Wednesday August 15, 2018

TEN’s Pilot Week: Will Kyle and Rove return to TV as judge and host

After creating something of a minor controversy when it was first announced, many more people now know about TEN’s Pilot Week initiative, which launches this weekend.

Network Ten kept the momentum alive this week by hosting media from around Australia to a Pilot Week launch event in Sydney. Despite clashing with a Foxtel 4K announcement, the TV channel managed to pull an interested crowd that also included the stars and producers of the eight programs.

Network Ten’s Angela Bishop hosted the event, showing clips from all but one of the programs, then interviewing key creative and then introducing Network Ten executives Beverley McGarvey and Paul Anderson.

CEO Anderson told guests that launching eight shows in one week was a massive exercise. “I want to thank Bev and everyone at TEN and the production houses for getting behind the initiative with so much enthusiasm and passion.

“We are very proud of Pilot Week and what it says about us. It says we are innovating and doing things differently, investing in local content, and it says we believe in the power of free TV and getting behind our local production community.”

Anderson then went on to detail some of the results of a significantly increased local content spend courtesy of new owners CBS.

“We have Game Of Games, a new family entertainment show hosted by Grant Denyer, a new Aussie drama series Playing For Keeps, Pete Helliar’s new sitcom How To Stay Married, and Mr Black written by Adam Zwar.

“We have the sweet and insightful ob doc The Secret Life Of Four Year Olds, Blind Date with the fantastic Julia Morris and Ambulance Australia, which has just been announced.

“This week we finally see what the Honey Badger gets up to on The Bachelor.

“This is an amazing lineup and our strongest second-half ever and a significant investment in Australian content.”

Kyle Sandilands and Rove McManus are both betting their next TV projects on Pilot Week. Both former Network Ten stars, they were on hand at the launch to help spruik their latest projects.

Paul Anderson, Anna Heinrich, Kyle Sandilands, Beverley McGarvey

Sandilands said his manager and Network Ten tricked him into doing Trial By Kyle. “I told them I was only a TV talent judge five years ago – I am not a real judge. We look at it more as arbitration.

Once we filmed it, I think I might have a career doing it. It was pretty easy.

Sandilands recalled some real court appearances in the past. “The last time I was in arbitration was with Seven for defamation against me.”

Sandilands then asked if there were any former Seven people in the room. He acknowledged the presence of TEN news executive Peter Meakin. “You were at Seven then. The old battle axe that used to run that joint told me: ‘You sat in my in-tray for two years, you prick. Like a cockroach, you wouldn’t die.’ Arbitration is heaps of fun.”

As to what viewers could expect on the show, Sandilands told Bishop: “I love nothing better than two ferals who live next door to each other and don’t get on.”

Sandilands added he though it was a great initiative from TEN. “I have never been more excited about TV and normally I couldn’t care less.”

Rove’s Bring Back…Saturday Night live variety show could help lift the channel’s weekend share if he manages to attract an audience.

Rove was the only host not to have a clip of his program. The show will be broadcast from TEN’s Sydney studio. The Living Room has the studio for Friday night filming, then the set for Bring Back…Saturday Night will be built Saturday morning, and then they start preparation and rehearsals just hours before the show goes to air.

Rove is working with Merrick Watts, Mel Buttle and Judith Lucy and he has two young comedians, both called Alex, working on the format – Alex Jae and Alex Lee. He is also working with his longtime executive producer and Roving Enterprises partner Craig Campbell.

Sandra Sully, Dave O’Neil, Sam Dastyari

Highlights from the other clips shown last night were a Married At First Sight casting session on Skit Happens and scenes from Drunk History featuring Gyton Grantley as Ned Kelly.

Troy Kinne and Natalie Tran talked about their tonight show format and Dave O’Neil’s Dave sitcom looks promising.

Two that really seemed to engage the audience last night were Lune Media’s Taboo with Harley Breen and CJZ’s Disgrace hosted by Sam Dastyari. The latter has elements of a Gruen for the media business, and panellists that helped make the clip we saw compelling were radio’s Intern Pete and former News Corp comms exec Greg Baxter.

TEN’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said all the shows have a bias towards laughs, which is because the channel sees a gap in the market for Australian comedy.

Executives from most of the production houses involved were on hand including many TEN stars like Julia Morris, Mark Humphries and Andrew Rochford, Joe Hildebrand and Denise Drysdale and TEN Sydney newsreader Sandra Sully.

Top Photo: Ale Jae, Rove McManus, and Alex Lee

Bite Club’s Dominic Monaghan: Script lured him to Playmaker series

Playmaker Media’s crime drama Bite Club launches on Nine this week. As well as an impressive cast of Australia’s finest, the producers also cast British actor Dominic Monaghan.

By James Manning

It was a good get for the series with Monaghan sure to spark interest because of his background in things as diverse at Lost, the Lord Of The Rings movies and Hetty Wainthropp Investigates.

It was the script that first attracted Monaghan to Bite Club. “I probably read around 100 scripts a year and say no to stuff I don’t respond to,” the actor told Mediaweek recently. “I read the first four episodes of this show and I thought it was very interesting in terms of what they wanted to do with my character and dynamic.

“I started asking my agents questions after that about where does it shoot and when does it shoot. People cared very much about the project and the character I would have been playing and they didn’t have to twist my arm too much for me to get on a plane and come to Sydney.”

He said he liked to keep busy and work most of the time. “I’d like to work as much as 330 days of the year. Because a lot of the scripts I read make it easy to say no to, I don’t work as much as I would like to.

When it comes to reading scripts, he thinks about 90 pages are a good length. “If I get about halfway through and I am not responding, then it is usually a pretty easy no for me. If I start to think about the character and what he might wear, how he might walk and what he might say, then I know that something interesting is happening. I might read it again and then start asking business questions.”

This is an excerpt from the full article, which appears on Mediaweek Premium. Read the full article here or subscribe to Mediaweek Premium here.

Foxtel unveils 4K with old school showbiz: Big screen, clear pictures

Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany has always been a fan of keeping it simple. During his early days at Foxtel and then when running Fox Sports, his trademark presentation was a big screen and best quality pictures you could supply.

He is leaving the big screen part of the equation up to his Foxtel customers – he noted most TVs now sold are over 55 inch.

But he can help with the quality of the pictures.

From October Foxtel will launch a dedicated 4K channel, which will need to be accompanied by an iQ4 set-top box to deliver those pictures.

Foxtel said its 4K channel is an Australian first, bringing with it a live 4K experience and an unprecedented way to enjoy sport, documentaries, movies and more through Australia’s only guaranteed 4K satellite signal.

The Foxtel 4K presentation was held twice this week, once for media in the morning and then a glittering evening event.

“Welcome to television… but like never before,” said Delany at the events, echoing the famous words from Bruce Gyngell when TV first launched in Australia.

Foxtel paid homage to the past with two rows of TVs, with Aussie TV highlights greeting guests as they entered Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.

Foxtel in 4K will launch in October on channel 444 and will come as part of a Foxtel Platinum HD or Foxtel Sports HD subscription for customers with an iQ4. At launch, the channel will start previewing 4K content – including live sport, documentaries, concerts and more, and over the next 12 months Foxtel is promising to expand the selection of unique 4K content to its subscribers.

The news comes as Foxtel announces the arrival of the new iQ4 set-top box. The iQ4 looks the same and has much the same features as the iQ3 but for one exceptional feature:

The new iQ4 will enable subscribers with a compatible 4K TV to access Foxtel’s new 4K channel.

Foxtel in 4K arrives in time for the Australia v South Africa cricket ODI on November 4, which will kick off Foxtel’s sports coverage in 4K, bringing detail to sports fans like they have never seen before.

Delany demonstrated what sport looks like in 4K at the launch and it makes a significant difference. He revealed they had already shot an NRL match in 4K – “In a way the first live broadcast has already happened.”

Delany said, “Innovation is in Foxtel’s DNA and we have continuously redefined entertainment for Australia putting us at the centre of connecting subscribers with the sports and the shows they love.

“Today’s news is just the first step into a 4K future. This incredible experience will continue to expand as we bring even more sport and entertainment programming to life in guaranteed 4K, making the most of today’s ultramodern 4K TVs. It’s TV like never before.”

Foxtel customers can learn more at to be sure they’re up and running for when the curtain goes up on 4K and live cricket in 4K.

Access to Foxtel’s 4K channel requires an iQ4 set-top box, compatible HDMI cable and compatible 4K TV.

Any other connected equipment must also be compatible with Foxtel’s 4K UHD Standard, available to customers with Sports + HD packs starting in October 2018.

SCA’s Mickey Maher: Regional station rebrands not cost-cutting exercise

The rebrands of Southern Cross Austereo’s regional radio stations aren’t part of a cost-cutting exercise.

By Kruti Joshi

The company’s regional head of content, Mickey Maher, told Mediaweek: “It’s important that people don’t believe the inaccurate hype that gets reported saying that when we rebrand stations they are losing the localism. Show me evidence where that’s the case. There were also reports of more networking and cost cutting. Again, show me the evidence.

“We don’t make rebranding decisions lightly. We also understand not everyone is going to like them instantly.”

SCA recently rebranded Townsville’s 4TOFM and Newcastle’s KOFM to join the Triple M Network.

“It’s not nice to lose heritage but the world has to evolve and businesses have to evolve to stay relevant,” Maher said. “At the end of the day, we are a commercial business. We need great content to get audience and we need to be able to monetise our business.”

The company needs to do more to explain to the regional market that a change in station name doesn’t mean a radical change of content.

“There are lots of similarities between Triple M Network’s metro and regional stations. Sports and comedy are a key part of what we do,” Maher said. “But the differentiation is that in metro, Triple M is all about men. However, our strategy is to target men and women with our content. Our music is also broader.”

This is an excerpt from the full article, which appears on Mediaweek Premium. Read the full article here or subscribe to Mediaweek Premium here.

TV Ratings Analysis: August 15

• The Block and True Story again secure Nine a Tuesday win
• Survivor and The Project TEN’s best, 800 Words returns at Seven
• Filthy Rich and Homeless and new Railway Journeys for SBS

By James Manning


A more competitive channel last night, but Home And Away was still short of 700,000 with 667,000.

Dance Boss then had a second successive night under 500,000.

800 Words had a subdued return to the schedule with 507,000. The series last aired toward the end of 2017 with also just over half a million.


A Current Affair held over 800,000 for the second time this week.

The Block was down to 918,000 – close to what Tuesday last week did.

True Story featured Sam Pang in a cameo with 634,000 watching, down from 749,000 for the series launch a week ago. The first two episodes last year did 1.4m and then 1.2m.


Australian Survivor was the channel’s best with 634,000 after 609,000 on Tuesday last week.

Bull has moved to Tuesday nights and it did 237,000 last night after Survivor.

Earlier in the night Pointless was on 238,000 followed by The Project with 280,000 and then 512,000.


Craig Reucassel was reporting on Foreign Correspondent from Sweden with 502,000 watching, down from 526,000 a week prior.

Catalyst returned at 8.30pm with 456,000.

The first of the four-part Essential Media series Search For Second Earth did 250,000 after 9.30pm.


The new series of Blackfella Films’ Filthy Rich and Homeless launched with 387,000.

It was preceded by the launch of Great Indian Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo travelling between Amritsar and Shimia for the audience of 312,000.

Week 33 TV: Tuesday
ABC Seven Nine Ten SBS
ABC 12.1% 7 17.2% 9 20.1% TEN 12.1% SBS One 6.8%
ABC 2 2.5% 7TWO 3.4% GO! 5.0% ONE 3.2% VICELAND 1.0%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 4.4% GEM 3.3% ELEVEN 2.2% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 1.7% NITV 0.1%
TOTAL 16.8% 26.9% 30.1% 17.5% 8.7%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates Ten Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.5% 7 19.3% 9 16.4% WIN 9.7% SBS One 4.8%
ABC 2 2.9% 7TWO 4.6% GO! 5.2% ONE 3.3% VICELAND 1.0%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 7.0% GEM 5.5% ELEVEN 1.8% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 1.4% 7flix 1.2% 9Life 1.6% NITV 0.1%
TOTAL 17.4% 32.1% 28.7% 14.8% 6.9%


85.2% 14.8%


  1. Seven News Seven 1,017,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 975,000
  3. Nine News Nine 930,000
  4. The Block Nine 918,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 907,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 807,000
  7. ABC News ABC 755,000
  8. Home And Away Seven 667,000
  9. True Story With Hamish & Andy Nine 634,000
  10. Australian Survivor Ten 634,000
  11. The Chase Australia Seven 588,000
  12. 7.30 ABC 577,000
  13. Hot Seat Nine 525,000
  14. The Project 7pm Ten 512,000
  15. 800 Words Seven 507,000
  16. Foreign Correspondent ABC 502,000
  17. Dance Boss Seven 481,000
  18. Catalyst ABC 456,000
  19. Filthy Rich And Homeless SBS387,000
  20. Ten Eyewitness News First At Five Ten 377,000

16-39 Top 5 

  1. The Block Nine 289,000
  2. Australian Survivor Ten 213,000
  3. True Story With Hamish & Andy Nine 182,000
  4. A Current Affair Nine 156,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 150,000


18-49 Top 5 

  1. The Block Nine 455,000
  2. Australian Survivor Ten 340,000
  3. True Story With Hamish & Andy Nine 314,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 266,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 255,000


 25-54 Top 5

  1. The Block Nine 499,000
  2. Australian Survivor Ten 350,000
  3. True Story With Hamish & Andy Nine 350,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 302,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 293,000
TUESDAY Multichannel
  1. Highway Patrol-E2 PM 7mate 206,000
  2. The Big Bang Theory TX2 9GO! 197,000
  3. Noddy Toyland Detective-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 191,000
  4. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 190,000
  5. Little Roy-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 185,000
  6. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 180,000
  7. Highway Patrol-PM 7mate 176,000
  8. The Big Bang Theory TX3 9GO! 174,000
  9. The Big Bang Theory TX1 9GO! 171,000
  10. Top Gun 9GO! 170,000
  11. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 161,000
  12. Pj Masks-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 159,000
  13. Aussie Salvage Squad-PM 7mate 159,000
  14. Peppa Pig-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  15. Hey Duggee-PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 154,000
  16. Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 152,000
  17. Neighbours ELEVEN 149,000
  18. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  19. Peppa Pig-AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  20. Midsomer Murders 9Gem 140,000
TUESDAY Subscription TV
  1. Wentworth showcase 91,000
  2. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 79,000
  3. Jones & Co SKY NEWS LIVE 69,000
  4. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 57,000
  5. Paul Murray Live SKY NEWS LIVE 54,000
  6. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 54,000
  7. The Bolt Report SKY NEWS LIVE 54,000
  8. Live: Back Page FOX SPORTS 501 52,000
  9. Bones TVH!TS 52,000
  10. The Simpsons FOX8 45,000
  11. Open Mike FOX FOOTY 45,000
  12. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 40,000
  13. NCIS TVH!TS 38,000
  14. Credlin SKY NEWS LIVE 38,000
  15. The Simpsons FOX8 36,000
  16. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TVH!TS 36,000
  17. The Fan FOX LEAGUE 35,000
  18. Family Guy FOX8 34,000
  19. As Time Goes By FOX Classics 34,000
  20. Would I Lie To You? UKTV 34,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Michael Ebeid departure: SBS CFO James Taylor interim CEO

The SBS board of directors has announced the appointment of SBS chief financial officer James Taylor (pictured) to the role of acting SBS managing director.

The announcement follows the decision of Michael Ebeid to step down from the role from 1 October after seven and a half years’ service with SBS, to take up a new group executive role with Telstra.


Taylor joined SBS six years ago and leads SBS’s finance, corporate strategy, people & culture, legal, SBS media sales and commercial teams. He has over 18 years’ experience in media and telecommunications across corporate and public sector organisations in Australia and abroad, with expertise in corporate finance, human resources, operational leadership and corporate and digital strategies.

His appointment as acting managing director comes into effect from 2 October.

The recruitment process for the new managing director is underway.

M&C Saatchi Group launches film and TV production studio THIS.

M&C Saatchi Group has partnered with award-winning documentary makers, writers, producers and digital content pioneers Michael Lawrence and Nicholas Cook to launch film and television production studio called THIS.

THIS. already has two projects under way: a four-part TV series in partnership with Rip Curl and a multipart content drive that brings to life Subway’s involvement with the X Games, which will be broadcast on Seven in October.

Additionally, the studio is working on a series for Nat Geo and a major documentary with an LA-based film studio.

Rising share prices push Kerry Stokes higher up Rich List: $5b+

The AFR’s Rear Window column has been running the ruler over the value of Kerry Stokes’s investments:

Stokes was valued at $4.93 billion in May’s Rich List, but based on the rises in Seven Group Holdings, you’d expect he’d have pushed well past $5 billion by now.

Seven Group Holdings has continued its steady ascent, up nearly 80% year-on-year, while its 41% stake in Seven West Media, which reports next Tuesday, has nearly doubled in value from its lows in February.

[Read the original]

Blockbuster author Kate Morton suing sacked agent Selwa Anthony

Blockbuster author Kate Morton says she sacked literary agent Selwa Anthony immediately after she discovered she had been paying threefold commissions on her books for a decade, a court has heard, reports News Corp’s Lucy Hughes Jones.

The author of five bestsellers including The Shifting Fog and The Lake House is being sued by her long-time agent for breach of contract in an attempt to secure the royalty flow of her works.

The award-winning author earned more than $17 million in royalties between 2005-2016, from which Anthony took a $2.8 million cut.

Morton now wants a refund and is countersuing Anthony for allegedly failing to disclose conflicts of interest and misusing her position for “personal gain”.

[Read the original]

News Brands

The West Australian campaigns against leader: Dead Man Walking

An extraordinary war has erupted between West Australian Liberal leader Mike Nahan and billionaire Kerry Stokes’s The West Australian newspaper, which has today editorialised for him to be dumped and says it will boycott his press conferences, reports The Australian’s Andrew Burrell.

In an editorial, the newspaper said “almost anyone else would be a better option” as leader than Dr Nahan. A scathing front-page story about Dr Nahan’s leadership was headlined “Dead Man Walking”.

[Read the original]


TVNZ to screen medical format from Seven’s Great Southern Television

New Zealand’s TVNZ has secured an original medical format from Seven Studios’ Great Southern Television.

The series, titled The Check-up, will be hosted by three young doctors, and focus on millennial medicine.

“We’re looking at health from the perspective of digitally native professional doctors. Their take is radically more progressive – and future focused,” said executive producer Philip Smith.

“In the format, three smart young doctors conduct state of the art experiments and scrutinise long-held beliefs, before reaching their own conclusions. They are doctors who think, work and interact differently, having been brought up in the age of digital technology,” he added.

The NZ On Air funded series will premiere on TVNZ 1 and the initial run will be 10 episodes.

TVNZ’s director of content Cate Slater commented: “Factual series resonate strongly with our audiences. Medical topics are of particular interest and relevance to Kiwis, so we’re looking forward to bringing a local flair to The Check-up on TVNZ in 2019.”

Seven Studios’ director of content distribution and rights Therese Hegarty commented: “It is wonderful to see another significant new project from Great Southern Television. This format is a fresh take on medicine and health – a universally relevant topic.”

Great Southern Television was acquired by Seven Studios in January 2018.

TEN newsreader Natarsha Belling now on crutches after nasty fall

Channel 10 newsreader Natarsha Belling was treated at hospital and is now on crutches after falling down 12 stairs while doing the grocery shopping, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

The 48-year-old tripped and fell while rushing down an escalator on Monday.

“I was sober,” Belling told Confidential.

“I thought I’d broken my back and I have cuts all down my leg. It looks like a shark has attacked me. I am very lucky and I am okay.”

The mother of two said “of course not” when asked if she’d considered taking legal action against the shopping centre.

[Read the original]


Dummy spit: Brisbane radio host promises “No more Rove on our show”

A Brisbane radio host has blasted Rove McManus on air, calling the comedian “a dick”, reports News Corp’s Andrew Bucklow.

Matty Acton, who hosts the Hit105 breakfast show with Stav Davidson and Abby Coleman, announced this week that Rove is now banned from the radio show after the TV personality didn’t return their phone calls.

The Hit105 breakfast team wanted Rove’s help with their campaign to try to get Pink, who is performing in Brisbane from tonight until August 22, to come and play handball with them at the Ekka, on at the moment.

Last week the radio stars called Rove on air to see if he could tweet Pink and invite her to the annual Brisbane Ekka on their behalf. Pink only follows 454 people on Twitter, and Rove, a good friend of hers, is one of them.

Acton continued, saying, “It’s not how it works, mate. We talk about your boring stuff so then you talk about our boring stuff. That’s how a friendship works.

“Oh well, no more boring Rove chat on our show any more,” he declared.

[Read the original]

Sports Media

Claire Sutherland: Why audience moved from Footy Show to Front Bar

Like a Benny Hill sketch or an episode of Are You Being Served, the AFL Footy Show needs to be acknowledged for its contributions to TV history, but also accept its style of mean-edged piss-taking is no longer what the world wants, comments News Corp’s Claire Sutherland.

Its counterpart, the NRL Footy Show, is currently embroiled in a fat-shaming controversy – familiar territory for the AFL Footy Show, which has for so long featured Sam Newman’s relentless barrage of misogyny and, more recently, trans-phobia. This stuff once had people tuning in in droves, but recent ratings show the audience has moved on.

It turns out when it comes to football programs on TV, we now prefer witty to belligerent, and insightful to abusive.

The recent 14,000-strong Herald Sun footy fans survey crowned The Front Bar the most popular football TV show, with 30.3% citing it as their favourite. Second was Foxtel’s AFL360, with 21.5%.

The once mighty Footy Show limped in at 7.5%.

[Read the original]

Facebook secures more sports rights: Three-year La Liga football deal

Facebook has bought the rights to show Spanish top-flight football in the Indian subcontinent in the latest move by a US technology company into sports rights, reports The Guardian.

The company has signed an exclusive agreement to show La Liga games featuring Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and other stars for the next three years. The deal will allow Facebook to show all 380 matches for the new season, which starts on Friday, to users in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Facebook will show the games for free to its 348 million users in the region, including 270 million in India. The company did not disclose how much it was paying for the rights, which cost Sony Pictures Network $32m (£25m) last time they were for sale in 2014.

Facebook pays about $1m a game to show 25 Major League Baseball games worldwide for no fee, supported by advertising. From next season in the UK, Amazon will bundle 20 English Premier League matches with its Prime subscription service. Sky and BT currently share the rights to show live games on TV.

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