$100,000 prize for whoever cracks the Seasprite story. Gary Johnston, Sydney businessman and owner of electronics chain Jaycar, thinks $50,000 is not enough of an incentive for journalists to look into the bungled Seasprite helicopter deal. That was the reward being offered by entrepreneur Dick Smith for the best investigative story covering the issue – as reported in The Age. Crikey can now reveal that Johnston has decided to add $50,000 to make the reward a substantial $100,000. Johnston told Crikey today he wants to make “all those so-called bureaucrats who make dopey decisions” accountable for their actions. The Government spent over $1 billion on the deal over eleven years before cancelling the contract this year. None of the helicopters were delivered. The project constantly ran into trouble, passing between different contractors and running well behind schedule. Defence insiders were critical of the deal, suggesting the Seasprite helicopters were the wrong choice to begin with and that other models would have been far more useful. “No one’s going to get the blame for it. If they worked for a corporation they’d get fired, but these people have probably been promoted,” says Johnston. The winner of the competition will be decided by a panel of three judges chosen by Smith. — Crikey intern Nidhi Prakash
RIP Jane McGrath. The death of Jane McGrath was front page news across Australia today.
Satin watch. Satin stocks are back up at Sky News after a temporary fall. SKY Business Channel’s Brooke Corte gave us the inside word.
Murder, He Wrote? A Macedonian journalist has been charged with murdering two elderly women — crimes he wrote about for his newspaper — and police said Sunday they were investigating his possible involvement in a third death. Vlado Taneski was transferred to Tetovo prison Sunday after a court in the northwestern town of Gostivar ordered he be held for 30 days while police investigate, police spokesman Ivo Kotevski said. Taneski also was being questioned about a fourth woman who has gone missing, the spokesman said. — International Herald Tribune
Bumper sticker seen in Sydney.
Last week’s ratings: ABC on the up and up. A win for Seven over Nine last week, with the ABC again posting a season best share in All People from 6pm to midnight. Seven also won the 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 groups. Ten won the 16 to 39s. More important thought was the performance by the 7pm ABC News Monday to Friday. It beat Nine into second place in the news rankings behind the dominant Seven Network’s 6pm news Seven News was the 4th most watched nationally with 1.575 million, the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.212 million in 24th spot and Nine News averaged 1.201 million in 31st spot. The ABC News was second in Sydney behind Nine but beat Nine and Seven in Melbourne to become the most watched news service Monday to Friday. It must be galling for Nine, and to a lesser extent, Seven to be beaten by the under-resourced ABC News. The performance of Nine News calls into question the performance of two Nine executives: News and Current Affairs boss, John Westacott, who levered himself into the role after Gary Linnell was bumped out (and he replaced Mark Llewellyn who was ‘boned’ by Eddie McGuire and others). The other Nine executive whose performance is being questioned is Ian Cook, the returned Nine News director in Sydney. Of the three PBL media stations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Sydney’s 6pm news is the weakest and has been all year. But Tracy Grimshaw and A Current Affair managed something fill-ins Eddie McGuire and Leila McKinnon couldn’t do — take a night off the dominant Today Tonight . ACA won Friday night with 1.247 million viewers to Today Tonight ‘s 1.219 million. That said, over the full week it was a weaker performance by ACA compared to what Eddie McGuire did the week before. ACA finished last week with an average audience of 1.172 million and Number 33 spot, to Today Tonight with 1.414 million and 13th spot on the national rankings list. The week before, Eddie McGuire lifted the program to Number 27 and more than 1.2 million viewers, thanks to two interviews with Roberta Williams. Nine’s Today Show averaged 278,000, Sunrise a low 344,000. The gap of 66,000 is the narrowest for some time. Seven won the week with 28.2% (26.7%) from Nine with 26.7% (28.5%), Ten with 20.7% (20.5%), the ABC with 18.8% (18.3%) and SBS with 5.6% (6.0%). Nine won Sydney but Seven won Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The ABC’s share of 18.8% was the highest so far this year in ratings. — Glenn Dyer
Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners: Seven News topped the list with 1.774 million, with 60 Minutes next with 1.762 million and Schapelle Corby: The Hidden Truth next with 1.612 million from 8.30pm to 10.30pm. Nine’s 6.30pm program, Domestic Blitz was next with 1.506 million and Nine News was 5th with 1.474 million. Seven’s Battle of The Choirs averaged 1.344 million, and Gladiators averaged 1.264 million at 6.30pm (and Seven is making another series). Grey’s Anatomy departed the 8.30pm slot with 1.259 million and Wild China averaged 1.065 million at 7.30pm for the ABC. The eviction on Big Brother averaged 1.053 million people. Mansfield Park on the ABC at 8.30 pm averaged 856,000.
The Losers: Big Brother managed to remain over a million viewers for the eviction episode, the 6.30pm program, 859,000 and fourth place behind the ABC’s Einstein Factor at 6.30pm (936,000) and then the 7pm ABC News with 1.207 million viewers. Flight of The Conchords on Ten, 388,000. Rove averaged 896,000 but seems to be on the improve.
News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Sydney and Adelaide. Nine used the NRL game to boost its Sydney news audience, Seven used its AFL game in Melbourne. Ten News averaged 838,000 viewers. The 6.30pm edition of SBS News, 235,000. In the morning Early Weekend Sunrise from 7.30am, 186,000, Weekend Sunrise from 8am, 410,000. Landline on the ABC at noon, 276,000, Compass last night at around 10pm, 259,000. Insiders at 9am on the ABC, 178,000, Sunday at 7.30am on Nine, 135,000, Inside Business at 10am, 135,000, Offsiders at 10.30pm, 134,000. Ten’s Meet The Press at 8am, 64,000.
The Stats: Nine won with a share of 34.9% (30.4%) from Seven with 25.8% (27.9%), Ten with 18.1% (18.5%), the ABC with 16.3% (19.2%) and SBS, 5.0% (4.1%). Nine won all five metro markets and also won big in regional areas with 39.7% for NWIN/NBN, from Prime/7Qld with 22.5%, the ABC third with 16.4%, the Southern Cross (Ten) with 16.0% and SBS with 5.4%. What’s interesting about those figures is that Schapelle Corby: The Hidden Truth drained viewers from Seven, and the ABC in most part. Ten wasn’t a big loser and in fact Nine helped it avoid a 4th place finish behind the ABC. The SBS audience didn’t care and there were some from other networks who moved there.
Glenn Dyer’s comments: In a strange way Schapelle Corby: The Hidden Truth on Nine was compelling TV: Car crash TV in a way. But to compare it to the Sylvania Waters family on the ABC was wrong; they were Australians not accused of any crime, just living a life that many found (for class reasons) objectionable. Sylvania Waters might have been an early example of what we now call Bogan TV; but it was no where as crass as the way the Corby family and its friends were portrayed last night. Just why the Corby family allowed themselves to be exposed like that is another thing. The Corby doc would be valued at $2.0 million to the network, against which it would have to write revenue. A doco would cost less, even for two or three year’s work. Docos are one-off broadcasts in many cases, so the revenue gain is smaller, but so is the cost. Tonight on TV: Top Gear on SBS, Andrew Denton talking to dame Elizabeth Murdoch, nothing on Ten except Good News Week and the final episode of How To Look Good Naked . Seven shows holes in its schedule by running a second Criminal Minds tonight at 8.30pm (it also runs Wednesday nights against Spicks and Specks and The Gruen Transfer on the ABC). Seven is doubling episodes of Boston Legal from 9.30pm to 11.30pm — autopilot programming. Nine has the final Sea Patrol.
Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports