Crikey! We were right. Well, our tipster was anyway. On 13 March, Crikey ran the following anonymous tip:

Is The West Australian going to put new Opposition Leader in WA, Troy Buswell out of his misery? Troy Buswell was recently elected Liberal Leader despite revelations that he got drunk at Parliament and undid the bra of an unwilling female Labor staffer. Apparently this staffer is yet to return to work after the incident. Media circles are abuzz with talk that Troy’s opponents in the Liberal Party have fed another damaging story to The West’s political editor, Robert Taylor. Word on the hill is that if details of the distasteful episode emerge it would end the career of Buswell. The timing of Buswell’s demise appears to be in the hands of the Robert Taylor and the editor Paul Armstrong. Perhaps they’re waiting for this weekend’s Liberal State Conference to drop the bombshell.

Those details finally emerged in last weekend’s Sunday Times:

It raises some interesting questions. Was the West Australian aware of the “damaging story” as long as six weeks ago? Did Robert Taylor and Paul Armstrong decide not publish it? And if so, why? — Thomas Hunter

Dead funny at The SMH . Today’s Money section of The Sydney Morning Herald has a photo of two happy old people and the headline “Now You’re Laughing”. It’s a shame both of them are dead — the image is of Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, stars of the movie Cocoon.

Airey departs from ITV: Should David Gyngell once again tire of running the Nine Network, his old bolt hole at Granada is available once more because Dawn Airey is leaving ITV for RTL, Europe’s major commercial broadcaster controlled by the Bertelsmann media group of Germany. Some in TV reckon that one of the factors behind Gyngell’s surprise return to Nine last September was the appointment of Airey at ITV where she was to oversee global content. Airey has a reputation of being scornful of the male dominated culture in commercial TV, especially Australia. Ms Airey’s departure from ITV will see her become chairman of the British channel, Five, ITV’s rival. RTL also controls fremantlemedia, one of the largest TV production houses in the world. It produces Neighbours (for Five soon after it won it from the BBC), Australian Idol, The Choir of Hard Knocks and Temptation, as well as a dozen other programs in Australia. Ms Airey joined ITV just over six months ago as head of Global Content, so the speed of her departure has raised eyebrows in the British TV industry, as did the terse statement announcing the move. She was chief executive at Five between 2000 and 2003 before she went to pay-TV group British Sky Broadcasting as a managing director of channels. Her appointment at ITV meant she was overseeing the Granada production house where David Gyngell ran North America. Ms Airey once raised eyebrows at an Australian TV conference in 2004 by criticising the blokey culture in Oz TV in a speech with David Gyngell in the audience. — Glenn Dyer

Can you spell that?: Taxi drivers blockaded streets in the Melbourne CBD this morning and Age  reporter Clay Lucas was taking names:

The protest started yesterday evening and continued overnight. One of the organisers, Indian-born taxi driver Jazz Randyboy, said the protest had been peaceful …

Randyboy, is that with an i or a y?

And was he the ringleader of this bizarre topless display? (from the Herald Sun)

Newspaper death watch: American newspapers continue to bleed sales, with one of Rupert Murdoch’s US papers doing well (comparatively speaking, compared to the rest), another doing badly and his latest target, Newsday, terribly. Figures issued by the US Audit Bureau of Circulations yesterday show that USA Today, owned by Gannett Co was the top-selling paper in America with average daily circulation of 2,284,219, up 0.3% in the six months to March. Rupert Murdoch’s recently acquired Wall Street Journal was second with a rise of 0.4% to 2,069,463. The New York Daily News maintained its small lead over Murdoch’s New York Post. The Daily News suffered a 2.1% decline to 703,137 copies a day, but Murdoch’s Post dropped 3.1% to 702,488 copies. Editor Col Allan will have to lift his game, or have it lifted for him. Both Murdoch and Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman are bidding for the Long Island paper, Newsday. They want to pay well over half a billion US dollars for this paper. But of all the major New York area papers, Newsday did worst of all, posting a 4.7% slump in sales to 379,613 copies. The New York Times lost 3.9% to an average 1,077,256 copies a day. The figures show that metro dailies have suffered the worst slide in sales, a trend that has been going on for well over a year now. The worst performer was The Dallas Morning News which saw daily sales slum 10.6% to 368,313. — Glenn Dyer

Canal Road, My Kid’s A Star bumped . Nine’s clean out of low performing programs continues tonight. After bumping Canal Road from 9.30pm to 10.30pm tonight, Nine has gone and flicked My Kid’s A Star from 7.30pm tonight. The remaining episodes will be seen midday Saturday, which is about the worst time for a program. It did badly from the start and averaged just 659,000 viewers last Wednesday night. It means that the three programs Nine introduced at 7.30pm Monday to Wednesday: The Power of 10, The Moment of Truth and My Kid’s A Star, have all failed and been replaced. — Glenn Dyer

Inside the PEN literary gala: The PEN literary gala, a fancy fundraising dinner held under the whale in the Natural History Museum, is sort of like publishing’s prom. Editors who are there to pad out the tables their respective houses have purchased, borrow something black-tie and try to pretend that they’re at ease hobnobbing alongside Tina Brown and the kind of heavily bejeweled, taut-faced ladies who attend this type of benefit a couple times a week. For an hour before the dinner, people mill around the T. Rex in the lobby politely refusing passed hors d’ouvres, drinking free drinks, and whispering ‘Omigod is that Toni Morrison’ to their friends (It was!). — Galleycat, Mediabistro

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Seven News was tops with 1.563 million, followed by Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares with 1.535 million. 3rd was Today Tonight with 1.504 million. Seven’s Australia’s Got Talent returned solidly at 7.30pm for an hour with 1.358 million and pushed Bondi Rescue to 1.354 million. NCIS on Ten at 8.30pm averaged 1.320 million and Big Brother on Ten at 7pm averaged 1.315 million over the hour. Ten’s NCIS repeat at 9.30pm averaged 1.267 million, All Saints was back at 8.30pm for Seven and averaged 1.251 million. Nine News was 10th with 1.229 million, the 7pm ABC was next with 1.218 million and Home and Away averaged 1.199 million at 7pm as it was hit by the second episode of BB . Nine’s A Current Affair was 13th with 1.172 million. Nine’s 20 to 1 did OK with 1.078 million. Ladette to Lady averaged 1.050 million for Nine at 9.30pm and the repeat of Two And A Half Men averaged 1.032 million at 7pm for Nine.

The Losers: Mistresses on Seven at 9.50pm: 678,000. See them later, or will Seven persevere? Judging by the way it has stayed with the faded Dirty Sexy Money, we are in for a few more Mistresses on Tuesday nights. Seven should match it with the appalling Cheaters. There’s a sort of synergy there.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Today Tonight lost Adelaide and won the other metro markets. The 7pm ABC News was ahead of Nine News in the Sydney. The 7.30 Report averaged 972,000, Lateline, 205,000, Lateline Business, 119,000. Ten News averaged 887,000. The late News/ Sports Tonight, 607,000. SBS News, 204,000 at 6.30pm, Insight on pokie machines, 349,000, the late SBS News at 9.30pm, 160,000. Nightline on Nine, 171,000. 7am Sunrise 432,000, 7am Today, 296,000, both up now the kids are back at school in NSW?

The Stats: Ten won 6pm to midnight All People with 27.5% (22.6%) from Nine with 27.1% (24.5%) and Seven with 27.0% (31.8%). The ABC was on 13.2% (12.1%), and SBS 5.2% (5.1%). Seven won Sydney and Perth, Nine won Melbourne, Ten won Brisbane and Adelaide. Ten leads the week 28.0% to Nine with 26.3% and Seven with 26.2%. In regional areas a win to Prime/7Qld with 28.6% as Big Brother just didn’t rate as highly. Southern Cross was second for Ten with 27.4%, WIN/NBN was third for Nine with 26.1%, the ABC was on 12.6% and SBS was on 5.4%. In the 6pm to 10.30 battle with Pay TV included, Fusion Strategy said Seven won the All People segment with 25.05% (35.71% a year ago for the final of Dancing With The Stars). Nine was second with 23.64% (18.09%), Ten was third with 23.42% (18.19%), Pay TV was on 12.54% (12.96%), the ABC was on 11.84%, 11.57% and SBS was on 4.52% (3.48%).

Glenn Dyer’s comments: A very close night. Ten won All people from 6pm to midnight, but Seven won All People (including pay TV) from 6pm to 10.30pm. Ten won 16 to 39 and 18 to 49, Nine won 25 to 54 and Seven won the over 55s. Nine did well because of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares at 8.30pm. Tonight Nine has Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay. Watch Underbelly tonight, or Spicks And Specks, or Animal Rescue on Seven, or Ten at 8.30pm and then go to bed.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

Get more Crikey, for less

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

Join us this week for 50% off a year of Crikey.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
50% off