Digging a hole to China. Strange things indeed in the Sydney media and political scenes. Premier Morris Iemma is off on a trip to China soon and his office wanted to know if TV, radio and newspapers would be sending staff to cover it. For TV stations, its a big cost: $25,000 to $30,000 for a reporter and crew, and even if they pool, its still costly. Things are becoming tough in TV, just as they are in newspapers. So naturally Iemma’s office was asked what was the reason for the trip, possible stories etc, to get an idea of the value. The networks and others questioning the trip got no reply so they decided to wait until more information was forthcoming. It wasn’t, and when they approached the Premier’s handlers about sending a pool coverage camera, they were surprised to be told that they were not being taken along because they had missed the deadline for saying “yes”. Fancy that: a State Premier not wanting TV cameras to accompany him on a trip to a big customer of his state. Well, there’s always the ABC reporter in Beijing. Now people are watching to see if the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph accompany the Premier, and what sort of carefully spun stories appear on the front page of the Tele in particular. — Glenn Dyer

A Crikey reader writes: I happened to be reading The Age on this morning (May 7th), yet when I finally finished and happened to look at the front page, I was shocked to see this sticky-note style advertisement on top of a banner on the Burma tragedy. Appalled as I am, I do understand that advertising placement is mostly predetermined by dates, and that this is an unfortunate coincidence. I am a marketing/advertising student at RMIT University and am quite well revised on the processes of newspaper advertising and how date reliant their ad placements need to be. Although at the same time The Age should put journalistic priorities before their paid advertisers, and have taken the onus on themselves to reimburse or develop another advertising option in situations where the content does not match the promotion. I took a photo of the front page on my camera phone:

Drugs are bad m’kay?: This morning on 3AW (Melbourne) host Neil Mitchell spoke about a drugs exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. Mitchell the replayed the comments of caller Thomas who defended his use of drugs. Unfortunately, Mitchell then invited caller Kathy to the conversation. Caller Kathy happens to be Thomas’ mum. Kathy told Mitchell she was disturbed about the drugs he has taken and then decided to air all the skeletons by talking about a friend of the family who’d committed a serious crime whilst using drugs and has been jailed. Kathy says Thomas needs to look at himself in terms of maturity. Listen here for Thomas’ on air lecture on drugs from mum. — Sophie Black

SMH watch — a lesson in priorities:


Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
The fresh episode of NCIS topped the list with 1.567 million for Ten at 8.30pm; Seven News was next with 1.521 million and Ten’s final Bondi Rescue was 3rd with 1.510 million. Today Tonight was next with 1.506 million and Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares averaged 1.412 million at 8.30pm, with Seven’s Australia’s Got Talent 6th with 1.373 million. Ten’s NCIS repeat averaged 1.330 million at 9.30pm, and the all new Simpsons averaged 1.289 million at 7.30pm for Ten. Home and Away won the 7pm slot with 1.243 million, All Saints averaged 1.202 million for Seven at 8.30pm and Nine News was 11th with 1.178 million. The 7pm ABC News was next with 1.166 million while Nine’s 7.30pm program, 20 to 1 averaged 1.120 million. A Current Affair was 14th with 1.117 million, Big Brother was 15th with 1.112 million and Nine’s repeat of Two And A Half Men was 16th (and 4th in the slot) with 1.023 million viewers. Nine’s Ladette to lady (a new series of what is appalling TV) averaged 957,000 at 9.30 pm. Class conscious rubbish.

The Losers: Nothing really. I suppose Millionaires’ Mission on the ABC at 8.30pm with 480,000 qualifies. It’s an interesting idea, rich British business people go to third world village to try and help. The Apprentice (which is very popular in the UK) – it’s predictable.

News & CA: Seven News and Today Tonight again won nationally but lost Melbourne to ACA and Nine News. The 7pm ABC News tied for second with Nine in Sydney with 312,000 viewers apiece. The Ten News averaged 844,000; the late News/Sports Tonight 521,000. The 7.30 Report, 882,000, Lateline, 213,000 and Lateline Business,124,000. Nightline 159,000. World News Australia on SBS at 6.30pm, 180,000, Insight at 7.30pm 317,000, the late News at 9.30pm, 182,000. 7am Sunrise, 365,000, 7am Today 312,000.

The Stats: Ten won the 6pm to midnight all people battle with 28.4% (27.5%), from Nine with 26.5% (27.1%), Seven with 26.1% (27.01%), the ABC with 13.6% (13.2%) and SBS with 5.4% (5.2%). Seven won Perth, Nine won Sydney, Ten won Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Nine leads the week with 30% to Seven on 26%. In the commercial share battle between Ten, Seven and Nine from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, Ten won All People, 16 to 39 and 18 to 49 and Nine won 25 to 54. In regional areas Prime/7Qld won with 29.8% from Southern Cross (Ten) with 26.9%, with WIN/NBN next with 25.4%, the ABC on 12.2% and SBS with 5.8%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: It is striking how people in regional Australia don’t like reality TV. Once again we have seen a high rating metro TV program fail to make an impression in the bush. Last night Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares failed to make an impression in regional areas. It was No. 5 in the metro markets and didn’t make the Top 10 in regional areas. The night before it was Ten’s Big Brother and the new How To Look Good Naked, which didn’t make the grade in regional areas after it finished 9 and 10 in the five metro markets. Nine finished third in regional markets last night as a result after running second in the metro markets because of the turn off from Ramsay. Seven won the bush, Ten the metros, but regional viewers can’t stand a bar of confrontational or “nasty” reality. Bondi Rescue for Ten and Australia’s Got Talent, appealed for Seven in both markets. Actually the Ramsay episode last night was one of the better ones. The first “F” word took 10 minutes or so to arrive and the makeover failed. It went against the formulaic pattern the program has developed.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports.