Mediaweek Roundup: ABC, Seven, 10, Rebel Wilson, AFL + more

• Bravo Management, Katherine Keating, and Tim Gossage

Business of Media

Giannopoulos & Pickering deal: Bravo acquires Precision Talent

Bravo Management has acquired Precision Sports and Entertainment Group bringing together two major talent management agencies.

The announcement comes just days after QMS Media revealed it had acquired sports management companies TLA and Stride Sports Management for $33m.

See also: QMS spending $37m to acquire sport businesses TLA and Stride

Bravo managing director Chris Giannopoulos and Precision managing director Liam Pickering are long-time associates, having first worked together at IMG where Giannopoulos was the director of client management and new business development for over 14 years. Pickering joined Giannopoulos in 2001 to drive IMG’s AFL player management before establishing Precision in 2014.

Chris Giannopoulos

Between them, they have guided the careers of some of Australia’s biggest names in sport and entertainment.

Bravo represents some of the most recognisable names in Australian television and radio including Scott Cam, Shaynna Blaze, Jamie Durie, Steve Price, Ross Greenwood, Shane Crawford, Merv Hughes and many others.

Precision represents 80+ past and present AFL and AFLW players, coaches, cricketers and media talent including Gary Ablett Jnr, Jack Riewoldt, Darcy Moore, Jordan Lewis, Josh Dunkley Isaac Smith, Jacob Weitering, John Longmire, David Teague and Dane Swan.

Giannopoulos said he was excited to combine the respective sports and entertainment specialities of the two businesses.

“Bravo has been considering getting back into representing current athletes for some time after merging in with Pacific Star Network and the broader Crocmedia business which have a ‘whole of sport’ focus, so the opportunity to acquire an existing business with a great track record and with terrific leaders in Liam and James Pitcher was really appealing,” Giannopoulos said.

“Liam is one of the best sports managers in Australia and has been responsible for some of the biggest deals in AFL over the past 10 years and is already a part of the family – having shared offices with us for the past five years.”

Pickering said he was excited about the possibilities ahead.

“I’m rapt to be working with Chris again – we have a great working relationship and this move will give our respective clients access to greater opportunities, support and services,” Pickering said.

Precision will retain its name and the two businesses will operate as usual with Precision continuing to represent the best athletes in sport and Bravo its influential stable of broadcast media and entertainment clients.

Michael Carrington appointed ABC director entertainment & specialist

The ABC confirms Michael Carrington (pictured) as director of its entertainment & specialist (E&S) content division.

With a 30-year media career, Carrington has worked across content development, commissioning and production for commercial and public service broadcasters around the world. He has been acting director E&S since September 2018.

ABC managing director David Anderson said: “Michael brings a track record of outstanding content and creativity to the leadership team and entertainment & specialist, which he has managed with great success over the past year. He is a talented and accomplished individual who has shown the ability to innovate and grow audiences through diverse content across multiple platforms. He is a champion of Australian stories and I am confident he will lead our world-class content team well into the future.”

Michael Carrington said: “I am happy and proud to have been appointed director E&S and am committed to unlocking creativity inside and outside the ABC. I’m determined to maintain the range and ambition of our Australian content and our commitment to the highest production and editorial standards. The ABC represents the diversity and richness of Australian culture across radio, television and online and I’m thrilled to be part of its future.”

As director E&S, Carrington will manage the ABC’s drama, comedy, Indigenous, music, children’s, entertainment and factual content across its TV and national radio networks, plus digital services such as iview. E&S also includes the specialist genres of arts, science, education, religion & ethics and society & culture.

Carrington joined the ABC in 2016 as head of children’s content, where he championed programs underpinned by themes such as diversity, disability and gender equality. In 2018, he was appointed head of distribution for E&S.

He previously worked at the BBC as channel controller and creative cirector of the CBeebies preschool channel and at Turner Broadcasting as chief content officer, where he won an International Emmy for The Amazing World of Gumball. Carrington was also a founding member of LEGO Media, Film & TV and CEO of Zodiak Kids Studios.

Cost cutting on the agenda at Thursday ABC board meeting

The board of the public broadcaster ABC will meet to discuss a range of cost cutting measures on Thursday, including negotiations over a staff pay deal and plans to remove content from News Corp’s Foxtel, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jennifer Duke.

Chair Ita Buttrose and managing director David Anderson have been wrestling with how to handle a freeze on the ABC’s $1 billion budget that has come into effect this year.

The ABC is facing $84 million less in funding over three years than previously expected as part of an indexation pause introduced by the Turnbull government in the 2018 Federal budget. The ABC has argued this amounts to a budget cut and could cause it to make tough decisions around staff and programming.

Under current arrangements the ABC pays $4 million to Foxtel and its satellite providers to air its shows on the platform.

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Seven Group won’t splash its cash on TV network to fund growth

Seven Group Holdings has endorsed the growth strategy of the television network it controls but will resist injecting further funds to help drive acquisitions, reports The Australian’s Perry Williams.

The industrial, mining and energy conglomerate – which owns a 41 per cent stake in Seven West Media – has backed new boss James Warburton to revive the free-to-air television broadcaster and publisher but says he shouldn’t need any shareholder funds to pull off a turnaround.

“We support what they want to do but that doesn’t mean we need to underwrite or finance to support that,” Seven Group Holdings chief executive Ryan Stokes told The Australian after delivering annual earnings yesterday. “We have a view and I’m sure shareholders have their own view that the business has the opportunity to grow from this point and do things that can be interesting without necessarily relying on shareholders. I just don’t think there’s any requirement for it.

“We see an opportunity in the Seven West business and think the market value is not representative of what we think fair value is. We’d like to see that realised and are certainly supportive of James’ aims and aspirations around how he can grow the business. But I don’t necessarily think the business requires a capital investment from shareholders,” Stokes said. “James’ mandate is around (how) he grows the share price and share value ultimately.”

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News Brands

Global media pursue Keating’s daughter over Epstein sex ring

Former prime minister Paul Keating‘s daughter, 37-year-old Katherine Keating, is being pursued by some of the world’s biggest media outlets over her connection to Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy sexual predator who died in a Manhattan jail 11 days ago.

Ms Keating, a socialite and media-industry manager, was identified by the Daily Mail overnight as a woman videotaped leaving Epstein’s Manhattan house in 2010. In the video, which was published on Sunday, she is seen waving goodbye to Prince Andrew, who was a friend of Epstein’s.

Australian media outlets, led by The Australian Financial Review‘s Rear Window column, on Tuesday reported on the physical similarity between the then un-identified woman in the video and Ms Keating, who was hired as the “chief sustainability officer” at Maverick, a Beverly Hills entertainment-management company, in November.

The reports were followed up in The New York Post, New York Daily News, the British Daily Telegraph and others.

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Television

Rebel Wilson to host Australia’s first Amazon Original series

Amazon Prime Video has secured Australian actress, writer and producer Rebel Wilson to host and executive produce the first Australian Amazon Original series, LOL: Last One Laughing.

The comedy-variety series, produced with Endemol Shine Australia, will feature a cast of 10 Australian comedic actors and stand-ups competing to make each other laugh first. The final comedian left standing will win the grand prize of AUD$ 100,000.

This first Australian Amazon Original series will premiere exclusively on Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories in 2020.

The six-part Amazon Original series will film nonstop to catch all of the action, and follow the select group of talented comics who bring various styles to the table, including stand-up, character, improvisational and physical comedy, among others.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Prime Video family of creators and talent,” said Wilson. “I’ve already had the chance to work with Alexa – she’s great – and on Audible, so working with Prime Video seemed like an obvious choice. I can’t wait to see what these talented Australian comedians come up with and how far they’ll go to take home the prize.”

“We’re excited to bring LOL: Last One Laughing to our Prime members in Australia and around the world,” said James Farrell, head of international originals for Amazon Studios. “Rebel Wilson was at the top of our list to host and star. We think our Prime members are going to love it.”

Over the coming weeks, Prime Video will announce more leading Australian comedians who will participate in the series. LOL: Last One Laughing is executive produced by Endemol Shine Australia’s Marty Benson and David McDonald. Production will take place this spring in Sydney.

Entertainment

AFL boss reveals #1 choice for AFL Grand Final entertainment

AFL boss Gill McLachlan has revealed the top pick on his wishlist to perform at the AFL Grand Final, reports News Corp’s Nui Te Koha.

He’s keen for another boss to be the headline act.

“I’m very keen on Bruce Springsteen to play at the Grand Final,” McLachlan told Confidential at the AFL Cape York House fundraising dinner at the MCG.

“He’s my number one choice, if we could ever get him. But he’s a very big star and he’s very expensive.”

Promoter Michael Gudinski, who alongside AFL commercial manager Kylie Rogers, programs the AFL Grand Final pre-match and halftime entertainment, is expected to announce the 2019 headliners soon.

Asked if he has influence on which acts perform on the big day, McLachlan laughed: “I have very limited influence. I might be able to say ‘no,’ but Michael Gudinski and Kylie Rogers are the ones who make the magic happen.”

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Sports Media

10 Perth’s Tim Gossage celebrates 30 years at the network

10 News First director of sport and sport presenter Tim Gossage celebrated his 30th anniversary at the network on Wednesday, reports 10 Daily.

The veteran sports reporter’s loyalty to his workplace and hometown of Perth has seen him become synonymous with sport in Western Australia.

“It’s a bit cliché – but I’m like footballers, they want to be a one-team player,” he said when he sat down with 10 Daily in the lead up to his anniversary celebrations.

Gossage started at the network on August 21, 1989, as a casual reporter, but had second thoughts about working in the industry when he was sent to cover a cat rescue.

“They (Network 10) were keen for me to do news… I didn’t want to do news,” he said.

“They sent me on some sort of a rescue – I remember looking at the camera and saying ‘if these cats are alive I’ll quit journalism’ – and the next shot was a ‘meow’.

“That was one of the first stories I ever did and I thought if this is what it’s going to be like, maybe not, so I steered my way to sport.”

In 1983 Gossage took his first job at the West Australian as a cadet journalist, and playing sport took a backseat.

“I got a job as a cadet journo at The West Australian through my dad who was working there as an accountant and that led to giving up sport full time. I played a bit of lower grade cricket and amateur football, but my career was never based on being a really good sportsman.”

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Top Photo: Tim Gossage

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