Thursday, June 11, 2009

Act of Contrition

It’s been one hell of a crazy week for TV with controversy never far from the prime time schedule

Over on Nine they managed to have their cake and eat it too with the caustic Gordon Ramsay in country abusing TV personalities both behind their backs and to their faces, somehow Nine managed to spin all the way from whipping the man at the start of the week to hosting his formal apology 3 days later thus “rehabilitating” his image (sufficient to spruik his future projects) and provide days of wonderful newstainment for the gawking onlookers (Myself included!)

After Ramsay’s mea culpa, Tracey Grimshaw gave a reply during which she stated regarding his apology:

"I didn't expect Gordon Ramsay to apologise. I didn't ask for it and I didn't think it would help -- but it has…”

It certainly has helped their ratings, and helped Nine smooth over an ugly scene between one of their top journalists and one of their major imports (well maybe not so much anymore)

If only the ABC could be so creative with their PR, seemingly asleep at the wheel when it came to Chaser airing a skit lampooning the Starlight foundation which gives dying children some moments of joy. Now here’s the thing, the idea behind the sketch itself was not that horrendous, “Make a realistic wish” seemed to be poking fun at the fact that some of the celebrity meetings or trips to Disneyland and other things organised by that group are very outlandish things, where they went completely wrong was somehow making it about the kids by tacking on a line at the end about how “they’re going to die anyway”

Rightly, a lot of people were outraged and unlike the usual shock jock crowd there were a lot of people with sick children who were genuinely offended by the sketch. The ABC waited until after midday on the Thursday to apologise and then took the step of removing the program from the air for two weeks

They were hit significantly in the ratings last night for their decision losing 40.41% on last week’s Chaser and 54.81% on two weeks ago (with no State of Origin in competition) with their hastily scheduled Tracy Ullman series.

Also with the Chaser out of the way ten reaped the benefit with an improved audience for Law & Order SVU up 36.26% on it’s debut 2 weeks ago

Amazing how both networks (ABC and Nine) have a had a major PR problem on their hands in the last week, Nine has dealt with it head on by actually adding content to their schedule with the net result being improved ratings and a sense that they can continue to show both ACA and Gordon Ramsay on the same network with a straight face, whereas ABC has chosen avoidance as their tactic and have paid a huge price in the ratings and there’s no guarantee that viewers will return in two weeks time.

Of course the ratings and commercial considerations don’t matter at the ABC, but when you’re forking out 1 million tax-payer dollars per episode for a show that now needs to be re-tooled, well it will matter to somebody.

The Scoreboard
Wednesday 10 June 2009
Against 2 weeks ago (State of Origin 1 was last week)

Going Down
Tracey Ullman's State of the Union down 54.81% on the Chaser
Spicks and Specks down 11.38%
SVU 9.30 rebroadcast down 10.99%
Prison Break down 9.96% on Lost

Going Up
Family Guy up 47.19% on Russell Brand, up 26.81% on last week
SVU 8.30 All New up 36.26% on debut
ACA up 24.29%
How I Met Your Mother up 12.77% on 10pm Family Guy
Masterchef up 12.7% on two weeks ago
The Simpsons up 10.13% on two weeks ago (previous all new ep)

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