By James Manning
• Co-creator Julian Cress: ‘It feels to me like the right show at the right time’
The upside of the Melbourne lockdown for Julian Cress, co-creator and executive producer of The Block, is that it could boost the audience for the primetime program. “For the first time in history the Government has locked up the citizens of one major state in primetime viewing hours,” Cress told Mediaweek. “By the time we started on Sunday night, I was hoping many people will have also run out of things to watch on Netflix, giving us a good platform to launch on.”
To state the obvious, it’s been a very different series this year. “When we spoke last year I noted for the Oslo project The Block crossed an imaginary line, and we never knew where that line was until we crossed it. The challenge we set the contestants last year was definitely the hardest we had ever set and very probably too hard. Back then we vowed we would never do it again.
“Here we are in 2020 and we are making what is now truly the hardest Block ever because of Covid.”
Cress said it wasn’t easy sourcing the five homes from different periods that have been relocated to the Brighton site. “We set the bar high in 2017. It was difficult finding the houses that year for our Elsternwick series. This time when I decided to look for houses from different decades it made it even harder.”
There was no plan to have successive decades from 1910 to 1950 represented, it just played out that way. “There were lots of interesting styles happening from Federation onwards including art deco into mid-century architecture. The audience will enjoy watching the contestants wrestle with the challenge of designing for a particular decade.”
The houses are all from Melbourne suburbs and are structures that would have otherwise been demolished. “We are glad to have been able to have saved them. The person who built one of the homes with his own hands is thrilled it is on The Block.”
The biggest help the contestants get during any series comes from the judges – Neale Whitaker, Shaynna Blaze and Darren Palmer – when they give direct advice in their assessments about the quality of the work and if needed, intervene with direct advice if they think the design will impact the sale price. “That is something that happens in this series as well,” said Cress.
The show’s architect Julian Brenchley designs an “envelope” that can be followed. “The contestants can choose to fit that out and play with the layout internally and the fitout as much as they like,” said Cress.
For the first time on The Block this year is a father and daughter team. “That is such an interesting dynamic. We are essentially a family show and we know a lot of our audience are fathers and daughters and mothers and sons. The relationship between Harry and Tash and the way they went about renovating is fascinating. Tash moved out of home some time ago so it’s not as if they had been sharing a house and it’s been a while since they had been together 24/7. How that dynamic plays out across three months makes for some very entertaining television. It’s a hell of a bonding experience for a father and daughter and it’s more time than they would ever spend together at that stage of life.”
New motoring partner drives into Brighton
Cress: “We have great support from our sponsors and most of them return year after year. This year we do have a new automotive sponsor in Ford Motor Company. They gave us some great vehicles for this season. Otherwise the sponsors remain pretty much the same. Once sponsors sign onto The Block it is unusual for them to leave.”
Cress said the show feels lucky to have had such long-term relationships. “There is no room for any sponsors. One has to leave before anyone can sign up. We have 11 major sponsors this series. In addition to that we have 15 major suppliers as well who support us year after year.
“Mitre 10 has been with The Block for 15 series and McCafe has been with us for nine series. It is great to be able to work with companies who return year after year.”
During the first Melbourne lockdown, Nine sent the contestants home, but the tradies kept working.
Cress: “Our shutdown was pretty brutal, but it was something we felt we had to do. We were very lucky that construction was allowed to continue. Work on the structural envelope of the houses continued while the contestants were away. That allowed us to start up again earlier than we might have been because the structure provided the shelter for conforming with new Covid restrictions. We were able achieve the necessary physical distancing. That exemption from lockdown for construction probably saved us and allowed us to get the show in the can before the disastrous second wave hit. We managed to finish filming with just a week to spare before the second lockdown.
“There have been other productions that have suffered much more than we did as they have not been able to complete.”
Cress and his co-creator David Barbour will see the show wrap just before the end of the ratings year in November. Despite the impact of Covid, they have still been able to deliver around 50 episodes. The series ran for 47 in 2018 and 57 in 2019.
“This year it feels to me like it is the right show at the right time. Statistics from the ABS show that people locked up in their own homes and not allowed to travel have saved something like $38b which many are looking to spend on their own homes. A show like ours that is full of ideas about what to do with your own home at this time might be just the thing they need.”
While Cress looks after filming during construction, Barbour is in charge of post-production. He’s well ahead of schedule this season too. “David is currently editing episodes for the last week of the show which won’t be on air for 12 weeks. He started editing as we started shooting way back in February and he’s way ahead.”
Auctions: Show me the money
Cress: “I’m remaining optimistic that the current lockdown in Victoria will be effective and the economy will be able to open up again in time for us to hold our auctions as planned in late November. Three months from now I would like to think we will be back to some semblance of normality.
“If the state of Victoria is still in a full lockdown at the end of November then we will have much bigger problems than The Block.”
Whatever form the auctions have to take, these homes could attract some serious money for prestige properties in the affluent Melbourne suburb of Brighton.
“We are fortunate to be in Brighton. It is a pocket real estate that can withstand a lot of market pressure, even from global pandemics. In a remarkable twist of fate Julian Brenchley was able to create enough living spaces in the homes that the contestants were able to fit out with work from home spaces.”
The size of the land for each house sits around just under 500 square metres. Cress noted “each house is at least five bedrooms, two living spaces, generous front and back yards and each house comes with a swimming pool for the first time.” Run the comps for similar properties in Brighton and you get an idea how much these properties could be worth.
Last year the contestants won what was called “life-changing money”, amounts ranging from $730,000 for the winners down to 384,000.
The Block property locked in for 2021
Producing a show this size and this critical to the Nine Network means you are always planning what is next, if the show gets renewed. That means keeping an eye out for the next property play. Has Cress secured some land for the 2021 season? “We have,” was his response. “We always operate on the supreme confidence we will get another series. We cross our fingers every year and hope people will want to keep watching. We have property for next year’s series and are looking forward to getting stuck into that, Covid-willing.”
Top photo: Julian Cress
oOh!media has announced its financial results for the half year ending 30 June 2020 (“1H20”).
• Revenue declined by 33% to $205.0m
• oOh! maintained its market share in Australia and New Zealand out of home markets
• Underlying1 EBITDA of $10.8m compared to $56.0m in prior corresponding period
• Underlying NPATA2 loss of $16.9m compared to $18.2m profit in prior corresponding period
• Reported Net Loss after Tax of $27.5m (post AASB16)
• Strengthened balance sheet and focus on cost reduction and cash management to manage through the unprecedented market and audience decline caused by COVID-19
CEO Brendon Cook said: “We have maintained market share while strengthening our balance sheet, having responded quickly to the challenges presented by COVID-19. While revenue and profits predictably declined, our decisive early action to raise additional equity, reduce costs and capital expenditure and manage cash flows has reduced debt by 67 per cent and positioned the company well for the future.”
“Although we are seeing national audiences starting to bounce back, out of home has been impacted disproportionately by the COVID-19 restrictions in people movement compared to other sectors, resulting in the market declining by 36% in Australia and 41% in New Zealand.
“In response, our immediate focus was to strengthen our balance sheet, reduce our fixed cost base and optimise our organisational structure to address these challenges head on.
“The completion of the successful equity raising in April strengthened our financial position which we have further boosted with a strong focus on cash management resulting in a gearing ratio (net debt/EBITDA) of 1.2 times at June 30 which is comfortably within our covenants.
“We continue to have constructive discussions with our commercial partners, which delivered $17 million in fixed rent savings into the second quarter without oOh! releasing any material sites during the period.
“Meanwhile operational expenditure declined by $12 million while reducing our capital expenditure by $19 million compared to prior half year.
Cook said out of home remains a highly effective medium to deliver effective national broadcast reach in all markets during this period and beyond.
“As we have seen in New Zealand, audience growth has recovered strongly which has led to a 36% increase in our revenue in July from June, although the latest lockdown may affect the current quarter.
“Using advanced mobile data we can also see that out of home audiences are returning across Australia when looked at nationally, although of course some areas are still heavily impacted.
“Total out of home audience volumes as at 17 August 2020 were tracking at 75% of their 2019 level up from a low of circa 50% in mid-April3.
“Combined roadside and retail audience volumes in regional areas have recovered to 93% of their level compared to the same week last year, having dipped as low as 57% in mid-April.
“We are also seeing a similar trend in suburban areas, which are currently at 68% of 2019 levels according to roadside audience measurements.
“Even with Victoria in lockdown and other movement restrictions, oOh! is still able to reach over +370 million contacts per week nationally across our billboards and shopping centre networks alone, which doesn’t include our other formats such as street furniture.”
Commute, which includes the Company’s rail assets in the major public transport markets of Sydney and Melbourne, was impacted significantly by restrictions in people movement in the second quarter. Revenue declined by 35% to $72.7 million.
The Group’s Road (Billboard) assets were the best performing format. Revenue was impacted initially but recovered strongly in June as some restrictions were eased. Revenue declined by 19% to $54.6 million.
Retail revenue declined by 34% to $40.9 million. Performance in this segment was mixed with smaller/grocery weighted centres performing better than larger destination / Tier 1 shopping centres which were more impacted by movement restrictions.
As expected, the severe restrictions in air travel resulted in a significant impact in revenue for Fly which declined by 45% to $18.0 million. oOh!’s airport assets are weighted more towards domestic travel which can be expected to recover more quickly than international travel when COVID-19 air travel restrictions are lifted and include key major commuter route road facing sites in the Sydney Airport precinct.
Locate revenue was impacted by the closure of office buildings and employees working from home. Revenue declined by 51% to $11.2 million..
Trading in 3Q FY20 continues to build with August 2020 pacing at 60% of August 2019 compared to May 2020 which was pacing at 25% of May 2019.
Trading conditions remain uncertain and difficult to forecast and the Company does not consider it appropriate to provide earnings guidance for FY20.
• Stan Originals expected to reach 30 new productions a year over next five years
• Nine production capabilities to bolster Stan Originals
• New slate of upcoming Stan Originals announced
Local streaming service Stan has announced it is increasing local and internationally produced Stan Original television series and films, with volume to increase to over 30 productions a year over the next five years.
As part of this major investment strategy, Nine will direct the focus of its own production capabilities towards the acceleration of original productions.
The streaming service will also continue to build on its relationships with both state and national screen organisations in the development of its forthcoming slate – continuing initiatives such as the Stan and Film Victoria Development Fund and the Screen Queensland and Stan Premium Drama Development Fund.
The expanded slate will include investments and co-productions with international partners, including Hollywood studios and major international networks, adding to the global reach and relevance of Stan Originals.
Stan CEO, Mike Sneesby, said: “Stan continues to experience significant growth, reaching a scale that is delivering strong positive cash flow. As part of our strategy to bring the world’s best content to Australians, we will shift greater investment into Stan Original productions through our local and international partnerships. This strategy is further bolstered by Nine’s production capabilities as we maximise the efficiency of our content investment across the group’s market leading television platforms.”
New slate of upcoming original productions were announced:
• Eden, an eight-part, hour-long original drama series from Australia’s rising creative star Vanessa Gazy and the creators of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Skins is currently in production.
• Bump, a ten-part, half-hour original drama series that stars Claudia Karvan, and reunites the creative team behind Love My Way and The Secret Life of Us, is currently in production.
• Dom and Adrian: 2020, an original comedy special from the creators of the Bondi Hipsters, Christiaan Van Vuuren and Nick Boshier, is currently in production.
• After The Night, a four-part true crime docuseries exploring the harrowing legacy of one of Australia’s deadliest serial killers: Eric Edgar Cooke, is currently in production.
• Christiaan Van Vuuren to direct a new Stan Original Film written by Elliot Vella, Gretel Vella & Timothy Walker that is in advanced development.
Top Photo: Cast of Eden
After navigating the complex range of safety protocols required in Victoria, the producers of the hit series The Masked Singer were told as they approached the final hurdle that the production would have to shut down after positive Covid-19 tests.
Produced by Warner Bros International Television, production of season two of The Masked Singer for Network 10 moved to Melbourne this year because of lack of studio availability in Sydney.
The show relocated to Docklands Studio for its new season. The closure has immediately impacted another show set to film at the studios this week – Nine’s Millionaire Hot Seat hosted by Eddie McGuire.
The Masked Singer successfully brought in two judges from out of the country – Dannii Minogue returning for a second year and newcomer Urzila Carlson – and had them complete a fortnight’s quarantine before production started. Returning host Jackie Henderson relocated from her Sydney home while for Melbourne-based Dave Hughes it was a short commute from his home and radio show this year for him to fulfill his duties.
The rigorous production schedule saw 10’s executive producer Stephen Tate and Warner Bros push the series ahead and on the weekend they planned to film the series finale. However it came to an abrupt halt after several positive Covid-19 tests.
Henderson revealed on The Kyle and Jackie O Show on Monday morning how Tate came to her dressing room on the weekend to break the news about the shutdown. Henderson also revealed that as of early Monday she had yet to get the results of her weekend Covid test. (Update: She tested negative. Yay!)
The Herald Sun reported that seven dancers on the show had tested positive for the virus. It is believed up to 200 people involved with the production will be impacted with testing and quarantine.
Network 10 issued this statement on the weekend:
“Production of The Masked Singer has been immediately suspended as a result of several crew members receiving a positive test result for COVID-19. The health and safety of the community, and our staff and production partners is our number one priority.
“The entire production team, including the masked singers, the host and panellists are now in self-isolation. They are all being monitored closely and are in constant contact with medical authorities.
“Network 10 is working closely with the Victorian Government and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Network 10 is providing all crew with all the support and assistance possible.”
Host Osher Günsberg told The Project on Sunday night the series was two hours away from starting a record of the finale before the shutdown order was made.
How will 10 finish the series?
The series finale was to consist of the three final Masked Singers competing for the ultimate prize. To complete the series as originally planned the production would possibly need to keep the cast and crew in quarantine for a fortnight and then continue filming.
It is believed the other alternative is to package a final episode using footage already shot for the series with highlights of previous performances of the final three with a narration from host Günsberg.
Warner Bros is the same production company 10 worked with to bring Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor to audiences during Covid. While The Bachelor completed its 2020 season, The Bachelorette is currently filming in Sydney and will not be impacted, although 10 has needed to be creative to have host Günsberg working on both without being able to travel between the states.
The Masked Singer had commenced production prior to Stage 4 lockdown in Victoria so was able to continue to film in accordance with the Victorian State Government permitting screen productions to continue to remain open.
Over the next few days The Masked Singer production committee will continue to review, amend and implement the health protocols to ensure the highest safety practices for all of those involved in the production.
Filming during a lockdown. Below is a summary of the health protocols that were observed during filming in the time of Covid:
• Daily temperature checks on arrival and leaving the studio.
• QR Health declaration was filled in on arrival and when leaving site.
• Face masks were worn at all times on site and disposed of via PPE disposal bins.
• Cast and crew sanitised their hands as often as possible throughout the day.
• Strict hygiene protocols were in place at all times.
• If any member of cast and crew begin to feel unwell on site they alerted production immediately.
• Unique online safety induction for all cast and crew
• Everyone had to read the Warner Bros. comprehensive COVID protocols for movement in and around set prior to being on site.
• A dedicated Production COVID Manager oversaw all COVID protocols.
The partnership creates the largest entertainment and lifestyle data set in Australia, enabling Seven to deliver new and enhanced audience insights, predictive modelling and machine learning capabilities to improve the outcomes for brands across Seven’s digital and connected TV platforms.
7REDiQ and TEGA will enhance the understanding of over 4.6 million Seven consumers, 3.8 million being verified 7plus users with data from Ticketek. 7REDiQ will capture a user’s content consumption delivering better addressability for brands when activating campaigns across Sevens digital assets, including 7plus and 7News.com.au.
TEGA’s dataset is powered by over 16 million active ticket buyers from across Australia, and will be matched against Seven’s first party audience data.
7REDiQ aims to unlock people-based information and profile audiences against their life stage, household composition, post code, ethnicity, affluency and disposable income. Following a recent partnership announcement between TEGA and flybuys, Seven will also be able to profile a consumer’s affinity across food, beverage and CPG categories.
Seven West Media’s chief marketing officer Charlotte Valente said: “Our partnership with TEGA is a perfect example of how we are transforming into an audience-centric organization committed to cultivating audiences. 7REDiQ will continually elevate our understanding of our audiences, driving insight and influencing strategy. This partnership enables us to deliver greater audience intelligence to our partners when it comes to tentpole sponsorship, partnership and campaign opportunities”.
Digital sales director Nicole Bence said: “For the first time, we will be able to offer brands a comprehensive profile of our audiences, with the ability to find and observe their customer within our eco-system. More importantly, it will be accessible via 7REDiQ, an easy to use platform that moves us closer to a truly audience-led business offering brands the ability to ‘Plan, Buy and Measure’ our high value audiences. An end-to-end solution from insights to activation.”
Andrew Reid, general manager at TEGA, said: “Our partnership with Seven, which combines data with data services and analytics, complements the increased sophistication of audience buying, brand measurement and attribution. By supporting the 7REDiQ platform, Seven has an in-house capability to flex with client needs.”
Seven has already begun the process of integrating TEGA’s comprehensive dataset, with it being made available to partners when 7REDiQ launches in the coming weeks.
Sports Entertainment Network has announced its second big name signing for Sydney’s new home of sport 1170 SEN.
Former Origin and Australian star player and lovable larrakin Bryan ‘Fletch’ Fletcher will join the new station, co-hosting drive 3-6pm Monday-Friday with Joel Caine.
“I’m super excited to be joining Joel on 1170 SEN Sydney for the drive home. It’s my first proper radio hosting gig so it’s going to be something new and I can’t wait,” Fletcher said.
“Joel’s a little left-of-center and I’m a lot left-of-centre so anything could happen,” Fletcher said.
Caine, currently hosting breakfast with Jimmy Smith on SEN Track in NSW – including SEN Track 1539 Sydney which launched yesterday, will move to co-hosting drive when 1170 SEN launches ahead of a big finish to the Australian sports calendar, including State of Origin and a marquee Test series between Australia and India.
SEN’s Craig Hutchison said Fletcher would bring a unique bent to the station.
“Fletch is not only an outstanding former player, he’s a great character and his work on Fox League, The Footy Show and Matty Johns’ show with Fletch and Hindy proves his great ability to connect with audiences,” Hutchison said.
“Both he and Joel are knock-about, natural storytellers, and together they will bring heaps of irreverence and fun to the drive home.”
Earlier this week, SEN announced Andrew Voss as its 1170 SEN breakfast show host. Acclaimed sports broadcaster Gerard Whateley’s number one sports radio show* will also be heard live on 1170 SEN and DAB+ from 12-1pm Monday – Thursday, with other talent signings to be announced shortly.
SEN acquired the 2CH 1170 AM radio licence in June this year and plans to continue Classic Hits 2CH on DAB+ and via live streaming on the app and web.
Sydney audiences will have a choice of four Sports Entertainment Network DAB+ stations: 1170 SEN, 1539 SENTrack, Classic Hits 2CH and also SEN Vic channel for those who want to tap into programming including Melbourne’s most downloaded breakfast
show: Breakfast with Garry Lyon & Tim Watson.
If it’s happening in sport here or around the world, 1170 SEN Sydney will take you there – with live coverage of NRL, State of Origin, Test cricket, Big Bash, A-League, AFL and racing – alongside, news, opinion and debate from the country’s biggest names in sport.
Sports commentator, media personality and former NRL player Jimmy Smith with host evenings 6-9pm on Sydney’s new home of sport 1170 SEN when it launches in October.
Smith’s show will follow Drive with Joel and Fletch– hosted by former NRL players Joel Caine and Bryan Fletcher.
Currently hosting breakfast with Caine on SEN Track in NSW, Smith will move to hosting his own show on 1170 SEN Sydney in time for the block-buster events on the NRL calendar – the NRL Grand Final and State of Origin.
The popular footballer turned commentator said: “The show will take a look at the day in sport and include interviews with key players, coaches and movers and shakers across all codes.
“I can’t wait to be part of the new 1170 SEN Sydney. I draw so much energy from listener interaction – bouquets and the brickbats, learnings and laughter – it all means that people care enough to contact the program and I am always respectful of that.”
SEN’s Craig Hutchison said the 1170 SEN line-up was shaping nicely. “We’re rapt in the calibre of talent that we have for our launch into Sydney, with Andrew Voss opening the batting for breakfast and Joel and Fletch plus Jimmy at the other end of the day,” he said.
“They are all much-loved personalities and will each bring their unique brand of insight and humour to connect with our audience.”
Acclaimed sports broadcaster Gerard Whateley’s number one sports radio show* will also be heard live on 1170 SEN and DAB+ from 12-1pm Monday – Thursday, with other talent signings to be announced shortly.
On Saturday, SEN launched its dedicated racing station SEN Track 1539 and DAB+ into Sydney with acclaimed racing broadcaster Andrew Bensley to host its morning show from December. Bensley will also be simulcast on SEN Track Wollongong 1575 AM, Gosford 801 AM,Melbourne 1593 AM, and in Queensland on Ingham 96.9 FM, Atherton 99.1 FM and from September 4 in Brisbane on 1053AM and Gold Coast 1620AM.
SEN acquired the 2CH 1170 AM radio licence in June this year and plans to continue Classic Hits 2CH on DAB+ and via live streaming on the app and web.
Sydney audiences will have a choice of four Sports Entertainment Network DAB+ stations: 1170 SEN, 1539 SENTrack, Classic Hits 2CH and also SEN Vic channel for those who want to tap into programming including Melbourne’s most downloaded breakfast show: Breakfast with Garry Lyon & Tim Watson.
If it’s happening in sport here or around the world, 1170 SEN Sydney will take you there – with live coverage of NRL, State of Origin, Test cricket, Big Bash, A-League, AFL and racing – alongside, news, opinion and debate from the country’s biggest names in sport.
Foxtel has released viewer data highlighting the audiences for the AFL’s Round 9 to 12 fixture featuring 33 matches over 20-days, with live audiences for Fox Footy up 14% compared to Rounds 1 to 8, and up 59% compared to Round 9 to 12 in 2019.
Released for the first time, the data covers Foxtel set-top boxes together with streaming platforms Foxtel Now, Foxtel GO and the fast-growing Kayo. It highlights the fan engagement with the 2020 season so far with live audiences up +34% compared to the first 12 rounds of the 2019 season. Average audiences for Foxtel are up 10%, and Foxtel Now, Foxtel GO and Kayo audiences are up over 200%.
In a statement Foxtel noted with many fans unable to attend the footy in person because of COVID-19 restrictions, viewers have sought out Fox Footy as the go-to destination for the best footy action. Audiences for live Fox Footy produced matches are up 44% so far this season across the Foxtel Group’s platforms.
The shorter match durations and the AFL’s scheduling with fewer match overlaps and more standalone prime time matches have also been winners with viewers.
Foxtel Sports executive director Steve Crawley said: “What a ripper result for the game.
“Our team at Fox Footy have been delighted to bring a unique season to more viewers than ever before, and the AFL could not have been a better partner during these times.
“We are incredibly excited about the next instalment of the Footy Frenzy which begins with a Thursday-night doubleheader on 27 August featuring the Hawks and Bombers at Adelaide Oval, followed by the Tigers and Eagles in a blockbuster at Metricon Stadium.”
Seven has announced the men and women who said “yes” to undress for the three-part television event, The All New Monty: Guys & Gals.
The All New Monty: Guys & Gals is a new version of the specials The Real Full Monty, The All New Monty and All New Monty: Ladies Night.
Returning hosts and Monty alumni Shane Jacobson and Georgie Parker will be joined by choreographer Todd McKenney as these 15 celebrities prepare to reveal all in the name of cancer awareness:
Adam Dovile – Better Homes and Gardens Presenter
Michael Slater – Cricket Commentator
Orpheus Pledger – Actor
Pauly Fenech – Comedy Actor
Samuel Johnson – Actor/Breast Cancer Campaigner
Shannan Ponton – Fitness Trainer
Tom Derickx – DJ/Model/Ex-AFL Player
Wayne Carey – AFL Commentator
Ash Pollard – Radio Host
Danielle Spencer – Singer/Actress
Erin Holland – Former Miss World Australia
Fiona O’Loughlin – Comedian
Leisel Jones – Olympic Gold Medallist
Patti Newton – Showbiz Legend
Sam Frost – Home and Away Actress
After weeks of intensive rehearsals, the contestants will stage two performances in front of a packed theatre audience, while raising awareness for men’s and women’s cancers.
The All New Monty: Guys & Gals premieres in September on Channel 7.
Here is the announcement released by Nova as the announcement was made on Kate, Tim and Marty last Friday:
One of Australia’s most acclaimed, popular and outspoken comedians, Joel Creasey will join Kate Ritchie and Tim Blackwell as Nova’s Kate, Tim & Joel drive show.
Paul Jackson, Nova Entertainment’s chief programming & marketing officer said, “For over six years Nova’s drive team have built a loyal following with their audience. When looking for the right person to co-host the show, we wanted someone quick witted, energetic and who had great chemistry with our popular drive hosts – Kate and Tim. Joel is no stranger to Nova’s audience, having appeared as a guest on many of our on air shows, he has national appeal and already has a good relationship with the team. Joel was the perfect choice to join Kate and Tim on drive and we can’t wait to get them on air together.”
Kate, Tim & Marty has been the number one national drive show across Australia for 26 consecutive surveys. During their time on air, the team have won seven Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRA) – Best Networked Program in 2015, Best On Air Team in 2016 and 2017, Best Syndicated Australian Program and Best Networked Show in 2018, with Kate Ritchie was also awarded an ACRA for Best Entertainment Presenter that year, and Best Networked Program and Best Syndicated Program in 2019.
Joel Creasey said, “Naturally when you think of a logical replacement for Marty Sheargold you go ‘Joel Creasey’. As a fan of the show I’m not entirely sure what the team do all day… but it sounds so much fun and I want in. I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the national drive show alongside Kate and Tim, who I’ve shared many a beverage with over the years. After over 10 years of big hair and colourful suits on TV, I’m excited for people to get to know another side of me… unfiltered, unvarnished and on air across the country five days a week…what could go wrong? But having appeared on Neighbours upwards of four times it’s not only given me the confidence to achieve anything, but I’m also excited for Kate and I to discuss our illustrious soap careers. I might even teach her a thing or two!”
Having started stand up in Perth, WA at age 15, Joel Creasey is one of Australia’s most popular and charmingly controversial comedians and presenters. Having just turned 30, Joel has had multiple sell out tours of Australia, Asia, London and New York after cutting his teeth touring as support act to the legendary Joan Rivers who referred to him as “a f**king star”. He has stand up specials on Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as on Channel 10 and annually appears on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala.
For the last four years Joel has held the prestigious position of Australian host and commentator of Eurovision Song Contest as well as helming the Sydney Mardi Gras TV broadcast. He’s hosted dating phenomenon Take Me Out, appears on panel shows from Talkin ‘Bout Your Generation to Spicks and Specks, is a regular ‘funnies chair’ host on The Project and who could forget Joel’s time in the African jungle on the very first season of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! where he bitched and moaned his way to the finals.
Kate Ritchie said, “It’s kind of embarrassing for Joel that he felt the need to join our show permanently, if all he was looking for was yet another attempt at Quick Draw. I’ve loved beating him, and he’s always been an okay guest, so Tim and I would have welcomed him back in a heartbeat, albeit briefly. In all honesty though…we are looking forward to having him join the team!”
Tim Blackwell said, “I’ve known Joel for years and have no doubt he’ll fit in seamlessly with Kate and I. I’ll just have to make sure I run him through some of the FM radio basics before our first show… For example: DJ Khaled and Khalid are not the same person. Nova’s Red Room isn’t a nightclub and you must be able to go to the toilet and back during an Ariana Grande song. Nail these basics and there will be no stopping us!”
Joel Creasey will replace Marty Sheargold, who will depart Nova on 11 September after 10 years with the network. Joel will be heard alongside Kate Ritchie and Tim Blackwell as Nova’s Kate, Tim & Joel national drive show, 3pm to 6pm weekdays, from Monday 14 September.
By James Manning
• Albums: Two Swifts top 10, Taylor at #1 as Emma arrives at #9
Since February it’s been tough to get to the top of the Singles chart. Taylor Swift is the only person who’s spent a short time at the top (one week). For the past seven months the chart has belonged to four artists – The Weeknd, Saint Jhn, DaBaby and most recently Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo.
But now it’s Cardi B’s turn and her single WAP featuring Megan Thee Stallion arrives at #1 in just its second week on the chart after debuting at #2.
New to the top 10 and the chart at #3 is Drake with Laugh Now Cry Later featuring Lil Durk. The track is Drake’s 14th time in the top 10 and is a sample of what he’ll be delivering on his sixth album Certified Lover Boy due next week.
Four other tunes managed to debut in the top 50 this week:
#16 Miley Cyrus with Midnight Sky. The song is reportedly about her time with her ex Liam Hemsworth. The song is the first track from her next album She is Miley Cyrus and is her first time back in the top 10 since Don’t Call Me Angel (Charlie’s Angels), a collaboration with Ariana Grande and Lana Del Ray, which peaked at #4 in September last year.
#36 24kGoldn with Mood featuring Iann Dior. Second time on the chart for the US rapper this year after City of Angels peaked at #25 in April.
#44 Ava Max with Kings and Queens. The US singer-songwriter makes her third appearance on the chart in 18 months with all three tracks to feature on her debut album Heaven & Hell next month.
#47 Conan Gray with Heather. Also a second top 50 entry this year for this US singer-songwriter with a track that also featured on his debut album Kid Krowreleased in March this year.
Taylor Swift holds top spot for a fourth consecutive week with folklore becoming her second-longest stay at #1, trailing only her album 1989 which held at #1 for nine weeks.
It was a relatively quiet week for new releases with three albums debuting in the top 50:
#9 Emma Swift with Blonde on the Tracks. An album of Bob Dylan covers is the first album for the Australian singer-songwriter who recorded her first EP back in 2014 in what became her adopted hometown Nashville. The original plan was not make this set available on streaming services, only being released on both black and orange vinyl, CD and digital download. Not surprisingly the album tops the ARIA Vinyl Chart this week.
#21 Biffy Clyro with A Celebration of Endings. The ninth studio album from the Scottish rock band and its first in the ARIA top 50 since Ellipsispeaked at #15 in 2016.
#49 Jason Derulo with Platinum Hits. First released in 2016 the album is on the move now after his recent single success with Savage Lovewhich is sadly not included on the album.
It’s the last week of ratings for the year (except maybe the very end of November) without The Block boosting Nine’s share. Seven took advantage of the lull and claimed the week with Farmer Wants a Wife keeping it competitive early in the week and then the AFL on Friday and Saturday night giving it the lift to overhaul Nine.
Seven Week 34
Primary share: 19.4% (18.9%)
Network share: 28.9% (28.7%)
Multichannels: 7TWO 3.5% (3.7%) 7mate 3.7% (4.1%) 7flix 2.3% (2.1%)
Farmer Wants a Wife Sunday was the non-news hit with 853,000 which was also up week-on-week from 814,000. Farmer Monday did 719,000.
Other non-news primetime offerings in the 500,000+ club wereThe Lindy Tapes (574,000), Home and Away (565,000), Saturday AFL (648,000) and Better Homes and Gardens (556,000).
When factoring in the regional Farmer Wants a Wife Sunday audience Seven is able to claim it as the #1 entertainment show for the week.
Nine Week 34
Primary share: 18.7% (19.6%)
Network share: 27.1% (27.8)%
Multichannels: GO! 2.4% (2.4%) Gem 2.5% (2.4%) 9Life 2.3% (2.2%) 9Rush 1.2% (1.2%)
The Ninja Warrior spin-offs helped the channel win the first three nights of the primary week. Nine was then level with Seven on Wednesday and then slipped behind on the remaining three nights. The Ninja Warrior franchise peaked on Sunday with 877,000 for the first part of State of Origin but then dipped to 735,000 for part two and 624,000 for Australia vs The World. Emergency was the only other non-news primetime show over half a million with 519,000.
ABC Week 34
Primary share: 13.2% (12.7%)
Network share: 18.0% (17.3%)
Multichannels: Kids/Comedy 2.6% (2.5%) ME 0.4% (0.4%) News 1.8% (1.7%)
Hard Quiz had another cracking week with 737,000.
Also among the channel’s best were Vera(657,000), Mad As Hell (649,000), Shetland 624,000, Brush with Fame (613,000) and Australian Story (586,000).
10 Week 34
Primary share 10.8% (11.6%)
Network share: 16.9% (17.7%)
Multichannels: Bold 3.9% (3.8%) Peach 2.2% (2.2%)
Both reveal segments of The Masked Singer were over 900,000 while the Monday and Tuesday first parts of the episodes did 767,000 and 806,000.
Have You Been Paying Attention? climbed back over 700,000. The two Bachelor episodes returned audiences of 672,000 and 591,000.
Saturday has long been a stinker for the primary channel and it hit a new 2020 low for any night with a share of 4.9%.
10’s true performance for advertisers is again revealed in the under 50 numbers where the shows mentioned above fill seven of the top 10.
SBS Week 34
Primary share: 5.6% (5.0%)
Network share: 9.1% (8.5%)
Multichannels: Viceland 1.4% (1.5%) Food 1.0% (0.9%) NITV 0.2% (0.1%) World Movies 1.0% (1.0%)
The World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys might have surprised some people in that it wasn’t yet another Michael Portillo series. This time it was Bill Nighy narrating (he was only heard and not seen) as the first episode took 364,000 viewers on a spell binding trip across Norway.
Portillo’s Great Asian Railway Journeys wasn’t too far behind though with 332,000 watching him cross Indonesia. Also doing well again this week was the second episode of Sydney’s Super Tunnelon 292,000.
* Figures in brackets are Week 33 shares.
By Trent Thomas
•The Block is the top non-news show in its return
• Farmer Wants a Wife came close with 864,000
• Vera and Shetland continue to perform for ABC
Seven News 1,190,000
Nine News 1,073,000
ABC News 755,000
The Project 282,000
10 News 239,000
Nine News Late Edition 268,000
SBS World News 199,000
Seven: Seven finished second in both Network and Primary shares last night with 19.8% and 28.7% respectively. Seven’s top show for the night was Farmer Wants a Wife which increased its numbers from last Sunday from 853,000 to 864,000, despite heavy competition from The Block.
The other big performers for the Network where 7News Spotlight: Catching a Madman which had 342,000 viewers, and the AFL afternoon football which had 483,000.
Nine: The network welcomed back one of its flagship franchises in The Block which returned for its 16th season. The show’s launch episode was down year on year going from 991,000 in 2019 to 947,000 last night. 60 Minutes followed with improved ratings compared to last week (486,000) with 559,000. This powered Nine to a Sunday night network and primary win with 23.1% and 31.7% shares for the night.
10: 10 came fourth last night in both network (7.5%) and primary shares (12.5%). The top show for the night was The Sunday Project with 398,000 which is down from the 471,000 posted last week by the show. Family Feud continued its run of primetime specials with 293,00 viewers which were a decline from last weeks 330,000.
ABC: Vera and Shetland have continued their strong one-two punch for ABC on Sunday nights with the shows getting 691,000 (Vera) and 577,000 (Shetland) to both find themselves in the top 10 last night. This saw the ABC come third last night with a primary share of 14.9% and a network share of 18.6%
SBS: The top performers for the public broadcaster were The Virus: What Went Wrong? with 190,000 and Lost Pyramid of the Aztecs which did 182,000. SBS had a primary share of 5.8% and a network share of 8.6%
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.8%||7TWO||4.5%||GO!||3.1%||10 Bold||3.4%||VICELAND||1.6%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||4.0%||GEM||2.3%||10 Peach||2.5%||Food Net||0.9%|
|9Rush||1.6%||SBS World Movies||1.8%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.0%||7TWO||3.4%||GO!||4.4%||10 Bold||3.4%||VICELAND||0.6%|
|ABC ME||0.3%||7mate||5.7%||GEM||3.8%||10 Peach||1.6%||Food Net||0.9%|
|9Rush||2.0%||SBS World Movies||0.8%|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.4%||7TWO||2.6%||GO!||3.7%||10 Bold||3.6%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||0.3%||7mate||4.9%||GEM||2.3%||10 Peach||1.5%||Food Net||0.6%|
|9Rush||0.8%||SBS World Movies||0.4%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.2%||7TWO||3.9%||GO!||3.7%||WIN Bold||3.7%||VICELAND||1.8%|
|ABC ME||0.2%||7mate||3.9%||GEM||3.4%||WIN Peach||0.7%||Food Net||0.8%|
|ABC NEWS||1.3%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.4%||9Life||2.0%||Sky News on WIN||1.3%||NITV||0.3%|
|SUNDAY METRO ALL TV|
Friday Top 10
Saturday Top 10
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 Friday looms as an industry-defining moment in the Australian media landscape, reports News Corp’s Chris Griffith.
It’s the deadline for responses to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s draft mandatory code that lets Australian media players bargain with the $US1 trillion-valued Google and fellow tech giant Facebook to secure fair payment for their news content.
Media organisations say that Google’s use of their content in search results amounts to information theft and it’s time Google paid up. Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs and hundreds of media outlets have been forced to shut since the rise of the tech titans.
On the face of it, you may think Google has the upper hand in this dispute; that with 90 per cent of the desktop search market, and 98.21 per cent of the mobile search market, it can afford to play hardball and dictate the terms.
But experts say Google has much to lose by walking away from a deal. The tech giant won’t like it, but there’s a viable Plan B for Australian media.
University of Sydney media lecturer Fiona Martin says Google risks losing its advertising monopoly, with other vendors filling the void on alternative sites that aggregate mainstream news content.
Google revealed its war plan against Australia’s competition watchdog last week, turning to its playbook of corralling its massive user base to pressure politicians and industry into backing down on a new code forcing it to negotiate with local media organisations to pay for journalism on its platforms, reports AFR’s Max Mason and Natasha Gillezeau.
For the US search and advertising giant, this isn’t just a battle about Australia. Google is using the stoush with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as a proxy war to send a message to Washington regulators about how it would respond to stronger enforcement of anti-competition or privacy laws from US regulators.
Hundreds of Palm Islanders have signed up to an Australian Human Rights Commission complaint against Channel Nine and the Daily Mail after media reports suggested they wasted “taxpayer dollars” on luxury goods after receiving $30m in compensation, reports Guardian Australia‘s Amanda Meade.
An exclusive Channel Nine investigation, broadcast in May, claimed the residents spent “lavishly” on luxury four-wheel drives and sports cars which were “bought in bulk”, two years after the Queensland government agreed to pay them for police breaching the Racial Discrimination Act in 2004.
The $30m settlement was shared by 447 claimants and was accompanied by a formal apology from the Queensland government.
A follow-up report in the Daily Mail, based on the Nine broadcast, claimed much of the $30m in compensation was spent on “luxury items”.
Lawyer Stewart Levitt told Guardian Australia the media reports were racist and vilified the community and as such breached section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the same law Andrew Bolt was found to have breached in 2011 for two articles in the Herald Sun.
Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith is suffering from a protracted “campaign of slander” by three newspapers determined to “crucify” the former soldier’s reputation, a court has heard, reports News Corp’s Kieran Gair.
Roberts-Smith is suing The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, and The Age for defamation over articles he claims portray him as a war criminal who committed murder during the Afghan war and “broke the moral and legal rules of military engagement”.
Barrister Bruce McClintock SC, for Roberts-Smith, told the Federal Court on Friday a trial date should be set as soon as possible to prevent the war hero’s mental health from deteriorating any further.
“My client is being continually crucified by the respondents and it’s having a dire impact on his mental welfare,” he said.
“The respondents are continuing their campaign of slander and defamation through the pages of their newspapers. There’s a weekly article.”
Mr McClintock said the newspapers’ “deranged attack” on former AFP chief Mick Keelty on Monday, who they claimed leaked information to Roberts-Smith about a covert war crimes probe, proved why his defamation trial should begin in March rather than next June.
Some of the ABC’s most prominent journalists – past and present – have thrown their support behind public broadcaster’s former chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici, who has confirmed her departure from the organisation, reports News Corp’s Angelica Snowden.
The Australian on Friday revealed Alberici had accused the ABC of kowtowing to personal complaints by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in a legal missive sent as part of negotiations over her exit from the broadcaster. Alberici has now settled her dispute with the ABC.
Former 730 Report presenter Quentin Dempster said it was ABC “mismanagement” that had caused the departure of Alberici, a former Europe correspondent for the broadcaster.
The high-profile journalist said it was “too painful” to remain in the public eye following the legal battle involving ABC news director Gaven Morris who is accused in a legal letter of telling Alberici that Mr Turnbull was constantly calling him to make complaints about her.
In a heated exchange, Mr Turnbull refuted claims “that I called Morris about Emma is denied both by me and the ABC”.
“As to her 14 Feb 2018 article on tax, it was full of errors, confused basic accounting concepts and was widely and publicly criticised including by me in the House,” Mr Turnbull tweeted.
Ms Alberici responded: “Just cos you bully people doesn’t make you correct and others not.”
“The countless letters you sent to the ABC were ridiculous and unbecoming of a PM,” she said.
Andrew Probyn’s 7.30 investigation on the Ruby Princess is causing big divisions at the ABC, reports News Corp’s Nick Tabakoff.
Probyn and ABC news supremo Gaven Morris are on one side, with Media Watch’s Paul Barry on the other. Political adversaries Peter Dutton and Kristina Keneally are also in the mix, as the story becomes a pawn in a wider political blame game.
The ABC political editor alleged late last month that an Australian Border Force officer mistook negative flu tests for COVID-19 results on the cruise ship, helping to set 2700 passengers loose.
However, the man in charge of the NSW Ruby Princess inquiry, Bret Walker SC, criticised Probyn’s story, concluding: “It is a pity that serious journalism … seems to have proceeded on this erroneous basis of a part played by the ABF.”
On last Monday’s Media Watch, Barry echoed Walker’s finding: “In the end, the incompetence of the Border Force was not a key factor. And the ABC’s suggestion was wrong.”
Another former ABC board member, prominent businessman and arts philanthropist Simon Mordant, has attacked the public broadcaster’s “poor’’ approach to cultural programming, claiming such programs are invisible across its platforms, reports Rosemary Neil.
“I have been very disappointed that since I left the board a few years ago, the focus on arts and culture has not been visible to me,” Mr Mordant told The Weekend Australian. “My sense from the outside is that the ABC continues to do a poor job promoting its arts coverage across platforms.’’
Mr Mordant’s comments follow those of Michael Lynch, a former ABC board member who said he was “appalled” and “pretty bloody distressed” by the steep fall in arts programming on ABC’s television network. Mr Lynch, a former general manager of the Sydney Theatre Company and ex-chief executive of London’s Southbank Centre, accused the ABC of breaching its charter and “walking away’’ from the arts as the industry faced its worst crisis in 50 years because of COVID-19 shutdowns.
Mr Mordant was on the ABC board from 2012 until 2017 and chaired a major review which urged the broadcaster to make cultural programming “a key output genre across all platforms’’.
However, The Weekend Australian revealed last week that new arts programming on the broadcaster’s primary television channel, ABC1, had plummeted from 114 hours in 2008-09 to just 15 hours in 2018-19.
One of Australia’s most accomplished journalists, Claire Harvey, is joining The Australian as editorial director to lead the development of premium news content for the masthead’s fast-growing audience, reports The Australian.
Harvey, who has been deputy editor of Sydney’s The Sunday Telegraph for almost nine years, will pioneer new methods of storytelling across all of The Australian’s platforms.
The Australian’s chief leader writer Tom Dusevic will become national chief reporter, writing about the forces remaking the nation, with a focus on the economy, public policy and the people on the frontline of historic change.
Tess Livingstone, a senior staff writer with a deep interest in religion and social policy, has been appointed chief leader writer, while respected author Catherine McGregor joins The Australian as a writer and commentator.
Seven West Media will develop a five-year plan for its newspapers in Western Australia in the wake of a review of the company’s print operations by former Fairfax Media boss Greg Hywood, reports News Corp’s Lilly Vitorovich.
Executives at the Kerry Stokes-controlled media company were presented with Mr Hywood’s recommendations earlier this month, ahead of the release of Seven’s annual results on Tuesday.
The six-week review assessed the performance and commercial viability of every one of the company’s print titles across the state, including prominent mastheads The West Australian and The Sunday Times, and 31 regional and community newspapers, according to Anthony De Ceglie, editor-in-chief of Seven’s WA newspapers.
McPherson Media Group is in negotiations with Australian Community Media to buy its Albury-Wodonga print site, preserving jobs at the plant under new ownership and allowing Antony Catalano to continue to exit print manufacturing, reports AFR‘s Max MAson.
Sources told The Australian Financial Review that McPherson has entered due diligence on the site and last week briefed its Newsprinters staff that it was looking to purchasing ACM’s Albury-Wodonga print site.
The staff briefing indicated there would likely be redundancies at Newsprinters if a deal went with ACM goes through, but employees would have all entitlements paid.
In July, ACM confirmed it would close three of the four print sites it proposed closing earlier this month, as revealed by the Financial Review. The final printing plant in Albury remained under review.
A successful sale of the Albury-Wodonga site to McPherson would mean ACM has exited five of the nine print sites it had when Antony Catalano and Alex Waislitz bought the business from Nine in June 2019. ACM closed down its Beaudesert plant in Queensland in March 2020.
Twitch’s first senior vice president for the Asia-Pacific region Sunita Kaur says the live-streaming video platform is looking to ramp up its local presence and away from its gaming-only roots into music, sport, comedy and more, reports AFR‘s Natasha Gillezeau.
Kaur’s new gig is to draw Twitch’s content into music, sport, comedy and general chatter and subsequently entice local advertisers onto the platform. The challenge will be doing this while not scaring off the early adopters of the platform.
But for all the newness of highly digital companies, their commercialisation and expansion playbook is now fairly well established. Foreign companies including Twitter, Snapchat, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bumble and TikTok have all set up camp in the region. They have appointed local heads to formalise commercial relationships and help attract local users, artists, influencers and content creators onto their services.
Like YouTube, people can watch some Twitch content for free, or they can pay subscription fees to one or multiple channels, and they can also “donate” to Twitch streamers, which is like tipping.
A COVID-19 outbreak linked to the set of Network 10’s The Masked Singer in Victoria has forced the closure of Nine’s Millionaire Hot Seat, which films in a neighbouring studio, reports SMH‘s Michael Lallo and Paul Sakkal.
While the two programs are recorded in different parts of Victoria’s Docklands Studios precinct, they share some common areas.
On Saturday, The Masked Singer suspended filming after a crew member returned a positive coronavirus test. Six additional cases have since been linked to the program.
All cast and crew – including host Osher Gunsberg and judges Dannii Minogue, Dave Hughes, Jackie O and Urzila Carlson – are now in mandatory self-isolation for at least 14 days.
The singing contest was shooting its finale on Saturday when production was halted. Producers had hoped to film the conclusion of that episode following the two-week isolation period but may now be required devise an alternative plan.
A Nine spokesman said that health authorities have asked Millionaire Hot Seat to suspend filming in Docklands until at least the end of stage 4 restrictions, which are currently scheduled to lift in mid-September. (Nine is the owner of this masthead.)