Religious right driving Bolt’s anti-smut crusade. Andrew Bolt begins his latest jabberings on Network Ten and its screening of the US program Californication on Monday night:

Now that we’ve all lost our stupid inhibitions, let me call the men who run Channel 10 precisely what I think they are.

Executive chairman Peter Falloon?

A pornographer.

Chief executive Grant Blackley?

A pornographer.

We can only assume he’s refering to Ten’s executive chairman NICK Falloon, but after reading Bolt’s rave and this story from the Herald Sun there’s a very clear suggestion that the opposition to Californication is coming from the Victorian religious right, lead by Senator Stephen Fielding, the very same senator who voted for the media law changes of the Howard Government which gave billions of dollars in value to the likes of James Packer, Kerry Stokes and the Ten Network’s Asper family. Fielding claims the viewer complaints process and the TV industry codes are flawed. “Family First is concerned that it is very difficult for families to get action against such programs,” he told the Herald Sun. So were they responsible for this complaint to the media regulator about an episode of Nine’s NZ produced soap, Outrageous Fortune, which was screened in January. Judging from the above comments, it certainly seems so. — Glenn Dyer

Dining out on a Fairfax error. Angst among the foodies and restaurateurs of Melbourne yesterday when The Age’s Epicure section came out looking rather odd – particularly since the planned cover photo, of 12 “disciples” of the Victorian restaurant industry in a “last supper” style pose, was stuffed up in the process, after days if not weeks of preparation and organisation. What went wrong, they asked? Yesterday’s edition of Epicure was possibly the most important of the year for the restaurant trade, containing as it did the announcement of the 2008 Good Food Guide winners. My understanding is that the problem occurred due to confused signals from Sydney to The Age’s Tullamarine printing plant. In Sydney the Good Food Guide announcements were planned as a wrap-around, in Melbourne as a lift out. Sydney gave the orders, and the Melbourne Tullamarine plant was confused. It seems some copies were pulped and replaced with good ones, but not enough. Many copies delivered in Melbourne and country Victoria yesterday had an oddly dull front cover proclaiming itself to be a “liftout” with the key “last supper” cover photo and the Epicure masthead hidden inside. Embarrassing. — Margaret Simons

Surf Patrol lost at sea? What has happened to Seven’s Surf Patrol, the glitzy imitation of Ten’s Bondi Rescue series? It was airing on Mondays at 8pm after Border Security, but this week it vanished, to where, Seven isn’t saying (not to summer, I am assured). It was replaced by The Force, the poorly performing police observational series based on the WA police that didn’t do well at 8.30pm Wednesday nights recently. Surf Patrol did OK numbers, until the last couple of weeks with its audience falling to around 1.26 million last week. The Force averaged 1.8 million Monday night off the back of Border Security‘s 1.92 million. Surf Patrol, which vanished despite only being halfway through its 13 ep series, is a water version of Border Security (Dan Meehan is Executive Producer of both). Meanwhile, Ten has “rested” The Wedge from its late Sunday evening slot after Rove. The Wedge was spak filla material, designed to fill a hole on Sunday night after originally airing last year: it started promisingly on Tuesday nights and then faded. The Wedge was produced by production company, Cornerbox, which is half owned by Steve Vizard. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Fourteen programs with a million or more viewers, led off by RSPCA Animal Rescue (the simplest story on TV) with 1.647 million at 7.30pm, Medical Emergency was second with 1.631 million at 8pm, followed by Seven News (1.585 million), Today Tonight (1.456 million) and Home And Away (1.455 million). All Saints was next with 1.364 million (that’s a clean sweep from 6pm to 9.30pm for Seven). The third semi of Idol averaged 1.3 million viewers, the NCIS repeat which follwed at 8.30pm on Ten averaged 1.207 million and A Current Affair had 1.186 million, followed by Nine News with 1.183 million. The 7pm ABC news averaged 1.150 million, beating Nine’s Temptation with 1.109 million, while CSI Miami ambled in with 1.044 million and Crime Investigation Australia hung on at 9.30pm for Nine to average 1.005 million. Things To Do Before You Die on Nine at 7.30pm averaged 975,000. The fresh Numb3rs on Ten at 9.30pm averaged 939,000 (it beat Seven’s Life Begins).

The Losers: Nine, off and on last night. The figures for the News and A Current Affair in Sydney were very low: under 300,000. Time for the first move by the Network’s new head of News and Current Affairs, John Westacott? Nine’s Things To Try Before You Die is dying, so you’d better hurry up. Seven’s Life Begins averaged 775,000. Tough going but good. Southside Story on the ABC at 8pm had 568,000: an average audience for a Sunday afternoon NRL game on Nine in Sydney and Brisbane.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne. Today Tonight also won in every market but Melbourne. More people watched the 7pm ABC News in Sydney (327,000) than Nine News (290,000) or A Current Affair (297,000). They are not strictly comparable but its interesting to see. Ten News, 846,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight 502,000 (much better at 10.30pm, say the viewers). The 7.30 Report, 837,000; Lateline, 209,000. SBS News, 177,000 at 6.30pm; 287,000 at 9.35pm in the middle of the world athletics broadcast. 7am Sunrise, 386,000; 7am Today, over 300,000 in a rare sharp rise, to 303,000.

The Stats: Seven won with a 30.3% share (unchanged) from Nine with 25.3% (28.2%), Ten with 24.0% (23.0%), the ABC on 13.8% (13.2%) and SBS with 6.5% (5.3%). Seven won all five metro markets and it leads the week, 29.5% to 25.4% for Nine. On regional areas, a win to Prime/7Qld with 29.6% from WIN/NBN for Nine with 26.1%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 24.8%, the ABC with 12.6% and SBS with 6.8%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The dominance of Seven and Ten on Tuesday night again squeezed Nine (which is also what happened Monday night). Crime Investigation Australia lost ground for Nine at 9.30pm last night but still limited the Network’s losses. CIA isn’t all that current nor is it particularly thrilling with its constant re-enactments (sourcing original vision from the networks would have cost too much). They had something like two years or more to make the series, so they had to stick to old cases. Tonight no Thank God You’re Here on Ten, it’s being rested a week, which means around 600,000 viewers are available for the other networks, although Idol is holding up well through the semi finals. McLeod’s Daughters will be happy. Some viewers might actually get to see what is Most Shocking on Seven and conclude that it isn’t. Kerry O’Brien might also have a few more viewers. At 8.30pm it’s the last of the current series of House, then a behind the scenes special (anything to milk the idea). The ABC has Spicks and Specks and the New Inventors. Next week The Chaser returns from holidays. Seven also has The Force and Murder Squad. Nine has The Nation at 10.30pm and RPA should do well again.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports