Archive for February 6th, 2011

Good news for Inspector Morse fans

7Two’s Saturday night screenings of the Inspector Morse series are rating very well, a good sign for the longevity of a series.

Last night Inspector Morse helped Seven to win the night for both secondary channels and the network overall. The Seven Network of stations won the night with 31.5% of the audience, well ahead of nearest rival Nine on 21.7% overall. In the secondary channels, 7Two won the night with 6.3% of the audience, followed by 7Mate on 3.5%, with the nearest rivals being Nine’s Go! (3.2%) and Ten’s Eleven (3.1%).

7Two had the top two shows of the secondary channels in Heartbeat (280,000 viewers nationally, 22nd in overall ratings) and Inspector Morse (246,000 viewers nationally, 28th in overall ratings) ahead of nearest secondary channel shows Peppa Pig (whatever that may be, 210,000 viewers nationally, 32nd in overall ratings) and Air Crash Investigations (which was a great episode last night, 174,000 viewers nationally) 37th in overall ratings.

Ratings, as far as I can tell, are for the capital city markets and don’t include those of us in the “regional” areas like Canberra, but then again regional areas don’t tend to have control over programming.

Source: TV Tonight

So with any luck and a bit of consistent viewing from the devoted fans, we might just get to see the entire series from beginning to end, which would be wonderful.


February 6th, 2011 at 01:40pm

The Sunday Bits for February 6, 2011

And just for a change, it’s happening on a Sunday (can you tell that I don’t have to work today?). To start with today, some happenings in the media.


2UE's 2011 lineup
(image credit: Radio 2UE/Fairfax)

2UE’s new lineup starts tomorrow. To be fair, most (all?) of the new lineup is already on air, so perhaps its really the relaunch which happens tomorrow, apparently complete with new station imaging. The highlight of the relaunch for me is that Jason Morrison will be the new breakfast host. It’s a tough gig, what with the AM dial being dominated by Alan Jones and the FM dial being dominated by (albeit with less listeners than Alan) Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O, but if anyone can pull it off, I expect that it would be Jason as he was more than capable of increasing Alan’s ratings when he filled in for him a number of times.

The real question for both Jason’s new show and the station overall is whether people will make the switch. I suspect that they might, but it will be a matter of patience. I’d rate the chances of the relaunch being successful as higher than Channel Ten’s new news offering attracting a half-decent audience…actually I think the new lineup is a viable alternative to 2GB, but much like Seven News had to wait for Brian Henderson to retire back when Brian Henderson was anchoring Nine News, I think 2UE will need to wait for Alan Jones to retire, which probably makes now a good time to build a viable alternative.

There is one other highlight for me. John Stanley will be hosting a weekend breakfast program (I can think of one person who will be sending me an abusive email after those two sentences, but do please hear me out before you send that email). I have long bemoaned the lack of news/talk programming in the breakfast hours on weekend radio. Hopefully this is the start of a wider shift in that direction among talk stations. The gardening shows are fine as a genre, but they really don’t need to be on every single station. (Now you can send that abusive email…and you gardening show enthusiasts can join in on the action)

I also note that Trevor Long has made the move to 2UE and will have a segment on Tim Webster’s weekend afternoon show (which looks set to be much like his weekday show was, just without the news-based content…Tim’s show is more suitable for the weekend than the weekdays, so good luck to him, although I can’t forgive the station for dropping Clive Robertson in favour of Tim Webster). This, and the fact that The C Team’s website has gone in to a holding pattern, indicates to me that they’ve split for now. This is a shame, but it will be great to have an hour of Trevor talking about technology again.


Over at Channel Seven, speculation that Larry Emdur was about to split for his former station of Channel Nine have been quashed today, with The Sunday Herald Sun reporting that Larry has signed an $800,000 per year contract with Seven.

TELEVISION’S first wage war after the global financial crisis is set to erupt after game show and morning television host Larry Emdur re-signed with Channel 7 on a deal worth well in excess of $800,000 a year.

The new contract stops the popular The Morning Show co-host from defecting to rival Channel 9. It is expected to put pressure on TV executives to bump up salaries for other top-line on-air talent.

Emdur, 46, is now in the same pay bracket as stars including Sunrise host David Koch, A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw and The X Factor judge Kyle Sandilands.

The Sunday Herald Sun understands Emdur’s contract includes continuing his The Morning Show co-host duties with Kylie Gillies.
[Seven] refused to discuss details of Emdur’s new contract.

(h/t Richard Clune, The Sunday Herald Sun)

This pleases me greatly. I’m not a big fan of The Morning Show, but Larry does have great on-air chemistry with Kylie Gillies and the two do make the show quite watchable. Larry has also proved himself to be very capable of anchoring serious news coverage, as evidenced during the recent Queensland floods and various political happenings such as the day that Julia Gillard called the election or the day that she took over as Labor leader (or was Sunrise extended that day? I don’t remember which show was on when that happened any more). I would expect that he will be required to do more work now that he is being paid more, so hopefully this includes a bigger role in news coverage…or perhaps Seven can take up my idea of having Wheel Of Fortune as a part of The Morning Show, with contestants being plucked at random from outside the Martin Place studios and the infomercial products being given away as prizes.

I’ve always liked Larry as a game show host, but his recent versatility has really impressed me. He also never fails to entertain me. He had a couple rather funny moments this week, so if you’re looking for a laugh, here they are.

And as evidenced in that last video, Larry now has a dog (or as I would contend, a dog now has Larry)…congratulations Larry, I’m really happy for you…and trust me when I tell you that the dog not only knows that you’re getting a payrise, but now owns part of that payrise (in addition to your house which it took ownership of the other day in a convenient arrangement where you pay all of the bills). Really though, you’ll be very happy, dogs are great. I wish you lots of happiness.


Still in Sydney and the soap opera of the New South Wales Labor Government continues, with Kristina Keneally (to my Las Vegas friends…what the heck did we do to deserve this woman? Can’t you take her back?) today deciding that her best chance at deluding convincing people that they really should vote for her and her utterly abysmal and disastrous failure of a government wonderful team of merry clowns and circus acts is by apologising. Kevin Rudd apologised once and it worked really well for him…he didn’t even get to face the next election as party leader…maybe this is Kristina’s way of getting ousted in one of New South Wales Labor’s regular leader rotations so that she doesn’t get the blame when they lose.

A desperate Kristina Keneally will say ”sorry” to NSW voters for her government letting them down.

The Premier will issue the blanket apology in Labor’s first commercial of the election campaign, to be aired across all TV networks for three days from tonight.

But even Labor elder Bob Hawke has conceded the party would not win the election and would be foolish to believe it could, according to an ABC report.

”It’s difficult to admit mistakes, especially when you’re the Premier,” Ms Keneally begins in a piece to camera. ”But I understand the government was too focused on itself and not focused enough on you. It went off-track and I am sorry.”
The final part of the advertisement introduces what will be Labor’s pitch to the electorate: a ”law” to ”ease the pressure on household budgets”.

(h/t Heath Aston, The Sun Herald/The Sydney Morning Herald)

Hmmm, a law to keep costs down. Sounds like government interference in the private market to me…and with this government’s track record of making bigger and bigger messes between their episodes of soap opera drama (which Kristina is apologising for), what makes her think the people of New South Wales want her government to be more involved in their daily lives? It sounds to me as if she is apologising for her government’s involvement in one breath, and promising more of it in the next.

Bring on March 26, and bring on Barry O’Farrell as the new Premier!


Over in the US, reckless spending and reckless government involvement in the economy and in particular health care is the subject of the Republican’s Weekly Address, delivered this week by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. Keep an ear out for the subtle but effective dig at the Obama administration’s bizarre use of the word “investment” instead of “spending” in recent weeks.


Elsewhere in the states, erstwhile talk radio host Heather Kydd launched her blog this week, cleverly titled “I Kydd You Not”. Well worth a read, and I’ll be adding it to my regular reading list.

I see that Heather has listed herself as a “former radio host”. Well, this blog thing is great, but I hope that the “former” doesn’t stay in her bio for long.


I suppose I should address the situation in Egypt. It’s hard to know which side to support in this. On the one hand a decent proportion of Egyptians seem to want President Hosni Mubarak to step down, and it is their country and democracy is a good thing, but on the other hand Hosni Mubarak is a good ally, and we’d have no hope of either democracy in Egypt or security for our friends in Israel if the Muslim Brotherhood take over in Egypt, a prospect which is alarmingly likely.

The country has reached a good compromise position a few days ago. Hosni Mubarak agreed to not run at the next election. Now if the aim is to get him out of power and to democratically elect someone else, this should be enough, but the protests have continued and Hosni Mubarak’s entire government has quit, Mubarak excluded. This still doesn’t seem to be enough for the protesters, which makes me wonder about their real intentions and the likelihood that the continuation of the protests is being fuelled by the Muslim Brotherhood who would, if given the chance, implement a murderous regime under Shariah Law. (h/t Jim Ball for the link to the article from the Centre For Security Policy)

It has also been interesting to watch the mainstream media refer to Hosni Mubarak’s administration as a “regime” with all of the negative connotations that go with the word. It’s clear what side they’re on, but if this continues and Egypt completely destabilises and collapses in to complete chaos or a real dictatorship (Mubarak’s administration is corrupt and overbearing, but does not qualify as a real dictatorship), will the mainstream media own up to their role in urging it on and accept the guilt which follows? No, I didn’t think so.

My stance on Egypt’s current turmoil is simple. Hosni Mubarak has agreed to step down at the next election in September. At worst, this should be allowed to play out. At best, the election should happen sooner depending on the government’s ability to set up an election at short notice. As much as I would love to be able to say that external governments (the U.S. in particular, but definitely not the U.N.) should help out with setting up the election if requested, I can’t suggest that as the only thing this will cause is allegations of corruption from the losing side.

Continued violence and unrest indicates to me that the protests are being fuelled by undesirable elements that are using the anti-Mubarak angst to achieve their own ends, and I guarantee you that those ends are entirely unhelpful and potentially dangerous to us here in Australia and other western countries.


Finally, I joined the iPhone revolution this week. Why did I do this when I have previously refused on the grounds that I don’t really want to be THAT connected (a funny stance for somebody who had to defend his stance on the iPhone being “revolutionary” when it was first announced), and that my existing phone was more than sufficient for my (minuscule) calling and texting needs? Well, of my old Nokia with the monochrome green display, this was perfectly true, but it was stolen and has not been recovered (and to be honest, I had further evidence about the theft which the police were not remotely interested in receiving).

After going without a phone for a couple months (it was a nice break) I bought a cheap slightly more modern Nokia. Alas its battery life is pretty awful, something which I attribute partially to the fact that I work in an environment where mobile reception is patchy at best and the phone spends a lot of time searching for a mobile signal. I also use almost none of my phone credit each month, so it seems like a waste of money.

With the iPhone, I can justify a poor battery life (at least the phone will be doing something worth of poor battery life) and will take the place of my iPod, being charged in the car, which should alleviate battery problems. I also have some chance of making some use of my monthly data and call allowances from my minimum spend, making it less of a waste of money each month (this morning, for example, on my wee-hours-drive-because-I-couldn’t-sleep, I streamed a couple hours of Rush Limbaugh‘s archived Friday show)…and I can stream the Fox News Channel…I’m sold!

One other thing which occurred to me is an idea for a video podcast (no, I’m not going to call it a “vodcast”, silly word that it is) where I will intermittently rattle off some thoughts while I’m on the road. I did a test run yesterday which proved the viability of the idea, a frame of which, shot while I was going through the Parliament House tunnel, is below.

Samuel, February 2011

Oh, and I reinstalled Gimp recently, so I can now save PNG image files once again, something which I haven’t been able to do since the capability somehow broke some time back on my laptop and I only just got around to fixing it. This makes probably little or no difference to you, and maybe I should have held it over as useless information, but I have something else lined up for that this week.


February 6th, 2011 at 09:00am

Friday’s lunch and Inspector Morse

Good morning John,

It was wonderful to hear Stan singing not long ago. I always look forward to hearing Stan sing songs for you…and do you know who I miss hearing? Billy The Kid…some of his singing was a bit odd at times, but always entertaining.

I'm sorry that I couldn't make it to your lunch on Friday. I had the day off from work but finished lateish on Thursday night and had many things to do on Friday. Maybe next time. It's been a while since I managed to get to one of your lunches, so I'll have to try to get to one of them this year. I hope that the hot weather didn't detract from the lunch.

And I was very interested to hear you mention that it's Kevin Whately's birthday today. I was watching him in Inspector Morse last night. In fact there were a couple other great actors in the show last night. Roberta Taylor (Inspector Gina Gold from The Bill) and Nicholas Bell who has been in all sorts of Australian shows. My favourite role of his was as the assistant to the Olympics Minister in "The Games". Did you know that John Clarke and Gina Riley from The Games have been commissioned to produce a British version in the lead-up to the London olympics? It will be on Channel Nine at some stage.

I hope that you have a wonderful week.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

February 6th, 2011 at 12:52am

Generic readings and psycho predictions

An email to 2GB’s Glenn Wheeler

G’day Glenn

I’m very glad that you’ve brought back the generic readings and psycho predictions this week. I laughed all the way through it last week. It reminds me of the crazy woman at the other place, except that you’re much much MUCH more interesting and entertaining.

Have a wonderful week Glenn. I see televisions in your future on days starting with M, T, W & F.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart

February 6th, 2011 at 12:36am


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