The Parrot’s ruffling feathers… again. Alan Jones’ nasty habit of squawking without stopping to think seems to have landed him in trouble again. The NSW Coroner, Mary Jerram says she will refer Jones, as well as The Daily Telegraph , to the NSW Supreme Court for possible action after reports last Friday. Ms Jerram said the reports made “deeply serious allegations” that the counsel assisting, John Agius, SC, had improperly attempted to dissuade Kovco’s mother from requesting a jury inquest. Jones had gone further by intimating there had been a cover-up, she said. It’s not the first time Jones has had contempt problems. He is currently appealing against a conviction for contempt of court, ironically for reading the name of an under age person from the Daily Telegraph,  and in 2005 he escaped a contempt action from the NSW anti corruption organisation, ICAC. — Glenn Dyer

Unfortunate ad placement. News yesterday that Ben Cousins has been charged with a drug offence made headlines nationwide within minutes, though this ad, which appeared next to an article on the Foxsports website, is a little unfair. Crikey understands that there is no evidence that Cousins was avoiding his shout when the WA police stopped his car.

McLeod’s Daughter’s wraps up a tough year. For McLeod’s Daughters , one of the longest running Australian dramas of recent years, tonight’s end to its 2007 season will be a touch bittersweet. The cast and producers will be glad for the break. They are busy making an eighth series for Nine to screen next year, but one wonders if there will be a ninth series. On present audience figures, it’s up in the air. McLeod’s will have to lift next year in the face of what again promises to be tough opposition. The program hasn’t had a good year. Ten’s Thank God You’re Here battered it for a 11 weeks and Seven also ran interference: lately its been  RSPCA Animal Rescue and Medical Emergency which were switched from Tuesdays to Wednesdays with the return of  Dancing With The Stars . Audience figures have shrunk from around 1.2 to 1.3 million notched up earlier in the year, to just over a million in the past couple of weeks. Nine could extend the series into 2009 simply because it needs it to gather a consistent million or so viewers at 7.30pm. On present indications Nine has nothing to replace it. The network is sticking with rural Australia to replace  McLeod’s  in the immediate future. It’s called The Farmer Wants A Wife and involves eight lonely and available rural lads: a sort of male McLeod’s Daughters without the scripts. So Nine has obviously decided that 7.30pm on Wednesday nights is “rural romance” hour. Competition might have eased a notch in the timeslot — Thank God  and RSPCA Animal Rescue  have finished for the year —  but it’s the thinking behind the programming that remains a concern.  — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Seven was the only one winner last night with Dancing With The Stars so strong again. Not a bad ep last night — Patti Newton, David Hobson and Bridie Carter were surprises — and it was watched by 1.803 million people. Seven News was next with 1.462 million, then Today Tonight with 1.388 million (Sam Armytage is standing in for Anna Coren who is overseas) and  All Saints averaged 1.374 million at 9.30pm. Home And Away  was next with 1.360 million at 7pm, followed by Nine News (1.254 million), A Current Affair (1.250 million), the 8pm Simpsons ep (1.213 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.191 million) and the 7.30pm repeat of The Simpsons  (1.166 million). Temptation  averaged 1.112 million and Ten’s 8.30pm repeat of NCIS  had 1.096 million.

The Losers:  Nine’s Surprise Surprise at 7.30pm, 859,000; CSI Miami at 8.30pm, 774,000; Crime Investigations Australia at 9.30pm, 740,000. A compelling list of failures that should be “boned” but Nine has no replacements. Ten, for being allowed to get away with its repeats policy. No wonder FTA TV viewing is down this year by nearly 5%. Nine and Ten’s lack of solid watchable programming is to blame, and the rise of Pay TV subs.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne. Today Tonight was weaker: it won nationally but lost Melbourne and Adelaide. ACA lost ground and fell under 300,000 viewers in Sydney though. The 7pm ABC News (425,000) had more viewers than Seven News in Melbourne (394,000) and was second in the news stakes behind Nine (436,000). Ten News averaged 857,000; the Late News/ Sports Tonight , 395,000. Nine’s Nightline , 495,000 at 11.15pm before The Sopranos . The 7.30 Report was strong for the ABC, 929,000. It beat Nine’s Surprise, Surprise, as solid info won out over network fantasy. Now there’s a good outcome. Lateline averaged 210,000; Lateline Business , 85,000. SBS News, 152,000 at 6.30pm; 128,000 at 9.30pm. Insight , 219,000. 7am Sunrise , 396,000; 7am Today , 278,000.

The Stats: Seven won with 36.8% (38.1% a week ago), from Nine with 23.3% (22.3%), ten with 21.4% (22.0%), the ABC with 14.7% (13.8%) and SBS with 3.8% (3.7%). Seven won all five metro markets and leads the week 34.0% to 24.1% for Nine. In regional areas a win to Prime/7Qld with 36.8% from WIN/NBN with 24.9%, Southern Cross for Ten with 22.1%, the ABC with 12.0% and SBS on 4.2%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Nine’s share was higher last night because the audiences for the News and ACA were around 200,000 better than Monday night. Apart from that, nothing much for Nine to take home. Ten’s policy of repeats on Tuesday night kept them in touch with Nine. Both are allowing Seven the win because Dancing With The Stars is so dominant. Tonight provides real entertainment: The ABC has The Chaser , Spicks And Specks and Summer Heights High. Seven has Medical Emergency (but ignore Las Vegas and Prison Break ). Ten has Fifth Grader , House and Life . Nine has new eps of  McLeod’s , Cold Case and Without A Trace . SBS has an interesting programming Is Your House Killing You at 7.30pm and Newstopia at 10pm, which is the pick of the night. Finally, didn’t all you Sopranos fans just love the way Nine has again given up on the show? A week ago it ran before Nightline . Last night it was Nightline first and then The Sopranos , as a result its audience fell from 409,000 to 244,000. Nine has also done it to Six Feet Under , but it has consistently slaughtered The Sopranos . Tony should come round and do a job on Willoughby.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports