Mediaweek Roundup: Halifax: Retribution, SAS Australia, Bluey + more

ABC, Matt Preston, Katie Noonan, Jack Post, A-League, and Rugby Australia


ABC appoints BBC exec to curate content across ABC TV, iview & listen

The ABC has appointed Roberta Allan (pictured) as head of content curation & distribution within its entertainment & specialist division, to manage the delivery of outstanding Australian content across multiple channels and platforms.

In her new role, Allan will be responsible for the distribution of all ABC non-news content and acquisitions to engage new and current audiences, on platforms such as ABC TV, ABC iview, ABC listen and on social media.

Michael Carrington, director entertainment & specialist, said Allan’s expertise will help guide the ABC’s transition towards digital services under its Five-Year Plan. “Roberta has an excellent track record of success over 15 years in the media industry, including a deep involvement with broadcasting across Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

“She has great expertise in innovative programming and multichannel management. I am particularly excited to work with Roberta in building on the success of ABC iview and ABC listen, and confident that she will lead our content curation and distribution teams with passion and verve, particularly for our digital audiences.”

Roberta Allan said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the ABC. It is a unique opportunity to be able to work across so many platforms and with such amazing content. I can’t wait to be part of the team.”

Allan joins the ABC from her Sydney-based role at BBC Studios as head of advertising & programming for factual and kids content in Australia and New Zealand, under which she oversaw BBC Earth, CBeebies and BBC Brit channels. She was also responsible in an acting capacity for the channels’ brand partnerships and commercial advertising.

Her other roles at BBC Studios included head of acquisitions in Australia and New Zealand and head of programming for BBC Studios’ Australian channels of UKTV, BBC First, BBC Knowledge and CBeebies. She was also part of the launch team for BBC First and has worked on many high-profile titles, such as The Night Manager and The Missing.

While at BBC Studios, she was selected as part of the first cohort of 20 people from around the world to take part in its Emerging Leaders program.

Allan previously worked as programming manager for the channels TV1 and SF Australia, with responsibility for programming, acquisitions and media planning.

The head of distribution role within ABC entertainment & specialist became vacant in late 2018 and has been filled since in an acting capacity.

Allan is expected to start at the ABC in November.

Trailblazer of the crime genre makes a timely return to the screen

When she first appeared on our screens in 1994, Jane Halifax was a trailblazer, reports The Age’s Debi Enker.

Played by Rebecca Gibney in Halifax f.p., the coolly composed blonde was a rare female protagonist in a crime series. And she wasn’t a detective or a coroner; she was a forensic psychiatrist, the kind of character who was yet to become familiar as a profiler in TV crime stories.

“She was one of the first of the strong female lead characters on television,” Gibney says. “She was the first forensic psychiatrist portrayed on television, before we saw Cracker, before CSI.” Gibney says Roger Simpson, who created the character for her, was “ahead of his time”.

The eponymous heroine starred in 21 telemovies over eight years and then quietly disappeared. Now she’s back, changed in some ways and reluctantly becoming involved in another murder investigation.

But why, after a 20-year absence, has she returned to our screens? “I’d been looking for a project to come back to Channel Nine with,” says Gibney. “I started my career there back in the ’80s (with Zoo Family and The Flying Doctors) and I was with them for a long time.”

[Read more]

Rebecca Gibney tells TV Tonight:

“I was approached by Nine (asking me), what would I like to do? We talked about Flying Doctors, we talked about all sorts of shows, and Halifax was one that’s often been asked by lots of my followers. They always felt Halifax never got finished off properly. ‘You did 21 telemovies and then it stopped.’ The character didn’t have an ending. So it seemed logical to do a reboot.”

Halifax: Retribution kicks off with a telemovie-length instalment followed by 7 further episodes led by producer/creator Roger Simpson. Gibney notes that the character of the young forensics psychiatrist has matured significantly. She was just 29 when she was first cast in 1994.

Shifting from telemovies to series form, Retribution has a through-line story of a sniper on the rooftops of Melbourne. Gibney references shows like Killing Eve, Bodyguard, Broadchurch and Luther as inspiration.

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Quick exit: Shock as two stars walk from SAS reality show

Word from the set of Channel 7’s much anticipated new reality show, SAS Australia, is that convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby and publicist Roxy Jacenko are the first two contestants to leave, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Confidential understands Jacenko was fed up with the lack of creature comforts on set while Corby struggled with the fitness.

“It was too much for them,” a production source told Confidential. “They just walked. Roxy wasn’t happy and Schappelle couldn’t keep up with the fitness.”

SAS Australia is a new format to Australian viewers and will see a group of high-profile contestants “embark on the toughest test of their lives attempting to overcome the intensive SAS selection process”.

Their aim is to pass the selection process to join the Australian Army’s elite Special Air Service.

Production started in New Zealand earlier this year but was suspended due to coronavirus.

Filming began around Jindabyne in the NSW Snowy Mountains earlier this week.

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ABC acts after complaint about ‘racist’ language on kid’s show Bluey

The ABC has reacted to a complaint from a viewer in June about an episode of children’s TV show Bluey that included a term with racial connotations and a problematic history for Indigenous Australians.

The ABC’s Audience and Consumer Affairs division responded:

The ABC sincerely apologised to the complainant for any distress caused by the term used in the episode titled ‘Teasing’. The ABC has a strong record for giving voice to Indigenous Australians and an ongoing commitment to helping reduce discrimination and prejudice and in this case, the language used was inadvertent. The complainant was advised that neither the ABC nor the external producers were aware of the potentially derogatory meaning of the term, which was intended only as irreverent rhyming slang often made up by children. The episode was removed from iview as soon as ABC KIDS became aware of the complaint and the ABC undertook to change the dialogue prior to future broadcast or publication.

Will MasterChef Musketeers Matt, Gary and George work together again?

Matt Preston has not ruled out working with his former MasterChef Australia co-star George Calombaris on a TV cooking show in India, reports News Corp’s Nui Te Koha.

Former MasterChef judges Preston and Gary Mehigan, and Manu Feildel, of My Kitchen Rules, will co-host Channel 7’s Plate Of Origin, which premieres on August 30.

Preston and Mehigan defected to Seven last year. Calombaris stayed at 10, which broadcasts MasterChef, due to contract conditions.

His restaurant empire also crumbled after a wages scandal.

Preston said it felt “weird” to do a TV show without Calombaris, but added: “Going to another network and doing a new show makes it much easier to deal with because it’s not the same environment.”

Asked if he and Mehigan will work with Calombaris again, Preston said: “It all depends on what comes up. The prospect of doing a TV show out of India for all the George, Gary and Matt fans up there, is unlikely at the moment because of lockdown and being unable to travel.

“But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. You never count nothing out.”

[Read more]


Katie Noonan slams commercial radio after revealing huge financial loss

Brisbane singer Katie Noonan has revealed she suffered “enormous financial loss” as a result of the global pandemic and relied on JobKeeper payments to stay afloat, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

The four-time ARIA Award winner, whose 25-date national tour was shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions in March, criticised Australia’s commercial radio stations for not supporting struggling Australian artists by giving them more airplay – and therefore royalties – at a time when they can’t make an income from live shows.

“There’s an entire generation that believe that music is a free thing on the internet and unfortunately it is, so the only way to make a living is to play live to a large gathering of people which is precisely what we cannot do right now,” Noonan said following her elimination from Channel 10’s The Masked Singer on Tuesday night.

While Australian commercial radio stations are required to program a 25 per cent Australian content quota, Noonan said “no one adheres to them, there’s no reporting system or accountability”.

“Unfortunately when I listen to the radio I do not hear Australian music … and other than Kylie Minogue there are no women over 40 played on Australian radio,” she said.

[Read more]

Jack Post opens up about his disastrous interview with Amy Shark

Jack Post co-hosts The Christian O’Connell Show on Melbourne’s Gold 104.3. He also has a new podcast series called Jacky Road Studios where he interviews celebrities and then writes and performs a song at the end of each episode that is inspired by the interview.

But Jack revealed on radio that he will forever be scarred by his recent interview with Amy Shark after he forgot to hit record.

“I recorded my first guest that I went through official channels to secure,” he said. “I went through Sony Music to get an interview with Amy Shark.

“They gave me 45 minutes which was great. It was a great interview, I was so happy with it. But at the end of the interview when I went to say goodbye, I went to stop the recording … (I realised) I never pressed record on the whole interview.”

Christian O’Connell told Jack on Gold 104.3 that the interview incident will “scar you permanently” – and recalled when something similar happened to him 10 years ago with Ricky Gervais.

[Read more]

Sports Media

The numbers that underline the danger of A-League’s winter switch

The A-League’s share of mainstream media space has shrunk by more than two thirds since the COVID-19 shutdown, according to an independent analysis that lays bare one of the major challenges in the competition’s pending shift to winter, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Vince Rugari.

Media monitoring firm Streem has compared the A-League’s “share of voice” among major print and online publishers during the past 12 months with five other major sporting competitions or tournaments: the AFL, NRL, Super Rugby, Big Bash League and Australian Open tennis, which traditionally dominates January.

Streem’s data underlines the difficulty the A-League will face in competing for mainstream attention in winter, particularly against the bigger football codes, which dominate the middle part of the year.

The company’s analysis shows the A-League’s share of voice was strongest from October, when the season usually starts, through to a peak of 16.9 per cent in December 2019.

Contraction in the media industry as a result of the pandemic is a contributing factor as to why the smaller football codes have struggled for space, and while the level of disruption makes interpreting the data difficult, Streem’s media and partnerships lead Conal Hanna said the conclusions were clear for the A-League.

“This is a very challenging year and it’s hard to know how much you can treat it as a base case for the future,” he said. “But the AFL and NRL are able to generate a lot of coverage, even off the field, and that’s something the A-League doesn’t have the presence to do in Australia as much.”

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The four national club comps Rugby Australia will pitch to broadcasters

Rugby Australia has pitched four national club championship models to broadcasters, including a 32-team knockout competition in the mould of soccer’s FFA Cup, as well as an eight-team tournament held over six weeks with potential wildcards from Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Tom Decent.

RA last week outlined the content it would offer up in the new broadcast cycle beginning next year, with Bledisloe Tests, a new version of Super Rugby – either an Australian-based or trans-Tasman version – a state of origin series and super eight concept all put forward.

Also included was a national club championship, which, it is hoped, will be played after existing state-based competitions. The Herald has obtained a copy of the four models drawn up and an outline of what RA would like to see from the competition that will ultimately determine the best club side in the country.

RA is keen to formally begin broadcast negotiations by September 4.

[Read more]

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