A vowel too far. Thanks to Cam Smith who last weekend spotted the interesting joke section on Page 112 of Saturday’s Herald Sun in the Corinella Kids Page. Are the writers having a joke themselves? The text reads: “Why are hymens called hymens and not hers? Because they always end with amen, not awoman.” We think they might be reading from the wrong hymn book.

Viewers not rushing back after writers’ strike. Just because your favorite dramas and comedies are back on the air after the writers strike doesn’t mean you’re necessarily watching them. A preliminary look at ratings of returning programs on the big broadcast networks reveals that the “majority of original programming has failed to return to its pre-strike levels among key demos,” according to Havas media-buying shop MPG. The firm found that audiences are “coming back to some of the shows, but not most of them,” said Nina Kanter, VP-director of communications analysis at MPG. The early performance suggests that in broadcast TV these days, perhaps the best way for advertisers to reach mass audiences in one fell swoop is just a little bit less mass. The study might be seen “as an indicator” that ratings points for network TV “will be smaller next year,” Ms. Kanter said. — Advertising Age

Rupert v NYT: With a redesigned Wall Street Journal, mogul Rupert Murdoch is launching an old-fashioned newspaper war against The New York Times. Not since William Randolph Hearst took on Joseph Pulitzer have we seen such a fight. — Johnnie L Roberts, Newsweek

Comics get topical: As stalwart Archie fans, we rather liked that the biggest problems encountered by the youth of Riverdale involved things like rampant gossip, stray kittens, and the vexing vanity of Reggie Mantle. Today’s comics are increasingly going the Law & Order route, with ripped-from-the-headlines plots and themes. — Mediabistro, Unbeige

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
60 Minutes was first with 1.732 million, Seven News was second with 1.682 million. Third was Seven’s Gladiators with 1.560 million and Nine News was had 1.520 million. Ten’s So You think You Can Dance Australia wrapped up ahead of the final next week with 1.466 million at 7.30pm and Seven’s Grey’s Anatomy sparked some life into itself to win the 8.30pm battle with 1.347 million viewers. Ten’s The Biggest Loser averaged 1.347 million at 6.30pm to 7.30pm and Nine’s CSI was a bit light on with 1.205 million last night at 8.30pm. Animal Emergency averaged 1.147 million at 6.30pm for Nine and RFDS at 7pm, 1.093 million people. The 7pm ABC news averaged 1.086 million and Rove was 12th with 1.004 million. Police Files Unlocked  averaged 998,000 at 7.30pm because it didn’t air in Perth or Adelaide because of an AFL game on Seven, while My Name Is Earl averaged 962,000 at 8pm because it didn’t air in Perth. Brothers And Sisters with 984,000 for Seven at 9.30pm also didn’t air in Perth.

The Losers: Robin Hood – 775,000 viewers watched last night’s episode. Creature Comforts was almost as funny straight after. Without A Trace on Nine at 9.30pm: 932,000 isn’t death row in TV terms, but is a program now fighting well below its PR profile for Nine. 60 Minutes last night. It might have lots of viewers but gee it was all rubbish. Even East of Anywhere on the ABC at 8.30pm (717,000) held more interest to start with before I staggered over to Rove. Rove next week goes to the after party for the finale of So You think You Can Dance Australia: Everyone is into the cross promo plug.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and Melbourne and Brisbane. It lost Sydney and Adelaide and Perth because of time shifting the latter markets. Seven is scheduling the AFL to try and boost Melbourne news and its early evening viewing there. Seven News is beating Nine News in Brisbane despite the strong appeal of Nine’s NRL coverage. Ten news averaged 810,000. World News Australia averaged 224,000 at 6.30pm. In the morning Weekend Sunrise, 414,000 from 8am, Landline at noon on the ABC, 281,000. Early Sunrise from 7.30pm 202,000; Insiders on the ABC at 9am, 187,000. Sunday at 7.30pm, 129,000 (doing worse than Business Sunday did when it was axed). Inside Business at 10am on the ABC, 126,000 and Offsiders at 10.30pm, 121,000.

The Stats: Seven won the 6pm to midnight battle narrowly with 28.4% (25.6%) from Nine with 28.2% (30.2%), from Ten with 24.1% (24.3%), the ABC on 13.2% (13.9%) and SBS with 6.2% (5.9%). In regional areas Nine won easily with 32.1% for WIN/NBN; Prime/7Qld were on 25.7%, Southern Cross (Ten) 21.2%; the ABC 13.8% and SBS 7.1%. In the 6pm to 10.30pm battle Fusion Strategy says Seven won with 24.87% (21.76% a year ago) from Nine on 23.75% (23.29%), Ten with 20.06% (22.02%), Pay TV with 14.45% (13.28%), the ABC with 11.60% (16.42%) and SBS with 5.32% (3.23%). Big Brother started this week a year ago.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: 60 Minutes was the most watched program last night and viewers have no reason to complain about the content if they tune in to watch a program that is now nothing but the Sunday version of A Current Affair. Not even the Seven Network has been cynical enough to replicate its Today Tonight in a longer version on Sunday nights. Last night’s 60 Minutes featured a story on teenage mothers and parents, Puhlease. What was new in that? And the plug for Gordon Ramsay’s cooking show in his profile was probably the driver for the high audience. Indian premier League Twenty20 cricket on Ten made for interesting viewing: the first one was OK, the second, third and fourth games were boring. Tonight: David Attenborough’s class stands out at 7.30pm on Nine. The offcuts on More Than Enough Rope for Andrew Denton on the ABC at 9.35pm also stands out. Avoid Dirty Sexy Money on Seven at 9.30pm, Sea Patrol on Nine at 8.30pm and Mythbusters on SBS at 7.30pm: its a repeat. And of course, Two And A Half Men at 7pm on Nine.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks, Fusion Strategy reports

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