When Nigella bites. A Crikey reader writes:

In February 2005, The Age published this remark from senior feature and arts writer Gabriella Coslovich: “My fear about journalism is that it is increasingly becoming about lifestyle, celebrity and pap.” In March 2008, The Age published this article by Gabriella Coslovich. I rest my case.

Turd Blossom’s media diet: ROVE: I get Mike Allen’s overnight summary from Politico, I cruise RealClearPolitics.com, I get Taranto from the Wall Street Journal, I visit the Corner. I check Drudge, I check Fox News, I have a list of favorites that I sort of thumb through if I’ve got the time. I obviously read papers, the New York Times; the Wall Street Journal; when in Washington, the Washington Post if not, I get it online. I check out, most days, Instapundit, Power Line, Hugh Hewitt. Occasionally I’ll dip into Just One Minute or visit the Captain’s Quarters, I check out Michael Barone’s blog, and I look forward to getting Opinion Journal, and I get the NCPA summary. And I also get a news summary, a news clip early in the morning of all the clips. — FishBowlDC

Online news gets sexy: If you say something provocatively, in a new way, or with an unexpected spin, you will succeed online. If you play it safe, you will not. So we see the difference in style between the Politico story and, say, Adam Nagourney’s more nuanced story on the same topic a day earlier or again in another story today. Suffice it to say, Friday’s Politico story earned a Drudge link over the weekend, and Nagourney’s did not. That’s money in the bank for Politico. This trend towards story-by-story competition, and away from package-by-package competition, is a blessing and a curse. It is forcing better writing, quicker responsiveness, and it is increasing the value of actual news-making and clear-eyed thinking… Swampland, Time

Schapelle won’t cough up: Seven has failed in its bid to force the sister of drug smuggler Schapelle Corby to pay a surety in their ongoing legal battle. Mercedes Corby is suing the network, and other parties, claiming its Today Tonight program defamed her in a series of segments broadcast in February last year. Ms Corby claims a former family friend, Jodie Power, made defamatory allegations during an interview, for which she was allegedly paid $120,000. Seven last week applied for Ms Corby to pay “a moderate” sum of money to the NSW Supreme Court as security for costs. The cash, in the order of $100,000, would have been available to Seven if Ms Corby lost her defamation suit and was ordered to pay the network’s legal costs. — The Australian

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Ten’s Bondi Rescue was the most watched at 8pm with 1.571 million, followed by Seven News with 1.519 million, Today Tonight with 1.456 million and Home And Away with 1.424 million. NCIS returned for Ten with 1.418 million viewers on average from 8.30 to 9.30pm and that put it ahead of Nine’s Kitchen Nightmares in the same slot with 1.341 million. Seven’s It Takes Two averaged 1.312 million from 7.30 to 9.15pm and All Saints followed with 1.297 million. Nine News was 9th with 1.223 million, Ten’s The Biggest Loser averaged 1.211 million for an hour from 7pm and the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.187 million. Nine’s A Current Affair averaged 1.129 million and The 7.30 Report had a big night with 1.005 million. Ten’s Women’s Murder Club held up at 9.30, its new timeslot with 1.002 million, thanks to the good lead-in from NCIS.

The Losers: Losers? On Nine at 7pm, Two And A Half Men: 881,000; Nine, 7.30pm, The Moment of Truth: 725,000; Nine, 9.30pm, Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles, 661,000. A trio of failures. Kitchen Nightmares was the only winner and I reckon its partly because kids are now watching to hear all the F-words uttered. We are all losers when swearing is a reason for people to watch a TV program. Even repeats rate more highly in my opinion than gratuitous bad language, even Eddie McGuire agreed in last week’s Herald Sun column in Melbourne, while supporting the screening of the program at 8.30pm. Kitchen Nightmare’s success is a metro market phenomena: it didn’t hit the top 10 list in regional Australia last night, so at least there are standards in the bush.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne. Today Tonight won nationally. The 7pm ABC News (375,000) beat Seven News (353,000) to be second behind Nine News (378,000) in Melbourne. Ten News At Five averaged 885,000, The Late News/Sports Tonight, 500,000. Nine’s Nightline averaged 236,000. The ABC’s Lateline averaged 282,000, Lateline Business, 114,000. World News Australia 169,000, Insight, 347,000, the late World News at 9.30pm, 162,000. 7am Sunrise 409,000, 7am Today, 260,000.

The Stats: Seven won 6pm to midnight with 31.3%, Ten was on 26.2% (25.7%), Nine was third with 22.5% (the second third finish so far this week) (24.7%), the ABC on 14.8% (15.3%) and SBS on 5.2% (5.3%), Seven won all five metro markets. Seven leads the week 30.0% to 24.3% for Ten and 23.7% for Nine. In regional Australia a win to Prime/7Qld with 32.1% from Southern Cross (Ten) with 26.2%, WIN/NBN third with 22.0%, the ABC on 13.4% and SBS on 6.3%. Fusion Strategy says in the 6pm to 10.30pm battle Seven had a 26.52% share (31.55% a year ago on the same night) from Ten with 22.54% (20.53%), Nine with 19.34% (19.54%), Pay TV with 14.25% (13.56%), the ABC with 13.02% (10.88%) and SBS with 4.41% (3.95%).

Glenn Dyer’s comments: Finishing third on a night out of ratings isn’t supposed to be any big deal. But it is: it is all about showing the audience a winning suite of programs. Ten and Seven both ran hard last night with fresh programming and did Nine over. Nine has fresh programming as well, but three were dogs. Nine Network says it will be back next week with bigger, new shows, like Power of 10 on Monday nights at 7.30pm (followed by the second series return of Sea Patrol). Power of 10 is a US format that was axed by CBS in January at the height of the writer’s strike. It was so poor that even the fact that it could be made during the writer’s strike didn’t help it stay on air. But Nine is persevering. It needs a winner after last night’s figures confirmed that Moment of Truth is a flop, as is Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Two And A Half Men continues to be a pretender at 7pm. From 7pm to 8.30pm Nine ran third or fourth. Tonight it’s Nine’s biggest failure and success in Underbelly. Success because of its undoubted quality, failure because of the non-airing in Melbourne which continues to be the most amazing situation in TV this year. All that revenue down the drain. Especially after losing the appeal.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports

Peter Fray

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