The “Westie as Jesus” train chugs along at the Nine Network and in the Sydney media as 60 Minutes ratings hit the lowest ever. After last Sunday, the season average is now 1.255 million, down on last year’s 1.504 million. The peak since 1990 was 2.2 million in 1992.
Today’s Daily Telegraph is a case in point. All this publicity about how Westie will return to save 60 Minutes from its current appalling performance ignores one very salient point: 60 Minutes‘ problems are of his doing. He ripped out any semblance the program had to its original under Gerald Stone by dropping and then completely ignoring investigating stories on behalf of its audience.
That is something the CBS original has never forgotten and it remains a current affairs powerhouse, capable of interviewing Barack Obama, John McCain and Fed Chairman, Ben Bernanke. In Australia, none of their equivalents — Prime Minister Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull or RBA Governor, Glenn Stevens — would never get a look in with 60 Minutes because of the way its reputation has shrunk to that of a ‘flirt’ based star driven purveyor of fluff.
Westie got rid of good reporters like Jeff McMullen and appointed each and every one of the current featherweight crop, all the producers and all the researchers. The thing David Gyngell needs to find is talented new managers to revitalise the program, not give it more of the same.