Fox flogs US Idol to death. Sometimes some TV viewers in Australia think our commercial networks milk their successful programs to the point of annoyance. I have news for you, compared to Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Network, ours are rank amateurs. US official TV ratings finish at the end of next week. On Wednesday night, US time, the finale of American Idol will conclude on Fox for 2009. It will do well and give Fox a win in the key 18 to 49 demographic that is the major one for US TV Networks and advertisers. Fox isn’t doing so well, its audiences are off this year, but Idol is still a huge hit.

To make sure viewers stay with Fox for the week, it’s flogging Idol to death and beyond, if that is possible. According to this PR blurb, Fox is planning no fewer than six episodes of Idol or Idol derived shows. That includes the two night final starting Tuesday and ending Wednesday. Some of the other Idol shows are “Idol’s S-xiest Stars”, “Idol Tonight: Fantastic Finish, The Fashion Team: Idol Tonight Edition”. Remember grown men and women are responsible for these programs.

By the way, while Fox is number one in 18 to 49s, CBS is second and has grown its market share 3%. Fox hasn’t. Overall in All People, CBS is the only network up this year in the US with a 12% improvement. Nine and Ten share CBS’s output here: CSI and Two And A Half Men and The Mentalist on Nine. David Letterman, 60 Minutes (it sells US 60 Minutes stories to Nine). — Glenn Dyer

Adelaide Now apparently missed the 2007 federal election. Judging by their budget coverage of defence, environment, welfare, health, education, family and this one, tax: also appear to be in a two year time warp. Check out the fourth most popular story on today… an article dated April 19 2007:

Crikey intern Amber Jamieson

Lateline Business, behind the scenes. Ever wondered what Ali Moore is like off camera? This footage was captured from their online streaming using screen capturing software by techwired. We assume it wasn’t actually meant to reach the public domain…whoops!


ABC’s banned Gruen ad is the talk of the town. But apparently finding the video is no easy task and we at Crikey are here to help. Here is the Gruen Transfer blurb:

This segment of The Gruen Transfer was scheduled to appear on the ABC-TV program on May 13, 2009. It was not approved for broadcast by the ABC. We are grateful for the ABC’s consent for us to put the material on this website, as it facilitates further debate and discussion.

This is a confronting ad. We at Gruen feel that it may be offensive to some people, but we stand by the fact that The Foundry agency made it with a considered and legitimate intent to persuade Australians to reconsider their prejudices.

And video:

Look out ‘Serious Journalism’ — here comes the Sydney Ideas Quarterly! The Australian “serious media” landscape has been looking rather bleak of late, if you believe some of the recent knicker-knotting over the goings-on at The Monthly Enter the Sydney Ideas Quarterly. Enter very quietly — The Enthusiast hadn’t heard of this new quarterly magazine until yesterday, when its website launched. It’s something of a dark horse. — The Enthusiast

Wall Street Journal staff not allowed to mix “business and pleasure” on Twitter. Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor Alix Freedman e-mail to employees directing how they may and may not use social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Most of it’s common sense. For example, Alix writes that staffers should not “discuss articles that haven’t been published, meetings you’ve attended or plan to attend with staff or sources, or interviews that you’ve conducted.” Things get trickier when Alix says “Business and pleasure should not be mixed on services like Twitter.” — Yahoo Finance

Twitter users to quiz brain surgeons during live operations for UK TV. Viewers will be able to interact live with surgeons via Twitter as they carry out major operations such as heart and brain surgery for a new Channel 4 series. The four-part series, which will air between 25 and 28 May, will involve surgeons taking questions via the micro-blogging website as well as by phone and email to allow viewers to experience the minute-by-minute drama of the operating theatre. Viewers will even be able to speak to surgeons by phone at appropriate points during some of the operations. — Guardian rockets nearly 50 percent in April. Fox News’ online ascent continues, as the network’s formerly lightly-trafficked Web site has significantly improved its numbers for several key engagement scores over the past year as its audience has steadily climbed, according to newly-released data from Nielsen Online. According to Nielsen,’s audience ballooned by nearly 50 percent in April to 15.7 million uniques versus the 10.5 million reached during the same month in 2008. The site reaches over 18 million users when all of its sub-domain URLs are included. — MediaWeek

Washington state government okays tax cut for newspapers. Gov. Chris Gregoire has approved a tax break for the state’s troubled newspaper industry. The new law gives newspaper printers and publishers a 40 percent cut in the state’s main business tax. The discounted rate mirrors breaks given in years past to the Boeing Co. and the timber industry. Newspapers across the country have resorted to layoffs and other cost-cutting moves to deal with a wounded business model and a recession-fueled drop in advertising. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer printed its final edition earlier this year and was converted to an Internet-only publication with a much-reduced staff. — Seattle Times

Innovation gets at little nuts at the New York Times:

NY Times wire offers updated list of newest stories. If scrolling down The New York Times web site for the latest news or awaiting its twice-daily e-mails is not enough, the paper now offers something even more immediate: a continuously updated web page with links to the newest stories posted online as they occur. “Times Wire” is described as “a new way for readers to view the news in a timeline format. Times Wire is a live, reverse chronological feed of New York Times articles and blog posts as they are published online. It updates every minute with real time headlines from across” — Editor and Publisher

The New York Times would like to join you in the living room. In a corner of the research and development lab at The New York Times Co., they’ve prototyped a living room of the future. It’s not as whizbang awesome as you might hope — a lamp glows red or green depending on how the markets are doing — but it does feel like a reasonable conception of Living Room 2.0. Their major bet: as Internet-enabled televisions become more common, people will increasingly choose to consume web material on those huge, high-definition screens. That wouldn’t, on its face, be an advantageous development for the Times, which produces the vast majority of its content in longform text you’d never consider reading on TV. — Neiman Journalism Lab

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey