Mediaweek Roundup: Eurovision, SAS Australia, Simon Reeve + more

• Kevin Rudd, ABC, and Gaven Morris

News Brands

Seven Network wants to be repaid if axed star Simon Reeve wins in court

Channel 7 wants axed Weekend Sunrise presenter Simon Reeve to pay back six years of company wages if he proves in court he was an employee and not an independent contractor, reports news.com.au’s Sarah McPhee.

The TV star is suing the Seven Network and seeking up to $1 million, alleging a breach of contract and misrepresentation to his employment after being unceremoniously dumped from the spotlight earlier this year.

Reeve is claiming 12 months’ salary in lieu of termination notice provided by the network, compensation for the failure to pay him annual leave and redundancy, interest and costs.

But in a cross-claim filed in the NSW registry of the Federal Court of Australia on Friday and obtained by news.com.au, the Seven Network states it entered into agreements with the 59-year-old’s company Simon Reeve Productions Pty Ltd (SRP) “for the provision of services”.

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Kevin Rudd’s media influence royal commission push hits a nerve

In Kevin Rudd‘s long and storied history of enemy making, he has never made a direct assault quite like this, reports The AFR’s Aaron Patrick.

The former prime minister is petitioning federal Parliament for a royal commission into the political influence of the Murdoch media empire, an organisation without a reputation for treating opponents gently.

Kevin07 has clearly hit a nerve. With a little bit of publicity from The Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC, the petition is closing in on 400,000 digital signatures, which dwarfs most of the hundreds of other random and self-interested pleas seeking parliamentary intervention.

Malcolm Turnbull, who encouraged the left-wing Guardian to open in Australia, has crossed the partisan aisle to sign. Turnbull said Murdoch had operated a monopoly in print since 1987, and praised Rudd for the idea.

In a country where about half the votes cast in the last federal election ended up with the Liberal-National coalition, News Corp’s 47 per cent audience share isn’t surprising, or necessarily dangerous.

As many Australians get more of their news from Facebook, Twitter and other social media, print influence is declining. In Queensland, the Labor government appears to be in front despite a campaign against it by News Corp’s CourierMail. Labor easily won the last Victorian election despite the opposition of the Herald Sun, the biggest-selling daily paper.

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ABC current affairs didn’t cover climate change adequately, report finds

The ABC’s 7.30 and AM programs did not cover climate change adequately and related reports on drought, bushfire, fossil fuel extraction, and energy policy ignored climate change as a causative factor, a confidential report for the Australian Conservation Foundation has found, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

The ACF commissioned the former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes to study the programs’ output for 15 months, between 1 October 2017 and 31 December 2018, to find out if criticism of the ABC’s coverage was valid and if he could detect a deliberate avoidance of the issues due to political pressure.

Holmes found the coverage lacking but said there was no evidence reporters were under political pressure from management. The report did not assess climate coverage across all the ABC’s radio, TV and digital output but did single out ABC online for its excellent, detailed climate change coverage from a number of specialist science, weather and business reporters.

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ABC must be relevant to all – not telling people what they want to hear

If there’s one phrase likely to raise the hackles of ABC journalists, it is “inner-city left-wing elites”, writes former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes in Guardian Australia.

They hear it all the time from their most dogged denigrators. According to the Chris Kennys and Andrew Bolts in the Murdoch press, to the Eric Abetzes and Barnaby Joyces in the coalition ranks, ABC journos are themselves members of the inner-city elite, and share its pre-occupations and biases on a host of topics – in favour of action on climate change, in favour of gay marriage, against tough policies to deter boat people, and so on.

The very word “elite”, used as a pejorative, has become a cliché of the culture wars, in Australia, as in the US.

So to be told by their own boss, the ABC’s director of news, Gaven Morris, that they pay too much attention to the concerns of the inner-city left-wing elites was bound to shock.

Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, here’s a tip for Gaven Morris: if you’re going to use the enemy’s war cry in a pep-talk to your troops, make really sure they understand you are doing so deliberately. Otherwise they might think you’ve turned enemy yourself.

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Television

No producers, no retakes: Eden Dally reveals brutal world of SAS Australia

Love Island Australia alum Eden Dally is one of the 17 celebrity recruits who signed up for Channel Seven’s SAS Australia, reports Daily Mail Australia’s Candice Jackson.

And he says the military-style show couldn’t be further from his past experiences with reality television.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday, the 28-year-old confirmed there were no producers guiding the cast, no retakes, and that ‘everything is as crazy as seen on TV’.

Eden appeared on dating series Love Island in 2018 and, like some of his SAS co-stars, had a presumption of what would happen behind the scenes.

‘This show has no producers coming over and telling you anything. It’s basically the DS [directing staff] that are running the course. There are no retakes and basically everything that you’re seeing happening is what’s happened,’ Eden said.

While Love Island was a social show in balmy Majorca, Eden said the SAS cast were not always allowed to speak to one another and were often left freezing while filming in the NSW Snowy Mountains.

‘Once the fire goes out in the middle of the night, you are shivering on ice. It’s physically and mentally draining. We all knew what we were signing up for – including becoming injured or getting hypothermia – but when you get there it really does hit you as a big shock,’ he said.

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Australia and 40 other countries return for Eurovision 2021

All 41 countries which were due to appear at Eurovision in 2020 are confirmed for 2021, reports TV Tonight.

Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, said: “We are grateful for the commitment of the 41 participating broadcasters in helping us bring the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2021.”

“We have the exact same line up of countries that would have competed in 2020 and we are thrilled that they will all return next year. Together with our host broadcasters we are continuing to develop the 4 different scenarios and maintaining a dialogue with all participants. The team from NPO, NOS and AVROTROS are working hard on ensuring the Eurovision Song Contest will provide the excitement and innovation expected by over 180 million viewers, despite the challenging circumstances.”

Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, said: “It is fantastic that the same 41 countries that would have taken part this year still want to come to the Netherlands in May 2021. This demonstrates their confidence in our country still being able to organize a successful Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam next year, after the cancellation of the 2020 edition.”

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