In what must be one of the most low-key, yet heated rivalries in the AFL, Sam Newman has thrown another barb at Before the Game panelist Samantha Lane.
Channel Ten was successfully sued this week for $85,000 after Nicole Cornes accused Mick Molloy of damaging her character after he implied that she slept with an AFL player.
Sam Newman, obviously still holding a grudge after she wrote a critical piece slamming the Footy Show for their treatment of women, blasted Samantha Lane tonight for not writing a similarly condemnatory piece about her colleague Mick Molloy (she sits next to him on the Ten program).
Of course, this is not the first time Sam Newman, or in fact the Footy Show has accused Samantha of double standards. After she wrote her piece, The Footy Show highlighted how Samantha (who admittedly probably wasn’t responsible for writing the joke) laughed as the Before the Game team mocked at-the-time AFL player Nick Stevens for his apparent weight issues.
Tonight, Sam Newman began by calling Samantha “Sally Lane” and bringing up Mick’s trial verdict, and musing “I though she would probably come out with a piece (condemning Molloy)”.
But then he jokingly mentioned that it “…takes a couple of weeks for her to get outraged”.
He brought up again the fact that she “pasted” them over their actions, finally accusing her of “Selective outrage”, or double standards, given “she works on the same show (as Molloy)”.
He finished by saying “Maybe, Sally, you could actually write something about the show you’re on”.
Its hard to disagree that Samantha could be accused of only criticising opponents, and reserving public judgement on issues that may affect her employment, it’s difficult to start throwing around phrases such as “conflict of interest”.
Why? Because you’d be hard-pressed to find a media identity in the AFL these days who didn’t have some conflict of interest of some sort.
Eddie McGuire, to name but one, is the most obvious example, due to his status as President of the Collingwood Football Club, as well as the host of a Monday to Friday breakfast radio show, where he puts forth opinions, as well as breaks news about other clubs.
However, a more pertinent example would be none other than James Brayshaw. He is the President of the North Melbourne Football Club, but also has a drive-time radio show, calls the football on weekends and also hosts TWO football TV shows.
And though Sam Newman criticized Samantha for “selective” outrage, he could just the same point the same finger at the bloke next to him.
Only a couple of months ago, Sam Newman himself was the subject of a warning from ACMA over some “racist” comments he made about a Malaysian man.
In case you needed reminding, Sam Newman blatantly called the man a “monkey” and said he was “not long out of the forest”.
However, on the night, neither James Brayshaw or Garry Lyon made any attempt to castigate him (on air), let alone silence him- something, many may argue was in their best interests.
However, like Samantha Lane, Brayshaw is very willing to (rightfully) condemn others for similar displays of racism (he criticized a man who racially abused AFL player Majak Daw), only in Brayshaw’s case, he used the forum of his radio show, rather than a regular newspaper column.
Brayshaw would hardly have been expected to criticise Sam Newman in a similar way, so why should Sam be expected? It’s just really double standards on top of double standards- they’re everywhere, and at the end of the day, both parties come off looking a little silly.
While I don’t expect them to stop anytime soon, this fiery exchange could likely be brought to an abrupt end, with Samantha Lane’s Before the Game in great doubt for next year- so maybe The Footy Show will get the unlikely last laugh.
Here is a guide to the upcoming AFL guests on Free to Air TV this week (Round 15 of the 2011 AFL Premiership Season).
Thursday June 30
The Game Plan (One, 8:30pm) will feature Luke Ball, who will hopefully give a further insight into the AFLPA’s pay negotiations. It will also feature Chris Judd.
The Footy Show (Nine, 9:30pm) will feature power forwards Travis Cloke and Jack Riewoldt on the panel.
Saturday July 2
Before the Game (Ten, 6:30pm) will feature Western Bulldog’s midfielder and Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney, as well as fellow Bronlow medallist Chris Judd.
Fraser Gehrig will also appear on Fitzy’s “Draft Camp” segment.
Sunday July 3
AFL Game Day (Seven, 10am) will feature Cameron Ling, Jack Trengove and Steve Johnson.
Monday July 4
One Week at a Time (One, 9:30pm) will have Mark McVeigh sitting on the panel – watch for his comments on the Bombers’ form slump, and whether he still deserves his place in the team.
Today network Ten stated that they would not buy any games off Channel Seven for the 2012 season. This leaves a number of shows and network personalities up in the air.
Many are writing off personalities such as Stephen Quartermaine, Robert Walls, Tim Lane, Anthony Hudson, Michael Christian and Malcolm Blight as being out of a job, however this is not entirely true.
Stephen Quartermaine will surely remain with the network
co-presenting the 5:00 news in Melbourne.
The rest of their futures at Ten look shaky, though.
But the big question mark lingers over Ten’s Before the Game. At this stage, it could go one of three ways;
One: it stays at Ten in its current timeslot- it will still be able to be called Before the Game, as it will air before the 7:30 match on Seven.
Any doubts of having an AFL show on a non-AFL network will surely be dispelled by the fact that Channel Nine has been able to maintain the success of the Footy Show despite not having AFL rights for many years.
It rates well for Ten, constantly challenging Australia’s Funniest Home Videos and often winning its time-slot, so they will want to keep it.
Two: it jumps over to Channel Seven. Seven are reportedly in talks with Roving Enterprises, and it would fit very nicely on their Saturday night schedule.
They would also be able to secure most of the personalities on the panel; Mick Molloy isn’t tied to Ten, nor is Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann, Samantha Lane or Andrew Maher.
The problem lies in the fact that Dave Hughes is tied to the 7pm project, a now fixture of the Ten schedule, and he is one of the show’s main draws.
However, Seven could easily fill the void with Peter Helliar, the bloke they sacked last year as part of The Bounce- and someone who probably would like a high-paying regular commercial TV job again.
It would also give Seven that primetime AFL show that they have desperately wanted for so many years to complement their primetime AFL games.
And of course the third option is that Channel Ten lets the show go with the football rights, which is entirely possible. It has always advertised BTG in conjunction with the match following it, and it might see BTG as being an irregularity in its schedule.
After all, its focus now seems to be on news and semi-edgy current affairs, Masterchef, its stable of US dramas and serious Aussie dramas.
After all, it did ditch the concept of its digital channel One as a sports channel after abysmal ratings.
And speaking of One, it also brings up the point of its three other AFL shows; One Week at a Time, The Game Plan and The Final Siren.
Of the three, OWAAT has been running the longest- it is now in its third year and features Luke Darcy, Robert Walls and Stephen Quartermaine.
The other two shows have premiered this year, and while at the start of the year, it seemed as if Ten was beefing up its AFL content output, as well as adding more home-grown programs to One’s then sport dominated line-up, now pose an immense problem for Ten on both fronts.
Ten could- and probably will- cut all three very easily, and not many people would bat an eyelid, however they do offer alternative viewpoints and are mildly entertaining- there’s just nothing that puts OWAAT near Nine’s Footy Classified (both player, team and issue analysis shows), or The Final Siren near The Sunday Footy Show (both recap shows). The Game Plan is also only for extremely devoted footy fans.
But if its any consolation, OWAAT was the most entertaining of the three.
Of course, needless to say, the Fifth Quarter is done for (the show that aired after Saturday night AFL matches)… So say goodbye to the “Saturday Specials”.
So, I’m hopeful that Ten will hang on to Before the Game, but wouldn’t give much hope to the rest of them, as Ten would likely see this as an opportunity to make a clean break from the sports format of One (and possibly relaunch the Channel with a better, more distinctive logo).
And as for their hosts, I wouldn’t feel too bad for them, they all have second jobs either on the radio or in newspapers to fall back on (with people like Luke Darcy having not only a breakfast show but a weekend calling gig). If only we all had that luxury!
But I hope that this abrupt ending to Ten’s long commitment to AFL doesn’t undermine the great work it did over the years.
At least they broadcast some of their games live, unlike Seven, who try to delay airing their matches every chance they get. They also took their football seriously, and played up rivalries and big matches to great effect.
But most importantly, though it may be a contradiction, they never took the football too seriously, with the calling team establishing a good rapport over the years.
It will definitely be interesting to see how this one unfolds… Stay tuned… Play on…
Right now, Channel Nine is currently in the middle of a full frontal military assault.
It’s called Operation Big Bang.
It involves bombarding viewers with as many Big Bang Theory episodes as possible.
And why? You may ask, surely too much of a good thing is, well, too much… But that isn’t the same way programming execs think.
Especially ones at Channel Nine.
You see, Nine are a desperate network. A network desperate to reclaim their number one title off Seven. They don’t have a massive stable of popular shows like Seven do. Seven have their Border Security type shows, which always pull decent ratings, they have a dominant news element- Today Tonight and Sunrise almost always beat their Channel Nine counterparts nationally; they have a hit Australian drama in Packed to the Rafters, and a promising show in Winners and Losers, they also have solid year-round staple shows such as Better Homes and Gardens.
In comparison, Nine has Underbelly, and the closest things it has to a staple show are 60 Minutes (which is usually trounced whenever a show like Dancing With the Star or MasterChef is up against it) and Australia’s Funniest Home Videos (which is given a good run for its money in Melbourne when it is up against Before the Game).
Yes, Nine is struggling, still. So, you might say, who could blame it for scheduling excessive amounts of hit shows? I’m certainly not, but if they want to extract any sort of longevity out of their popular shows, they need to adopt a different method.
And its not as of they haven’t had the chance to learn from their mistakes;
Year of the Ramsay
Back before MasterChef became popular in Australia, there was one AngryChef that took Australia by storm. His name was Gordon Ramsay. In 2008, after Nine had been scheduling episodes of his “Kitchen Nightmares” UK series without much fanfare, it noticed that it was receiving a bit of attention. Before long, it was receiving pretty good ratings, and also had half of Australian radio talk about it.
Nine, sniffing some ratings blood in the water, went in for the kill, and before long had scheduled three hour long Ramsay episodes a week. And luckily for Nine, there was plenty of Ramsay in the tank (he was, by that time, very successful in the UK). Every week from then on, viewers received, from Tuesday to Thursday, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen and The F Word. Of the three, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares remained the most popular. At one stage, he was even interviewed on 60 Minutes.
However, after many weeks of F-bombs, abusive rants and a bit of trouble with ACMA (which may or may not have been related) viewers grew tired of the foul language… Or just Ramsay’s whole “act”, and began switching off.
Eventually, Ramsay was removed from the schedule altogether (though there is the occasional Nightmare on Tuesday nights, possibly in the hope that Ramsay-fever ignites again?).
And as all shows like this follow a pattern, the death knell finally sounded after Gordon Ramsay appeared on A Current Affair in 2009 and was interviewed by Tracey Grimshaw. He subsequently likened her to a pig at a cooking demonstration. He then received a barrage of criticism, which only served to expose him as a bully (for the few who hadn’t realised it yet).
Two and a Half Thousand Men
Channel Nine had acquired Two and a Half Men many years ago, however it was not until 2009 that it started airing episodes by the dozen- well, ten episodes a week. This included the Monday-Friday 7PM slot, where it really gave Home and Away a scare after its 2008 dominance; new episodes in various timeslots; “Adults Only” episodes and repeats aplenty on GO!. However in the latter half of 2010, ratings began to wane, for no particular reason. Well, no reason apparent to Nine execs. It was simply because viewers were sick of it.
Then came 2011. The year of Charlie Sheen, for all the wrong reasons. Without wanting to go into all of the detail (You can go to any other site right now and read about it – ANY other site).
It may have been a combination of Nine’s oversaturation with the world covering Sheen’s “antics” mercilessly that led to it’s demise, but it was a long time coming.
The prophecy once again was fulfilled, with the death knell being Sheen getting the chop from the sitcom.
Nine bizarrely attempted to revive the flagging show’s ratings by advertising the show by playing up how insane Sheen apparently is. They have recently advertised a new episode as being possibly Sheen’s last ever episode (it was the last one filmed before the meltdown and insults thrown at the show’s creator, Chuck Lorre). They were signs of a desperate network, on the brink of losing a former powerhouse.
And the proof that it is dead (or close to it) is no more evident than the fact that its position in the primetime-heading 7PM slot has been stripped from it, to be replaced by The Big Bang Theory.
Top Gear used to be cool. It used to be a little show on SBS that only a few people seemed to know about (even though it was attracting upwards of 600k viewers regularly).
Which was why Nine was so bloody happy with themselves after yanking Top Gear off SBS in 2010, that they decided to play it to death.
And why wouldn’t they, with early figures for Top Gear attracting very healthy figures. However, they started plugging holes all over the schedule with repeat after repeat- initially to great success. At its peak, Nine was airing 1 episode on Sunday on GO!, 1 episode on Tuesday on Nine, 1 on Thursday on GO! and another on Fridays on Nine.
But now, in 2011, somewhat amusingly, now that they finally have been able to show new episodes, absolutely no one has been interested (no one in TV terms = around 600k).
The death knell hasn’t sounded as yet, but it’s coming.
Basically, the lesson is, Nine, don’t make the same mistake with The Big Bang Theory, a show which still has the respect of viewers.
However, Operation BB is already well underway, so brace yourselves.
Note: In most cases, “Renewal” refers to a show being granted another season in 2012, or later in the year, depending on the show.
The 7PM Project
Once a basket-case in terms of ratings, format and style, it would now be difficult to picture a Ten schedule without “7pm”. It doesn’t exactly set the world on fire every night, but at least it has a natural rhythm and to have a live program on TV every night that isn’t a straight news broadcast is a real novelty that we shouldn’t take for granted.
The Biggest Loser
You’d have to think the Biggest Loser has at least one more season left in it. Especially given Ten’s ability to constantly reinvent it. It isn’t performing terribly and fills a decent amount of Ten’s schedule.
However, Ten would be wise to give it a “rest” after 2012, just like it did with So You Think You Can Dance and Australian Idol.
But at the end of the day, the decision will be made based on ratings. And here are its ratings starting from Week 5 of TBL.
Sunday: 1,076,000 (FIRST in timeslot)
Ten pretty much lurves Chris Brown, as demonstrated by his constant appearances on The 7pm Project. They will find a spot for him in the schedule, no matter what.
Undercover Boss Australia
Ready Steady Cook
Good News Week
The Fifth Quarter
Before the Game
One Week at a Time
Junior MasterChef Australia
It would seem a shoo-in for a third season in 2012, however, Ten would be wary of exhausting a more limited brand than MasterChef, given the whole show operates around a central gimmick: “Wow, those kids can actually COOK.”
In addition, if there is indeed another iteration of Masterchef waiting in the wings (possibly a Masterchef: The Professionals series, such as the one which aired in the UK), you would imagine it would be logical to swap the old for the new to avoid it becoming… stale.
Talkin’ Bout Your Generation
The only uncertainty surrounding this show being renewed for 2012 arises due to Shaun Micallef’s potential piloting of a new show. If this show were to be picked up by Network Ten, it would be hard to envisage 26 episodes of “Your Gen” as well as another 10 episode Micallef show (hypothetically), unless:
The Your Gen quota was lowered to one 13 episode run, or, Micallef were to be replaced as host of the show (unlikely, because he IS the show).
6PM with George Negus
Everyone knows about George’s ratings woes, and on any other network it probably would’ve got the boot by now. It would also be nervous with new interim boss Lachlan Murdoch in charge.
However, it has garnered no shortage of positive remarks in recent times, and Ten would be desperately hoping this translates into at least mediocre ratings soon.
It probably belongs somewhere in the middle of “Low” and “50/50”, but chances of renewal for a fifth season in 2012 at this stage seem shaky. It was lucky to be granted a fourth- to air in 2011- as it drew mediocre ratings for much of its third season. Plot-lines also seem tired.
The fact that Ten was willing to burn off the extra episodes of season three in the TV off-season just demonstrates how little value it is to the network anymore- apart from helping to fill their Australian content quota.
It has only been given a 13 episode run in season four, and you’d have to think, if it didn’t achieve any sort of increase ratings-wise, and Inside Out is renewed for a second season, there will be no need- or value- for Rush in the 2012 schedule.
Don’t Stop Believing
Can of Worms