6PM with George Negus

By David Knox on January 25, 2011 / Filed Under Programming, Reviews 58

If 6PM with George Negus wanted to drive home any message, it was simply: this is not A Current Affair nor Today Tonight.

Consumer stories look like they will be returned to sender on this show, and that’s a good thing.

This is actually the second time Negus has fronted a nightly programme in this type of timeslot. George Negus Tonight aired weeknights at 6:30pm on the ABC from 2002 – 2004.

“I’m thrilled to be part of what is a genuinely different way of looking at things that matter, both here in Australia and the rest of the world,” he said.

TEN’s new show led with an interview with PM Julia Gillard -a move most current affairs producers will openly admit is a viewer turn-off. But TEN appeared to be saying “hang the risk factor, we need a point of difference.”

In a  pre-recorded interview about flood recovery, Negus wasn’t able to cut through the Gillard-speak, but she did manage to wish him luck. Even Julia likes George.

It was followed by a story on flood survivors, which didn’t tell us much that was particularly new. Nine and Seven would probably argue they covered such stories around the time the events actually occured, when TEN only managed one day of rolling coverage.

Hamish MacDonald filed a story on teenage girls in the Middle East training to become suicide bombers. It was a good get, if somewhat brief. Negus’ former Dateline would have delved a lot more beyond the brevity of this scoop. It was footnoted with a trademark Negus’ editorial about how suicide contravenes Islamic law.

Hugh Riminton spoke to Negus about Gillard’s standing in the polls. Given we had only just seen her, this was an interesting placement. Riminton will be a significant asset to this programme, with a long track record in news and carrying viewer credibility. He also touched briefly on the findings of the Christmas Island review.

There were brief wraps on Irish politics, the latest turmoil for Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi and a short 7PM style interview with Victoria Cross soldier Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith.

The mix of stories was the show’s best feature, but as The 7PM Project discovered, rushing through them for fear of viewers turning off does nobody any good.

The show also didn’t fulfill its promise to tell us “why?”

Why, on a day when an inland sea is headed towards Swan Hill, for example, are the Victorian floods lacking the same coverage as Queensland? Negus might have told us why news editors are so fearful of flood fatigue alienating their audiences.

Yesterday’s results of the Christmas Island review deserved a lot more analysis, having previously been a story of national interest.

Negus also didn’t land any punches on the first night. Fewer references to his globe-trotting past would be welcome (even George likes George) and the autocue seemed a bit too far for him to relax. Just one news update on 6:30 Evening News is also warranted.

But if history tells us anything Negus is just warming up. This was a promising start to a major reinvention of the 6pm timeslot. Between them, Seven News and Nine News (Melbourne) last night had stories on Tottie Goldsmith, Shane Warne, trainsurfing, and a beach box that cost more than an average house. Why, indeed…..

Briefly, the Melbourne edition of TEN Evening News appeared to be little more than recycled 5pm stories, some local, some national, some international. If it’s going to recap national / international stories, shouldn’t it cover the big ones? The first story on rising prices for fruit and veggies was woefully belated. And one young reporter surely had some first day nerves…

6PM with George Negus airs 6pm weeknights on TEN.


  1. franz chong December 9, 2011 at 3:13 pm -

    Homer Please come back and while you are at it Bring Death with You to kill this George Negus guy.

  2. jackie March 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm -

    Obviously Charlie Sheen is a sick man……..people should be offering him support…..not helping him air his break-down …..he has given us years of entertainment. It is easy for us mere mortals to all sit back and judge!!!!!!

  3. Chubby February 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm -

    George you are pathetic, Channel Ten is pathetic, at least give us something to laugh at rather than 2 hours of news and current affairs! Bring back Homer!!!

  4. Auss from Toowoomba February 3, 2011 at 7:23 pm -

    Its interesting that people are happy to accept that they can pay $13000 for a car or $130000 and not expect the same quality.. but when it comes to insurance they are happy to go for the cheapest and think its all the same… If it looks to good to be true … it normally is. if your not sure… ask the question.

  5. Antonio Palena February 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm -

    Dear George Negus

    When will someone have the courage to speak to Benjamin Creme, and see the future that he describes and why things seem to be falling apart at this present time, it would be refreshing to viewers who know nothing about the solutions that Benjamin Creme is advocating in solving the current problems.

    With Great Respect
    Antonio Palena

  6. Patricia Halligan January 29, 2011 at 11:45 am -

    Dear George,I thought I would give your programme a fair go but you never change do you? Fawning all over our leftie PM whilst trying to make the Coalition leader appear a meanie.Also your comment at the end of the programme which included Palestinian women aspiring to be “martyrs”.You can’t have it both ways George! I think it is ludicrous to air such sensational images and then expect viewers to swallow your politically correct comment, which was obviously designed specifically to appease the Muslims who might be viewing, that Islam is a religion of peace. Islam may indeed be expressed peacefully in many ways by the majority of Muslims but ‘ the notion of a “martyr” as someone who kills others viewed as enemies of the faith ,and in the process gets himself killed, is a distinctly Islamic construct’ [Islam unveiled – Robert Spencer p11] IThat is a fact hard to get away from and I think I would rather believe this eminent scholar than your contrived journalistic double talk which can only do harm to the majority of law abiding Muslims in Australia. Tell me what useful purpose it is serving to show us gun-toting, bhurka clad Palestinian women with hatred for our Western culture in their hearts?I suggest all it is doing is stirring up hatred for Muslims in this country which will benefit no- one.There is a lot I don’t like about our Western culture too but as a Christian I will continue to think that ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ and act accordingly. I am sure many Muslims in Australia will do that too. Hope these comments are useful

  7. Myrna Hughes January 29, 2011 at 12:21 am -

    A lot of Austrlians already are Not donating to appeals due to the widespread rumours that there is 1 million dollars still in the Victorian Bush Fire Fund and many thousands still in The Newcastle Earthquake Fund. Some investigative journalism please

  8. jt January 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm -

    cant wait for the stories on oz’s best bras,or the supermarket comparisons/adverts coming soon.wake up Australia! Demand more
    than this mindless drivel. Turn off your televisions. Get active, .Educate yourselves.Dont rely on the corporote media to do it for you!

  9. Maureen January 27, 2011 at 6:40 pm -

    Good on you George for using the word pathetic to Tony Abbott tonight. He certainly is. I watch the news from 5pm.

  10. jt January 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm -

    There is no such thing as investigative journalism anymore,this idiotic show only proves that!propaganda at its worst!

  11. jt January 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm -

    Your a sellout George!.Your show is corporate funded crap.
    Indepth my a*se!

  12. The dibs January 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm -

    Watched George for the first time on Australia day. I like the fact ten are giving it a go. But it needs to be a tighter presentation. It is very 1980s pace television. 7pm is a tight quick paced show. Would love to see 7pm up against Tt and aca. It would destroy them. I think George is more suited to 7pm time slot. He need to share the studio with somebody else-interviews or cohost. But wish them all the best. I hate aca and Tt they bring no credibility to Australian tv. Well done ten for having a go!!!!

  13. Robbie January 26, 2011 at 3:38 pm -

    I cant stand George Negus so I wont be watching at all.
    The show itself looks awfully boring,same as all of the other so called news,current affairs programmes total Sh*te.

  14. Scott January 26, 2011 at 7:48 am -

    Interesting that on the second night of the Negus show they already had a story about rising supermarket prices. At least it was a little more analytical than similar stories on TT and ACA but it still makes the show seem more low rent than it needs to be.

    And again, little of the promised state-based content on the 6:30pm bulletin.

  15. franz chong January 26, 2011 at 12:42 am -

    This crap suddenly makes Taken Out and the Simpsons and all those other traditional US Comedies look good by comparison.

    These days if you don’t count Pay TV options your only other alternative is My Family on the ABC which is a much better choice compared to Negus

  16. Chris January 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm -

    @pmm…No we don’t the news at 5:30. It would be lunacy for Ten to vacate a slot they dominate.
    The duplication at 6:30 is for people who have arrived home late. The strategy is sound and I just love it.

    If you don’t want to watch …there are 15 other FTA stations to choose from.

  17. Pmm January 25, 2011 at 11:14 pm -

    Ten news: 5.30 – 6.30
    Negus: 6.30
    7pm stays at 7pm.

    Problem solved, duplication avoided

  18. Jane January 25, 2011 at 10:00 pm -

    I have always celebrated “Australia Day” even thought I am a British National – I have been here since I was 12yrs of age and I have been introduce to Invasion Day – should or should we not look at Australia Day as Invasion Day because we weren’t invited we did invade even though it was seen as “progress” of humanitity.

  19. Chris January 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm -

    @bren…thank you for your insightful analysis

  20. bren January 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm -

    Put simpsons back on this is filth

  21. Armchair Analyst January 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm -

    If Network Ten stick to this then it will be a success. If they focus on the ratings emidiatly then it will just be a copy version of TT and ACA. I know that it will be hard given the networks position at the moment but Network Ten have given themselves a chance here to kick 7 and 9 in this block of programing, i hope they dont let that slip away.

  22. steven guy January 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm -

    @ Craig 08:30, sorry I didn’t mean to sound so shhhhhrill, lol !

  23. Dave January 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm -

    nice set

  24. brendan January 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm -

    Kill 5pm news, have a half hour bulletin at 6pm then let George make a mockery of the pathetic crap we have to deal with from Today Tonight and ACA – at 6.30

    Its not about conforming to what the other stations are doing, however they Now have the right journalists in the job, its time Channel 10 takes on the others and gets some market share.

    7pm Project is a good way to end the night on a lighter note..

  25. Goonies January 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm -

    Forgive me if this has been mentioned before but why isn’t George up against TT and ACA – just too much competition?

    There seems no point in having this at 6pm because that is ‘news time’ to alot of people and it always has been and always will be so if you want the news you are not going to switch to George because you won’t get the days headlines.

    I can definitely see it as an alternative to the current affairs twaddle though (not that I would watch, I watch Neighbours)

  26. Greg January 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm -

    I agree with David S and others, 6pm is the wrong time for this show. 6.30pm would make more sense. I’m rarely home by 6pm and if I am I watch the news on 7 or 9. if I get home after the 6pm news, I watch the 7pm news on ABC. I can’t watch ACA or TT at 6.30, i’m just not dumb enough, so there’s a hole there that could be filled with George’s show. I’m not going to watch 10’s 6.30 news as i’ve missed the 5pm news and thus the more important stories.

  27. mikeys January 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm -

    Unless they decide to stream this online, I refuse to watch more News programs in front of the television. TV time is rare enough, I’m not going to try and squeeze this into my day.

    Chuck it online, let it build an audience via more than one medium, puts ads on the stream or whatever I don’t…. This is 2011, not 1998.

  28. harko January 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm -

    too much news on Ten

  29. bob January 25, 2011 at 1:22 pm -

    what a load of nothing – all his hype about asking why- never did it – must be a gillard suppoter – we need independence not lefty lovers like george

  30. Roger January 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm -

    I was looking forward to this program for some serious news coverage but the interview with Gillard was pathetic and I turned off. The interview was a lightweight puff piece with Negus sucking up to Gillard. Not what is needed George!

  31. Joel H January 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm -

    ** Any chance 10 are going to stream these online?

  32. Belinda January 25, 2011 at 12:42 pm -

    Would it be possible for George to go to 6.45, with just a 15 minute news update at the end. Although I was glad to have Tim Webster back for sport, he is so much better than that other sports reader.

  33. sam January 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm -

    i aggree with Tony- Sports tonight in there would be a better option than more news…

  34. Tony January 25, 2011 at 11:58 am -

    Three points:

    1. Why have a news update 2 min into program after having a full hour of news.

    2. Would’nt negus show be better suited at 6:30 if it is dealing in straight current affairs.

    3. Sports Tonight would probably be better than ten evening news. You could build it as Australia’s version of Sportscenter.

  35. CharlesJ January 25, 2011 at 11:53 am -

    Decided to give George a chance. Turned the TV off after his first stupid question.

  36. Jay Jay January 25, 2011 at 11:49 am -

    @craig I don’t hate Ten at all. I love a lot of their programmes (Good Wife, Glee, etc).
    I live in Adelaide hence the reason why I mentioned Adelaide’s numbers. You clearly have your rose coloured glasses on when it comes to Ten. I have always said this is a big mistake by Ten and the numbers prove that.
    Sorry if my opinion isn’t to your liking Craig, but then that is why it is my opinion.

  37. Kev January 25, 2011 at 11:43 am -

    Was good but I agree it felt a bit rushed. Would have preferred just one story that was in depth. The jihad one was an absolute cracker!

  38. CrAig January 25, 2011 at 11:22 am -

    Thank you for such an incitefull comment Bill

    and @ jay jay… We know you hate TEN…. but findng fault in their Adelaide numbers is a stretche even for you. I expected much more cutting comments about the style, delivery and content…. But then I guess you would have to dissect 9’s content and credibility if you did that

  39. jay jay January 25, 2011 at 10:43 am -

    Ten’s 6-7pm Newshour didn’t do very well in Adelaide. 44,000 viewers for George and 34,000 for Rebecca Morse.
    Numbers speak for themselves.
    Considering 7 News did 143,000 and TT did 127,000 in Adelaide – I don’t think 10 will be at all happy in Adelaide this morning.

  40. Jeremy Moses January 25, 2011 at 10:29 am -

    I thought 6PM was great, although a bit rushed.

    Ten Evening news was pretty redundant given the 5pm bulletin. I think it’d be better if they decisively were a rehash of 5pm, or a completely local bulletin with no repeat stories. I think they should pick a side, rather than hovering somewhere in the middle to make everybody happy.

    Maybe they should give Negus the full hour.

    …Or better yet, give Shaun Micallef 6.30 for Newstopia.

  41. FJ January 25, 2011 at 10:28 am -

    They’ll want better ratings than they got last night. Thought they’d be higher. Didn’t see it myself as was watching KFC Big Bash.

  42. Paull January 25, 2011 at 10:23 am -

    Not perfect, but great alternative to 7 and 9, I’ve been waiting to switch them off since they discontinued the HD feed.

  43. JB January 25, 2011 at 10:21 am -

    I enjoyed this, but if they keep at 6PM then i won’t be watching because i like to flick to Seven News after Ten news. I really wish they’d move this to 6.30. And then it could compete with trashy TT & ACA. I think it would offer a better alternative to those two.
    Not sure another half hour bulletin is needed if it just recaps everything from the 5pm news. Isn’t that what news updates during the night are for?

  44. steve January 25, 2011 at 9:43 am -

    I’m loving all the News critics here on the blog today.

    I agree 6pm did rush through the stories a bit but that’s understandable. They probably thought “let’s rush through all the stories to fit more in so we can give the audience a snippet of what our show is about”

    Expected for a debut show. Give it time.

  45. Bill January 25, 2011 at 9:41 am -


  46. Gil January 25, 2011 at 9:02 am -

    I’ll try and watch it tonight. I agree – any program different to ACA and TT garbage has got to be good. Let’s hope it can bring some viewers up from the gutter to watch it.

  47. David from Melbourne January 25, 2011 at 8:47 am -

    A good start and let’s hope there is no dumbing down from now on. It almost seems to good to be true that it is on 10, so I am a bit worried that it will not last when the dispensable program should be the 6.30 News that follows. The audience needs a bit of relief at that time if the aim is to keep viewers glued to 10. Just rehashing 5.00pm stories for 6.30 is not the way to go and perhaps starting the 7.00pm report at 6.30 would be a better option.

  48. Victor January 25, 2011 at 8:40 am -

    Much better than TT or ACA. I hope that 6PM is in the 6.30PM timeslot with TT and ACA to provide competition. Theme from 5pm news is like a BBC World News intro.

  49. Craig January 25, 2011 at 8:30 am -

    @steven guy – then you’ll have to watch ACA to know which is the best new TV to buy and how it will change your life LOL

  50. David S. January 25, 2011 at 7:59 am -

    I wish them luck with trying to show Australians serious news, but I’m not filled with optimism unfortunately.

    1. 6PM is just too early for this sort of program, most potential viewers are still at work, or in the middle of their home commute at 6 PM. Those at home at 6 clearly want stories of dodgy builders, miracle face creams and weight-loss programs rather than what’s happening in the Middle-East and Canberra.

    2. Australia is a nation who’s top-rating commercial TV program last year was a competitive cooking show starring children. And that was on well after 6pm! It could be argued that there simply aren’t enough viewers of ‘real news’ programs in the whole country to support a commercial news show like this. Stealing viewers from SBS and the ABC isn’t going to be enough even if it were possible for TEN.

    I’d love to be proved wrong on this, I hope I am.

  51. callas January 25, 2011 at 7:54 am -

    @John… i agree. It sounds to me like a tap dripping !

  52. Lisa January 25, 2011 at 7:53 am -

    What is with the robot sound that tries to take out Sandra when going through the headlines??

    While I am a big fan of Sandra and she did a great job, I’m not sure how local all her stories were. I thought it was meant to be about Sydney.

    Loved the 6pm show and it will only grow and the kinks will smooth out as they relax and get through some more shows.

  53. t.v. watcher January 25, 2011 at 7:49 am -

    Fantastic. Actual journalism and cred. What a breath of fresh air in a saturated marketplace full of garbage journalism. Thank you ABC.

  54. CatFan January 25, 2011 at 7:28 am -

    Deciding to go with your first interviewee as Julia Gillard on message certainly wasn’t inspiring, just as leading with veggie price rises wasn’t for the 6:30 bulletin. I’ll certainly watch these shows, if just to play my part in pulling down the intellectual wasteland that is TT and ACA.

  55. steven guy January 25, 2011 at 7:02 am -

    I’m glad it isn’t like the others, If I see one more story about speed cameras, parking cops, people who don’t read the fine print on contracts or new wonder diets, I’ll scream and throw the TV off the balcony. I hope George keeps his promise !

  56. melbourneboy January 25, 2011 at 6:37 am -

    Is 6pm done in Sydney or Melbourne??

  57. Russell January 25, 2011 at 6:28 am -

    My ratings guesses for the 5 city 6pm slot last night

    Nine News – 330k
    Seven News – 320k
    6pm w/ George Negus – 300k

    Total Viewers
    Seven News – 1.1m
    Nine News – 1m
    6pm w/ George Negus – 750k

  58. John January 25, 2011 at 5:25 am -

    Ten what’s with the tocking sound during the 5pm theme?
    You gotta change that quicksmart…really annoying.

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