Packed a punch. The Seven Network’s Packed To the Rafters became the year’s first regularly scheduled weekly program to top the 2 million viewer audience figure last night. It averaged 2.045 million and helped Seven to a clear win on the night over Ten and then Nine, and ensured Seven wins the week.

The program added 100,000 viewers to its strong debut last Tuesday night of 1.945 million viewers. It was the only program to top 600,000 viewers with 680,000 viewers in Sydney and 633,000 in Melbourne (who could spot it was made in Sydney, perhaps).

Its high audience share was in contrast to the 1.161 million who greeted and stayed with the first episode of Rush on Ten at 9.30 pm. That will keep it on the network as its being produced for the slot, but comparing it to Seven’s City Homicide, which is also shot in Melbourne, was about as different as the station numbers.

Packed To The Rafters stood out: some solid acting, some contemporary story lines (drug taking: ice. Alcohol abuse, lack of privacy, divorce retrenchment/resigning from work). And for most of the hour it again didn’t feel strained. The tidy up at the end was a bit too cute, but it was good enough. I would preferred a bit of dark left in a character or two, but without going down the Home And Away path to the soap dish. For whatever reason, Packed To the Rafters has hit a very big chord with viewers, much in the way that the ABC’s Sea Change did. — Glenn Dyer

Fairfax cut # 307 — the legal team:

From: Staff Notices
Sent: Fri 29/08/2008 8:45 PM
Subject: Legal Team

Dear Colleagues

I wanted to let you all know directly what is happening with the Legal department in the context of the corporate restructure announced last Tuesday.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sun-Herald and other NSW mastheads in the Australian Print and Publishing division have decided to outsource the pre-publication and case management work presently done by the Editorial Legal unit. As a result Mark Polden and Pat Batistic will be leaving the Company on 1 November. Mark has been with the Company for almost 15 years and Pat has been here for 21 years. Both have made a huge contribution to the editorial team and to the mastheads. I personally will miss them a great deal and wish them the very best in their next adventures. Richard Coleman will be staying with the Company and within the Legal team but will be moving to Level 1 to work with Fairfax Business Media.

Despite rumours to the contrary I am not going anywhere and there are no changes to the rest of the Fairfax Legal team overall.

Best wishes,

Gail Hambly
Group General Counsel/Company Secretary

ABC/Age PR love in: Today’s Age ‘My Media Diet’ regular segment features ABC’s Mark Scott. He manages to nicely spruik ABC’s iView service, ABC Now service, ABC website & 7.30 Report, Q&A and The Hollowmen, and various ABC radio presenters. Top salesman.

Neil Walker

Thais skirt media crackdown, for now. Thai media was watching and waiting Tuesday as Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej declared a state of emergency that threatened to clamp down on their ability to report the news.—THR

SABC reporters ‘not assigned on basis of politics’. South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) reporters are not assigned to stories on the basis of their political allegiance, the national broadcaster said on Monday. It was reacting, in a statement, to reports that journalists have either been pulled from stories or demoted as a result of their support for Jacob Zuma. — Mail and Guardian

Social Media Proves Itself as Emergency Tool. When Robert Peyton joined the micro-blogging service Twitter during its earliest days in 2006, it was just a place to rave about New Orleans’ finest eateries and keep in touch with friends. But as the 39-year-old lawyer tried to keep tabs on Hurricane Gustav and the fellow New Orleanians whose lives were upended by the storm, the service turned into an invaluable source of information, he said.—abc news

Bad impression: Did the media take swipes at Sarah Palin? First impressions count a lot. The media coverage last week introduced the Republican and, to a much lesser extent, the Democratic vice presidential nominees to the American people. The coverage not only tells us something about how people will view the candidates, it also tells us something about the media and the parties themselves. — Fox News

Peter Fray

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