Gyngell lifts morale but what about new ideas? Nine Network staff in Sydney and Melbourne saw new CEO David Gyngell up close for the first time last week and he spoke passionately about fixing the problems without detailing much in the way of new thinking. It was a good week for Gyngell to be in Australia observing the network’s miserable performance. After beginning the week with the NRL Grand Final and a 40% share nationally on Sunday night, it lost comprehensively to Seven: 30.5% (30.0% the week before) to 26.7% (26.8%). Ten finished with 20.8% (21.7%), the ABC was on 16.7% (16.2%) and SBS was on 5.2% (5.3%). Nine won two nights, Sunday and Saturday, Ten won Wednesday and Seven won the rest with shares of 30% or more every night but Wednesday, peaking at 37.6% on Tuesday and then 36.3% on Monday. Border Security, The Force, City Homicide, RSPCA Animal Rescue, Medical Emergency, Bionic Woman, Dancing With The Stars and All Saints, all won for Seven. It will be a long hard summer for Gyngell and Nine. And if using Eddie McGuire is part of the plan for 2008, then it will be a long hard slog next year too. Eddie has been rejected by audiences this year, though he wasn’t helped by Nine’s gross shortage of high rating material to slot into the 7.30pm slot on Mondays, which condemned 1 vs 100 to a slow death. And two programs greenlighted under McGuire and Jeff Brown, The Singing Bee and Dirty Jobs, started last night and didn’t set the world on fire. Singing Bee averaged 1.1 million viewers at 6.30pm; Dirty Jobs, 955,000 at 7pm. Gyngell’s return has lifted morale at the network and there is one important thing he can do: make sure the famed Nine Network Christmas hampers are maintained by the new owners. They are only a symbol, but they were important for staff morale. — Glenn Dyer

Nine News begs viewers to stand by them. Pity the Nine Network’s news rooms around Australia. The network is wasting money with a campaign urging viewers to “Stand By Them”. For the “Who’s Who of News” and where “More Australians get their news than any other news service”, it’s a big comedown in keeping with the whole network’s reduced circumstances. The campaign is supposed to signify that Nine stands by its audience, but it’s a pity that Nine doesn’t address why its audience hasn’t stood by the network, moving to Seven across the network (with the exception of Melbourne, especially since mid year). Seven is now even No.1 in Brisbane, where Nine News used to be strong. Seven’s Brisbane News is read at the weekend by Sharyn Ghidella, the former Today show newsreader who quit when overlooked for the hosting role. Seven’s Monday to Friday newsreader is Ian Ross, who used to read news at Nine in Sydney and on the Today show. Maybe the audience is standing by Nine, on Seven. — Glenn Dyer

Today Tonight slapped for wild wealthy claims. Clumsy writing, poor editing and little editorial oversight seem to be to blame for inaccurate stories which landed Seven’s Today Tonight in the Federal Court, resulting in a decision last Friday. In late 2003 and early 2004 Today Tonight broadcast segments about a property investment training program known as the Wildly Wealthy Women. The segment claimed one of the women running the program was a millionaire and another owned 60 properties, claims which were later found to be false, prompting the ACCC to bring action for a breach of the Trade Practices Act. The Seven Network used the publisher’s defence – that it believed the claims to be true, but Justice Annabel Bennett rejected this. From reading the judge’s comments, it’s clear that a bit of scepticism and better scripting could have revealed the women’s claims to be false. From emails between the PR for the women and Howard Gipps, then a producer at BTQ 7 in Brisbane, there was no scepticism from Today Tonight at all. It was to be a series of reports which showed how these women made millions from property. Howard Gipps has now returned to Nine’s A Current Affair — let’s hope he’s learned from this case. — Glenn Dyer

Time for the Tele to name and shame their own. Rupert’s tearaway Sydney tabloid, The Daily Telegraph, was at its frothing worst when announcing the Iemma Government’s plan to start naming juvenile offenders on Friday: “NAME THEM, SHAME THEM – Finally Iemma gets tough on juvenile crime.” Written by the paper’s hang ’em high justice correspondent Janet Fife-Yeomans, the front-page suggested that offenders as young as 11 might soon have their names all over the media. Presumably this will apply to all teen miscreants except, of course, if they are the children of Labor ministers and backbenchers. Perhaps News Ltd will now adopt the same iron-fisted attitude towards its own staff. For example, will the Terror’s stablemate, The Sunday Telegraph, name the reporter and photographer who breached the security of the St Helier jail two weeks ago to snatch a photo of Lyndi Adler as she visited her husband, Rodney, the convicted white collar criminal? Jail staff called the Muswellbrook police who detained and interviewed the men, searched their vehicle and took away a couple of grams of “vegetable material”. They were later released without any charges being laid. But what about “naming and shaming” them for entering a restricted area? Let’s hope Fife-Yeomans is put on the case.

Meanwhile, John Laws’ long and bitter farewell continues. Listen to the Golden Tonsils’ latest spray here.

2.1 million tune in for Bathurst 1000. Over 2.1 million people watched Seven’s coverage of the Bathurst 1000 car race coverage yesterday. It started at 7am and went on and on and on, but came alive in the last dozen laps, when showers changed the complexion of the race completely. The afternoon coverage averaged 1.335 million for the race and 1.383 million for the post race presentation. Combined with regional audiences of 777,000 for the race and 799,000 for the presentation, the coverage averaged 2.112 million for the race and 1.182 million for the post race presentation. The morning season, from 7am to midday averaged 948,000. The peak in the five metro markets was 1.964 million when the race was in the thrilling rain-affected sprint over the final 12 laps. — Glenn Dyer 

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Kath and Kim were again tops with 2.069 million (plus 833,000 in regional areas). Seven News was second with 1.636 million (including more than 250,000 people tuning in after the post Bathurst presentation). My Name Is Earl averaged 1.538 million at 8pm and Hot Property had 1.413 million at 7pm. The post Bathurst presentation and chat (which lasted for around 50 minutes or so) averaged 1.383 million and the afternoon session of the race averaged 1.335 million. Australian Idol on Ten averaged 1.321 million, followed by Seven’s Australia’s Best Backyards (1.277 million), Nine News (1.246 million) and The Singing Bee, which debuted at 6.30pm with 1.196 million. 60 Minutes was weak with 1.187 million people, Rain Shadow on the ABC at 8.30pm averaged 1.111 million and Nine’s 8.30pm movie, Hitch, had 1.053 million. Thank God You’re Here in repeat at 6.30pm on Ten averaged 1.040 million and the 7pm ABC News had 1.023 million. Rove was next with 957,000 on Ten after Idol and Dirty Jobs debuted poorly on Nine at 7pm with 955,000.

The Losers: Singing Bee wasn’t as much of a loser as the program that followed it, Dirty Jobs, which finished fourth. Why Ben Dark and Jo Beth Taylor were chosen to front a half hour program when the original format on the Discovery Channel, has just one host for an hour is beyond me. At times it looked like Getaway and its spin off, Things To Do Before You Die. Being beaten by the ABC 7pm News on debut, means the program is not going to succeed. Singing Bee might just hang in there due primarily to host Joey Fatone, who held it together last night. Nine promoted Singing Bee extensively last week but as fewer people watch the network these days, the 1.196 million average was probably as good as it gets. Kath and Kim and Earl, plus Idol, all beat 60 Minutes which finished in the very unaccustomed slot of third at 7.30pm last night.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market. Bathurst crunched Ten News which averaged 570,000. Nine News was down but the 7pm ABC News did OK. SBS News, 195,000. In the morning Ten’s Meet The Press had a high 111,000 with Peter Garrett. No Weekend Sunrise on Seven and Landline at noon on the ABC averaged 234,000. Sunday was down to 217,000 on Nine at 9am and Insiders on the ABC averaged 187,000; Inside Business, 118,000 and Offsiders, 111,000.

The Stats: Seven won with 29.1% (23.3%) from Nine with 27.1% (40.7%), Ten with 22.9% (17.8%), the ABC with 16.8% (12.6%) and SBS with 4.0% (5.6%). Seven won Sydney (narrowly by 0.1%), Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Nine won Perth. Prime/7 Qld won regional areas with 31.9% from WIN/NBN for Nine with 26.2%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 20.6%, the ABC with 16.9% and SBS with 4.4%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Seven wasn’t competitive after 8.30pm but that didn’t matter. Thanks in part to the early evening boost from the Bathurst 1000, plus its programming from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, it won the night and set up another week’s win with its strong Monday and Tuesday night programming to come. Rain Shadow on the ABC at 8.30pm had a fine start and got very close to 60 Minutes which was below average last night. Tonight Seven has Border Security, The Force and City Homicide. Nine has the weak Commercial Breakdown/Just for Laughs duo then another repeat of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and then Weeds. Ten has Idol and a repeat of Law And Order and then the blurring Californication. The ABC has Australian story, 4Cs and Media Watch, plus Enough Rope. Mythbusters on SBS.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports