More questions surround that Nine book. Nine has told all staff not to discuss the Gerald Stone book, so I wonder what action will be taken against Mick Molloy. He mentioned the book in a chat with announcer, Pete Smith on the live show and then produced a spoof cover of the Stone book with what appeared to be a picture of himself where the picture of Kerry Packer is positioned. Molloy came up with the best line though from the network so far. In talking to Smith they agreed the network was alive and stories about its death had been “exaggerated” but Molloy went a bit further saying “It probably should get its prostate checked.” That’s a good line but the powers that be won’t find it funny, especially the likes of James Packer and John Alexander. Nine sources wonder if John Alexander will come to the aid of John Lyons again, or whether, by continuing his summer holidays (he’s been at Wimbledon this week), JA is showing his “teflon hands” approach to a difficult situation and making sure nothing sticks. Meanwhile Stone had an hour on the ABC’s Conversation Hour in Sydney yesterday. It was a promotional interview for the book but should have spent more time on what Stone thought Nine’s future would be under new owners, CVC, and the new directions it might have to take to get its “life” back. Kerry Packer’s “relationship” with Ita Buttrose was discussed but his relationship with Julie Threthowan wasn’t. A significant omission by the host, Richard Fiedler. Stone says Packer spent most of his dying days at the Elizabeth Bay apartment he kept for Threthowan, until she put him in an ambulance and sent him home to the Packer compound on Christmas Day, 2005, where he later died. That was a more telling relationship than the one with Buttrose. — Glenn Dyer

Is The Nation being sacrificed? Mick Molloy’s The Nation promised something when it started five weeks ago: averaging an OK 772,000 viewers. It was something to build on, but now it’s probably heading for the rocks after last night getting its lowest audience so far: 548,000 people (a 28% drop since its debut). The Nation ran fourth last night behind Foreign Correspondent on the ABC (9.20pm start) with 602,000, Numb3rs on Ten and half of All Saints and half of Crossing Jordan on Seven which averaged around 1.2 million viewers or so. It wasn’t for a lack of trying — there remains a lot to work with and fix up — but it suffers from having an appallingly bad lead-in: CSI New York, the most expensive of the CSI programs and the biggest dud, which had just 786,000 viewers at 8.30pm: The Bill on the ABC almost beat it again with 726,000. That’s no help to a fledgling local program and the Nine Network heavies know it. Is The Nation being sacrificed because it was idea from the Eddie McGuire era, just as Eddie and his PBL masters unwound anything Sam Chisholm had done. This sort of program has to be encouraged — it will be an interesting test of the new Nine and its owners, CVC. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Another strong Tuesday night for Seven; another good night for Ten and another poor night for Nine. Seven’s It Takes Two was tops with 1.712 million viewers. Seven News was second with 1.589 million people, All Saints was third with 1.541 million at 9pm and Today Tonight was next with 1.417 million. Ten’s NCIS averaged 1.312 million at 8.30pm, followed by A Current Affair (1.295 million), Home And Away (1.276 million), Nine News (1.276 million), Ten’s regular Simpsons repeat (1.241 million) and the fresh ep (1.235 million) at 7.30pm. Nine’s Temptation averaged 1.193 million, just in front of the 7pm ABC News with 1.182 million. Crossing Jordan averaged 1.013 million and 7pm Big Brother averaged 1.001 million. Nine’s Crime and Justice at 7.30pm fell to 991,000 and Neighbours At War also eased to 972,000 people. Numb3rs on Ten averaged 953,000 at 9.30pm.

The Losers: CSI New York is a dud, 786,000. It’s hurting The Nation at 9.30pm, 548,000. Nine is repeating five one off eps of Bert’s Family Feud at 5pm. It’s down around 200,000 viewers or so from what they were getting at 5.30pm on first run: 371,000 viewers last night. A joke, really insulting to viewers. Ten’s schedule much stronger than Monday night.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market. Today Tonight won everywhere bar Melbourne and Brisbane. Ten News averaged 952,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 427,000. The 7.30 Report averaged 885,000 people; Lateline, 240,000; Lateline Business, 135,000. SBS News, 215,000; 165,000 for the late. 7am Sunrise, 413,000; 7am Today up from Monday’s low to 249,000. Seven’s 9am Morning Show, a new low of 177,000; Ten’s 9am with David and Kim, 105,000; KAK had a 2007 low of 87,000.

The Stats: Seven won with 34.8% (36.4% a week ago) from Ten with 23.8% (22.8%), Nine was on 21.2% (21.9%), the ABC was on 14.6% (15.1%) and SBS was on 5.6% (3.8%). Seven won all five markets and now leads the week 31.6% to 26.2%. The week will be closer than I thought. Seven may sneak home. In regional areas a win to Prime/7Qld with 34.0% from Nine with WIN/NBN on 24.0%, just ahead of Southern Cross (Ten) on 23.9%, the ABC with 13.6% and SBS with 4.5%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: In the program guides for 16 July, Seven has a TBA at 7.30pm. That 7.30pm mystery program could mean the difference in a close result between Nine and Seven for a couple of months until Dancing With the Stars returns. Seven has been cementing its weekly leads on Tuesday nights with a complete 8 to 12 point win over Ten and Nine (in that order). Nine’s Tuesday night schedule was a joke with Dancing unstoppable at 7.30pm, but when it finished Nine moved in new programs: the reworked Crime and Justice, Neighbours At War, CSI New York and The Nation. After treading water for a couple of weeks, that line-up has gone backwards as It Takes Two continued to rate strongly. Last night was a poor performance by Nine, but if it can hang on for a fortnight, it might have a chance. It all depends on what Seven will use at 7.30pm Tuesdays. Tonight it’s the State of Origin on Nine in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne (where it starts around 20 minutes later than kick off at 8.30pm). It is a pointless match but Queensland will want to make it 3-0. Seven finishes Last Chance Learners at 7.30pm (next week Ten starts Thank God You’re Here in that slot) and has a movie at 8.30pm. Ten has repeats of House and Medium. The ABC has a fresh Spicks and Specks, Inventors and the Chaser repeat at 9pm.

Peter Fray

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