Just what were the Chaser boys planning? A copy of the Taronga Zoo daily media report from media relations manager Mark Williams has found its way to Crikey:


1. The Daily Telegraph. Arranging wet weather pic with Seals, with Great Southern Oceans (GSO) link. Tentatively scheduled for photos tomorrow (tbc).

2. The Chaser ABC TV. Declined request to provided elephants and chimpanzees at inner city hotel.

3. Attractions Management Magazine. Developing feature on the new GSO and providing pix for upcoming feature.

4. Kerri-Anne Kennerley – Ch9. Looking at providing a Zoo Friends pass as part of a national zoo promotion /competition on this morning show.

5. Go Go Stop. Children’s TV. Provided research info on pelicans and the difference between apes and monkeys.

6. Wentworth Courier. Working on provision of school holidays material for kids’ pages over next month.


Media coverage including Bison calf at WPZ and Snow Leopard Fundraiser at TZ.

We were intrigued – especially given some of those Crikey pub nights from the early days in various inner city Sydney hotels. What was planned? “We don’t talk about out stunts before they go to air,” one of the Chaser boys told Crikey. “Your speculation may be funnier.” We’re still speculating. Taronga Zoo did not return our call before Crikey published. — Christian Kerr

Will Nine join Ten on NBC? The negotiations over the NBC production contract presently held by the Seven Network are reaching a crucial stage with a surprise development possibly in the wings. Three representatives from NBC were in Sydney last week for talks, principally with Seven. Seven currently pays around $11 million to $12 million a year for its deal with NBC, but that will escalate dramatically under the new deal to as much as $50 million a year if Seven re-signs. The network also thought it had a “run of series” deal, meaning that if it lost the contract it still had the rights to series that it already broadcasts, such Bionic Woman and Heroes, but it has learnt in the past month that it doesn’t have run of series, so if it loses NBC it loses those series. TV executives say this is behind Seven’s fast turnaround of both series, though the network says its because they are “hot” (in the case of Heroes) and are subject to interest from online downloaders. Nine and Ten are both interested in the contract: Nine has made overtures to NBC and is interested in a new deal. TV industry sources suggest that Nine could help Ten with the cost if it wins the NBC contract. Nine and Ten are maintaining separate approaches to NBC in the talks, but I understand that if either wins, a deal will be struck to share the cost and the output from NBC. This will give Nine part access to a second US studio: its biggest deal is with Warner Bros and it has a small, mostly unproductive deal with Sony Columbia that was picked up and re-signed by Eddie McGuire and Jeff Browne. Returned CEO David Gyngell wants to deal with Ten, if he can. — Glenn Dyer

Is Nine trying to lure Jim Waley back? The difference in Seven, Nine and Ten’s news reading depth will be shown over the summer. Today Tonight host Anna Coren will be taking a break and Sunday Sunrise co-host Sam Armytage will fill in as she has done several times this year. Armytage will also do at least one week co-hosting Sunrise over summer. And Chris Bath will fill in reading the 6pm news in Sydney when Ian Ross goes on a month’s break from mid-December. The Nine Network is making overtures to its former 6pm newsreader, Jim Waley. Waley was sacked from the Sydney 6pm news in January 2005 when David Gyngell was CEO. Waley and Nine settled on the steps of the NSW Supreme Court later that year when Sam Chisholm was CEO of Nine. Under the settlement, Waley had a strong “no speak no compete” clause, which has dissuaded Seven and Ten from approaching him. Now that with Gyngell back at Nine there are feelers being put out to Waley to see if he’s interested in returning. Do Nine want Waley back for his old gig at Sunday, or his old gig reading the news? Nine recently invited him to a lunch to celebrate the birthday of Nightline. A notable absentee was Jim Carroll, the long time EP of Nightline until 1999 when he went to work for Ten, where he is now network news director. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Missing Persons Unit on Nine was tops with 1.297 million, Seven News was second with 1.275 million and Home and Away was 3rd with 1.248 million. Nine News was next with 1.228 million (higher than for the past few weeks) and then the star of the night, ABC doco The Sounds of Aus, with 1.227 million people at 8.30pm. Today Tonight was next with a low 1.186 million, followed by Ten’s two hours of So You Think You Can Dance (1.177 million), A Current Affair (1.164 million), The Gift (1.147 million), Ghost Whisperer (1.139 million), Getaway (1.108 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.095 million) and Temptation (1.085 million). Inspector Rex on SBS at 7.30pm, 360,000.

The Losers: Seven’s Bionic Woman and Heroes: 980,000 and 943,000. Fading, fading, fading. They will go away soon, joining Prison Break. Law and Order is an old stager for Ten, it got very close to Heroes last night with 915,000. Seven seems to have been slacking off on Wednesday and Thursday nights in the past couple of weeks. The way the ratings are going Nine will get closer to Seven this week than it has for two months. And Seven is allowing it to happen.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally but needed its big Perth margin, as did Today Tonight. The margins nationally were the smallest for several weeks. Nine won Melbourne and Brisbane. Seven News won by 47,000 nationally and over 100,000 in Perth. TT won by 22,000 nationally and 72,000 in Perth. The 7pm ABC News finished second in the news rankings in Melbourne behind Nine and ahead of Seven. Ten News averaged 877,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 476,000. Nightline, 317,000. The 7.30 Report, 894,000; Lateline, 285,000; Lateline Business, 121,000. SBS News, 155,000 at 6.30pm; 174,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise, 430,000; 7am Today, 278,000

The Stats: Nine won with a share 28.9% (27.9%) from Seven with 26.0% (27.3%, Ten with 23.0% (23.5%), the ABC with 17.6% (16.5%) and SBS with 4.6% (4.8%). Nine won all metro markets except Perth, which Seven won. Seven leads 28.7% to 26.0%, the closest for some weeks. In regional area a win to WIN/NBN with 31.3% from Prime/7Qld with 25.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 22.3%, the ABC with 15.7% and SBS with 5.1%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The ABC showed us again last night what an intelligent, witty and well-based doco can grab in terms of ratings and enjoyment. The Sounds of Aus might have been a labour of love for the producers but it screamed out for more. A highlight of the year. The cricket averaged 452,000 for Nine during the day: that was a comfort. The Gift was solid, as was RPA. Difference of Opinion could help reduce the ABC’s carbon footprint by ceasing transmission. Talk about going over old grand. It was deadly dull in comparison to what preceded it.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.