Mediaweek Roundup: Ray Hadley, Macquarie Media, Ita Buttrose + more

CBS & Viacom, John Singleton, Shane Jacobson, ABC and Glitch

Business of Media

CBS and Viacom work through the night to hammer out deal

Shares of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. fell Monday in the US in response to the latest deal terms weighed by the media giants, which are hammering out a merger after years of on-again, off-again discussions, report Bloomberg’s Nabila Ahmed, Ed Hammond and Lucas Shaw.

The two boards are nearing an agreement following a marathon negotiating session that went late into the night Sunday.

The companies are aiming to announce a merger by Monday, although the timing could slip into Tuesday.

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Ray Hadley says Nine won’t force 2GB to align with The SMH

Star Macquarie Media host Ray Hadley doesn’t believe Nine would risk “ruining our business” by forcing its stations’ hosts to include more Nine content on their shows, saying he’ll always be “more Daily Telegraph than SMH”, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

Hadley, who hosts mornings on 2GB in Sydney and Brisbane’s 4BC, told The Australian he “could not see anything changing” in the format and content on his Macquarie show, which has in the past relied more on News Corp newspapers’ coverage and journalists rather than those now owned by Nine.

“I cannot see anything changing, synergies are always going to happen,” Hadley said.

“Even when Fairfax were the major shareholder, I would say my show is more like The Daily Telegraph than the SMH and it will always be that way.”

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John Singleton in line to make $80m from Macquarie Media stake sale

John “Singo” Singleton will reap about $80 million from the sale of his minority shareholding in Macquarie Media should he accept Nine Entertainment’s $1.46 per share offer to buy the remaining shares in the radio group it does not yet own, reports The Australian’s John Stensholt.

But Nine’s offer is significantly below the level Macquarie Media’s share price was trading at earlier this year. Had Nine, for example, moved to take over the radio station in March, Singleton’s 32.2 per cent stake would then have been worth about $100 million.

Alan Jones, meanwhile, has about 2.1 million shares that would be worth about $3.16 million should the Nine offer be accepted. Prominent Sydney investor Mark Carnegie would reap about $8.9 million under the same scenario.

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Macquarie Media’s Russell Tate defends Nine offer, no other bidder

Macquarie chairman Russell Tate defended the decision [to recommend Nine’s bid], conceding that an offer below the market price is unusual, but arguing that there are a number of factors in this deal that are not typical of a standard takeover, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Tate told the Financial Review the Macquarie board has been anticipating an offer from Nine at some point in time and has been receiving financial advice from UBS.

Tate said Macquarie shareholders – before they vote on the deal – will have an independent expert report so they can receive an outside view on the “fairness and reasonableness of this offer”.

Tate said there had been no indication “that there is another potential bidder for the minority shareholding in the company”.

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Ita Buttrose says ABC staff are ‘fragile, sensitive, in need of reassurance’

ABC chair Ita Buttrose attended an Aussie Home Loans conference on Monday, appearing on a panel with ANZ boss Shayne Elliott and Aussie founder John Symond, moderated by Nine business editor Ross Greenwood report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Koziol and Samantha Hutchinson.

Asked about the leadership upheaval at the broadcaster over the past year, Buttrose noted such changes were usually unsettling for staff – but particularly at the ABC.

“Creative people, the kind of people who work at the ABC, are very sensitive people,” she said.

“You’ve got to understand that – that’s why they do the sort of things that they do.

“So they’re a little more fragile than some workers. They have to be patted a bit, and reassured that all is well,” Buttrose said to laughter.

Buttrose did not attend Symond’s conference in her capacity as ABC chair.

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Shane Jacobson and former manager settle legal battle out of court

Entertainer Shane Jacobson has settled a six-figure legal battle with his ex-manager at the 11th hour, report The Age’s Broede Carmody and Tom Cowie.

The 49-year-old actor was due to front Melbourne’s County Court on Tuesday to defend himself against claims he did not pay his former manager and publicist, Deb Fryers, an appropriate commission for securing him a string of on-and-off screen roles in 2018 and 2019.

Jacobson became a household name in 2006 after starring in the cult mockumentary film Kenny. He has since gone on to host popular reality program Little Big Shots, strip-off in Network Seven’s The Real Full Monty and even star in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Fryers, who helped oversee Jacobson’s rise from local actor to prime-time TV host, sued the Kenny star and his company Ocean View Entertainment in August last year. The longtime publicist claimed she had not been paid an appropriate commission for landing Jacobson more than 15 jobs before the pair parted ways, according to a writ filed in the Victorian County Court.

Jacobson earned just over $900,000 from various gigs in 2018 and 2019, according to court documents, including $27,000 for appearing in Seven’s The Real Full Monty and $180,000 for voicing the narrator in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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ABC programs shortlisted for International Content Innovation Awards

Two multi award-winning ABC programs have been shortlisted for the Television Business International – Content Innovation Awards, to be held at MIPCOM in October this year.

The ABC’s factual series You Can’t Ask That has been nominated for Entertainment Format of The Year, alongside some of the world’s largest and most expensive shiny floor shows. Heralded here and overseas for diverse storytelling, ABC Commercial has sold the format for You Can’t Ask That to 10 countries – making it one of the ABC’s most successful formats.

Australian crime investigation series Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane has been short listed for Best Use of Social Media. EXPOSED: The Case of Keli Lane takes a unique approach to documentary storytelling, advancing the manner in which multi-part series are produced, revolutionising the role of the audience and transforming how factual content is engaged with.

Michael Carrington, ABC acting director entertainment & specialist, said: “As Australia’s leading creative voice, the ABC is proud to be recognised on the international stage for content innovation. Congratulations to the ABC teams behind You Can’t Ask That and Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane for showing that distinctive and engaging Australian content touches hearts and opens minds with viewers around the world.”

Winners will be announced at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes on Sunday, 13 October 2019.

Rove guest host on Celebrity Name Game due to Grant Denyer illness

Rove McManus is guest-hosting on Celebrity Name Game due to Grant Denyer being unwell again, reports TV Tonight.

“Who knew an innocent family holiday in Bali would end with me flat on my back again?” Denyer said in a statement.

“But the show must go on, and I owe Rove McManus a big thank you for stepping in to my small shoes and hosting Celebrity Name Game for a short stint. A consummate professional, household name and all-around top bloke, it’s no wonder they chose Rove to take over while I take some time to recover. The fact that Rove fits my wardrobe is only an added-bonus.”

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Glitch co-creator reveals plan was always to end after three seasons

Ending a drama series is not all bad.

Just ask Glitch co-creator Louise Fox who is concluding the series at three seasons on her own terms.

“It’s fantastic. I think every storyteller wants to finish a story on their own terms. We always envisaged three seasons,” she tells TV Tonight.

“It’s a really good shape, particularly for a mystery. You don’t want to overstay your welcome and drag it out and frustrate people.

“I think an end is really important here and an audience needs to feel they have been satisfied.

“You want an ending to be both surprising and perfectly satisfying, at the same time.

“We’ve always had the ending planned from the beginning.”

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