Mediaweek Roundup: Village Roadshow, Craig McLachlan, Seven, AFP raids + more

• AFP Raids, Seb Costello, Kevin Bartlett, and Olympic Games

Business of Media

Clark Kirby appointed Village CEO as family feud boils

The bitter brotherly feud inside the Village Roadshow boardroom has only been exacerbated after Robert Kirby relinquished his role as chairman, his son Clark was elected chief executive and his brother John was stripped of his deputy chairman title, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Clark Kirby will take the reins as chief executive of Village Roadshow from long-time boss Graham Burke on January 1 next year. Clark will also remain in his role as chief executive of Village’s theme parks arm. Executive search firm Egon Zehnder had been hired conduct a global search for a new chief executive, but that will now be cancelled.

Clark Kirby said he would be working closely with Burke and hoped Thursday’s announcement will provide certainty and stability for Village.

Thursday’s announcement means Robert Kirby will step aside for an independent chairman, but he will remain on the board as an executive director.

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Alternative assault charges to be filed against actor Craig McLachlan

Prosecutors will file more charges against actor Craig McLachlan to give a magistrate the option of deciding whether the allegations against him constitute common assault or indecent assault, reports The Age’s Adam Cooper.

McLachlan is to face a three-week contested hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court from November 18 on seven charges of indecent assault, one of common assault and one of attempted indecent assault.

The charges relate to the period between April 26 and July 13, 2014, when McLachlan was in Melbourne performing in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

An actress who performed in the stage show has previously alleged she was indecently assaulted by McLachlan, who played the role of Frank-N-Furter.

McLachlan, 53, is yet to formally enter a plea but his lawyers have told court hearings he denied the charges and would plead not guilty. He was excused from attending Thursday’s hearing.

His lawyer, Damian Sheales, told the court “what is alleged is denied”, but even if the charges were proven, the conduct didn’t amount to indecent assault.

McLachlan has denied the allegations against him and has begun defamation action against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, the ABC and one actress over news reports last year that alleged he engaged in sexual harassment and indecent assault during the production.

The defamation trial has been postponed until the criminal proceedings are finished.

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News Brands

Seven fails to stop Aboriginal group’s Sunrise defamation lawsuit

Lawyers representing an Indigenous group who are suing Channel Seven are feeling confident after the TV network failed to stop the lawsuit going ahead, reports NITV news.

Yolngu woman Kathy Mununggurr and 14 others from the remote Northern Territory community of Yirrkala are suing Channel Seven for defamation over a controversial breakfast show segment.

The lawsuit alleges that the Sunrise program defamed the applicants by playing slightly blurred background footage of them during a controversial panel discussion which aired in March 2018.

TV presenter Samantha Armytage introduced the Hot Topics segment by incorrectly stating that Aboriginal children at “risk of rape, assault and neglect” could not be adopted by white families.

Conservative commentator Prue MacSween suggested they should be taken from their families “just like the first Stolen Generation” and broadcaster Ben Davis agreed.

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Whistleblower acted ‘as a patriot’, does not regret leaks

The whistleblower who sparked the Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters last week says he does not regret leaking confidential milit­ary documents because he considered it his “patriotic duty”, reports The Australian’s Olivia Caisley.

David McBride, 55, has been committed to stand trial over a charge of theft of commonwealth property, three counts of breaching the Defence Act and one count of unauthorised disclosur­e of information.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Speaking outside court, McBride said he stood by his decision­ to leak the secret documents to ABC journalists Dan Oakes, Andrew Clark and Chris Masters.

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Two Melbourne television journos in court ‘contact’

Nine Network reporter Seb Costello (Top Photograph) has apologised after a clash outside a Melbourne court resulted in allegations of “contact” with Seven News reporter Sharnelle Vella.

Two rival stations’ Melbourne journalists were allegedly caught up in unintentional “contact” outside court, reports News Corp’s Jeff Whalley.

Costello allegedly collided with Seven News reporter Vella outside Melbourne Magistrates’ court.

The incident unfolded as journalists crowded around Georgia May Gibson, who had just been cleared of sharing an explicit video of Dane Swan.

One person at the scene told the Herald Sun as Costello jostled for position, he gave Vella a “fair old hip and shoulder” and also had a run-in with the Seven cameraman.

The reporter herself was ready to move along last night, telling the Herald Sun: “Seb apologised and that’s the end of it”.

After the Herald Sun reported the incident online on Thursday afternoon, Costello took to the airwaves to discuss the matter. He characterised the incident as a “clash”.

“I should have had more awareness and I’ve apologised for that,” he told the ABC. “And I am sorry I wish it didn’t happen like that.”

“Sometimes in the middle of covering stories you kind of lose your sense of where you are because you get a bit blinkered and that happened this morning.”

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Radio

Is an AFL legend and broadcaster on the way out at SEN?

The elephant in the room down at SEN’s Southbank studios is the fractured relationship between Kevin Bartlett and CEO Craig Hutchison, reports News Corp’s Scott Gullan.

Understandably KB was less than impressed when Hutchison brought in Gerard Whateley from the ABC to replace him in the coveted morning slot despite the Richmond champion’s strong ratings.

The tension has been bubbling along behind-the-scenes over a range of issues including the games – or lack of them – which KB has been used as caller as well as commercial differences in relation to his program.

KB’s contract is up at the end of the year and by mutual agreement it won’t be renewed with speculation his drive show – which is co-hosted by Dr Turf (aka John Rothfield) – could be pulled at the end of the AFL season.

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Sports Media

News Corp backs Queensland bid to host 2032 Olympic Games

A potential bid for southeast Queensland to host the 2032 Olympic Games has taken another step forward with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk seeking talks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison over support for a tilt, reports News Corp’s Daryl Passmore.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones yesterday told 500 industry movers and shakers at The Courier-Mail’s Future Tourism lunch that Palaszczuk has written to the PM “in regards to how do we work together and really understanding what their commitment is”.

As The Courier-Mail reported yesterday, rule changes to go before the IOC on June 26, will allow a Future Host Commission to recommend a 2032 host to be named as soon as next July – 12 years before the event.

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates detailed how a deal with the NBC network in the US, delivering the IOC $US2.3 billion ($3.3 billion) every four years up to and including 2032 would help ensure an SEQ event broke even.

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said aiming for the 2032 Olympics was a big ambition.

“Success will change the city irrevocably. It will mean changes to roads and rail, to arts and culture, to retail and restaurants. Hosting an Olympics is an opportunity which stretches way beyond the parameters of a 14-day sporting contest,” Miller said.

Photo: The Star Entertainment Group chairman John O’Neill, News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller, Spicers Retreats founder Jude Turner, Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates, Tourism and Events Queensland chief executive Leanne Coddington, demographer Bernard Salt and Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gshwind. Picture: Mark Cranitch/News Corp

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