Jamie Durie must be the undisputed titleholder when it comes to appearances on the most TV programs – either as a host or a special guest.
By James Manning
He was key to Nine’s success 20 years ago and has also worked with Seven (twice) and 10 since then. Not mention his extensive international work in Asia and the US.
He’s back in Australia now, judging on House Rules, as the first part of his new long-term deal with Seven.
Below are some of the highlights of a Mediaweek podcast we recorded last week.
Joining House Rules lets Durie loose on one of his passions – interior design.
“I have been in the design industry for 22 years now and been running a design office. My secret passion has always been more interior design than exterior design, although my training is in horticulture,” Durie told Mediaweek.
“The TV audience these days understands DIY design much more. People have good design sense and understand what it takes to renovate a house, renovate a garden, choose furniture and put together a beautiful kitchen.
“Australians will never get sick of fresh ideas when it comes to feathering our own nests and this show is abundant with ideas…it’s full of them. The ideas are fast and furious and they are coming from people who have experience in the trade.
“That’s what our audience is looking for. We are dealing with a far more educated audience than when I started 20 years ago on Backyard Blitz.”
Although House Rules is the first show Durie and Johanna Griggs have done together, they have been part of the Seven family at different times.
“I spent a fair bit of time with Seven last time on everything from Dancing With The Stars to Australia’s Best Backyards to The Outdoor Room. This is a whole different league though with us working on the same show together fulltime.”
Durie knows Wendy Moore well too after writing for Home Beautiful for five years. [Moore recently moved from Pacific, the publisher of the magazine, to Foxtel where she is general manager of the Lifestyle brands.]
“I now write for The Australian on Mansion magazine, the monthly prestige homes title.
“Wendy and I have a great relationship and we even created a magazine together, The Outdoor Room. We go way back. We are family – like brother and sister.
“And Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and I did a show together in Singapore called The Apartment, another interior design show.
“Lawrence can be a little prickly at times and we do butt heads. He knows I won’t take any of his crap and he won’t take any of mine, there is a lot of healthy design jousting going on.”
52 shows and more to come
Mediaweek knew Durie had made a lot of TV, but this much?
“I’ve been on 52 different programs – not episodes – over a 22-year span of television,” said Durie.
“I haven’t been off television in 22 years which is tough in the lifestyle arena. This is a genre now that is as accepted as sports or news. Lifestyle and the way we decorate our homes is important to us.”
Durie first found fame and ratings on Backyard Blitz, which predated the first season of The Block by a couple of years. For a time they were on air together. “They certainly were,” he recalled. “I was working around the clock.”
Durie and his Backyard Blitz colleague Scotty Cam are still mates. The two had lunch in Melbourne recently and they share the same manager – Bravo Talent’s Chris Giannopoulos. “I never laugh so hard as when I’m having a beer with Scotty.”
Nine chose Scott Cam to host The Block when it was relaunched several years later while Durie at that time was with Seven.
So what does the first host of The Block and think about his replacement? “I think he might be even better. He’s older and wiser than me.” [Laughs]
Out of his 52 shows it is hard to pick the one that has the most impact. Or is it.
Backyard Blitz was massive for Nine nearly 20 years ago and anchored its winning Sunday Night line-up in the 6.30pm timeslot back when News was a 30-minute bulletin.
Durie still counts his Backyard Blitz colleagues, which included Scott Cam, as friends.
“I spoke to Jody Rigby just a week ago. We built relationships on that show that will last a lifetime. It’s hard to replicate that on air chemistry and we all fitted into our roles beautifully. I was the punching bag for Scott and [landscaper] Nigel Ruck continuously delivered the jokes. Jody is one of the best horticulturists I have ever worked with.”
As to what Durie might be doing next with Seven, this comment was a hint to one possibility.
“On the FTA networks there isn’t a lot of gardening going on and there is more space for it.”
Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner has announced three senior appointments at the company’s production division Seven Studios.
• Therese Hegarty (pictured), currently director, content distribution & rights, has been appointed chief executive.
• Andrew Backwell, who has been consulting at Seven since late 2018, has been appointed director of production.
• Richard Henson, current head of content sales, has been promoted to director of content sales.
The changes come after Seven hit maker Rikkie Proost recently departed the organisation. Proost had been with Seven for a decade and was one of creators of the network’s biggest hit in that time, My Kitchen Rules.
Seven Studios developed more than 1000 hours of television in 2018 across all genres, with 14 new original titles commissioned in the year and more than 20 series returning or in production across the group’s production division.
Seven recently announced the launch of Seven Studios UK, strengthening its presence in the UK and complementing its investment in London-based scripted specialists, Slim Film + Television. This international expansion builds on Seven’s production hubs in Los Angeles, Auckland, Sydney & Melbourne.
Worner said: “The Seven Studios story is a truly remarkable one. Our productions are now seen in over 190 countries worldwide across myriad local broadcasters, and are proving wildly popular on global streaming platforms.
“But we are only scratching the surface of Seven Studios’ potential. To build on our strong growth trajectory, we are investing in both our team and our production slate.
“I’m delighted to announce Therese as Seven Studios’ chief executive. That we are on track to deliver a seventh consecutive year of EBIT growth is down to Therese’s outstanding leadership.
“She has led the evolution of the company into a truly global player, expanding our international production footprint to London, Los Angeles and Auckland, and ensuring our local hubs in Sydney and Melbourne go from strength to strength.
“Therese is putting together a world-class team, and the promotions of Andrew and Richard, together with the recent announcements of Damon Pattison as leader of Seven Studios UK, and Simon Shalgosky as our head of global development, put us in the best position to profit from the unrelenting global demand for premium long-form entertainment.”
Hegarty said: “I’m thrilled to take on the chief executive role, and thank Tim, the SWM team and board for their ongoing support.
“I’m pleased to announce the appointments of Andrew and Richard. Andrew will be responsible for unscripted content and Richard will continue to lead the charge in monetising our content far and wide all over the world.”
Hegarty began her career at George Patterson Advertising before moving into television production early in her career. Prior to joining Seven in 2012 she was vice president production for ASX listed Beyond International, where she managed operational and business affairs across the company’s US and Australian production business. She joined the Seven Network in 2012 and most recently held the title of director, content distribution and rights.
Backwell has over 30 years’ experience in media across the major Australian television networks, centred on development, programming and production.
Prior to joining Seven in October 2018, he consulted at Sony/Playmaker and MediaWorks, and spent 13 years at the Nine Network most notably as managing director, programming and production, responsible for the entire content budget including production, acquisitions, news, and sport.
Henson joined Seven Studios in August 2015, to manage the sales and distribution arrangements of Seven’s significant and rapidly growing catalogue of content rights. Prior to joining Seven he was APAC regional director, program sales and consumer products for Discovery Networks International, and held various sales, strategy and communications roles with Nickelodeon, MCN, OMD and Universal McCann.
Zenith yesterday brought together industry leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities brands face in marketing to the diverse and elusive millennial consumer.
Hosted by Zenith CEO, Nickie Scriven, the panel discussion featured speakers Kim Portrate, CEO, Think TV; Carolyn Bollaci, Head of Agency, Facebook and Geraldine Van Der Merwe, Head of Marketing, GHD Australia & New Zealand.
The panellists examined the challenges brands are facing attracting these socially conscious, digital natives whose affinity with technology has shaped how they shop, and their expectations around customer experience. The discussion also turned to the make-up of the modern media mix, and what brands need to do to ensure their advertising and marketing efforts remain relevant and effective.
Scriven said: “Beyond understanding consumers by their age, marketers can create more meaningful and powerful brand interactions when they have a deep understanding of how consumers think and behave within different media environments, from social media to television. It’s from these insights that brands will be able to add real value to audiences within those environments.
“Knowing the right platforms and media environments to engage with your target consumers is key to building customer relationships and creating loyalty for your brand.”
Earlier this year, Zenith released a global report, Generation Z is Not the Next Big Thing, which advocates rethinking targeting to take a “perennial” approach – a term coined by marketing guru Gina Pell. Embracing this, Zenith believes that marketers need to shift their focus from just age, to consumers’ mindset, behavioural change and disposable income.
• AGL, NAB, IGA and Qantas have all joined forces with News Corp
News Corp Australia’s print and digital mastheads The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Courier-Mail and kidsnews.com.au have united in launching an intense Adopt a Farmer – a campaign to boost awareness and provide financial relief for farming communities battling crippling drought in NSW and VIC, and both drought and floods in QLD.
The front pages and editorial coverage featuring in The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Courier-Mail and on kidsnews.com.au will highlight the dire conditions experienced by farming regions in each state, and will focus on inspiring readers to take action inspired by stories of efforts undertaken by school children around the country.
AGL, NAB, IGA and Qantas have all joined forces with News Corp to show support for farming communities and help educate and engage Australians, particularly school children in capital cities, about the issues being faced as a result of the drought.
Ben English, editor of The Daily Telegraph said: “Deputy editor Gemma Jones and I knew we needed to take action to help give our farming communities – who feel no-one is listening – a stronger voice.
“We are listening and we are taking action. Adopt a Farmer is calling on schools to hold a gold coin mufti day on Wednesday May 8 to support 8,000 farmers registered with Rural Aid who are doing it tough. Sponsors AGL and NAB have already kicked in $200,000 to get the ball rolling, to inject some money back into local economies and to give farmers a small reprieve from the financial pressures they face.
“By schools taking the initiative to adopt a farmer, the stories become very real. We want students to write to the farmers they are adopting, tell them what they’re doing to show support, and then we want to give children an opportunity to visit a rural community and meet the farmers they are supporting.”
Qantas will fly five students and their teacher to a drought affected community to meet the farmers. They just need to write in to email@example.com why their school should be selected. And IGA is giving away $1,000 gift cards to 20 students in rural communities who write in and share their stories about how the drought is affecting them.
Registered charity, Rural Aid will collect the funds, by providing $100 Visa gift cards to farmers in need. The hope is that these gift cards can be spent within the local economies, helping sustain small businesses also facing the full brunt of the effects of the drought.
News Corp is also encouraging readers to get involved in their workplace on May 8 by hosting a mufti day and donating via www.adoptafarmer.com.au
The survivors of this industry are usually those that are versatile. And it’s not just about being a triple threat actor/singer/dancer, but also being fearless enough to try something new. Next Tuesday, two of Australia’s most legendary performers do just that and it its a triumph for both of them.
Toni Lamond’s various credits include performing on the very first night of Australian television, becoming the first woman in the world to host her own tonight show with In Melbourne Tonight, and playing a witch out to sacrifice virginal Bev (Abigail) to the Devil on Number 96. Now “Lolly Legs” Lamond has come out of retirement for one last appearance on The Recording Studio (Tuesday on ABC).
This beautiful series is the antithesis to all those shiny floor singing competitions but the one thing they have in common is “the journey”. Lamond records a song she once had to sing in the most tragic of circumstances, and she did it because she’s a professional and a survivor. It’s an inspiring lesson for the series’ other terrific singers. There has to be a soundtrack album coming out from them all, right?
Not quite sure what sort of merchandising can spin off from Mr Black (Tuesday on 10) though, given it is a black comedy. Nine and Seven are risk averse when it comes to Aussie sitcoms, but 10 could be on a roll with comedy after the success last year of How To Stay Married.
Get ready for Stephen Curry being really nasty in Mr Black as he goes head to head with his daughter’s “snowflake” boyfriend. Hilariously, Fin (Nick Russell) gives as good as he gets, and ex-wife Mrs Black (Nadine Garner), who arrives in the second episode, has her own ideas on how to handle the cranky old bastard.
The only bum note in all this is daughter Angela (Sophie Wright), who seems oblivious to much of what is going on. The pilot episode even directly addresses her lack of support, but given today’s #metoo movement, it seems odd that she is not stronger.
Look back at Til Death Us Do Part, the UK sitcom that was remade as All In The Family, and inspired Aussie shows The Last of the Australians and Kingswood Country. Despite being much smarter, there is a touch of Alf Garnett (Warren Mitchell) to Mr Black, but Angela is a non-event compared to Alf’s firecracker daughter Rita (Una Stubbs). Maybe Toni Lamond can be sent in to toughen her up.
• Seven’s Front Bar key to second network win this week
• MasterChef immunity pin & Curtis Stone make 10’s week better
• 10 records best Thursday of 2019, third best on any night
• The Footy Show sinks lower, but NRL wins in Sydney, Brisbane
Thursday: Week 18 2019
By James Manning
• Seven News 988,000/953,000
• Nine News 874,000/833,000
• A Current Affair 664,000
• ABC News 682,000
• 7.30 546,000
• The Project 245,000/443,000
• 10 News First 405,000
• SBS World News 130,000
• Sunrise 260,000
• Today 193,000
At 7pm Home And Away was on 610,000 for three Thursday episodes back-to-back after peaking on 748,000 earlier in the week.
With Seven now the home of the Got Talent franchise again, Britain’s Got Talent is now also with Seven. A new season went to air at different times around the network. The metro audience was 373,000. Interestingly the Melbourne audience (131,000) was bigger at 9.30pm than Sydney at 8.30pm (94,000).
That was partly thanks to a strong lead-in – The Front Bar. The metro audience was 427,000 with 278,000 in Melbourne where it was #1 show for the day. Patrick Dangerfield and Nicky Winmar were guests.
A Current Affair dropped below 700,000 for its penultimate episode of the week.
Nine’s NRL coverage then did 445,000 for what became a very one-sided match between Souths and Broncos.
The Footy Show is back on life support after a metro audience of 97,000 with just 53,000 in Melbourne. Nine’s Melbourne share was just 12.7%.
The channel ranked #1 under 50 for the night with the top three shows in that and the other key demos.
MasterChef managed 680,000 last night as Tim took the first immunity pin in a four-way cook off. Although the show was above 700,000 twice earlier in the week, it was only outrated by the Seven and Nine last night.
The last episode of this season of Bachelor In Paradise couldn’t quite make it to half a million with 454,000 tuning in. An additional Tell All program after the GF did 417,000.
Berowra Waters was the location for house hunting on Escape From The City with 423,000 watching.
The second season of Doctor Foster then continued on 223,000.
Two back-to-back episodes of Secrets Of Britain covered Scotland Yard and MI6 with an average audience of 227,000.
Project Blue Book then did 106,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.7%||7TWO||4.1%||GO!||3.0%||10 Bold||3.6%||VICELAND||1.1%|
|ABC ME||0.5%||7mate||3.4%||GEM||1.6%||10 Peach||2.0%||Food Net||0.6%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.7%||7TWO||6.6%||GO!||2.9%||WIN Bold||3.4%||VICELAND||1.1%|
|ABC ME||1.1%||7mate||4.1%||GEM||2.9%||WIN Peach||2.1%||Food Net||0.5%|
|ABC NEWS||1.6%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||3.0%||9Life||1.8%||Sky News on WIN||1.5%||NITV||0.2%|
|7food (QLD only)||1.0%|
|THURSDAY METRO ALL TV|
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
Walt Disney now has the three biggest ever opening weeks at the Australian box office. The latest release to join the ranks of the screen legends is Avengers: Endgame.
The Motion Pictures Distributors Association of Australia reported on Thursday that the movie has ended its first week with $50.13m – that doesn’t just break the old record, it shatters it.
Topping the Best Opening Week chart previously was the 2015 December release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opened with $38.54m.
The top 10 is dominated by four major movie franchises – Avengers (3), Star Wars (2), Lord of the Rings (2) and Harry Potter (2). The only chart entrant not part of that club does come from a strong franchise too – Fast and Furious.
This chart also demonstrates that April or December are the months you want to release a blockbuster. Four movies were released in each month, the other two were let loose in July.
Sydney City Council has called off a tender for the nation’s biggest outdoor advertising contract after long-term holder JCDecaux failed to submit a bid and instead joined a controversial $1 billion venture with Telstra to install competing electronic billboards around the CBD, reports The Australian’s Andrew White.
The council will now have to seek separate providers for an overhaul of street furniture, outdoor advertising and Wi-Fi services to replace a deal that is estimated to provide millions of dollars in advertising revenue.
A report to be considered by the council recommends ending the tender process that has been under way since 2017 and declining a proposal for street furniture, out-of-home advertising and Wi-Fi services after oOh!media was the only company to submit a bid.
Breast cancer survivors have slammed social media giant Facebook for disabling an advertising campaign that aims to raise awareness of the disease, report News Corp’s Alanah Frost and Monique Hore.
Ten cancer survivors, nine of them women, went topless for the annual Pink Buns campaign, which raises awareness of the disease and money for Breast Cancer Network Australia.
But Facebook — which has live-streamed shocking content, including the massacre at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March, and the death of a young child in Thailand in 2017 — said the adverts “were in violation” of its nudity policy.
An email sent by a Facebook employee to the campaign’s advertising agency said: “Certainly understand that the ads are promoting awareness for breast cancer, however the images associated with the ad are in violation of our policies for partial nudity.
“Will uphold the disable here until the ads can be modified for compliance. Thanks for the understanding!”
A cover story in The AFR Magazine features Judith Neilson in an article from Lisa Murray which details progress on the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas, announced last November with funding of $100m:
The institute is under construction in a literal sense as well: a three-floor building with an event space for lectures and seminars is being renovated in Chippendale. It will be home to a staff of about 15 as well as visiting fellows and journalists in-residence, with an opening date expected sometime in the first three months of 2020.
It will be chaired by former ABC chairman James Spigelman and include Mark Ryan, State Library of Victoria CEO Kate Torney, chief executive of industry lobby group Free TV Australia Bridget Fair, The Australian’s editor-at-large Paul Kelly, and two directors associated with the Judith Neilson Family Office, Jonathan Teperson and Edward Jewell-Tait.
Eric Beecher, who owns Crikey and is a former editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, cautions that while “philanthropy can contribute to ideas, concepts and mechanisms – researching and testing those – it can’t fund the day-to-day operations of journalism on a recurrent basis. If a media business is not profitable and viable, it is tenuous and it doesn’t have a secure future.”
In the lead-up to an election, the ridiculousness of News Corp front pages, especially on the tabloids, is so pervasive and routine it has almost become part of the pageantry, writes Richard Cooke in The Monthly.
The bias, like New Years Eve fireworks, gets bigger every occasion, and this time is ascending into the awesome and spectacular. Former prime minister Kevin Rudd, who has called the Murdoch media a “cancer on democracy”, documented the front-page tumours on Twitter: “Bill’s $5k car-bon tax”, “Labor climate plan hits food costs”, “PM warns of Labor’s $380bn tax grab”, “Scomo ready to go: Morrison into poll position”. The standout was The Courier-Mail all but devoting its splash to a premature how-to-vote card (except real how-to-vote cards aren’t punctuated by bullet holes, and don’t say “RI$K” next to Labor).
The reach of News Corp’s newspapers may be diminishing, but their voice is so uniform, and their agenda so clear, that it can still set the tone for other media. Its influence on the agenda of the Liberal Party, and so the government, is clearer still. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell where Liberal Party talking points begin and News coverage ends, or where each originates.
A high speed chase through Perth’s south-east that ended in a fiery car crash and a police manhunt has been captured on camera, reports The West Australian.
Remarkably, a Seven crew were caught in the thick of the wild pursuit, having coincidentally been in the unmarked police car as part of an unrelated assignment.
The footage shows the police giving chase when the runaway Mitsubishi swerves dangerously through traffic in Gosnells.
At first, officers are forced to abandon the chase as the offender topped speeds of more than 200km/h.
Cast members and crew from Wentworth last night attended a media screening of the Season 7 opening episode at the Jam Factory in South Yarra, reports TV Tonight.
In attendance were stars Kate Atkinson, Robbie Magasiva, Bernard Curry and Jacqueline Brennan plus producer Pino Amenta, story producer Marcia Gardner, writer Pete McTighe, composer Richard Pleasance and publicists Kelly Davis, Jen Fitzpatrick, Dee Stewart and Nikki Caudry.
According to the cast, the season packs a punch.
“If I can speak on behalf of the whole cast, the resounding outcome from whenever I talk to anybody is that we all believe Season 7 is the best season so far,” Bernard Curry told TV Tonight.
“The amount of stuff that’s in it and the journey each character has I think it epic.”
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes’ long-gestating drama The Gilded Age has a new home, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
The period drama, originally put in development at NBC back in 2012 and picked up to series at the broadcast network in January 2018, is moving to HBO. The 10-episode drama series follows former NBC Entertainment president Bob Greenblatt – who developed the series – to WarnerMedia, where he now oversees WarnerMedia-owned cable networks including HBO.
The Gilded Age’s move is reminiscent of when Greenblatt left his role atop premium cable network Showtime for NBC and brought with him the script for what would become the network’s Broadway drama Smash. That script was picked up and developed by Greenblatt for Showtime and wound up being ordered to series and airing for two seasons on the broadcast network.
Mike Williamson described hundreds of matches of league football, reports News Corp’s Paul Amy.
But his call of “Jezza”, Alex Jesaulenko, rising like a bird and riding the shoulder of Magpie Graeme “Jerker” Jenkin, reserves him a lasting place in football. He’s been told many times it’s an “immortal line’’.
Williamson passed away today, aged 91. After joining Channel 7 in the late 1950s he was responsible for many great sporting moments, but in one of his final interviews, he said the image of a soaring Jesaulenko would never leave him.
“It’s a bit hard to forget it, isn’t it?’’ he said at his two-bedroom apartment at a retirement village in East Brighton.
Shown footage of the magical mark on YouTube, Williamson smiled as he took in the call.
Williamson’s career began at the old Herald newspaper, after he left school at the age of 15 to work as a “messenger boy”.
At the age of 22 he received a scholarship at Vincent’s School of Broadcasting. That led to a position at 3AK in the early 1950s.
Then it was on to 3AW and, in 1959, to Channel 7, where he broadcast league matches and fronted shows including Tell The Truth and The Penthouse Club. They called him “The Golden Voice’’.