Laws, Alan Jones or Rex Hunt on radio are the fodder these pages exist on, plus copious amounts of ‘star’ coverage, mobile phone camera shots and plugs. Since early this month Confidential has gone all multi-media with a program of the same name on Wednesday nights on Fox 8, the Foxtel-owned Pay TV channel. But the reception hasn’t been great, something you won’t find in Confidential or other pages of News Ltd papers. Nor would you find a report on a gaffe from the first episode that has come to light. There was one of the three co-hosts of the program, Sophie Faulkiner introducing a segment on tape (it’s called an insert), a report pre-recorded and edited. She waited and waited for the item to appear, camera on here. Then continued with no explanation to viewers for the absence of the report. Now all TV programs make mistakes, just as all newspapers and other media have errors from time to time but in the TV industry there’s a quiet feeling of ‘good one’ at this story. — Glenn Dyer

Cross platform divide proves a bridge too far. The saving grace though for Foxtel, News Ltd and all those who think a TV version of Confidential will work is that not many people were watching to notice the stuff up: Just 33,000 in the five city metro markets when it went to air, and another 5,000 watching the two hour delayed time-shifted channel on Foxtel. That’s tiny and it’s doubtful any new readers have been gathered so all the expense of the TV program, and the redesign across Australia, is just wasted investment. So much for the current ‘Big Issue’ in the media, cross platform promotion and content. Nine is doing it with Ralph TV, the blokes’ version of ACP Magazines, blokes’ magazine of the same name. It is getting around 320,000 viewers on Thursday nights after the NRL and AFL Footy Shows (Its being rested this week because of the Wimbledon tennis). Ralph has a mainly male audience, but a surprising number of female viewers watch. — Glenn Dyer

Better homes, better ratings. Probably the most successful cross platform programs, and perhaps the longest running one is Seven’s Better Homes and Gardens now on Friday nights at 7.30 pm. It wins its timeslot easily and is the most successful lifestyle program on TV. It was started as the TV version of the magazine of the same name when the mag was owned by Murdoch magazines. Its ratings and appeal picked up when Seven bought Murdoch Magazines several years ago. The TV program has become crisper, better shot and planned with smarter content, an object lesson for News Ltd and its ham-fisted attempts with Confidential. Perhaps that’s why News and Foxtel has hired former Nine producer, Steve Wood (Today Show EP) to try and make Confidential into a TV program and not a confused replication of the newspaper pages that it is now. — Glenn Dyer

Who killed compulsive viewing? Who Killed Channel 9? goes on sale in the major book stores this morning. Its by Gerald Stone and is a re-wite and update of his previous book on Nine called Compulsive Viewing. That was an interesting book with lots of nice history, but it at times resembled a bit of a hagiography. Tens of thousands of books — one of the biggest initial print runs in the history of non-fiction publishing in this country — were rushed into shops in a top secret operation mounted by Pan Macmillan. In Chapter 14 Stone analyses John Lyon’s Walkley-award winning interview with former NRMA President, Nicholas Whitlam, comparing Lyon’s sensational allegations with the actual raw transcript. — Glenn Dyer

Footy show chick bumped. Crikey has received an anonymous tip that News Ltd sports writer Rebecca Wilson, who has appeared on TV shows The Fat and the NRL Footy Show (albeit extremely briefly), will soon be sacked.

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A closer night than some with Nine winning by less than one per cent from Seven and Ten. 16 programs with a million or more viewers on the night. Good choice and cold, damp nights! Seven News was again tops with 1.508 million people, Today Tonight was next with 1.404 million and Ten’s fresh House at 8.30 was third with 1.403 million. Nine News was 4th with 1.390 million, the ABC’s Spicks and Specks was next with 1.342 million and A Current Affair was 6th with 1.307 million. McLeod’s Daughters was next for Nine at 7.30 with 1.262 million, followed by Seven’s 8 pm program, Police Files Unlocked with 1.247 million. Home And Away averaged 1.207 million at 7 pm, just beating Nine’s Temptation with 1.2 million people.The 7 pm ABC News averaged 1.180 million for 11th, the repeat of The Chaser from 2006 was next with 1.174 million people and The New Inventors at 8 pm on the ABC averaged 1.136 million in 13th. Nine’s 8.30 pm program, Cold Case, averaged 1.091 million, 7 pm Big Brother 1.078 million and The 7.30 Report averaged 1.054 million in 16th spot. Hyperdrive on the ABC at 9.30 or so, 726,000. Give me The Doc or Red Dwarf!

The Losers: Last Chance Learners on Seven at 7.30. past its view by date: 995,000 people. Without A Trace on Nine at 9.30 pm. Not a loser by winning the slot with 988,000 but no where near the solid performer it was even a year ago. The same can be said for Seven’s 9.30 program, Prison Break (On The Run) with 962,000.  Antiques Roadshow perked up to 710,000, Deal or No Deal fell below a million to average 915,000. Bargain Hunt up to 525,000. The Bold and The Beautiful on Ten at 4.30, no loser, a new high average of 592,000. All those Sydney scenes. But it rates great in Melbourne as well.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Brisbane. Today Tonight won everywhere bar Melbourne and Brisbane. Nine News and ACA a little closer to Seven’s duo so far this week. The Ten news At Five averaged 974,000 and the Late news/Sports Tonight 459,000. Lateline on the ABC averaged 301,000, Lateline Business, 169,000. World News Australia on SBS averaged 216,000 at 6.30 pm and 203,000 at 9.30. Dateline averaged 172,000. 7 am Sunrise 404,000, 7 am Today down to 237,000 for its Adelaide broadcast during its 25th anniversary tour. The numbers haven’t been brilliant at all for this expensive, but necessarily PR stunt. Get rid of Karl’s tie. The Morning Show on Seven at 9 am, down to its lowest so far of 204,000, Kerri-Anne on Nine at 9 am, 124,000, about steady, 9 am With David and Kim up to 106,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 26.9% (27.9% last week) from Seven with 26.3% (26.0%) with Ten third with 23.2% (22.8%), the ABC was on 19.1% (19.0%) and SBS with 4.5% (4.3%). Nine won Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Seven won Melbourne and Perth. Seven finished third in Brisbane and that lost it the night nationally. Seven still leads though 9.8% to 26.7% with three nights to go. In regional areas Nine won through WIN/NBN with 31.8%. Prime/7 Qld was next with 24.8%, Southern Cross (Ten) was on 23.1%, The ABC with 15.7% and SBS with 4.7%. The ABC finished with a slightly lift in share despite losing the best part of 300,000 viewers because of the switch in The Chaser from new to repeat.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: With more than 1.1 million people tuning in to watch a repeat of The Chaser from 2006 at 9 pm, the lads are now almost as popular as repeats of House and Law And Order on Ten, CSI on Nine and Border Security on Seven. But you can explain some of the appeal on the differing timeslots in 2006 (late Friday night) and this year at 9 pm on Wednesday nights. It certainly didn’t affect the appeal of Spicks and Specks on the ABC at 8.30 pm. Tonight its the final RPA Where Are They Now on Nine and then the Footy Shows, as well as Getaway. Seven has the usual split night. The Amazing Race finishes tonight. Ten has the appalling Pirate Master and then two Law And Orders as well as BB. The ABC has the first ep of the new Dr Who series on at 8.35 and no, its not Veronica Tate transposed to the Tardis, but it looks like it. Its self-contained and worth a look, even if you don’t like the Doc. It is the BBC Xmas show of the series. SBS has Rexy!

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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