FIRST there was that publicity shot in the Guide, with Fatty Vautin
standing there, daks dropped about his ankles while a skirted 'Blocker' Roach
did his best to resemble a refugee from the officer's canteen in Prisoner. Then
there was an unfortunate incident at a press conference where F. Vautin Esquire
gave an entirely fresh emphasis to the initial letter of his nickname and got a
return of service from one of Rupert Murdoch's stronger-minded lieutenants.
Then there was the little matter of The Footy Show on Thursday night when the
apparent rise and rise of this hour of lunacy, as Nine promotes it, began to
sag in the ratings. After reaching 467,500 Sydney viewers the week before - no
mean feat for a show with a 9.30 pm kick-off - The Footy Show was down to
Of course, it was lunacy week with league as well but, interestingly, Seven's
The Hard Yards rose from 249,700 viewers the week before to 301,100, although
still no match for Wildlife With Olivia Newton John, which peaked on 584,000.
Fortress Thursday is Nine's answer, having built the so-far invincible
combination of Brian Henderson's news, A Current Affair, Wildlife, ER and The
Footy Show. Top ratings for these programs give it ample strength to reverse any
hiccups it may run into earlier in the week.
Last week, Seven's game show special Endurance II sank without a trace, while
ER soared on an opening peak of 634,000 viewers.
The full effects of the ratings will now be felt as Seven attempts to
regroup. The opportunity to use Doug Mulray opposite ER having been lost, a new
series of Full Frontal will come in at 8.30 pm.
Yet another soapie wedding, between Shane (Dieter Brummer) and Angel (Melissa
George), gave Home and Away a boost on Tuesday night, drawing 592,000 Sydney
viewers to beat a comedians' special on Sale of the Century (526,000).
However, Sale, which is enjoying a particularly strong year, was back on top
the following night, averaging 523,500 Sydney viewers to 462,000.
Nine's 60 Minutes returned to a winning ticket after several weeks chasing
So far, no regular programs have appeared that can catch Blue Heelers
(492,250 viewers average) and Fire (432,250). Nine resumed with Married With
Children (351,500) but was bumped into third place by the two-hour season finale
of Models Inc (376,250 first hour, final average 362,250).
Hefty competition finds G.P. losing its grip. Last week the ABC series did no
better than average 211,500 viewers and may be in irreversible decline. Up to
Thursday night, the ABC's best performer was Heartbeat which, with an average
318,250 viewers, again pushed Beverly Hills 90210 (315,250) into fourth spot.
Best weeknight performers for the ABC was the combination of Keeping Up
Appearances and the 7 pm Richard Morecroft news.