• Rebel Wilson wanted to be the madam alongside a TV newcomer
By James Manning
One of Australia’s most-celebrated producers sees his latest project launch on the ABC this Sunday. Les Norton from Roadshow Rough Diamond is the first FTA TV series from producer John Edwards’ new production company he launched in 2016 with his son Dan.
The 10-part series is based on the Les Norton novels written by Robert G Barrett about a country bloke who lands a job as a bouncer in Kings Cross in the 1980s.
The production company Roadshow Rough Diamond is the first time father and son John and Dan Edwards have worked together.
“Officially, that is,” explained Dan to Mediaweek.
“I did some freebies as a child for things like ‘boy on the beach’ and ‘kid that jumped off train’ on Police Rescue.
“Other than that we have kept [our careers] quite separate.
“The closest we have come to working together is when I was at Southern Star when I was two floors below working in sales for Cathy Payne.”
While John’s career has seen his productions for other businesses win over 70 Logies, AFI/AACTA and ASTRA awards, Dan has spent two decades working in mainly program distribution including time with ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Endemol Worldwide.
John told Mediaweek that coming from different production backgrounds means sometimes they have different roles and sometimes they don’t. “Even though Dan’s background is in the marketing and sales of programs, he has been creatively quite central in the three projects we have done to date.” John added there is a constant process of defining their roles that varies depending on what is happening at any one time at Rough Diamond.
The new production company also made the Logie-winning Romper Stomper for Stan and the still unseen Australian Gangster for Seven, which can’t yet be screened for legal reasons.
Usually Rough Diamond develops its own projects, but Les Norton is an exception to that rule. John explained: “The project was originally developed by an American company and the ABC wanted to have an Australian producer working on it and we were brought. At that stage there was one pilot script and some ideas about the cast.
“We then developed the remaining scripts together with the ABC and set up the financing structure.
“Just before going into production there were some problems with financing and the rights ended up coming back to us. We then worked out a way of proceeding with the ABC with the support of Screen Australia and Create NSW.”
All the way through this process, series creator and head writer Morgan O’Neill has been attached to Les Norton. “He was originally adapting from the source material – the Rob Barrett novels – and Morgan remains central to all things Les.”
So involved is Morgan O’Neill that as Mediaweek spoke in one room to John and Dan, O’Neill was in the next room plotting out a potential season two.
The casting for the series all hinges on Les Norton, and Dan explained the decision to award the role to newcomer Alex Bertrand.
“Some people we were looking at had big, established American careers. We had just worked with Alex and Australian Gangster. [The series made with Gregor Jordan, which Dan said will be shown one day, but not now due to legal reasons.] Alex is in all but six minutes of four hours of Australian Gangster. He not only delivered that, but was an absolute phenomenon. For this role, Alex had to shake out his gangster and get into a new role to be Les.
“With a bit of faith from all involved we went with Alex and he has surpassed everyone’s expectation of how good he is in the role.”
The biggest get in the cast is perhaps luring Rebel Wilson. “She was always in our imagination,” admitted John. “But it took a long time to secure her. We had to schedule her time with us in a fairly complex way to make it happen.”
Dan: “With Rebel she took the character somewhere we didn’t expect. We first went after Rebel for another role that we thought we could shoot in a few succinct weeks. She read the first couple of scripts and said she was more interested in playing the brothel madam. She flagged that in the writer’s room and we ended up making that character younger by about 30 years than what was initially imagined.”
The other name above the title is David Wenham who was not too long ago part of Rough Diamond’s Romper Stomper cast.
John: “We already had a very good relationship with David and we presented him with the character of Price. David lives in Kings Cross and he became quickly attracted to the idea of it.
“You need to surround a newcomer like Alex with good people and he and Justin Rosniak are sensational. He and Kate Box are sensational and he and Hunter Page-Lochard are sensational.”
John told Mediaweek the actual club that the Kelly Club was based on was in Kellett Street in Kings Cross. “That location we use for the club entrance and the street fight in episode one is in Kellett Lane which is adjacent to it. We filmed in the Cross as much as possible.”
The series is set in 1985 and the Edwards revealed the convincing period street scenes are a blend of archival footage and original material.
Dan: “We had a terrific designer in Sam Hobbs and his team went above and beyond in changing street signs and shop fronts and trying to get the right electronic signage.
“The main challenge for us when we were shooting was that Kings Cross these days is absolutely empty between 10pm and midnight and in 1985 it was heaving, just getting going at midnight.”
Working with John and Dan behind the camera are plenty of stars. Key mongst them is director Jocelyn Moorhouse.
“She had one experiment with television and she was attracted to this after reading the material and then embraced it and jumped on board.”
While Morgan O’Neill worked on much of the scripting, also contributing was Christopher Lee. “We have worked together for more than 30 years,” said John. “Chris wrote the pilot episode of Police Rescue and he co-wrote the pilot episode of The Secret Life Of Us. He also wrote Howzat! and Paper Giants.
“Morgan wrote several episodes, Chris wrote two and two younger women writers – Shanti Gudgeon and Jessica Tuckwell – wrote one each. We hopefully will hear from then again in season two.”
Malcolm Knox, also a columnist for The SMH and a novelist, wrote an episode as did Wentworth writer Samantha Winston.
John noted that the ABC’s head of drama Sally Riley has been a great fan of Barrett’s books and backed the project. “She has been very supportive of how we have recreated the Robert G Barrett world.”
Top Photo: David Wenham, Alex Bertrand and Rebel Wilson in Les Norton
Shopper Media Group has announced the appointment of former APN Outdoor CEO and managing director James Warburton (pictured with Ben Walker) as an investor in, and non-executive director of the digital out-of-home business.
Warburton has held senior leadership roles at Supercars, the outdoor media group APN Outdoor, the television company Network 10, the diversified media organisation Seven Media Group and the media agency Universal McCann.
Shopper Media Group CEO Ben Walker said: “James’s decision to invest in the company and his appointment to the board will add further levels of experience and expertise, to an already excellent board, chaired by global marketing heavyweight David Morgan. James will provide strategic guidance in shaping and directing Shopper Media’s rapid growth, as we continue to deliver innovative digital technology and media to marketers and shopping centre owners.
“James Warburton is a talented and highly experienced media and marketing executive who brings deep industry understanding and experience in media environments and the development of digital platforms. His investment in Shopper Media Group is an endorsement of our plans for the business and James will play a key role in executing those plans.
“James will also be instrumental in attracting investment that will fuel more growth and establish Shopper Media Group as Australia’s leading digital communication network.”
David Morgan said: “We look forward to working with James, most organisations aspire to attract directors of his calibre, and for James to commit to SMG is a great compliment to the quality of the business we’re building.”
James Warburton said: “I’m thrilled to become part of Shopper Media Group. I’ve long thought that the business is a compelling investment opportunity – so much so, I’ve tried to buy it twice in the past.
“Shopping centres are the perfect environment for highly targeted advertising, giving marketers a way to create meaningful, personalised and highly engaged campaigns. Shopper Media Group is a business that is focused on innovation, data analytics, consumer insights and delivering best practice in the retail out-of-home media industry.
“Shopper Media Group is expanding rapidly and there are still significant transformational growth opportunities to be capitalised on. It’s the type of business and investment that I have been looking for and I’m excited by its potential.”
The National Basketball League (NBL) says Australian basketball fans will be the big winners in the NBL’s new broadcast agreement with SBS and ESPN with nearly double the number of games available on free to air, better timeslots and every game in HD.
Under the two-year deal, fans will have access to the entire 2019-20 Hungry Jack’s NBL season for free, with 67 games broadcast on SBS Viceland – an 86% increase in free-to-air coverage compared to the 2018-19 season – and all 126 games available live and free on streaming platform SBS On Demand.
Additionally, from 16 August, the International Basketball Series will also be exclusively available to watch within Australia on SBS Viceland and can be streamed live and free via SBS On Demand.
These seven pre-FIBA World Cup internationals, as delivered by TEG Live in partnership with Basketball Australia, feature games involving the Australian Boomers, Canada, New Zealand and USA Basketball, including two games between the Australian Boomers and the USA at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne in front of 100,000 fans.
All 126 games of the 2019-20 Hungry Jack’s NBL Season starting on October 3 will be broadcast on SBS Viceland, SBS On Demand or ESPN:
• SBS Viceland will broadcast 67 games live, free and in HD. Games will be broadcast at various times with most airing at 5.30pm on Saturday and at 3pm and 5pm on Sunday
• ESPN will broadcast 59 games including all games after 7.30pm
• All 126 games will be live and free to stream via SBS on Demand
• All SBS Viceland and ESPN games will be broadcast in HD
• All finals will be simulcast on SBS Viceland and ESPN
• All four international games featuring the Boomers and the USA v Canada game next month will be available free on SBS Viceland and all seven games on SBS On Demand
NBL owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman said: “This broadcast agreement is a huge leap forward in the coverage of the NBL and basketball across Australia.
“It maintains our commitment to make the game available to more people to watch when and how they choose across different platforms and will continue to grow our audience across Australia.
“The agreement means the number of games broadcast on free-to-air television will almost double, making our national league accessible to more Australians, with SBS Viceland becoming the new free-to-air home of the NBL along with more coverage available on SBS On Demand.”
SBS managing director James Taylor said: “SBS has a strong heritage of championing sports Australia’s diverse communities are passionate about, and we are thrilled to be partnering with the NBL to become the exclusive free-to-air home of Australian basketball, offering more free coverage than ever before, and in HD.
“With around one million Australians playing basketball, it’s one of the nation’s leading team sports for participation and we look forward to bringing fans every memorable minute of one of the country’s fastest-growing leagues.”
ESPN ANZ general manager Haydn Arndt said: “ESPN is the indisputable home for basketball fans in Australia so it makes perfect sense to add the NBL alongside our exclusive television coverage of the NBA, WNBA and NCAA Basketball.
“We love what the NBL are doing to grow the league and attract high profile talent to our home courts – we saw it last year with Andrew Bogut’s return, and earlier this year with the signings of both LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton. Basketball is booming in Australia and the NBL is primed for growth. We’re very happy to be in business with them.”
Kestelman added: “We are delighted to partner with ESPN, the home of the NBA in Australia, bringing more global credibility to the NBL as we attract bigger stars to what is now considered one of the best leagues in the world outside of the NBA.
“We thank Fox Sports for their partnership over the past four seasons and are pleased we will remain on the Foxtel platform on ESPN. We also thank Nine for the role they played in broadcasting games on free to air last season.
“ESPN and SBS will now become the destination of basketball in Australia as basketball continues to surge in popularity.
“Next month’s International series will give the NBL a huge springboard into what promises the biggest season ever as Melbourne United and our newest team South East Melbourne Phoenix face off in the first ever Throwdown at Melbourne Arena on October 3.”
Commenting on Nine’s departure from the court, Nine’s director of sport Tom Malone said: “SBS is committing more broadcast hours than Nine is able to and we wanted the best for NBL and the growth of basketball in Australia.”
Top Photo: Larry Kestelman
Stranger Things still easily tops the charts again this week but the return of two classics and a big finale has given the TV Demand charts some flavour this week.
By Trent Thomas
The biggest new face on the charts this week first appeared on our TV screens in 2004 when Veronica Mars aired its breakout first season. While the show ended after only three seasons and on a cliffhanger in 2007, a Kickstarter campaign saw a movie released in 2014, and now the noir mystery drama is back as a fully-fledged TV show on Hulu. Released on July 14 on Stan in Australia, the show is set five years after the movie where Veronica is hired to investigate a series of Spring Break bombings in Neptune, with investigations going from a State Congressman to a Mexican cartel. The eight episode fourth season brings back Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, and Enrico Colantoni as main characters while also bringing back a lot of old favourites in guest and supporting roles from both the show and the movie.
Another new face to make it on the TV Demand charts this week is Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, which released its fourth Netflix season on July 19. The reboot of the 2003 Bravo series, featuring the Fab Five of Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, and Jonathan Van Ness, filmed the eight-episode season in Illinois and Missouri, and Netflix has already renewed the show for a fifth season.
Big Little Lies had it’s season two finale last week which saw the show with a slight uptick on last week’s metrics and it will be interesting to see how this will affect its ranking next week.
The top-ranked Australian show on the Overall TV Charts this week is MasterChef Australia which crept into the final spot on the chart. This would have been helped by the season 11 finale airing last week as well it being the final episode to feature original judges Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris who 10 let go after contract negotiations broke down.
• Viewers flock to entertainment: Strippers & global Ninja battle
• Another champion exit on Survivor ranks #1 in all key demos
• Peter Helliar remembers friend & colleague Richard Marsland
By James Manning
• Seven News 1,093,000/1,040,000
• Nine News 927,000/894,000
• A Current Affair 757,000
• ABC News 686,000
• 7.30 537,000
• The Project 274,000/494,000
• 10 News First 374,000
• The Drum 212,000
• SBS World News 137,000
• Sunrise 263,000
• Today 187,000
• News Breakfast 155,000
Home And Away drifted from 707,000 on Monday to 672,000 last night.
The evening then belonged to The All New Monty, which did very well to string out a short stripping scene with a two-hour back-story that kept a metro audience of 764,000 watching. Although the follow-up to last year’s Real Full Monty was the evenings #1 non-news show, the audience was down significantly on last year’s 1.027m.
The Melissa Doyle-hosted True Stories then did 427,000.
A Current Affair started its week on 885,000 and it dropped to 757,000 on Tuesday.
After the success of season three of Australian Ninja Warrior, Nine extended the franchise for one night with a rebranded Ninja Warrior Australia V The World. Originally screened as American Ninja Warrior: USA V The World on NBC in January this year, the special did 720,000 on Nine last night. The event featured teams from Australia, USA and Europe and was the first time an Australian team has featured in the US TV special that first launched in 2014.
Peter Helliar returned to The Project after a quick trip to Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival. It was a change of pace for him though when he remembered his friend and colleague Richard Marsland who died way too soon 11 years ago. Helliar spoke to Marsland’s parents about his mental health problems and Sam Mac and Ed Kavalee recalled working with the broadcaster and comedy writer. After Pete and Carrie shed tears on the set, it was a tough time for Ross Noble to come on and be funny. Earlier on the show devoted a (relatively) massive slab of time to the new Fast & Furious movie and Nova Peris talked about being voted out on Survivor. After 496,000 on Monday, The Project did 494,000.
It was another horror night for The Champions on Australian Survivor. They won the reward challenge, but they then again lost immunity for the third time in a row as Steven Bradbury became their latest member to be voted out. The audience of 641,000 was down a little on Monday’s 655,000, but the Tuesday ep was a winner in all key demos.
At 8pm Ask The Doctor was on 396,000 with an episode on heart disease.
Benjamin Law’s Waltzing With The Dragon launched the first of two episodes with 364,000 watching Benjamin and his mother tracing Chinese-Australian history.
A repeat of a retrospective episode about Who Do You Think You Are? did 220,000 at 7.30pm.
An episode of Insight on speaking out did 193,000.
Jimmy Carr then hosted new 8 Out Of 10 Cats with 83,000 watching.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.7%||7TWO||2.0%||GO!||2.7%||10 Bold||3.7%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.4%||GEM||2.6%||10 Peach||2.0%||Food Net||1.2%|
|7Food||0.6%||SBS World Movies||0.6%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.2%||7TWO||3.1%||GO!||2.8%||WIN Bold||3.5%||VICELAND||1.3%|
|ABC ME||1.0%||7mate||6.1%||GEM||4.5%||WIN Peach||2.2%||Food Net||1.6%|
|ABC NEWS||0.9%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.1%||9Life||2.2%||Sky News on WIN||1.7%||NITV||0.3%|
|7food (QLD only)||0.5%|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
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
This is the statement released yesterday by BuzzFeed following a settlement reached in the Husar v BuzzFeed/Alice Workman defamation case:
On 2 August 2018 BuzzFeed published an article by Alice Workman about Emma Husar, then the federal member for Lindsay. The article reported the content of a confidential letter to Ms Husar, prepared as part of an assessment that was commissioned by NSW Labor into allegations made by former employees in Ms Husar’s electorate office, which was leaked to BuzzFeed.
BuzzFeed and Alice Workman acknowledge that they should have given Ms Husar an opportunity to respond to the article before it was published, and apologise for the hurt and distress caused to Ms Husar and her family.
BuzzFeed considers reporting on the staff complaints was a matter of public interest.
Following a mediation, the matter was resolved and BuzzFeed has agreed to take down the article, without an admission of liability.
Ben Fordham has slammed keyboard warriors attacking Deb Knight for being a working mum, reports News Corp’s Sally Coates.
Knight, who is a host on the Today show, a presenter on Nine News and sometimes radio presenter on 2GB, has found herself the target of trolls online who are calling her a bad mum for working so much.
“What we’re talking about here is anonymous keyboard bullies hounding a hardworking mum who is doing everything she can to build a future for her children,” Fordham told The Daily Telegraph.
“I’ve worked four jobs at once and nobody has ever accused me of neglecting my children.
“There’s a discriminatory double standard going on here: dads who work hard are given a pat on the back while mums seem to cop a raised eyebrow.
“There is a clear and dodgy double standard.”
Fordham made the comparison of male media figures such as Eddie Maguire and David Koch, who both wear multiple hats yet do not face disparaging public opinion, which he believed is because they are male.
A jury yesterday found that Katy Perry’s 2013 hit Dark Horse improperly copied a 2009 Christian rap song in a unanimous decision that represented a rare take-down of a pop superstar and her elite producer by a relatively unknown artist, reports Associated Press.
The verdict by a nine-member federal jury in a Los Angeles courtroom came five years after Marcus Gray and two co-authors first sued, alleging Dark Horse stole from Joyful Noise, a song Gray released under the stage name Flame.
The case now goes to a penalty phase, where the jury will decide how much Perry and other defendants owe for copyright infringement.
In a decision that left many in the courtroom surprised, jurors found all six songwriters and all four corporations that released and distributed the song were liable, including Perry and Sarah Hudson, who wrote only the song’s words, and Juicy J, who only wrote the rap he provided for the song. Perry was not present when the verdict was delivered.
Other defendants found liable were Capitol Records as well as Perry’s producers: Dr Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut, who came up with the song’s beat. Gray’s lawyers argued that the beat and instrumental line featured through nearly half of Dark Horse were substantially similar to those of Joyful Noise. Gray wrote the song with his co-plaintiffs Emanuel Lambert and Chike Ojukwu.
Scott Cam and Shelley Craft have been filming on the most arduous – and largest – series of The Block yet, at the old Oslo Hotel on Grey Street, St Kilda, reports Luke Dennehy for Domain.
Cam and Craft have a fantastic working relationship, and they needed it as this 15th series of The Block, confronting the five competing teams, is more challenging than ever.
The Oslo, a rundown backpackers, will be transformed into five huge, multi-level luxury houses, which is set to be a massive – and very stressful – logistical exercise. “I always bang on about every year being the biggest Block ever, but this is actually the biggest Block ever,” Cam says.
“To be honest, I think we may have gone a little bit too big for this one. It broke the contestants a bit, it’s broken me, and it’s broken everybody. We will see how it goes, because it does go a little bit pear-shaped throughout the series.”
Cam lives in Sydney with his family, and Craft is based in Byron Bay, but they both enjoy coming to Melbourne each year to film The Block. During filming, Cam stays at his house in Port Melbourne, a suburb he has grown to love, so he lives in Melbourne during the week but travels back and forth to be home with his family in Sydney, where he is renovating his house.
“I love Melbourne and I love Sydney as well, so it’s great to have a bit of both,” Cam says.
ITV Studios Global Entertainment has announced the first pre-sales of its highly anticipated, epic world war two drama World on Fire (7 x 60’) from Mammoth Screen, part of ITV Studios, the home of the hit series Poldark and Victoria.
Commissioned by BBC One, PBS Masterpiece has come on board the ambitious series which is written by multi award-winning Peter Bowker (Eric and Ernie, Blackpool) and stars Academy Award-winning Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets, Mad About You), Sean Bean (Broken, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings) and Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Mum) as US co-production partner, keen to repeat the resounding success it has had with flagship returning dramas Poldark and Victoria, also from Mammoth Screen and ITVS GE.
Along with the US sale, World on Fire, is set to move audiences in a further 80 territories.
It has been acquired by BBC First Australia, TVNZ for New Zealand, M-Net for Africa, SVT for Sweden, NRK for Norway, DR for Denmark, YLE for Finland and Viasat World for Central and Eastern Europe. Second window rights for World On Fire in have also been acquired by SBS Australia.
World on Fire tells the story of World War Two through the lives of ordinary people from all sides of this global conflict. Set amid the creeping horror of the outbreak of war during its first year, World on Fire follows an ensemble cast of vividly drawn characters as they traverse the ever-shifting lines between loyalty and brutality, and courage and fear, experience love and loss, and forge hopes and dreams.
World on Fire is executive produced by Peter Bowker, Damien Timmer and Helen Ziegler for Mammoth Screen, Lucy Richer for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece.
National Nine News is not the only hit show Nine screens daily at 6pm. Season five of the British version of Love Island has been screening daily at 6pm on 9Now. The close to 60-episode season five has just wrapped in the UK with record ratings.
It is also a big hit on 9Now. In OzTAM’s VPM ratings the series has been ranking #1 most days it screens and in the ratings for BVOD viewing for the last week Love Island has taken six of the top seven spots. The only show with a bigger VPM audience in Australia is The Handmaid’s Tale screened by SBS On Demand.
The top 5 UK episodes of Love Island screened in the past week all have a VPM rating over 100,000 (average number of connected devices).
By comparison, the most popular shows on other BVOD platforms in the past week (July 23-29, 2019) are:
SBS On Demand: The Handmaid’s Take 241,000 (VPM Rating)
ABC: Mad As Hell 43,000
Seven: Home And Away 75,000
10: Australian Survivor 66,000
Foxtel: Big Little Lies 58,000
The Love Island final on ITV had a record UK audience 3.6 million viewers as Amber Gill and Greg O’Shea were crowned the surprise winners.
A further 400,000 streamed the final on mobile devices.w