Much ado about polygamy. Talkback bigots are having a field day with the AAP and ABC story about Sheik Khalil Chami and Keysar Trad, both of whom reckon marriage laws should be amended to allow for polygamy. The Herald-Sun’s website even has a graphic showing what appears to be a woman wearing a black veil kneeling.

I’m not sure where they got it from, but I haven’t seen many Aussie Muslim women wearing veils like that. Most papers reported the story as “2 members of Sydney’s Islamic community”. But The Australian decided to change this to “MEMBERS of Australia’s Islamic community” (emphasis mine), as if the two individuals spoke on behalf of ALL 360,000-odd Aussies inclined to tick the “Muslim” box on their census forms. Let’s see if Albrechtsen and/or Devine and/or Sheehan will write an opinion piece claiming Muslims are involved in a devious conspiracy to turn Australia into an Islamic caliphate run by some dude who probably looks like some dude George Negus likes to hug. — Irfan Yusuf

Loss of Alan Jones is a win to Today . Not only is the Alan Jones influence in Sydney radio diminishing, but his absence from Nine’s Today show has had a positive impact, a reaction that directly contradicts the assertion from Jones’ mates last year that the decision to drop him would backfire on Nine. David Flint, a long-time supporter of Jones prophesied last year that Today would be the loser after Jones was turned out. Something about Today losing its “intellectual gravitas”. Well, as Jones’ audience deserts him and 2GB, viewers are returning to the Today show.

Since Jones was punted from his spot around 7.15am, Today ‘s audience has slowly risen, while Sunrise ‘s audience on Seven has shrunk alarmingly from 7am. Yesterday Sunrise beat Today , 351,000 viewers to 315,000. The margin was just 11% but more importantly Today beat Sunrise in Sydney with 124,000 to 114,000 and again in Melbourne with 88,000 to 72,000. If this keeps up, Sunrise will be overtaken by Today by year’s end. The problem for Seven is that its loss of audience from 7am in the past five months or so has been faster than Today‘s gains. Sunrise has had only one or two mornings where its audience was over 400,000 viewers in the past month.

Last year they were regular, five mornings a week and from February onwards that started dropping to four mornings, three, two, one and then none for the past 10 days or so. What’s interesting people in TV land is that there has been little reaction at Seven, or from Seven’s morning wonder producer, Adam Boland. In some respects it’s a repeat of the way Sunrise crept up and then passed Today several years ago, and the way Today Tonight jumped A Current Affair at 6.30pm, and moved past. Both programs are similar but for some reason in the minds of viewers, Sunrise is looking staid and a bit old hat while Today seems a bit crisper. It’s not, that’s just an impression, but they often prove to be the edge. Just look at the way Today Tonight beats ACA.

At 6pm there is a discernible difference between Seven and Nine News. Seven in Sydney for example is crisper, better shot, has more energy and is less ponderous, and Ian Ross has assumed the mantle of the older father figure reader for Seven that Brian Henderson had at Nine until the end of 2002. And the nice, unthreatening Juanita Phillips is also stealing viewers from Nine with a better coverage of news events of the day and a more direct delivery and presentation. — Glenn Dyer

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Australia’s Got Talent averaged 1.733 million, ahead of Seven News in second with 1.576 million and NCIS 3rd with 1.474 million. Today Tonight was 4th with 1.463 million, ahead of All Saints with 1.300 million. 6th was Home and Away with 1.286 million and the second part Schapelle Corby: The Hidden Truth was 7th with 1.279 million. Nine’s repeat of Two and a Half Men was 8th with 1.219 million and the 7pm ABC News was 9th with 1.166 million. The repeat of NCIS at 9.30pm on Ten was next with 1.159 million. 11th was Nine News with 1.139 million and the fresh Simpsons episode was 12th at 7.30pm for Ten with 1.119 million. A Current Affair was 13th with 1.116 million, Nine’s 7.30pm program, 10 to 1 averaged 1.070 million and The Simpsons repeat at 8pm was 15th with 1.053 million. Nine’s 8pm program, Deadly Surf averaged 866,000 and Nine’s 9.30pm program, Medical Emergency averaged 836.00 people.

The Losers: Losers? Big Brother : 4th from 7pm to 7.30pm by a long margin: over 300,000 behind the 3rd placed 7pm ABC News. Apart from that it was a solid night. The ABC audience went missing from 8.30pm.

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market as did Today Tonight . The 7pm ABC News finished second in Sydney and Melbourne in the rankings ahead of Nine and behind Seven. The 7.30 Report averaged 864,000, Lateline , 200,000 and Lateline Business , 121,000. Ten News averaged a solid 902,000 and the late News/ Sports Tonight , 509,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 245,000, 134,000 for 9.30pm edition and 318,000 for Insight at 7.30pm. The margin between Seven’s 7am Sunrise (351,000) and 7am Today (315,000) narrowed noticeably yesterday.

The Stats: Seven won, but the Corby interview stopped Nine from finishing 3rd again, but SBS viewers didn’t care. Seven won 6pm to midnight All People with 28.8% (30.9% a week ago) from Nine with 27.5% (23.3%), Ten with 24.6% (26.1), the ABC with 14.3% (15.4%) and SBS with 4.8% (4.3%). Nine won Sydney, but Seven won Melbourne (where Nine was third, so much for the interest in Corby), Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Ten won 16 to 39 and 18 to 49 from 6pm to 10.30pm. In regional areas a win to Prime/7Qld with 30.4% from Nine through WIN/NBN with 28.9%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 23.3%, the ABC with 12.4% and SBS with 4.9%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: As gripping as it was, the second part of Schapelle Corby: The Hidden Truth, was not enough to win the night for Nine, despite it having more than 1.27 million viewers over three hours from 8.30pm. It dropped 333,000 viewers from the first part on Monday night. It did well in most demographics, except the over 55s, which is understandable. In some respects it was better than the first part as the Corbys were rounded out and the unanswered “Hidden Truth” was left, well, unanswered. Corby ran third from 8.30pm to 9.30pm behind NCIS and All Saints. Its audience then picked up to win the rest of the night, but dropped sharply towards the end.

What was more interesting was the way Nine News and A Current Affair fell in a big heap last night. ACA went to the well again with Melissa Batten, the former Belinda Neal staffer, and had that paid-for interview with Mick Gatto (the item included perhaps the most naive question asked in recent years on TV: “Is there a Melbourne underworld”, reporter Nick Etchells asked Gatto).

Tonight it is The New Inventors, Spicks and Specks and The Gruen Transfer on the ABC from 8pm to 9.30pm, against Criminal Minds and Ugly Betty on Seven, a repeat of House on Ten and Cold Case/Missing Persons Unit on Nine. If Nine wants to continue with Missing Persons it might be time for Mike Munro to go missing and a new presenter found. It has a good, positive message that is being lost at 9.30pm on a Wednesday night.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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Peter Fray
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