Here’s a story you won’t see Missing Persons Unit. A NSW coroner criticising the unit’s work in trying to identify a four-year-old body and calling for a review of the unit:

NSW Coroner Paul MacMahon called for a review into the NSW Missing Persons Unit after it bungled the investigation into the disappearance of 22-year-old Daniel Cumming, who vanished after walking away from his Waverley home early on September 1, 2001.
The body of a man was found in shark nets at Bronte Beach just six days later, yet a “disconnect” between information shared by various police units meant the two were not connected until December 2005, the coroner found.

In the meantime Mr Cumming’s grief stricken parents, Helen and Warren Cumming, had been searching frantically for their son, a diagnosed schizophrenic.

Now that would make good TV, but I bet you won’t see it on the third series of the Nine’s Missing Persons Unit later this year. — Glenn Dyer

3AW’s double insensitivity. Having inadvertently advised Peter Ruffels live on air that the body of his 2-year-old son Daniel Thomas – missing, presumed dead since 2003 – had been found at a property in the Victorian town of Myrtleford you’d think 3AW’s Neil Mitchell would show a little sensitivity by not airing the excruciating conversation again. Apparently not. Ruffels’ understandably upset reaction is available to download as “a highlight” on the Fairfax Network’s mytalk website. It should be listed as a lowlight. — mediamook

David Leckie on Jana.


Grovelling apology to McCanns. When their representatives met editors last autumn to warn of potential legal action over coverage of their daughter’s disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann’s requests went “entirely unheeded” by one media group. Yesterday, that decision cost the Express Newspapers £550,000 in damages. Richard Desmond’s newspaper group was forced to issue a grovelling apology for more than 100 “seriously defamatory” articles variously alleging the McCanns were responsible for Madeleine’s death, engaged in wife-swapping orgies and sold their daughter to child traffickers because they were “hard up”. — The Guardian

Fey disses Stewart. Tina Fey wrote the movie Mean Girls, but in the latest issue of Reader’s Digest she’s playing the part in real life. In an interview with the magazine’s Jancee Dunn, Fey disses The Daily Show and Jon Stewart, who she says makes audiences clap more than laugh — The Huffington Post

Radar rocks. If today’s National Magazine Award nominations are any indication, Radar version 3.0 could be sticking around for some time. The publication scored a nomination in the General Excellence, circulation 100,000 to 250,000 category. After the jump, we dish with the mag’s editor Maer Roshan about his thoughts on the honor, the value of perseverance and continuing to come into the office. — Media Bistro

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Seven News was top with 1.354 million, followed by Today Tonight with 1.181 million and Home And Away on 1.146 million. Seven’s repeat of the BBC/ABC program Seven Wonders Of The Industrial World averaged 1.115 million at 7.30pm. A Current Affair was next with 1.112 million, followed by Nine News (1.084 million), House (1.062 million), the 7pm ABC News (1.043 million), The Biggest Loser (1.036 million), Spicks And Specks (1.031 million) and The Chopping Block (1.025 million). The AFL Footy Show had 689,000, with 443,000 watching in Melbourne, which was by far the biggest audience in the country.

The Losers: Ten’s repeat of Back To You, 825,000. Rules of Engagement had 857,000 for a fresh ep, so we know which one Ten wants to conserve. A Touch of Frost was another repeat on Seven from 8.40pm, 880,000. Not a loser, just another example of why TV is a wasteland in and around Easter and why Pay TV is doing well.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market. A Current Affair won Sydney and Brisbane but lost Melbourne, its normal stronghold. Nine News in Sydney was again under 300,000 viewers; ACA jumped to 351,000. The 7pm ABC News again beat Nine on the most watched list in Sydney. Ten News averaged 825,000; the Late News/Sports Tonight, 346,000. The 7.30 Report, 814,000; Lateline, 224,000; Lateline Business, 145,000. SBS News, 143,000 at 6.30pm; 210,000 at 9.30pm; Newstopia, 189,000. 7am Sunrise, 432,000; 7am Today, 293,000.

The Stats: Nine won 6pm to midnight with a share of 28.8% (27.2%) from Seven with 28.7% (30.5%), from Ten on 21.9% (22.4%), the ABC on 16.1% (15.8%) and SBS on 4.6% (4.05%). Nine won Sydney and Melbourne, Seven won Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Seven leads the week 27.8% to Ten with 26.2% and Nine on 25.5%. In regional areas Prime/7Qld won with 30.5% from WIN/NBN with 29.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 21.2%, the ABC on 13.5% and SBS with 5.1%. In the 6pm to 10.30pm timeslot, Fusion Strategy said Seven won with 23.42% (23.98% a year ago on the same night) from Nine with 22.76% (23.12%), Ten with 18.73% (20.41%), Pay TV with 17.25% (13.66%), the ABC with 14.00% (14.45%) and SBS on 3.84% (3.88%). Pay TV was the big winner from the repeats: its audience was up 21%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Enough said about a night that was disappointing for many TV viewers. Repeats, plus the AFL Footy Show, did it for Nine. The Underbelly marathon in Sydney (not Brisbane, they got a repeat of an Austin Powers movie, lucky devils) averaged 260,000 for three hours. Or was it four? Tonight it’s AFL on Seven and Ten, the NRL Footy Show on Nine and not much else.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey