Seven close to sealing 2007 ratings victory. By the measurements Nine has used in the past, the Seven Network is within a month of claiming success for 2007. Despite Jeff Browne’s claims that Seven’s decision to run Heroes and Prison Break close to their US air dates in the coming months represents an admission that the network has a weak second half. Now Nine faces the ignominy of losing the year by the end of July — just as Seven and Ten were beaten when Nine was dominant. Seven has won 17 of 18 official ratings weeks and the lost week went to Nine by 0.1%. Seven won last week with a share of 29.0% (28.7%) from Nine with 21.1% (27.9%), Ten with on 21.7% (21.3%), the ABC with 16.8% and SBS with 5.2%. Seven won Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Nine won Brisbane. When Seven gets to 20 weeks (probably by mid-July) it will have won the year in All People as there will not be enough rating weeks left for Nine to catch up. By mid-July, Seven will also have won the 25 to 54 age group, the main demographic for TV advertisers, and by mid-August, it will be close to winning the 18 to 49 age group that Ten is now targeting as its prime area of interest. In the past Nine has used these metrics to claim victory and rub it in to Seven and Nine just how dominant it was. — Glenn Dyer

Eddie’s gang face the bone. Once again Nine insiders are playing the “who’s next” game. A year ago around 100 people were sacked by the Eddie McGuire-led management, but now it’s Eddie’s gang who are being “boned”. On Friday Eddie’s appointee as Director of Light Entertainment, Cos Cardone, “left” the network. Eddie imported him from Melbourne last year and he presided over a litany of moderate performers, most recently Mick Molloy’s The Nation. Another to leave was Gary Fenton, the man who ran Nine Sport for a while after Garry Byrnes was flicked and who then oversaw Nine’s Commonwealth Games coverage. He will remain a “consultant” to Nine. It’s a measure of how far Eddie McGuire has gone that he could not “save” Cardone or parachute him back to the AFL Footy Show. Others appointed under McGuire include Garry Linnell as head of Nine News and Current Affairs and Jeff Browne, the man currently looking after day-to-day operations. Nine insiders are watching his fate at the network because the feeling is that the new head of Television will be Michael Healy, Nine’s current programming boss. He is understood to have re-signed with Nine recently at more money and is the only person at the top of the network who has any knowledge of what makes a TV network tick. — Glenn Dyer

Pacific buys some Time. Pacific Publications, the magazine arm of Kerry Stokes’ media empire, has made itself a clear number two to PBL Media’s ACP Magazines, by buying four of Time Inc’s Australian publications. Seven said in a statement that Pacific Magazines had acquired Who, Practical Parenting and Bride To Be and entered into a long-term license agreement for the publication of InStyle in Australia and New Zealand. Seven said Who will continue to access editorial from People magazine in the United States under a long-term license agreement. The price was not disclosed by mag industry estimates put it around $90 million. It will lift Pacific’s share of the magazine business to around 35%, second to ACP’s 48%. News Ltd was an underbidder. The local operations of the British publisher, Emap are also under review and Pacific and News are the front runners for those, if they are put up for sale. — Glenn Dyer

Confidential continues to struggle. An insider at Foxtel has provided the answer as to why a segment went missing from the first broadcast of Fox 8’s TV version of News Ltd’s Confidential gossip pages. The edited tape that was supposed to air was stuck in a traffic jam. Foxtel wasn’t impressed, with its head of production, Brian Walsh, said to be very upset. Confidential continues to struggle. Its five city metro audience last Wednesday night was 36,000: that’s up 3,000 or so viewers on previous screenings. Its time-shifted audience was 4,000, down a touch from previous broadcasts. In TV terms it’s not going anywhere. — Glenn Dyer

Commitment to recycling. “This newspaper participates in newsprint recycling”, most of our chip wrappers say. They are also increasingly recycling stories from Crikey, too. The Australian’s Strewth column today repackages Barry Everingham’s account of Prince Charles application for the job of GG from Friday’s Crikey while – just in case you missed Wednesday’s Crikey, The Sunday Age ran an account of the 2005 ALP policy motions on Aboriginal welfare that were all a little too difficult for Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin to act on. – Christian Kerr

Press Gallery humour. There are a few thin skins in the Canberra Press Gallery, it appears. Some of the great and good of the media were decidedly unimpressed with their Crikey Bias-o-meter reports from last week, and on Thursday evening an email come out purporting to be from Crikey’s Christian Kerr, announcing that he was running for the position of Press Gallery vice president. It’s a fake. The manifesto is all wrong. If – if –Christian was running, it would be on a platform of forcing Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services to run a 24 hour concierge service for Gallery members as recompense for her attacks on the freedom of media and Australians’ right to know.

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A close win to Nine last night, but a bit closer than Nine would have thought with the William and Harry interview on 60 Minutes and the Diana special at 8.30pm. I think it would be fair to say that Australians are over Diana. Seven News was tops with 1.624 million, followed by 60 Minutes with 1.600 million and then Grey’s Anatomy with 1.569 million. Nine News was next with 1.543 million and then Ugly Betty (1.271 million). Nine’s discarded Backyard Blitz (1.228 million) pipped Where Are They Now (1.174 million) in the 6.30pm slot. Nine’s repeat of CSI Miami, averaged 1.174 million, followed by the 7pm ABC News (1.138 million), Nine’s Diana’s Last Day special (1.120 million) and the Big Brother Eviction (1.064 million people). Big Brother at 6.30pm averaged 974,000, Seven’s What About Brian did a little better with 914,000 and the ABC’s Robin Hood was down to 911,000. Rove had 947,000 for Ten at 9pm and Hamish and Andy’s Real Stories had 833,000.

The Losers: Nothing really: the audience for the Diana special doesn’t hold out hopes that Nine will get a big audience for the concert tonight. Apart from that a fairly average evening. Big Brother is still weak for Ten.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Sydney and Adelaide last night. Ten News averaged 941,000 in the half hour version; Sports Tonight, 764,000 at 5.30pm. The Sunday morning chat and magazine programs were again dominated by Weekend Sunrise with 457,000 viewers. The ABC’s Landline averaged 327,000 at noon; Nine’s Sunday was up to 257,000; Offsiders on the ABC (152,000) beat Insiders (141,000) and Inside Business (132,000). That wasn’t surprising, given the interest in the affairs of Collingwood and the Australian win in the Rugby. All three ABC programs are produced in Melbourne and have their biggest audiences down south. Nothing on Nine or Seven is as crisp or tough about sport as Offsiders.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 29.2% (31.2% last Sunday) from Seven with 28.6% (27.1%), Ten was third with 19.9% (20.4%), the ABC was on 16.5% (15.7%) and SBS was on 5.7% (5.6%). Nine won Sydney and Adelaide. Seven won Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. The Diana program was most popular in Sydney. In regional areas Nine won through WIN/NBN with 31.5%, Prime/7Qld with 28.4%; Southern Cross (Ten) with 18.0%, the ABC with 14.7% and SBS with 7.3%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Well, there will be some unhappy chappies at the Nine Network today. Nine won the night but Seven was awfully close. Nine will still win the week — the State of Origin on Wednesday will be the difference and Sea Patrol will add to that — but for a network that’s supposed to put profits before ratings, it will have been a very expensive way of winning its second week for the year. Heaven help those at Nine Seven somehow manages to squeak home! Tonight Nine has that concert for Diana from 8.30pm. Eddie McGuire’s 1 vs 100 would have been more interesting. Seven has Border Security, Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters. Ten has Big Brother and the final of Supernatural. SBS has Top Gear returning at 7.30pm and Andrew Denton returns with a fresh interview. Seven to win the night and go further head tomorrow night.