Mediaweek Roundup: Kyle Sandilands, Peacock, Rugby Australia + more

oOh!media, Mamamia, Nine’s Sophie Walsh, Carrie Bickmore, MythBusters and AFL

Business of Media

Could MediaWorks CEO Michael Anderson return to oOh!media?

The announced departure of former oOh!media chairman Michael Anderson from his position as chief executive of broadcaster MediaWorks across the Tasman has some wondering whether he could be returning to his former employer in a different capacity, reports The Australian’s Bridget Carter.

Anderson was hired in 2016 to run MediaWorks, which owns free-to-air channel TV3 and a portfolio of some of New Zealand’s most popular radio stations. Before that appointment, Anderson was the oOh!Media chair.

It is understood that he will be carrying on at MediaWorks until the end of this year.

The timing is interesting, given that oOh!Media boss Brendon Cook is also leaving. He will finish up at the billboard company he founded around the same time.

Some believe it is more than a coincidence, and that after a prolonged search for Cook’s replacement at a time the company needs a strong performer, there is a fair chance that Anderson could be lined up to take the role.

[Read more]

Mamamia founder in home court battle over Bellevue Hill property

The last subpoena is due to be lodged on Wednesday in the intriguing matter of the occupancy and ownership of a pricey Bellevue Hill home, reports News Corp’s prolific property guru Jonathan Chancellor.

The Supreme Court battle relates to Fintry, the home of the entrepreneurial independent digital media couple Mia Freedman, the founder of the Mamamia women’s network, and her husband Jason Lavigne.

It was almost six years ago when the six-bedroom home, with Blainey North interiors, was bought by the couple who moved in under licence, after signing what Margin Call gleans was a December 2014 put and call purchasing option.

The matter is set for trial next week before Justice Rowan Darke. And for three days, which suggests it can’t be a simple issue of contract law and specific performance.

Fintry last traded at $10.2m in 2007 in a sale which was described as fully priced when sold by Channel Seven lawyer and fixer Bruce McWilliam and his lawyer wife, Nicky.

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News Brands

Nine’s Sophie Walsh feared being attacked by terrorist in suicide vest

The man who attacked Nine reporter Sophie Walsh in London while shouting “Allahu Akbar” was an Algerian asylum seeker wanted on criminal charges, a court has heard, reports News Corp’s Stephen Drill.

Walsh was doing a live cross in London on protests in Europe in reaction to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis when she was attacked on June 3.

She was grabbed and punched by Soofuue Yakr, 25, who she feared was wearing a suicide vest.

Yakr was carrying a screwdriver but did not use it to attack the reporter.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard that Yakr, who has pleaded guilty to the assault,was already wanted on charges in Newcastle before he was arrested for the June attack.

He did not turn up at Britain’s Newcastle Crown Court, where he was due to enter pleas for one count of conspiracy to steal, two counts of theft, and two counts of possession of identity documents with improper intention.

Carol Summers, prosecuting, said Yakr ran up to Walsh and pushed her with both hands.

“He then lunged at her as if he was going to take her down. He started to do a stabbing motion on the left hand side of her stomach although there was a stabbing motion she felt nothing sharp,” she said.

Cameraman Jason Conduit chased down Yakr with his tripod and managed to detain him until police arrived.

Walsh’s reaction was captured on screen during her cross to the Adelaide news, but the actual attack was not aired.

The case was adjourned until August 20 at Newcastle Crown Court.

[Read more]


Kyle Sandilands v The Daily Telegraph: Feud escalates over pubic hair

He is no stranger to controversy and Kyle Sandilands gave radio listeners an earful during a bizarre conversation about Chinese women on Tuesday morning, reports News Corp’s Mibenge Nsenduluka.

The Kyle and Jackie O co-host said he made an eyebrow-raising discovery about Chinese women after an encounter with a prostitute.

The Daily Telegraph has chosen not to repeat what Sandilands said and has contacted KIIS FM for comment.

A spokeswoman from The National Council of Women Australia told Confidential that Sandilands’ comments are “appalling”.

“The comments by Sandilands in my view are appalling and totally unacceptable for radio at any time,” NCWA president Robyn Nolan said.

[Read more]

Sandilands referred to the report in Sydney Confidential on his Wednesday show. “What did I say…does anybody remember anything I said?” Sandilands then asked if it was comments about Chinese ladies having straight pubes.

“They don’t all have straight pubes,” said Jackie O. “I did research it, and some do.”

Revisiting the subject in some detail again, a KIIS-FM producer revealed an Asian male listener had sent in a photo of their pubes which was shared amongst the staff. When looking at the photo, the show’s censor bleeped out the reactions from the hosts.

Sandilands: “There’s nothing wrong with people having straight pubes. Where is my apology. What a bunch of piss-ants.”

Sandilands then claimed both The Daily Telegraph, and Mail Online which also reported on the controversy, were guilty of pedalling “fake news”.

The host then asked producers to give time to a segment this morning where Sandilands would guess whether female callers had pubes or no pubes.

Sandilands also cancelled a live read scheduled to promote The Daily Telegraph. He then lampooned the copy in the ad and screwed up the script on air.

Carrie & Tommy devotes Tuesday show to Beanies 4 Brain Cancer

SCA’s Hit Network early drive show yesterday hosted a special event.

Co-host Tommy Little surprised his co-host Carrie Bickmore when he revealed at the start of the show at 3pm the day would be devoted to Bickmore’s Beanies for Brain Cancer charity. It was a special day for Bickmore who then also co-hosted the annual Project episode devoted to the charity.

Brain cancer survival rates haven’t changed in 30 years and the charity is dedicated to funding research to find a cure.

In isolation Bickmore has missed live music alongside her family and friends so Little pulled together an impressive list of artists in a show dedicated to Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer with all the music on the show performed live from artists around the world including:

Amy Shark (Everybody Rise)
Dua Lipa (Break My Heart)
The Jonas Brothers (Sucker)
Anne-Marie (2002)
Rob Thomas (If You’re Gone)
Rita Ora (Medley including Lonely and Anywhere)
Guy Sebastian (Standing With You)
Daryl Braithwaite (Love Songs)
Sam Fischer (This City)
Ava Max (King and Queens)
Dean Lewis (Waves)
Ricki-Lee Coulter (Raining Diamonds)

Listen to the highlights here.


Host of Beyond’s MythBusters Grant Imahara dies at 49

Electrical engineer and roboticist, Grant Imahara, who rose to fame as a host of the television show MythBusters, died on Monday at 49, the Discovery Channel has confirmed, reports The Washington Post.

In a statement released on Monday night, Discovery confirmed the death of Imahara, an enthusiastic influence in the popular science world best known for building robots and operating electronics on the hit show for a decade.

Imahara joined MythBusters in its third season in 2005 after an invitation from host Jamie Hyneman. For more than 200 episodes, Imahara, lovingly referred to as the “geek” of the show’s build team, wowed audiences by bringing tech to life through his ability to design and operate complex robotics that helped test myths in subjects ranging from skydiving to driving stunt cars.

“We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Grant. He was an important part of our Discovery family and a really wonderful man,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

A cause of death was not immediately released by the company. The Hollywood Reporter reported that Imahara died of a brain aneurysm.

Colleagues and friends took to social media to express their devastation at the engineer’s sudden death.

Adam Savage, a former co-host who also worked with Imahara at Lucasfilm, said he had “been part of two big families of Grant Imahara over the last 22 years”, and that he was honoured to call him a friend.

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Preview: NBC starts streaming with a TV-style platform Peacock

NBCUniversal’s streaming platform, Peacock, looks a lot like broadcast TV, reports The New York Times.

The free version comes with commercials and plenty of vintage hits like The King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond. And it offers something viewers might have missed while they were logged onto other streamers: the ability to channel-surf.

The service said it has brought back the analog-era pastime by grouping its programming into distinct feeds, with one dedicated to NBC’s late night hosts and another for the network’s morning franchise, Today, among others.

Peacock, which becomes widely available Wednesday in the US, is also trying to distinguish itself from Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and other competitors by betting that viewers want a free or low-cost streaming option during the coronavirus pandemic.

“People are looking for more affordable options,” said Matt Strauss, chairman of Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises. “That was true before the pandemic and now that we are in the middle of it, arguably heading toward a recession, affordability is even more relevant than when we first laid out our strategy seven months ago.”

NBC said the three-month testing period had proved that streaming viewers were just as happy to flip through options before settling on a show, just as they did in the traditional TV era.

That finding prompted the company to build 20 channels within Peacock. In addition to the late-night and Today feeds, it will have one dedicated to Saturday Night Live and others for news and sports. The company said it will expand the offering to 40 channels within the platform in the coming months, on its way to 70 by year’s end.

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Sports Media

Rugby broadcast deal worth only $10m a year for domestic comp

The tough financial reality for Rugby Australia is that their next broadcast deal is likely to be worth no more than $10m a year for its domestic competition, reports News Corp’s Jessica Halloran.

All up, a deal could be valued at $20m adding in $10m for Test matches. If RA secures a broadcast deal like this, it is $15m a year less than the deal offered by Foxtel to the Raelene Castle-led administration last November.

Back then a five-year $US125m deal was tabled and RA walked away in the hope of starting a bidding war. It never materialised.

The TV ratings for Super Rugby AU have been paltry with 69,000 viewers tuning in to the NSW v Queensland season opener (but 95,000 inclusive of Kayo and Foxtel Now). When rugby was humming, a match like that could draw 175,000 sets of eyeballs on Foxtel. The 2011 Super Rugby final won by Queensland over the Crusaders broke records when it reached 518,000 on Foxtel.

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AFL is trying to outrun a pandemic with NSW exit possible

Football 2020 is being played with a pandemic on its heels. It is running but running out of places to hide, reports The Australian’s Peter Lalor.

Crowded into the pockets by Victoria’s closures and the restrictions of two other states, the whistle got closer to the umpire’s mouth on Tuesday as COVID-19 crept back into NSW. This opponent is as relentless as it is ruthless. Fleet-footed and foul of breath. Always hurrying near.

The AFL and clubs have done an extraordinary job keeping the game going despite the setbacks, reacting and adapting at a speed never before imagined.

The escape from Melbourne went off with some tears but without a hitch. You only had to look at the mishaps suffered by the A-League to see how many potential pitfalls were avoided. Things, however, are on a hair trigger, on Tuesday even the rugby league was thinking of pulling up stumps and vacating its home state.

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