Today Tonight in-fighting. The Adelaide-based executive producer of Channel Seven’s Today Tonight apparently thinks nobody outside the Athens of the South reads the local media. Graham Archer has this week published a stirring defence of his locally produced program in Adelaide’s Independent Weekly. But in defending his own team’s efforts, Archer manages to slag off his east coast colleagues. He writes:

As a local producer I am pilloried for the sins of my brothers in the East. Stories in which we’ve not had a hand in Adelaide, which we haven’t run and won’t run, still carry the program’s name.

Well. There you are. Even Today Tonight’s own won’t defend them. Archer claims the Adelaide version of the program, while unashamedly “popular”, “competitive” and “commercial”, also does meaty public interest stories, like the work that led to a state government inquiry into abuse of wards of the state. He laments that few people realise the program is locally produced. Even John Howard was apparently ignorant of the fact that the Adelaide’s Today Tonight was separate from its east coast edition. “Support your local programs while you’ve got them,” says Archer to the people of Adelaide. As for the Eastern states – well, suck it up. — Margaret Simons

Nine love-in on the high seas. See, there really is hope for the future at Nine, says Nine.

From: Giansiracusa, Monique On Behalf Of Browne, Jeffrey
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2007 11:06 AM
To: TCN – All Users
Cc: NTD – All Users; QTQ – All Users; GTV – All Users
Subject: Thank you

Last night’s outstanding debut of SEA PATROL is a great example of what can be achieved at Channel Nine, as we continue to focus on our creative output and sheer hard work from the team.

I would like to thank everyone at the Network for their contribution to making Sea Patrol such a huge success.

As you may be aware, we have recently signed a new long term deal with SONY Television, producers of some of the hottest new shows in the US, including Cashmere Mafia, Viva Laughlin and Damages.

SONY and our other overseas deals, combined with our continuing investment in local production, such as we saw last night, gives us all a reason to be proud and very optimistic about our future.

Again, thank you all for your efforts to date, and your continued support and commitment to the Nine Network.

Jeffrey Browne

Executive Director

Nine Network

The Apprentice returns. He’s almost back from the dead, news that will bring a chill to TV viewers in the US, Australia, Britain and other countries. It’s not some monster from the swamp, but Donnie Trump. Just when it seemed NBC had driven a stake through the set of The Apprentice, some hard work from Donnie and his team seems to have convinced the network to reverse its decision, taken in April, to kill off The Apprentice. Now TV industry reports say NBC will reveal the rebirth of Donnie at a big industry function next Monday. So if that happens, will the Nine Network here take up the new series? It has been dying here, but Nine needs the content, and it could easily end up airing over summer if NBC persists with it (It could always flick it after one or two eps if the ratings do not pick up). The Apprentice is a production of leading TV producer Mark Burnett, better known for the ten Survivor series for CBS (and Nine here). It looks like The Trump program will be back for a seventh season, with an option for an eighth, if the ratings improve on the poor levels of last season. But it’s hard to understand why it’s been revived. Audiences understand the format, the catchphrase, “You’re fired” and have realised there’s nothing else to it, except the real estate magnate with a buffo hairstyle. In its six seasons it ended up losing two-thirds of its original audience. — Glenn Dyer

Advertiser journalists and the Premier’s media unit at war.  Check out the youtube video .  Alternatively, type in “michael owen tells lachlan parker” into the youtube.com search bar. The fallout has been nasty, with Premier’s principal media adviser Jill Bottrall threatening an email only policy with Tiser journos – until deputy editor Paul Starick threatened to run a story and Bottrall backpedalled at 100 miles an hour. Still, relations remain frosty and it’s now a strictly “business only” relationship. — Lauren Parle. 

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: A comprehensive win to Seven last night with Border Security building on its return last week to average 1.867 million viewers. That helped the new series, Surf Patrol to 1.694 million viewers and second place (It’s a clone of Bondi Rescue on Ten which has more limited aims but to me is more realistic). Seven News was 3rd with 1.613 million, Today Tonight was 4th with 1.584 million, and Nine News was 5th with 1.392 million people. Seven’s Home And Away was next at 7pm with 1.376 million and Desperate Housewives averaged 1.369 million last night for Seven at 8.30pm. A Current Affair was 8th with 1.251 million people; 1 vs 100 at 8.35pm on Nine averaged 1.217 million for the kids special, which was depressingly average. Nine’s Temptation averaged 1.195 million at 7pm; the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.111 million, Ten’s switch of Law And Order to Monday night at 8.30pm went well. It averaged 1.057 million. Nine’s repeat of CSI at 9.35pm or so (1.026 million) was 13th and the final program with a million or more viewers.

The Losers: Losers? I am a Child Genius on Nine at 7.30pm (947,000), 920,000 behind Seven in the first half hour, but it beat the Big Brother Live Nomination at 7.30pm which averaged 919,000. The 7pm BB averaged 931,000. Not brilliant at all for Nine or Ten. Torchwood on Ten 756,000 at 9.30: average and fourth place behind the goodish Elton John interview on Andrew Denton at 9.35pm (966,000) and Brothers and Sisters on Seven, (944,000), third behind Nine’s rusty repeat of CSI. A rare win for Nine on the night.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally but lost Melbourne and Brisbane to Nine. Seven won Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. Today Tonight won nationally and in every market. Ten News At Five averaged 964,000 viewers, the Late News/Sports Tonight, 384,000. Nine’s Nightline, 263,000 on its return after the rainathon and tennis in London. The 7.30 Report averaged 837,000, Lateline, 389,000, Lateline Business, 206,000 (both can thank Andrew Denton for the good lead-in). World News Australia on SBS, 256,000 at 6.30pm, 157,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise, 365,000, 7am Today, 257,000. 9am Morning Show on Seven, 212,000, KAK on Nine at 9am, 146,000 (Her best since Seven’s show started), 9am with David and Kim up to 110,000.

The Stats: Seven won with 31.5% (31.4% a week earlier), from Nine with 24.8% (27.9%), Ten with 19.7% (18.3%), the ABC with 15.9% (15.4%) and SBS with 8.0% (7.0%). Top Gear averaged 753,000 at 7.30pm. Seven won all five metro markets. Seven now leads the week, 29.7% to 28.6%. But in regional areas, a different result with Nine winning through WIN/NBN with 29.1%, Prime/7Qld was second withy 28.4%, Southern Cross (Ten), was third with 18.3%, the ABC was on 14.3% and SBS was on 9.9%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine had a great night Sunday, Wednesday night will be OK, Thursday will be great and Saturday will be fine this week. But it’s Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights have been weak, horribly so, as we saw last night. Seven moved past Nine last night and will go further ahead tonight with the final of It Takes Two and All Saints. Nine has moved The Nation to the death zone of 10.30pm tomorrow night. Tonight its a repeat of CSI Miami at 8.30 and then a repeat of Muriel’s Wedding at 9.30pm. There’s the series final of Crime and Justice for an hour from 7.30pm. Ten has NCIS, Big Brother, The Simpsons and Numb3rs. Nine could go third again tonight. The ABC has The 7.30 Report and The Bill and not much else. Nine should not be trying to develop program that will do well next year, bringing into the schedule, aiming for 2008 and 2009. The Nation could have been part of that with more patience and a better lead-in, better writing and giving Mick Molloy a rev up to be more awake at 9.30pm. Just as Seven learned that you can’t rest on one or two programs, Nine will find that the success of Sea Patrol will not bring ratings joy and happiness until more programs are tried and risks taken. Ten has to make a tough call on Big Brother after the series ends. A lot depends on its relaunch of Neighbours on 23 July.

Peter Fray

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