Nine News boss brands Sunrise “bad guys” in odd Twitter stoush

Nine News boss Darren Wick has branded Sunrise the “bad guys” in a curious flurry of tweets that has raised eyebrows amongst industry observers.

The social media platform is lately his favourite strategy for trumpeting a tight ratings battle for Today in some markets, especially given journalists’ usage.

For a second week Today and Sunrise tied in Melbourne, last week at 55,000 rounded by OzTAM official. Wick congratulated the Nine team on an edge in raw numbers.

Congratulations @TheTodayShow @GeorgieG @deborah_knight @tomsteinfort @TJch9 with a good win in Melbourne, taking the week in a photo finish by 384 viewers. Officially, OzTAM will round the numbers out to the nearest thousand. But, momentum in Melbourne is on our side.

But Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell took exception to his “momentum” tweet, pointing out that there are no wins to claim:

Momentum is on your side? You have not won a week in Melbourne legitimately all year. Not a single week. @thetodayshow is running third to the ABC on some days, including this week. I notice you’ve gone quiet on Sydney now too.

Wick even tweeted to Seven chair Kerry Stokes, referring to Sunrise as “bad guys,” having previously drawn upon “good vs evil” analogies in a recent Mediaweek interview.

@TheTodayShow @sunriseon7 @MichaelPell @BrianaDomjen @kerrystokes131 @7NewsMelbourne Okay, help me out. Today win week in Melbourne by 55,413 to 55,029. That’s a daily average. A weekly aggregate means @TheTodayShow has won the city by 1,920. We won, bad guys lost. Questions?

Colourful tweets didn’t end there as entertainment reporter Peter Ford questioned the tie:

But Darren you yourself admitted you round to the nearest thousand. Why can’t you be happy with a tie?

Wick then replied:

“…It was a reference point a decade ago when daily ratings figures were rounded off to a thousand. I countered that this morning because I knew Seven would cling to that. You’re also on their payroll, which you need to declare. Sunrise lost. You know that.”

But Ford denied being on Sunrise‘s payroll and threatened legal action, prompting Wick to apologise and delete.

Peter, I accept your word that you’re not on the Sunrise/7 payroll and that you’ve only appeared on the programme, for a fee, five or six times this year. My apologies for any confusion.

Wick yesterday told TV Tonight an improved performance in Melbourne after a tough 7 months was a positive but acknowledged the OzTAM official tie, and clarified the “bad guys” reference was all in jest.

But he is understood to have since blocked Michael Pell.

It isn’t usually protocol for a News boss to resort to such colourful tweets, especially to a network Chair, given the crumbs being argued over. But Today has been in media crosshairs since it revamped in January.

New Seven CEO James Warburton may well be next in line for a cheeky tweet if Melbourne ties for a third week running?


  1. security guard

    Fair call David but with the two photos side by side in your article and not knowing the backgrounds on first look they are both not very ‘diverse’ line ups. Don’t get me wrong I love the amount of women on screen but I’d just don’t see the streets of Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane reflected on the couch.

  2. security guard

    Hardly big numbers of market share? Those breakfast ratings are a tiny piece of the pie. Both shows lack diversity – all white, middle aged men and blondes. This is not the Australia you see on the street, train or supermarket. Breakfast tv is so 90’s, we’ve evolved but the networks are stuck in a time machine.

    • To be fair Brooke Boney is neither: “white, middle aged men and blondes.” Natalie Barr isn’t blonde, but I accept similar class. Quite a few would object to being called middle aged. Tom Steinfort for example is mid-30s, he won the Young Journalist of the Year award from the Quill Awards about a decade ago.

  3. This is just cherry picking. If you claim the win in Melbourne, you should also claim the loss in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart and Darwin.

  4. battlestargalactica

    this times 1000. They have these shows on side-by-side at my gym. I can’t hear them but they’re so bad you don’t need sound to tell you that. I imagine if I could hear them, they’d be worse. The fact that 300 poor Melbourne sods prefer one method of torture over another really shouldn’t be of any interest.

  5. I find Sunrise annoying at times. Lost intersest in Koshi are disagreeing with many of his views and his pushy attitude. I wonder if they didn’t have the cash cow if they would be doing as well.

    • harrypotter1994

      I don’t watch either anymore but caught an interview Nat and Kochie did with Nicole Scherzinger. They obviously asked her if the Pussycat Dolls would reform and she said it was a possibility down the line. After Kochie wouldn’t let up on it and said “its happening everyone”. Nicole told him to stop because he would disappoint the fans.

  6. thedirtydigger

    This is just schoolyard bragging – on both sides of the falling down fence.
    Get out of the sandpit fellas and concentrate on content , from what I’ve seen its just junk on both networks.
    When the Cash Cow is the strongest character on set then I know we’ve got problems.

  7. carolemorrissey

    Sunrise are winning nationwide. They need to learn to take the high road & stop being so petty & arrogant. Let Today have their little wins. I hope one day Today goes back to smashing Sunrise.

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