Another CEO at Seven West. For the second time in a year Seven West Media has changed CEOs: Tim Worner, the head of the company’s TV business, replacing Don Voelte, who replaced David Leckie a year ago. The latest change was announced in a statement from Seven West to the ASX.
The move comes as Seven’s grasp on the ratings leadership in Australian TV is being questioned after a couple of high-profile reality-style programs have bombed at great expense. Worner takes over the top job from July 1; Voelte remains on the board and will become deputy chairman. In the statement, chairman and controlling shareholder Kerry Stokes said:
“Don has always been quite clear that his management role at Seven West Media was only for the short-term and that his job was to put in place the structures and people that allowed the company to meet the challenges of the future. He was honest. He was right on his timings. He has delivered. Don is an outstanding business executive and on behalf of the board, our people, and our shareholders, I thank him. Don will remain closely involved with Seven West Media and I look forward to his continuing role with the company.”
Not mentioned is the current ratings blip Seven has encountered with the dud property renovation program House Rules, plus weak ratings nationally for the 6pm news (especially in Sydney and Melbourne) and Today Tonight. Worner’s appointment is likely to decide one way or another if Seven continues with Today Tonight in 2014, or whether it is folded into an hour-long news and current affairs program between 6pm and 7 — which Seven ran as a test in January.
Celebrity Splash was another low-rating flop for Seven in the past month. It and House Rules have gotten people in TV land wondering if Seven’s seven years at the top of the TV ratings pile is under threat. Seven would deny it, but there are a number of holes in the schedule. Sunrise in the morning has weakened, along with stalwarts like Revenge and Packed To the Rafters. — Glenn Dyer
Fact-check: Holmes to retire. Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes will retire from the ABC in July after more than 30 years at the public broadcaster. Holmes had applied to be the face of the ABC’s new fact-checking unit but decided to withdraw from the race yesterday. He says he wishes the ABC well in its search for a presenter.
“I decided after much thought that I need to get away from the daily news round, not plunge further into it, and that I would rather explore other options,” Holmes told Crikey. “As things now stand I expect to retire from the ABC shortly after handing over the Media Watch chair to Paul Barry in early July.”
Holmes began his career at the BBC and joined the ABC in 1982 as executive producer of Four Corners. Stints as the EP of Foreign Correspondent and the 7.30 Report followed, as well as a posting to Washington. Holmes, who took over as Media Watch host in 2008, has been nominated for five Walkleys but is yet to snag a trophy. — Matthew Knott
Ratings: Spencer gone, Jones on top. The release of the third lot of radio ratings for Sydney this morning was overshadowed by the surprise news that ABC Local Radio breakfast host Adam Spencer will step down on December 6. Spencer retained his second spot in the breakfast slot for 702 (behind Alan Jones on 2GB) in the latest ratings.
The news means the ABC is now on the hunt for a new breakfast host for 2014. Early contenders include a double-header of Angela Catterns and Wendy Harmer, who have filled in for Spencer (Catterns has even filled in on ABC Classic FM, a long way from her Triple J start). Philip Clark, who has already done evenings and mornings on 702, could be in the frame, and there’s talk of a couple of contenders from Triple J (where Spencer and Catterns came from originally).
The new ratings show 2GB again dominated, rising 1.6 to 15.9. That was led by gains for the screamers in Alan Jones (up 1.3 to 17.0), Ray Hadley (up 1.9 to 18.9) and Chris Smith (up 1.9 to 14.1). Spencer added 0.4 to end on a share of 12.2, second behind Jones. Linda Mottram (ABC mornings) fell 0.2 to 7.9, but 702 was up in afternoons (0.7) and drive (0.9). Overall, 702 edged up 0.2 to 9.9 and second behind 2GB. 2Day FM fell 0.2 to 8.7, with breakfast hosts Kyle and Jackie O shedding 0.6 to 9.6. Fairfax Radio’s 2UE added 0.4 to 4.7. In Sydney, Triple J shed a large 1.6 share to end at 5.0 in the survey.
WSFM lost 1.3 to 7.0, while Mix 106.5 added 1.2 to 5.6. Austero’s MMM added 0.1 to be all but steady, against Lachlan Murdoch’s Nova (up 0.2) and Smooth (no change). In Melbourne, Nova lost 0.5 and Smooth rose 0.2. MMM in Melbourne added 0.8 which was the biggest gain of any station in the survey, with the Eddie McGuire-helmed breakfast slot up 0.6.
Fairfax’s 3AW remained on top in Melbourne with 13.1, up 0.3 with gains in breakfast and mornings (Neil Mitchell lifted his share 0.4 to 13.3). ABC 774 remained second behind 3AW on 11.6 (down 0.1); breakfast (14.8, down 0.2) and mornings (Jon Faine, adding 0.1 to 13.3) all finished behind 3AW. — Glenn Dyer
Front page of the day. The latest Oklahoman was only a preview of what was to come: there are reports today of at least 51 people dead after a tornado swept through southern Oklahoma City …