What if ABC2 had a breakfast show, but no-one watched? The American movie Field of Dreams is based on the romantic idea “build it and they will come”. It’s a lovely thought. The same applies to the rather odd decision of ABC management to start a new breakfast news and current affairs program on the ABC2 digital channel at 6am and run it to 10am: timeslots when no-one is watching. The ABC has chosen Peter Lloyd and Lateline co-host Virginia Trioli to anchor the Breakfast TV news program starting in September. It will carry news from the ABC’s extensive network of television, radio and online journalists, including footage of live radio interviews (with cameras in ABC studios) as well as breaking international news. A sort of cross between CNN, Sky News and radio with pictures. Claims in some media this morning that it could be a rival to Sky News, Today and Sunrise are a bit wide of the mark. How do we know that? Well from this week, the detailed Oztam ratings figures have been breaking out the ratings for ABC1 and ABC2. The figures show that ABC2, which starts at 7am with a repeat of Lateline and then Lateline Business at 7.30am, doesn’t trouble the people meter equipment. In fact the most watched program on ABC2 for most of the week is one called Scrapheap Challenge at 6.35pm with 30,000 to 40,000 viewers (32,000 last night). Ten’s 6am to 7am News averaged 41,000 yesterday morning, early Sunrise from 6am to 7am, 194,000. From 7am to 9am, Sunrise averaged 391,000, Today, 282,000. From 9am to 10am, Mornings on Seven averaged 176,000, Kerri-Anne Kennerley’s program on Nine averaged 117,000 yesterday and 9am with David and Kim on Ten averaged 63,000. The ABC’s morning audience on ABC1 is children’s material and is popular. Playschool at 9.30am, 133,000; Wiggle and Learn at 8.20am averaged 218,000. The ABC confronts the central problem of breakfast and morning TV: there are lots of transient viewers, but the most loyal are on ABC1 already, and they grow up. We will not have full digital TV until the end of 2013. There are now said to be more than 40% of homes with a digital TV and tuner, so ABC2 is accessible, but it is very early days and this program is going to be a low cost loss leader. Simulcasting the first two hours across ABC1 and 2 would be a help, but the dislocation of the children’s viewing and the protests that would bring are insurmountable problems. But it won’t trouble Nine, Ten, Seven or Sky News for quite a while, despite what some in the newspaper world may dream. — Glenn Dyer

Dubya gets a Stoney reception. Oliver Stone is directing the movie of the Bush presidency: W (coolest film title ever?) Here’s what the teaser movie poster at Cannes looks like — and yes, the quotes are real (as seen on IonCinema.com).

Meanwhile, check out the cast list. Is this for real? If so, Ellen Burstyn really needs to have a word with her agent.

Josh Brolin … George W. Bush
Elizabeth Banks … Laura Bush
Ioan Gruffudd … Tony Blair
Thandie Newton … Condoleezza Rice
Richard Dreyfuss … Dick Cheney
Scott Glenn … Donald Rumsfeld
Ellen Burstyn … Barbara Bush
James Cromwell … George Herbert Walker Bush
Randy Quaid … Dick Cheney (rumored)
Noah Wyle … Don Evans (rumored)
Jason Ritter … Jeb Bush (rumored)
Rob Corddry … Ari Fleischer
Jeffrey Wright … General Colin Powell
Toby Jones … Karl Rove

Note to self: must write more stories about “embodiment of evil”. Crikey’s website has a tag system that helps feed readers to related stories. We feed tags in manually but when they self-generate, it’s a blast. Here’s our favourite so far — from yesterday’s edition:

Journalists don’t like the news. So you’d think that journalists would be the biggest news hounds around. For the most part, you’d be right. I was talking with some of my Annenberg colleagues at a journalism conference last month, and one asked how many hours a day we each spent reading and watching the news, whether in print, online or on TV. The consensus? About four to five hours a day. But there is one exception to this potential rule: Many journalists despise TV news. They hate watching it, they hate producing it, and, given the opportunity, they turn it off and ignore it. — Online Journalism Review

Another Wall Street Journal stalwart quits Murdoch’s regime. One of The Wall Street Journal‘s top editors is resigning several weeks after parent company News Corp and its chief Rupert Murdoch named one of Murdoch’s longtime associates to run the paper. Bill Grueskin, in charge of the paper’s US edition, will leave the influential business daily in a few weeks to become dean of academic affairs at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, according to a memo he wrote to employees on Wednesday that was obtained by Reuters. The Journal has made “huge strides” in its attempts to adapt to a world of print and online news, he wrote. “Still, the exigencies of updating a site 24/7 and putting out a newspaper six days a week, along with budget, personnel and other duties in this role, have left me little time to focus on broader issues,” he wrote. Last month, Murdoch appointed Robert Thomson as the Journal‘s top editor, succeeding Marcus Brauchli who resigned under pressure in April. Murdoch is making other changes at the Journal, most notably injecting more general news, political and lifestyle coverage into the paper. Grueskin’s departure is not part of those changes, said Journal spokesman Robert Christie. “Bill has had a long-standing relationship with Columbia, and this is just a natural progression in his career,” Christie said. — Reuters

Last night’s TV ratings

The Winners: Just 12 programs with a million or more viewers. Seven News was tops with 1.433 million and How I Met Your Mother, which doubled two eps back to back from 7.30 to 8.30pm averaged a very solid 1.303 million and creamed Getaway, which had a strongish 1.285 million audience in the same time slot. 4th was Today Tonight with 1.252 million. Nine News was 5th with 1.228 million and Home And Away was 6th with 1.207 million. The 7pm ABC news averaged 1.155 million in 7th and A Current Affair was 8th with 1.150 million. Seven’s Bones averaged 1.140 million in 9th and beat Hell’s Kitchen on Nine and swearing Gordie Ramsay, which averaged 1.113 million. The repeat of Two And A Half Men averaged 1.106 million at 7 pm for Nine and Ten’s Law And Order SVU struggled into 12th with 1.089 million. Ten’s Medium averaged 939,000 at 9.30 pm. SBS’s repeat of poor dead Inspector Rex, 382,000.

The Losers: Losers? Big Brother, 777,000. The vet should be called to apply the humane killer, as racing chaps so euphemistically call the crude device that puts a racehorse out of its misery when it is injured. Don’t Forget the Lyrics on Ten at 7.30 to 8.30pm, 592,000. Even a third of the audience watching BB wouldn’t stay around for this manufactured rubbish: and you’d wonder about those who did. How bad was it? Well Grand Designs, on the ABC from 6.05pm to 7pm stars a man called Kevin Cloud who wears coats of the most hideous colour, and yet last night it averaged 608,000 for a fresh ep in a new series. It was more entertaining to the audience than the Lyrics thing on Ten, half an hour or so later in the night. Million Dollar Wheel Of Fortune, 581,000. More expensive than a repeat of Antiques Roadshow and less effective. It almost had more viewers than the Lyrics thing on Ten though. Need I say more?

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Melbourne. Today Tonight won everywhere bar Melbourne and drew Brisbane with ACA. The 7pm ABC news beat Seven in Melbourne in the rankings 36,000, to 34,000. Nine News was on 405,000. In Sydney Nine News deserved to lose last night. Leading with a soft story (but easy) on petrol prices while Seven led on the pe-dophile round up made it a no brainer for viewers. Ten News At Five averaged 898,000, the Late News/Sports Tonight, 345,000. The 7.30 Report, 972,000 (Beat Ten easily); Lateline, 280,000, Lateline Business, 130,000. SBS’s World News Australia, 171,000 at 6.30 pm, 194,000 at 9.30pm. 7am Sunrise, 391,000, 7am Today, 282,000.

The Stats: Nine won with a share of 29.8% (28.9%) from Seven unchanged on 27.9%, Ten was on 19.9% (21.3%), the ABC, 16.6% (16.5%) and SBS, 5.8% (5.4%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, Seven won Brisbane and Perth. Nine leads the week 28.6% to 27.7%. In regional areas a win to Prime/7Qld with 29.0% from WIN/NBN for Nine with 28.7%, Ten through Southern cross, on 21.8%, the ABC on 14.8% and SBS on 5.7%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: The worst mini series for a while ended on the ABC last night. The State Within was a paranoid’s view of the world and deserved to be sunk somewhere on ABC2 where it couldn’t insult our intelligence. Spooks on the ABC tonight comes close, but it reminds me of the phrase, Military Intelligence. So The State Within is in the same league as unbelievable cr*p. That the ABC chose to run it at 8.30pm and it ended up as a lead in to Q and A at 9.35pm probably means the wrong sort of demographic was watching. The State Within averaged from the mid-400,000s to the mid half a million viewers and ended on 512,000 last night. Q And A averaged 473,000, but deserved more: not because our glorious founder Mr Mayne was on, but because it attempts a rational discussion of events that matter to Australians, not some escapist tosh that might feed the fear and loathing of some small segment of the British TV audience. Now it’s to be hoped the ABC gives Q and A a decent lead in so it doesn’t seem as though someone is trying to sink it. Tonight there’s footy for the good folk of the AFL and NRL gene pools. There’s a bit of entertainment on the ABC, and Better Homes And Gardens on Seven and The Collectors on the ABC. Ten has the second worst Big Brother Show of the week. Tomorrow night and Sunday, consult your guides, but there is more football, and remember, it’s a long weekend everywhere bar WA, so you can stay up late on Sunday night and sleep in Monday. Nine’s Footy Show averaged 988,000, thanks to a drop to 388,000 for the AFL version in Melbourne (425,000 the week before and 380,000 the week before that). The NRL program had more viewers in Sydney and Brisbane ahead of the State Of Origin next week.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports.