The Oz backs away from TT comments. The Australian has been forced to eat humble pie and remove claims about why Today Tonight producer, Andrew Bourke, is leaving. The media pages in The Oz on Thursday led with the item, which was entitled: “Seven sees the back of Bouke.” The pointer from the front page screamed “Corby Latest… TT‘s producer walks plank”. Crikey pointed to the item and suggested there might be legal action over it. The item has now been replaced. But the offending comments still remain in the public arena via the publication in yesterday’s edition… — Glenn Dyer

Newman stunt pays off. While the Nine Network has yet to apologise publicly for Sam Newman’s abuse of women in AFL clubs and for his abuse of AFL writer, Caroline Wilson, it will sit back and smile today as Newman’s very public return to the AFL Footy Show paid off. Lots of free publicity, from a stage-managed apology on the Nine News in Melbourne on Wednesday night, to plenty of space in the Thursday morning newspapers, warmed up the audience for his return. Can’t say the man was contrite though. His red devil outfit made it pretty obvious that the whole return was planned well ahead of time, as so much of what we see for ‘news’ on TV these days really is, especially when it involves media personalities.

Nevertheless, the Newman return worked and the audience for the  Footy Show jumped from 352,000 a week ago to 454,000 last night. It was the most watched show in Melbourne and nationally and helped Nine re-establish its usual solid Thursday night lead over Seven in Melbourne and nationally: which is what Nine and CEO David Gyngell would have been hoping for. And The Footy Show national audience climbed above 1 million viewers again, even if the audiences for the NRL programs in Sydney and Brisbane were nothing to write home about. — Glenn Dyer The week that news forgot. News — just a free ad really. Or at least that’s what it felt like this week. When not whipping out the chequebook, Channel Nine spent most of the week plugging its own programs through the news, with Channel Seven attempting to boost the figures of Today Tonight along the way. Channel Nine “News” started the week with the story of Wayne Carey and his girlfriend, Kate Neilsen. This linked neatly to Ray Martin’s interview on 60 Minutes. The network was criticised for judging their Carey story more important than any coverage of Jane McGrath. On Monday night, Peter Hitchener offered an apology for the “technical issues” which led to this scheduling. The line-up on Monday night in Sydney began with Jane McGrath and Belinda Neal (and her leaking staff member — as featured on ACA). Schapelle Corby featured third, well before news of a possible cure for Parkinson’s Disease, child neglect and Zimbabwe. The next night, Nine News in Sydney served up another Schapelle Corby story in preparation for their doco that night. To be fair, Corby was all over most of the networks on Tuesday with news of her trip to hospital to be treated for depression. The story on Nine was followed by a mention of the documentary The Hidden Truth due to air that night. The AFL Footy Show, with Sam Newman’s apology for groping a mannequin, was the thing to push on Wednesday night in Melbourne. With mentions in Melbourne, Darwin, Adelaide and Hobart, news of Newman’s return to the show was hard to miss. The story mentioned that Newman’s apology was not a publicity stunt. Ok. The line-up was oddly similar to Monday night in Sydney – a Jane McGrath story followed by a story lending itself to self-promotion. Channel Seven News, by comparison, played it pretty safe this week. They did engage in some self promotion on the Tuesday night news in Melbourne, when the boyfriend of Zarah Garde-Wilson, a Today Tonight interviewee, was arrested for spray paint attack on a Versace store in Crown Casino. Nine News may wonder why it’s consistently outrated by Seven (while ABC News nips at its heels). Perhaps if it gave its readers some news… — Crikey intern Nidhi Prakash

Blog heaven, destination Denver. When bloggers arrive to cover the Democratic National Convention this August 25-28 in Denver, they will have, for the first time, a central location to capture the nonstop action: The Big Tent, a new media center created by local organizations, national blogs, Digg, Google and YouTube. “We’re creating a central place for bloggers, new media journalists, and nonprofit leaders to have the resources they need to cover an important national event, as well as the opportunity to share ideas and talk about the critical issues facing our country,” said Bobby Clark, Deputy Director of ProgressNow, a Denver-based organization that will co-host The Big Tent along with Daily Kos, The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, and its sponsors, Digg, Google, and YouTube. — Daily Kos

Last night’s TV ratings
The Winners:
Seven News was tops with 1.489 million, with Nine’s Getaway up to second with 1.333 million and Today Tonight 3rd with 1.320 million. Nine’s repeat of Two and a Half Men averaged 1.178 million at 7pm and Hell’s Kitchen averaged 1.176 million at 8.30pm and won the slot. Home and Away was 6th with 1.176 million viewers as well and the 7pm ABC News was just behind with 1.168 million. Seven’s 8pm program My Name Is Earl averaged 1.142 million for 8th spot and 9th was the Nine News with 1.112 million. A Current Affair was 10th with 1.089 million people and How I Met Your Mother was 11th for Seven at 7.30pm with 1.085 million. The Footy Shows were a combined 12th with 1.059 million, Law and Order SVU averaged 1.057 million for 13th and last was Bones at 8.30pm for Seven with 1.040 million.

The Losers: Sadly, Big Brother, again. 797,000. The new episode of Futurama at 7.30pm, 843,000, the repeat at 8pm, 764,000. Ten’s audience lifted by almost 300,000 when Law and Order SVU started at 8.30pm. Hint to Ten: viewers want programs a bit more entertaining, a bit more demanding, even in the 16 to 39 and 18 to 49 target demos. Seriously!

News & CA: Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Brisbane. Today Tonight won everywhere as well. The 7pm ABC news beat Nine nationally in the rankings and in Sydney where it was second behind Seven. The 7.30 Report averaged 973,000 nationally and in Sydney had 308,000 viewers, which was more than A Current Affair which had 299,000. That is a turn up and a rare even. Ten News averaged 885,000, the late News/Sports Tonight, 415,000. Lateline, 272,000, Lateline Business, 144,000. SBS News at 6.30pm, 180,000, the 9.30pm edition 154,000. 7am Sunrise up to 368,000 for Seven, 7am Today up to 299,000 for Nine.

The Stats: Nine won 6pm to midnight all people with a share of 30.0% (27.7%) from Seven with 26.4% (27.0%), Ten with 21.1% (21.5%), the ABC with 17.6% (18.8%) and SBS with 4.9% (5.1%). Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Seven won Brisbane and Perth. Nine leads the week 29.7% from Seven with 27.2%. In regional areas Nine won with WIN/NBN with 31.2% from Prime/7Qld with 26.7%, Southern cross (19.8%), the ABC with 16.9% and SBS with 5.4%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: In most respects an average night except for Sam Newman’s return to the AFL Footy Show and the boost it provided to Nine in Melbourne and nationally. Tonight: Better Homes and Gardens, Silent Witness/Spooks. More football and tennis tomorrow and tomorrow night with the Rugby on Seven and Foxtel. More sport and other stuff on Sunday and the European Football Championship final Monday morning on SBS at 4am — Spain vs Germany.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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