If we were doing the show this week, here are some of the things I would have been talking about:
Glenn Dyer (Terry TV for those who didn’t realise) gave us a nice little Raywatch:
It wasn’t the finest hour for Today Tonight and new host Anna Coren last night. Just ten days after blitzing its bitter rival, A Current Affair, Coren and the program were forced to eat a very humble pie last night.
It seems a reporter named Nicholas Boot (which sounds like a character from the Evelyn Waugh novel, Scoop), bodgied up a particularly graphic story on Tuesday night which claimed that a little old lady in a nursing home was being chained to her bed.
Dramatic stuff but then last night … ooops, no chain. It was all a stunt gone horribly wrong. According to Seven, the little old lady had asked Boot to bring a chain along to the interview to help her make a point.
How that progressed to the idea that she was being chained to her bed (implying that the operators of the home were perhaps responsible) is the subject of investigation.
What it does show is that there is no quality control at TT, no-one running a sniff test across stories and questioning them. It sort of summed up what was a schizophrenic program last night: a very good investigation about a dodgy truck operator in NSW that ran a brave ten minutes or so, the apology over the chain and then two outright plugs for Seven programs or products: Dancing With The Stars (understandable given that it is a big program) and the competition linking Seven’s new program Ugly Betty with Pacific Magazines’ faltering rag, Famous.
Or should that be Fatuous.
First primetime casualty of 2007 – The Code. Nine has “rescheduled” its first primetime program of the year and we haven’t even finished the second week of ratings. The newly developed The Code, an observational police doco series at 7.30pm Monday nights, was flicked after just three outings. Its audience tumbled from just over a million for the first two eps to a low 971,000 on Monday night. With Nine showing the Oscars next Monday night, The Code won’t be back the week after (March 5). What’s Good For You will be returning in its place. The Code was shot with the cooperation of the Victorian Police and the Victorian Magistrates Bench. It was an average attempt to match the observation style developed by Seven with Border Security and The Force, which is shot in Western Australia with that state’s police force. In announcing the return of What’s Good For You, Nine said “The Code remains in production, with additional episodes commissioned for Nine, and this groundbreaking series will return to Nine later this year.” So it is being “rested” rather than “boned”. It won’t be back in the 7.30pm Monday slot which is too important; not unless Nine runs out of product. The statement leaves open the possibility that it won’t be seen until after ratings finish in late November. — Glenn Dyer
ABC considers more Differences of Opinion. There’s speculation that the ABC could add between one and three episodes to its discussion program, Difference of Opinion. It was down to run for 12 weeks and has rated so far 462,000 and 554,000 for the first two showings. But ABC TV sources say the extra programs are not linked to demand from viewers but it would seem Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope probably won’t be back till after June, about a month later than previously believed. The exact number of additional programs is flexible, according to ABC TV sources. — Glenn Dyer
Encore screening for Insight’s Hicks special. SBS has decided to do a special repeat screening of last night’s Insight: Hicks On Trial. It will screen this Friday at 7.30pm (that’s in addition to the normal repeat times of Fridays at 2.30pm and Mondays at 2.30pm). SBS Management has decided to do the special repeat screening because of the strength of the program and the timeliness of the content. Last night, Insight averaged 201,000 viewers, while at 8.30pm, The Trial of Saddam Hussein averaged 210,000 for an hour and then at 10pm, doco The President vs David Hicks, (which is a repeat but wasn’t marked as such in the guides) averaged 233,000 for an hour and half. So did SBS management make the right decision? The President vs. David Hicks would seem to have more appeal on repeat than a fresh ep of Insight. — Glenn Dyer
All via Crikey
Eddie set to swing axe at STW-9
With the sale of Channel Nine Perth to PBL Media set to be negotiated in late March, Eddie McGuire (CEO of the Nine Network) is ready to swing the job slashing axe, numerous TV executives and industry sources have said.
Jobs are expected to be dropped firstly in senior management positions at STW-9. PBL’s eastern states counterparts are expected to take their place.
It’s no secret that Nine’s 6 o’clock news bulletin perfoms dismally in Perth, with Seven’s Rick Ardon and Susannah Carr attracting majority audience share for this timeslot.
STW-9’s local productions Just Add Water and Postcards WA are also under threat. However, McGuire has said the aim for the network’s weakest link is to strengthen the content and revenue base.
PBL offered STW-9’s operators, Sunraysia , $136.4 million for the Perth TV station early last week.
Barber bouncing back on our screens
FORMER quiz king Tony Barber is returning to Channel 9 after 16 years.
Barber, who quit Sale of the Century and the network in 1991, is being brought back to host a night of Sale’s replacement Temptation.
Barber, who has been working on pay TV and as new Carlton president Dick Pratt’s entertainment consultant and MC at Raheen, is confident he has not lost his quizmaster touch.
“Doing quiz shows is like getting on the bike or horse, you just don’t lose it,” Barber said.
He said he could be tempted to return to network television if the right project was offered.
“Quiz shows are my bag, so of course if I were asked to take part in something I’d be checking out the format carefully,” he said.
Barber’s offsider on the show, which will air on Wednesday, March 12, will be his former Sale co-host Alyce Platt. Barber and Platt will take over the show when co-hosts Livinia Nixon and Ed Phillips become contestants for the evening.
When I first read the Barber article, I missed that important a night… I thought our very good friend may have been departing.
That is all for now.