Ten goes back to the future for new drama. The Australian’s media writer, Amanda Meade, reported this in her column today:

The Ten Network is expected to announce today a new drama co-production with Southern Star’s John Edwards. Rush is a series set in a critical incident police unit, providing an insider’s view of police under pressure. The cast features two Underbelly actors — Rodger Corser and Callan Mulvey — as well as Catherine McClements and Claire van der Boom. Edwards made the brilliant Foxtel series The Secret Life of Us as well as Love My Way and the upcoming Out of the Blue for Ten and the BBC. Rush is based in Williamstown, Victoria, and filming starts in May.

Anyone who watched TV in the 70s will remember Rush as an ABC series starring John Waters, set during the Victorian Gold Rush. The original Rush was as popular with audiences as Sea Change was about five years ago. It was screened when Australia was busy finding its past after the change of Federal Government in 1972 and the explosion in cultural awareness that followed. — Glenn Dyer

John Alexander, Gourmet Traveller. Wednesday’s edition of The Australian had this story, which was a free plug for new eatery Bistro Guillaume at Crown Casino in Melbourne. What the story didn’t go near or talk about is the real reason restaurateur Brahimi got a gig at Crown. His biggest fan is John Alexander, the former CEO of PBL and now the executive chairman in exile of Consolidated Media Holdings and the deputy chairman of Crown. When PBL was whole and owned ACP magazines and the Nine Network there were countless functions, lunches, launches and dinners held at Brahimi’s Bennelong eastery at the Opera House, because JA loved the place and the cooking. In fact Crown’s row of eateries is shaping up as an honour board for JA’s palate and the list of stars from Gourmet Traveller, the ACP Magazine that was really JA’s baby. — Glenn Dyer 

Jones conviction quashed. A judge has quashed a criminal conviction against radio broadcaster Alan Jones over his on-air naming of a juvenile in a court case. Jones did not appear at his appeal in the Downing Centre District Court today. Last year, another judge found him in contempt. He was fined $1000 and placed on a nine-month good behaviour bond after paraphrasing an article in The Daily Telegraph, which named the youngster who was a witness in a r-pe trial. But Judge Michael Finnane overturned the conviction at the Downing Centre District Court this morning. 2gb stablemate Ray Hadley talked up Jones on air this morning, saying Jones didn’t deserve a conviction as he’s “a really decent bloke”. He added — Jones is “so giving it’s almost embarrassing”.

A bad habit. A bit of ABC cross promotion went slightly wrong this morning on Melbourne 774 as fill in host Wendy Harmer chatted to Princess Productions about the news that the ABC’s Summer Heights High had been sold to the BBC and HBO. To celebrate, the program played a remix of Mr G’s musical tune, Bad Habit, but the lyrics, which included the chorus, ‘ecstacy, ecstacy, ecstacy’ and the words ‘sl-t’ and ‘wh-re’ got too curly halfway through and the song was pulled by a slightly embarrassed Harmer who conceded it was a “bit early” for that sort of thing. Listen here.

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Seven News averaged 1.462 million, in front of Home and Away with 1.342 million. Today Tonight was 3rd with 1.336 million and the real number one program, Underbelly, averaged 1.271 million (and was the most watched program in the four metro markets it was shown in). The swimming trials on Nine at 7.30pm averaged 1.201 million and Nine News was 6th with 1.169 million. Seven’s repeat of the ABC/BBC Seven Wonders of The Industrial World averaged 1.167 million at 7.30pm to 8.40pm. A Current Affair was 9th with 1.161 million and the House repeat averaged 1.141 million. The 7pm ABC News was 10th with 1.141 million and Spicks And Specks on the ABC at 8.30pm averaged 1.020 million. Rules of Engagement at 7.30pm on Ten lifted to 1.009 million, but it is still a weak show. Back To You on Ten at 8pm averaged 995,000 for a repeat and was no better for the repetition: it’s still clunky. The Biggest Loser at 7pm averaged 981,000. Two And A Half Men at 7pm on Nine, 974,000, which was still 4th overall. Nine showed CSI Miami in Melbourne at 8.30pm instead of Underbelly. It rated 319,000 viewers, so almost 1.6 million viewers watched Nine from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. But if Underbelly had been available, it would have been closer to 1.9 to 2 million people

The Losers: Losers? Seven. Instead of running a repeat of Frost as most guides said it would, Seven pulled it and ran a repeat of the terrible movie, The Rock instead. The 760,000 viewers tell us how successful that was. Seven was third or fourth from then on. Repeats of Frost had been drawing just over a million viewers. It was another erratic programming moment from Seven. A double episode of the Vicar of Dibley would have done far better. Nine: Cashmere Mafia 796,000 at 9.30pm. It ran second behind Ten’s Numb3rs only because of the Seven scheduling of The Rock was so ham-fisted. Cashmere Mafia is now a flop of 2008, another one for Nine to add to the list of Monster House, The Moment of Truth, Two And A Half Men and Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

News & CA: Seven News won, but only after losing Brisbane and drawing Adelaide with Nine. Today Tonight lost Melbourne and Brisbane, but won elsewhere. In Sydney though Nine News slumped to just 246,000 viewers, over 150,000 behind Seven. ACA averaged 290,000 in Sydney. The 7pm ABC News with 306,000 viewers in Sydney easily beat Nine. It can’t continue. Ten News At Five averaged 855,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight, 413,000. The 7.30 Report dropped back to 766,000 from the million plus the night before. Lateline averaged 225,000, Lateline Business, 123,000. World News Australia, 171,000 at 6.30pm, 199,000 at 9.30pm. Dateline 212,000 and Newstopia at 10pm, 196,000. 7am Sunrise 417,000, 7am Today 277,000.

The Stats: Nine won the 6pm to 12 midnight battle with a share of 28.6% (28.8%a week ago) from Seven with 28.1% (28.7%), Ten with 22.6% (21.9%), the ABC with 15.9% (16.1%) and SBS with 4.7% (4.6%). Nine won Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Seven won Melbourne and Perth. Seven leads the week 29.5% from 24.9% for Nine. In regional areas a win for NNBN/WIN with 30.2% from Prime/7Qld with 27.4%, Southern Cross (Ten) on 22.2%, the ABC with 14.8% and SBS with 5.4%. Underbelly was the second most watched program in the regions with 563,000 viewers (after Seven News). In the 6pm to 10.30 battle, Fusion Strategy says Nine won with 24.30% (21.77% a year ago on the same night) from Seven on 22.21% (24.77%), Ten with 19.07% (20.06%), Pay TV with 16.45% (14.42%), the ABC with 13.93% (15.01%) and SBS with 4/04% (3.39%).

Glenn Dyer’s comments: I don’t know what others in Underbelly viewing states thought about last night’s episode, but it concerned me. It was a very tough episode, well acted, but tended to glamorise the criminal lifestyle, the message was that money and fast cars and being crude, rude and criminal can get you ahead (and dead of course) but it’s all about risks. Overall the episode left me feeling uneasy. The Cook and The Chef at 6.30pm averaged 591,000 people and had more viewers than Stupid Stupid Man at 9pm with 587,000, and the tricked up Pommie program The Armstrong And Miller Show at 9.30pm with 535,000. Tonight its The Footy Shows; a surf special on Nine at 8.30pm as it attempts to ride the interest created by Ten’s Bondi Rescue. Nine couldn’t do it in Australia, or wouldn’t, or didn’t have the money, so they bought a NZ program. Cheep as chups lads. Nine has the swimming, Seven has an hour of How I met Your Mother (what happened to Samantha Who?), Ten has a repeat of SVU. The ABC has Daydream Believer etc etc in a Monkees special which at times sounds very nasty with unhappy people talking about the events of 40 years ago.

Source: OzTAM, TV Network reports