By James Manning and Andrew Mercado
Goalpost Pictures had originally planned to have their motion picture biography of Australian singer Helen Reddy, I Am Woman, in Australian cinemas earlier this year. However the shutdown of cinemas during Covid-19 lockdowns meant that wasn’t possible. Instead the movie will now premier August 28 on Stan.
It should be enough to motivate people to sign up to the streaming platform if they don’t already have access. Goalpost have a track record when it comes to music movies – the company’s slate includes The Sapphires.
Producer and Goalpost founding partner Rosemary Blight told a Mediaweek podcast that movie has been slated for a US release in September.
I Am Woman is a project Blight has been planning for some time. She has known director Unjoo Moon for many years. “We grew up together in the film industry,” Blight said. “She was at film school in Australia and made ads before she went to the US. She came to me and pitched me the project. Unjoo sat beside Helen at an awards dinner and spent the night talking to her. She left that dinner searching for anything on Helen Reddy. There was nothing on her. Some women get lost in history without an opportunity to have their story told.”
In our podcast Andrew Mercado and Blight talked about how big a star Reddy was in the 70s. “She was right at the top of her game. She was bigger in the US perhaps than Australia. Australians might be surprised by the level of her success and what she had to go through and the decisions and choices she made.”
The project has been underway for a long time. Writer Emma Jensen went to Las Vegas and saw one of Helen Reddy’s last shows about five years ago. Blight saw Reddy’s last Australian show at the Enmore Theatre five years ago.
The producers got it right in the casting with Tilda Cobham-Hervey sensational as Helen Reddy. Blight explained: “Tilda was in Adelaide and I went there with Brian Jones our music producer. We put her into a studio and got her to sing songs. She actually has a pretty good voice. That was just to loosen her up. Tilda and Unjoo then had conversations around performance and who Helen was. We then did some old-fashioned screen tests with the cameras we were actually shooting on. We did whole make-up tests and tried ageing her. In the movie she goes from Helen as a young woman through to the age of 49. Tilda had such an ability to embody the character at whatever age she was.”
Blight: “The movie has Helen Reddy songs in it, sung by Helen. But when Tilda Cobham-Hervey sings Helen Reddy songs we had to find a voice that worked for Tilda. Brian Jones our music producer went around the world looking for a voice that would sit within Tilda’s body. He ended up finding a young woman from Western Australia, Chelsea Cullen. She was just right. It was very interesting when Chelsea met Tilda. They are both exactly the same height and both their mothers were dancers. We pre-recorded it all with Chelsea and then filmed it. It works really well. The biggest compliment we got was when Jeff Wald, Helen’s former husband and producer, watched the film. Every time Tilda sang he said he didn’t know it wasn’t Helen.”
Blight explained how the production managed to recreate the scenes of Helen Reddy attending a protest rally in Washington.
“We actually shot that in Centennial Park. There was a storm coming and we were afraid we would have to shut down. We only had 300 people maximum and we were moving them around an area of Centennial Park so they could be duplicated in CGI. It was amazing we could recreate that in Australia in cutting edge post-production.”
Also in the podcast Blight explains how they recreated New York’s Carnegie Hall in Sydney’s Enmore Theatre.
Photos by Lisa Tomasetti, Hugh Hamilton and Tony Mott
• TEG recognised for historic concert and contribution to the success of the album
Sony Music Entertainment Australia has announced that a new total of $520,000 has now been raised from proceeds from the sale of the Artists Unite for Fire Fight: Concert for National Bushfire Relief charity album.
Released in March following the historic concert on February 16 at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, the 23-track album debuted at #1 and spent 14 weeks in the Top 40 of the ARIA Albums chart and features unique live recordings from every artist who performed at Fire Fight.
Along with the generosity of the Australian public, the success of the charity album in raising such a significant amount is as a result of far-reaching support. Physical retail partners JB Hi-Fi and Sanity donated their profits from sale of the album, Apple donated its iTunes proceeds from the album, and JB Hi-Fi have purchased the remaining limited amount of stock on hand. This is in addition to the performing artists and songwriters who donated their royalties from album sales, and the many partners who advertised, manufactured and distributed the album on a gratis basis.
All proceeds from the sale of the album are being donated through Sony Foundation Australia to fund projects benefiting young Australians in bushfire affected communities. Sony Foundation Australia are continuing to receive proposals and engage with bushfire affected communities and youth organisations for programs to further support young Australians with their recovery, ongoing wellbeing and community connectedness.
To mark this achievement, Geoff Jones (CEO, TEG), Tim McGregor (Managing Director, TEG Live) and Sandra Rouse (CFO, TEG), were recognised with special #1 awards by Sony Music in recognition of their invaluable efforts in not only organising and promoting the concert, but in making the subsequent album so successful.
“It is an incredible milestone to have now exceeded half a million dollars for people in communities who continue to rebuild even in these difficult times,” said Denis Handlin, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand. “Our heartfelt thanks again go to everyone involved, especially the artists and the Australian public who have made this album a resounding success. Our thanks also go to Geoff Jones, Paul Dainty and our friends at TEG, who without them, there would have been no concert. We also would not have been able to reach this significant amount of funds raised for those in need without the support of all our valued partners.”
Amy Shark, who performed at the concert and presented the TEG team with their awards, said: “It was such an honour to perform alongside so many amazing artists at the unique event. To see the outpouring of love and support from people across the country in connection with the concert and album, truly personifies the Australian spirit. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this outstanding cause.”
Top Photo: [L to R] Denis Handlin, chairman & CEO, Australia & New Zealand, Sony Music Entertainment with Amy Shark and Geoff Jones – CEO, TEG
After a significant drop in revenue this year across the board for all media, Nova Entertainment has reacted to the impact on its business with reduced spending which will mean staff redundancies.
It is expected that 70 people will be leaving the broadcaster, although just who has not yet been revealed which will make for a stressful time for many.
Some staff left the business last year and earlier this year it is believed staff earning above a certain amount took a 10% salary cut.
Although departing staff have yet to be identified, it seems that sales might be a key area for cuts.
Cathy O’Connor, Nova Entertainment CEO explained today:
“Nova Entertainment, like most other companies, has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis with an estimated fall in revenue of over 25 per cent this year. The media industry has been particularly hard hit and we expect the downturn to continue for the next 12 to 18 months.
“As a result, we have reviewed every aspect of our business to reduce costs and increase efficiency while continuing to deliver for our clients and audiences.
“Today we advised our team of the results of the review.
“We will reduce costs by nine per cent with all areas of the business being impacted. As a result, some staff will unfortunately be made redundant. We will try to place as many of those affected in other roles within the group, but those leaving will be paid above their entitlements and given further support, including training courses to reskill or upskill, and assistance to find new external positions.
“These decisions will protect our core business and ensure that our company remains strong and successful and is positioned for growth as the economy recovers.”
Earlier in 2020 Southern Cross Austereo revealed it would be applying for the JobKeeper subsidy for 1,750 of its staff. This came after it reported in April it had cut overall staff by 7% in FY20 to-date. Back then the company was also planning “further significant reductions in labour costs”.
SCA implemented 10% salary cut for all on $68,000 or more, cancellation of executive bonuses and mandatory annual leave.
At ARN owner HT&E, the company has been on a cost drive too with the elimination of bonuses and incentives and new employee hires. The board and management took a 20% pay cut and will forego incentive payments this year. Staff reduced work hours, some on short term pay cuts and were asked to also use existing leave entitlements.
Network 10 today informed staff about a restructuring of its News and Operations department. As part of the restructuring, the presentation of the weekday 5.00pm to 6.30pm 10 News First bulletins will be centralised in Sydney and Melbourne.
• Presentation of the weekday Sydney, Brisbane and Perth 5.00pm to 6.30pm news bulletins will take place in Sydney.
• Presentation of the weekday Melbourne and Adelaide 5.00pm to 6.30pm news bulletins will take place in Melbourne.
Network 10 will also move to a national weekday weather model. A new national meteorologist will be announced soon. 10 News First bulletins will remain locally produced and will continue to employ local reporters, news crews and operations staff in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The changes to the Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth weekday news bulletins are expected to be effective from Monday, September 14. National weekend bulletins will not be affected. The Project is not affected. There will also be some changes to the presentation of Studio 10. It will continue to air weekdays from 8.00am to 12.00pm.
As a result of the restructuring, some on-air presenters, journalists and operations staff will leave Network 10. The network would like to thank those people for their dedication and hard work. Network 10’s Network Director of News Content, Ross Dagan, said: “The decision to make these changes was a very difficult one and I want to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to our friends and colleagues who will leave the network. “It is in no way a reflection of their talent, contribution or passion. They are exceptionally gifted people. We are incredibly proud of them and their work. There is no doubt they will be missed. “These painful changes reflect the state of the media industry in recent years and the need for all media companies to achieve new efficiencies. “While our viewers in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth will see some on-air changes, we will continue to produce local news and employ local reporters, camera operators and production staff in those cities,” he said.
Beverley McGarvey, Chief Content Officer and EVP, ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand, said: “These decisions are not being made lightly, however, they are essential to future-proofing our business.” A redundancy program has commenced in Network 10’s News and Operations department. No further details are available at this stage.
Those reported to be leaving by the SMH are: Studio 10 co-hosts Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Natarsha Belling; Brisbane newsreader Georgina Lewis and weather presenter Josh Holt; Adelaide newsreader Rebecca Morse, weather presenter Kate Freebairn and sports anchor Will Goodings; Perth newsreader Monika Kos and weather presenter Michael Schultz; Sydney weather presenter Tim Bailey and Melbourne weather presenter Mike Larkan.
By Trent Thomas
There is a new #1 on the TV Demand charts this week as the Umbrella Academy has completed its run up the ladder after releasing its second season on Netflix on July 31.
The show completed the same feat last year after the release of season one on February 15. The series revolves around a family of adopted siblings who were all born on the same day and each has a unique superhuman ability. The estranged siblings come together after the death of their adoptive father and deal with the foreshadowing of the end of the world.
The ensemble cast features Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Cameron Britton, Mary J. Blige, John Magaro, Adam Godley, Colm Feore, Justin H. Min, Ritu Arya, Yusuf Gatewood, Marin Ireland, and Kate Walsh.
The new streaming platform Peacock from NBC has its first show on the TV demand charts with Brave New World entering the Digital Originals chart in NZ.
The show is an adaptation of the 1932 novel of the same name by Aldous Huxley and imagines a utopian society that has banned monogamy, privacy, money, family, and history.
The series stars Jessica Brown Findlay, Harry Lloyd, Alden Ehrenreich, Hannah John-Kamen, and Joseph Morgan.
All nine episodes of the shows first season was released on the new digital platform on July 15 and will be available in Australia on Amazon Prime video on September 11.
By James Manning
• 10 claims night as Nine and Seven without reality franchises
• The Masked Singer audience grows for second episode
• Anh Do, Craig Reucassel help ABC to best Tuesday since NYE
Seven News 1,143,000/1,049,000
Nine News 1,039,000/942,000
ABC News 764,000
A Current Affair 697,000
The Project 370,000/538,000
10 News 429,000/362,000
The Drum 227,000
SBS World News 197,000
The Latest 162,000
Nine News Late Edition 162,000
Seven: Home and Away just made it over 600,000 after opening the week on 660,000.
Episode nine of America’s Got Talent chose 10 acts to perform remotely. Seven is not far behind the US with the first live show soon coming where Kelly Clarkson will be filling in for Simon Cowell after he was hospitalised recently after falling from his bike. That might help the numbers a bit – the show failed to crack the top 20 last night with 296,000 after 311,000 a week ago.
Seven recorded its lowest primary channel share since January and its equal lowest weekday share since that month too. Its network share was a more competitive 25.0% with its three multichannels accounting for 9.8% of the metro audience.
Nine: A Current Affair slipped just below 700,000 after 819,000 on Monday.
With no Ninja Warior and The Block still a fortnight away, Nine went with a Paramedics encore at 7.30pm with 407,000.
The second part of Surviving Jeffrey Epstein then did 284,000.
Nine ranked #1 in network share despite its four multichannels delivering a smaller share than Seven’s three.
10: Some of the audience watching The Masked Singer might have been asking ‘Who is Michael Bevan?’ at the end of the second episode. The former cricketer was the second unmasking. That didn’t stop the episode two audience growing to 818,000 and 942,000 after 733,000 and 823,000 on Monday night. 10 has now moved the show to Monday and Tuesday regularly which will avoid a Sunday night showdown with some looming competition. It was also allow 10 to take advantage of any gaps in the schedules of its opponents like what happened last night.
The movie Ocean’s 8 followed with 344,000.
ABC: The channel set a new Tuesday share high a week ago and then broke it last night. Helping grow the number week-on-week were production houses Screentime and Lune Media. Screentime delivers Anh’s Brush with Fame which had 710,000 watching Dr Richard Harris sit for portrait, up from 685,000 watching Lisa Wilkinson a week ago.
Lune Media then presented Fight For Planet A: Our Climate Challenge which audiences also warmed (!) to. The Craig Reucassel series opened on 581,000. That’s better than one of the episodes from the second season of sister series War on Waste in 2018, and not far behind the other two.
SBS: Ratings magnet Michael Portillo continued his trip across Vietnam from south to north on Great Asian Railway Journeys with 295,0000.
Insight was then well down on its average audience with 110,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.6%||7TWO||3.3%||GO!||2.5%||10 Bold||3.8%||VICELAND||1.6%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||4.1%||GEM||2.4%||10 Peach||2.2%||Food Net||1.0%|
|9Rush||1.3%||SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.2%||7TWO||5.0%||GO!||3.4%||WIN Bold||5.2%||VICELAND||2.0%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||4.0%||GEM||4.1%||WIN Peach||2.7%||Food Net||0.5%|
|ABC NEWS||1.5%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.0%||9Life||3.2%||Sky News on WIN||2.2%||NITV||0.1%|
|TUESDAY 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
Legendary news broadcaster Mal Walden, who departed Network 10 in 2013, has seen it all, reports TV Tonight.
During his 50 years in the media, 40 were spent reading news, and 26 of them at 10. He is more than familiar with the various hiring and firings that are endemic to the ‘third broadcaster.’ More than any other network 10 has built and burnt down its news departments only to rebuild them again.
Yesterday 10 announced plans to cut news staff in Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide, ‘centralising’ them with bulletins from Sydney and Adelaide. It’s a familiar strategy.
“There’s an old saying, ‘If you don’t listen to history, you’re bound to repeat it.’ History repeats itself so often at Channel 10,” Walden told TV Tonight.
“It’s a very sad situation, particularly at the moment when so many people are losing their jobs. These people are the ones that have been providing all the information about the crisis we’re going through in these unprecedented times. When you dedicate your whole day to doing that sort of thing then you find yourself in the same situation, it’s pretty tough. Very, very sad.”
During his years at 10, Walden presented various incarnations of TEN Eyewitness News, at different times, durations and titles.
“Initially we were a half hour news bulletin, when we first started at five o’clock. Then we went to an hour with First at Five, then we went to 90 minutes during the ‘news revolutionary’ period, then we went back to an hour… it’s ever changing. That’s about the only thing you can say about the industry.”
The Australian is the fastest-growing top 10 news site in the country, increasing its audience as the public seeks out authoritative news and analysis on the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis, reports Lilly Vitorovich in the News Corp newspaper.
The Australian’s digital audience surged 21 per cent to 3.77 million in July from the previous month.
The jump cements the performance of The Australian as the No 1 subscriber-only news site in the country.
Other news sites also recorded a rise in their online audience, with News Corp’s news.com.au recording the second-biggest move, up 20.2 per cent last month to 11.63 million, according to latest figures from data and analytics group Nielsen.
Australians are flocking to news sites during the coronavirus crisis, with the second wave in Victoria triggering fears of more cases in other states.
News Corp’s Melbourne-based Herald Sun saw a 25 per cent jump in online audience to 3.3 million, outpacing an 18 per cent increase in Nine Entertainment’s The Age, during July.
Hongkongers rushed to buy the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily on Tuesday in a show of support for its billionaire owner, Jimmy Lai, who was arrested the day before as police rounded up critics of China, with fears growing of more arrests to come, reports The Australian’s Glenda Korporaal.
The arrest of Lai and a raid on Apple Daily’s offices in Hong Kong by 200 police was followed by the arrest of 23-year old Agnes Chow, one of the former leaders of the disbanded Demosisto group, and Wilson Li, a former activist who describes himself as a freelance journalist working for Britain’s ITV News.
Fears are growing for the situation in Hong Kong as police move quickly to detain critics under the tough security laws imposed on the city since June.
Apple Daily vowed to “fight on”, in a front-page story on Tuesday of its 71-year-old owner being led away in handcuffs, among 10 people arrested this week under the new security laws
Lawyers for NSW racing boss Peter V’landys are being accused by the ABC of trying to twist a high-stakes defamation trial into an episode of popular reality TV show Gogglebox, reports The Australian’s Kieran Gair.
V’landys, the chief executive of Racing NSW and Australian Rugby League Commission chairman, is suing the ABC and journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna for defamation in the Federal Court over an exposé aired on 7.30 last year.
Barrister Sandy Dawson SC, appearing for the ABC, questioned how Mr V’landys could claim damages for “hurt feelings” over a program he is yet to watch.
“He’ll walk into your honour’s courtroom in September, sit down and watch the program for the first time ever in what could only be described as Gogglebox: courtroom edition,” he said.
Barrister Bruce McClintock SC, appearing for V’landys, said the program amounted to a “set up” that was designed to portray V’landys as a person who “callously permitted the wholesale slaughter” of horses.
McClintock said the footage would be aired while V’landys is in the witness box in September so Justice Michael Wigney could observe his reaction.
Facebook said it had removed 7 million posts in the second quarter for sharing false information about the novel coronavirus, including content that promoted fake preventative measures and exaggerated cures, reports Reuters.
Facebook released the data as part of its sixth Community Standards Enforcement Report, which it introduced in 2018 along with more stringent decorum rules in response to a backlash over its lax approach to policing content on its platforms.
The company said it would invite external experts to independently audit the metrics used in the report, beginning in 2021.
The world’s biggest social media company removed about 22.5 million posts containing hate speech on its flagship app in the second quarter, up from 9.6 million in the first quarter. It also deleted 8.7 million posts connected to extremist organisations, compared with 6.3 million in the prior period.
The biggest surprise out of the announcement that Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Natarsha Belling had been made redundant though is the fact executives are pushing ahead with the program in 2021.
Whatever that looks like, it will be a very different scenario to what we have seen for the past seven years. And Confidential’s tip is that it will resemble more that of rivals at The Morning Show and Today Extra with Sarah Harris leading a double header as the main host with a rotating roster of 10 talent seen throughout the week.
The bottom line for 10 boss Beverley McGarvey that pushed yesterday’s decision was ultimately to do with cost cutting.
Coronavirus shutdowns mean that networks and streaming services will be hungry for content. So there’s a chance for TV makers with bright ideas who can adapt to the new regulations and, to deploy some fashionable buzzwords, nimbly pivot to profit from the new normal, reports The Age’s Debi Enker.
As well as shows being produced in conditions that accommodate the restrictions, others are being made about people at home while life goes online. That’s the case for a couple of local notables, Retrograde and Loving Captivity. Brimming with vitality and enhanced by their acuity, these homegrown efforts make the most of the limitations. In fact, they seem to thrive on them, creating a vibrant sense of connection between their characters. Both benefit from the necessary back-to-basics approach: the emphasis is on writing and performance.
Made up of six, 22-minute episodes, Retrograde (ABC iview) is created by Mark O’Toole and Meg O’Connell and directed by Natalie Bailey. It’s built around a virtual bar attended by a handful of friends who shared a house when they were in their 20s. Their interactions are lively: as we learn about them, they josh and call each other out as close friends can.
The casting is spot-on and the opener is a model of economical writing. Madhuri, aka Maddie (Pallavi Sharda), is packing to move to Korea, where she anticipates taking up her promotion with a travel company start-up. The lockdowns put an end to that plan and leave her homeless.
Also making the most of the limitations is the polished little gem Loving Captivity, a two-hander created and written by Libby Butler and Lewis Mulholland, directed by Butler and starring Mulholland and Christie Whelan Browne. With six six-minute episodes streaming on Facebook, it’s a model of minimalism as it charts the developing relationship between single mum Ally and beau Joe through their online engagements.
The precursor to Phil Gould’s new role at the Warriors was a column he penned for the Sun-Herald in June, reports Adrian Proszenko.
In it, Gould wrote about the need for Rugby League Central to invest in international football, to the point where New Zealand would eventually be strong enough to house two competitive NRL teams.
The column struck a chord with Michael Maguire. The Wests Tigers and Kiwis coach is also passionate about the global game and reached out to Gould. They took their vision to ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys just a few weeks before the Warriors called on Gould for help with, among other things, developing their pathways programs. The timing couldn’t have been better.
While Gould hasn’t taken up an official role with head office to date, the Warriors got their man.
Ben Ikin has made his ambitions to take charge of the Brisbane Broncos official, with the former player turned television analyst confirming he had sent his application to become the club’s next chief executive, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Phil Lutton.
Current Broncos CEO Paul White will step down when his contract finishes after the NRL season and Ikin has now taken the first step to becoming his replacement.
Ikin has enjoyed a successful career as the host of NRL 360 on Fox but also has a strong business pedigree, having served on the board of the North Queensland Cowboys as well as being an independent director of the Queensland Rugby League.
He was widely tipped to be a frontrunner for the job and he said on Tuesday that he had taken the plunge after long discussions with his family.
“Submitted yesterday (Monday),” Ikin told ABC Radio Brisbane. “It was a big decision for me because I’ve got a great job with Fox Sports, so I had to get approval from News Corp to have a crack.
“I was in, I was out, it’s a $50m turnover business, it’s more than just a footy team. It’s a great opportunity. The resume has gone in, officially.”