A mailbagging . Was Peter Harvey in London to escape the scorn of 60 Minutes viewers last night? He hosted his weekly mailbag against a London backdrop and the chosen letters were not complimentary as Harvey examined reaction to the now infamous incest story. He mentioned, without saying why it had been dropped from the original story, the fact that the couple had lost a first child. That was one of the many criticisms of the story, but no defense or explanation was offered up for this foolish omission. That omission was the basis for this strong attack on the program in the News Ltd Sunday papers yesterday. Harvey also didn’t mention the investigation into the story and program by South Australian police: another telling omission. Despite the outrage 1.5 million viewers tuned into 60 Minutes last night. — Glenn Dyer

SBS gets defensive . SBS is a defensive organisation. Why else would it slip out a three paragraph statement late last week revealing that it had extended the contract of controversial CEO, Shaun Brown by a year to five? The undated release on the SBS website read:

The Board of SBS has extended the term of office for Managing Director, Shaun Brown, from four to five years. Mr Brown’s contract term will now expire in early 2011. Both parties agreed it was in the best interests of SBS to have continuity in the Managing Director position for the maximum period permitted under the SBS Act,” SBS Chairman, Carla Zampatti, said. The Act permits subsequent re-appointment of the Managing Director for a further period of up to five years.

No explanation of why it “was in the best interests of SBS to have continuity in the Managing Director position for the maximum period under the SBS Act.” Brown was first appointed to the role in February 2006 when the board didn’t renew the contract of Nigel Milan. Brown had been head of SBS TV since 2003. Is the board banking on the Rudd Government being a one term administration in Canberra? And why didn’t it extend his contract in 2007, or originally appoint him for five years in 2006? Or is it an act of defiance in the face of viewer opposition to the in program advertising, which has seen a petition sent to the Federal Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, complaining about the advertising. That advertising is generating up to $10 million a year in additional revenue for SBS, which is being used to finance new Australian programming. SBS audience levels have risen since the ads started, much to the chagrin of its opponents and those in the media. — Glenn Dyer

Local papers miss GE shock. The first news of General Electric’s shock profit result appeared around 10pm Sydney time on Friday night but it was still missed by all the local Saturday papers. The only paper to cover the result on Saturday morning (in Sydney at least) was the Asian edition of the Financial Times, which is available in Sydney from around 9am. That shows you how much Australian newspapers are run to benefit the production and distribution needs of the ad rich weekend supplements and magazines, not the news needs of business and finance. The SMH also missed the story that Toll wasn’t able to sell Virgin Blue again and the airline’s earnings downgrade, even though the announcements were made to the ASX around 5.40pm Friday. The GE story didn’t even make it onto the SMH website until yesterday and it didn’t seem to have made The Australian’s website over the weekend, even though it was the most surprising and important result from the US so far this year. — Glenn Dyer

Dubbo paper’s dubious incest boast. You want unwarranted, unappreciated sensational journalism, then take a peek at Dubbo’s Daily Liberal front page on the 9th of this month. In 32mm bold print they informed their readers that “It all started here.” They then went on (page 3) to relate details of an incestuous relationship between a South Australian father and daughter, a story that had been running in, and on, every media outlet in Australia, for days. The couple’s only connection to Dubbo was a one-time visit to the Dubbo Zoo. I would advise any future visitors to Dubbo to ensure there are no skeletons in their family closets before embarking on such an adventure. Our team of world top-ranking Journos could be lying in wait. Many of us oldies, who in years past resided in Victoria, can still recall that a-se wiper known as the Melbourne TRUTH. We were reminded of it when we read this particular article. Let us hope that we are not witnessing the emergence of a similar style newspaper in Dubbo. Oh, incidentally, the Dubbo Daily Liberal has just acquired a new editor. — Crikey reader Keith Perkins of Dubbo

Newly engaged Lara Bingle back at Nine as a “travel reporter”.  We were reading yesterday about Lara Bingle’s new gig at Channel Nine, which comes as a surprise of sorts after more or less being dropped from the payroll after a nothing-much year at the network and we’re sure has nothing to do with her fairly high-profile engagement to Michael Clarke. In any case, when we went back to post on the topic, we couldn’t help but notice how a few bits of data had been “massaged” in the transition from news.com.au “news” to Sunday Mail “entertainment” stories over the course of the day. — Clem Bastow, Defamer.

The web’s 10 most hated: The Internet may provide endless hours of productivity-killing diversion and free-ish pornography, but that’s not all it offers. The Web also gives us a cloak of anonymity, allowing every man, woman, and child to expel anonymous bile on strangers—be they the real-life TV celebrities we can’t stand, or infamous figures brought to the nation’s attention via YouTube. Below, Radar’s list of the 10 people the Web really, really loves to hate. — Radar Online

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
It was an easy win to Nine as Seven lost ground as even skilful programming of the AFL in Melbourne couldn’t repeat the narrow win of last Sunday. Seven News was the most watched program with 1.726 million viewers, from 60 Minutes with 1.543 million and then CSI at 8.30pm with 1.476 million. Ten’s So You think You Can Dance Australia averaged 1.476 million, ahead of Nine News in 5th spot with 1.429 million. Seven’s Gladiators again eased, to finish with 1.427 million people. Ten’s The Biggest Loser averaged 1.208 million at 6.30pm for second place behind Gladiators. Nine’s Animal Emergency and RFDS for Nine between 6.30pm and 7.30pm were watched by 1.123 million and 1.120 million people respectively. The 7pm ABC News was in 10th spot with 1.108 million, Grey’s Anatomy averaged 1.103 million for Seven at 8.30pm and Nine’s Without A Trace averaged 1.093 million for Nine at 9.30pm. Seven’s 7.30 program, Police Files Unlocked averaged 1.071 million and was followed at 8pm by My Name Is Earl with 1.059 million. Ten’s Rove averaged 1.049 million at 8.30pm for the first time this year.

The Losers: Losers? The ABC’s East of Everything, 743,000: the script has disappeared somewhere off Cape Byron and was last seen drifting aimlessly at 7.30pm on Sundays. Australians can’t make movies and the drama making skills for TV are distinctly thin on the ground at the moment. Underbelly is an exception, but hey, the raw material was the key. Nine’s new Canal Road on Wednesday night starts promisingly but is said to descend into a Chances style drama. Heaven help us. Ten’s movie, The Sum of All Fears: 504,000 for two hours or so from 9.40pm. That’s DOT, or Dead On Transmission.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market, even Sydney where Nine’s NRL game did OK as a lead in. Seven News still won by 3,000 viewers. Scheduling the Collingwood-Carlton game up to the news in Melbourne saw Seven News get the biggest audience on the night in any market, 583,000 – but that wasn’t enough. Nine won the night easily. Ten News At Five averaged 798,000. World News Australia on SBS at 6.30pm, 217,000. In the morning Seven’s Weekend Sunrise, 471,000, the Early Sunrise from 7.30am, 201,000. Landline on the ABC at noon, 227,000. Insiders on the ABC at 9am, 179,000, Sunday on Nine from 7.30am, 128,000. Offsiders at 10.30am, 121,000 on the ABC and Inside Business, at 10am 109,000. Ten’s Meet The Press was pre-empted by the US masters: 142,000 watched Ten yesterday morning.

The Stats: Nine won the 6pm to midnight battle with a share of 30.2% (28.3% a week ago) from Seven with 25.6% (28.4%), Ten with 24.3% (23.7%), the ABC on 14.0% (13.7%) and SBS with 5.9% (5.8%). Nine won all five metro markets and in Sydney Seven was third behind Ten in second. In regional areas a win for Nine through WIN/NBN with 32.9%, from Prime/7Qld with 25.2%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 22.1%, the ABC with 14.7% and SBS with 5.2%. In the 6pm to 10.30pm battle Fusion Strategy said Nine won with 25.16% (26.50% a year ago), from Seven, 22.83% (22.42%), Ten with 19.99% (19.39%), Pay TV with 14.76% (14.53%), the ABC with 12.16% (14.05%) and SBS 5.10% (3.11%).

Glenn Dyer’s comments: A weak night for Seven compared to the previous Sunday. But Seven did win the commercial share battle in 25 to 54s from Ten with Nine third. Nine won the over 50s with CSI and 60 Minutes dominating there. Ten won the 16 to 39 and 18 to 49 groups (that’s from 6pm to 10.30pm). Seven’s Grey’s Anatomy is dying and needs to restart viewer interest. Gladiators is the “same old, same old” and given its cost, is a losing proposition. It needs over 1.5 to 1.6 million to justify the $800,000 a week plus tag. Police Files Unlocked is ruining the audience for My Name Is Earl. East of Everything is now another example of how the ABC and its independent producer mates, have lost the ability to tell simple drama stories. East of Everywhere is east of most viewers who delivered the coup de grace last night of preferring CSI or Rove.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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