Posh comes to America with a “major” bomb. Three new programs popped up in prime time last night. Two were OK — standard commercial TV fare. The third was rubbish, which did the Nine Network no favours whatsoever. Neither of the new programs at 7.30pm — RSPCA Animal Rescue on Seven and Things To Do Before You Die on Nine — were difficult programs to think up or make but they did entertain and hold viewers. Animals in distress do well, so long as there is a happy ending or a message from a sad one. And Things To Do is another version of Getaway, which is sad because the idea had some potential if the producers thought about involving viewer participation along the lines of Backyard Blitz (getting people to nominate others for special holidays). But the Victoria Beckham special on Nine at 9.30pm was an example of conceited TV making. Not so much by Ms Beckham, but by her producer, Simon Fuller, who thinks that coming up with the great idea for the Idol series, and managing the Spice Girls, gives him some understanding of what ordinary TV viewers want. It doesn’t, the program was bagged in the US and it bombed here — averaging 828,000, down in 23rd place, and beaten by Seven’s Crossing Jordan (939,000) and a repeat of Numb3rs on Ten (908,000). Victoria Beckham: Coming To America was a very deliberate attempt to sell her (and the Spice Girls comeback) and further polish the Beckham brand. In Posh’s own words it was “major” — a “major” insult to our intelligence. — Glenn Dyer

Rupert’s matchmaker set to join the ABC. The CV issued by the ABC for Bruce Dover, the new Chief Executive of Australia Network (the ABC’s international television service to Asia, the Pacific and the Indian sub-continent), omits one interesting fact. Dover has some small notoriety for being the person who introduced Rupert Murdoch to his current wife, Wendi Deng, at a cocktail party in Hong Kong. That was a fateful meeting for a lot of people. He starts on August 6 and replaces Ian Carroll, who was appointed the ABC’s Director of Innovation earlier this year. Dover will report to the Director of ABC International, Murray Green. Australia Network is supported by funds from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as well as advertising revenue and the ABC retained the service last year after fighting off a determined attempt by Sky News to snaffle the service when it was re-tendered. — Glenn Dyer 

Wikijournalism strikes at The SMH. Generally I see the SMH as being the better of the three major papers however a recent article called “Eat, drink and be wary” caught my attention. The article writes about the poison of the fugu (puffer fish). I’m an Australian living in Japan and a wealthy friend recently treated me to fugu so I was interested to see what it contained, so followed up the article with a quick Wikipedia search. The SMH‘s Guy Wilkinson claims: “[the fugu] contains lethal amounts of poison in its internal organs, especially the liver and gonads, and also the skin”. Whereas Wikipedia states: “[the fugu] contains lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin in the internal organs, especially the liver and gonads, and also the skin.” Also in Wilkinson’s article: “the venom paralyses the muscles while the victim stays fully conscious and eventually dies from asphyxiation.” But Wikipedia does them one better, stating: “The poison, a sodium channel blocker, paralyzes the muscles while the victim stays fully conscious, and eventually dies from asphyxiation.” Maybe I’m paranoid, but to me this is plagiarism and Wilkinson deserves to slapped like any lazy uni student who copies details off Wikipedia without changing them enough to sound like their own words. — A Crikey reader

 Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: 16 programs with a million or more viewers, even though Seven was an easy winner. Seven’s new effort, RSPCA Animal Rescue averaged 1.596 million people at 7.30 pm, Medical Emergency returned at 8pm on Seven and was second overall with 1.587 million people, Seven News was third with 1.535 million and All Saints averaged 1.419 million. Today Tonight was 5th with 1.400 million, Nine News was next with 1.380 million and Nine’s new program, Things To Do averaged 1.332 million at 7.30pm to 8.30pm. A Current Affair averaged 1.317 million, The Simpsons repeat at 8pm on Ten, 1.315 million and the new ep at 7.30 pm, 1.285 million. Ten’s 8.30 program, NCIS averaged 1.272 million, Home And Away (which has a potboiler cliff hanger this week: who won’t be returning from the boat trip?) averaged 1.260 million. That was just in front of Nine’s Temptation at 7pm with 1.249 million and the 7pm ABC news with 1.176 million people. 7pm Big Brother averaged 1.128 million and Ten’s News At Five was the last program with a million viewers with 1.005 million, but that doesn’t count in prime time. The Posh Beckham special averaged 828,000 at 9.30 pm, third after a repeat of Numb3rs on Ten and Crossing Jordan on Seven. Deal or No Deal at 5.30pm, 994,000 for Seven.  The Losers: Posh Beckham. CSI Miami on Nine at 8.30pm 965,000 for a repeat. At least Nine moved up to second from the third place of the two previous Tuesday nights. 
 
News & CA: Seven News won nationally but lost Brisbane and Melbourne, Today Tonight won nationally but had to use its Perth margin of 110,000 viewers to stay in front of ACA which won Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Ten’s Late News/Sports Tonight averaged 480,000, Nine’s Nightline, 217,000. The 7.30 Report, 844,000, Lateline, 201,000, Lateline Business, 108,000. World News Australia, 174,000 at 6.30 pm and 170,000 at 9.30 pm. 7am Sunrise, 392,000, 7am Today, 232,000. The Morning Show on Seven at 9am, down to 172,000, KAK at 9am on Nine, 129,000, 9AM with David and Kim, 106,000.
 
The Stats: Seven won with 29.6% (35.8% last week) from Nine with 25.1% (22.4%), with Ten on 24.2% (22.6%), the ABC on 14.6% (13.8%) and SBS with 6.6% (5.4%). Seven won all five metro markets. Seven leads the week 28.5% to 26.2%. In regional areas a similar story with Prime/7Qld on 30.5%, Nine through WIN/NBN on 26.0%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 23.6%, the ABC with 14.1% and SBS with 5.8%.
 
Glenn Dyer’s comments: Now Tuesday night was supposed to be a weak night for Seven, or rather a weaker night than usual for 2007. Nine wasn’t really there while Ten was more enterprising and showed what could be done with one good show and a couple of solid performers. Unlike earlier in the year you can’t say Nine ran dead last night. It had two new programs, Things To Do and the appalling Victoria Beckham special, but came up short. Tonight another interesting battle with Ten looking to repeat its win from last week, courtesy of Thank God You’re Here and House. Seven has The Force and Police Files Unlocked. But then backs off with a first run Nicholas Cage movie called National Treasure. Judging from the trailers for the movie, Spicks And Specks and the repeat of The Chaser and Hyperdrive on the ABC might be more interesting fare for a cold winter’s night. That’s if you aren’t on Ten or Cold Casing Without A Trace on Nine. McLeod’s Daughters goes the kidnapping tonight up against Thank God, desperation or clever? SBS has an interesting program at 8pm all about Rugby League played in La Perouse in Sydney. Well worth watching. And The Nation on Nine at 10.30pm with Mick Molloy.

Peter Fray

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