Friday December 6, 2019

Mediaweek Industry Awards 2019

Democracy in action: Have your say before the poll closes

Vote here.

Mediaweek has recently opened the voting in our second annual Industry Awards as voted by our readers.

The poll will remain open until the end of Sunday December 8. The results will be released later this month via the Mediaweek website.

Vote here.

New Junkee editor brings comedy to pop culture brand with comedians, weird writers

By Claudia Siron

After just two weeks of being appointed as Junkee’s deputy editor, Patrick Lenton was quickly announced as the new editor of the pop culture title as Rae Johnston (former editor) left for NITV.

Lenton told Mediaweek about his history with Junkee since it was first established, his mission in moving forward with the Junkee brand, and his recent work outside of the full time gig. 

Lenton was one of the first freelancers at Junkee in 2013 when Steph Harmon was the editor. She hadn’t launched the site yet, but she reached out to Lenton to write some comedic content for the brand. “After contributing to the site for ages, I came in and did some contract work on and off, and that turned into a part-time weekend writer role in 2017,” said Lenton.

“I was then made staff writer at the beginning of 2018. In June that year, I got promoted to entertainment editor, and then in October this year I became deputy editor. Two weeks after I got promoted to deputy editor, I was promoted to editor. It’s all been extremely quick,” laughed Lenton. “If you’re only counting the full-time roles, I’ve been here for two years in January.”

For pretty much two years before working at Junkee full time, Lenton said he was freelancing for The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, and Vice. “They were probably my staples, as well as Junkee. I also had a digital marketing consultancy business which I ran for authors.”

Lenton described the workplace vibe at Junkee as incredibly fun and silly. “It’s one of the reasons why I love it. There’s a lot of laughter, a lot of silliness, and a lot of weird people. It’s a happy place to work. 

In Lenton’s team, he has Jules LeFevre who’s the editor of Music Junkee, and they share a staff writer, Jared Richards. “I also have my news and politics staff writer Rachael Conaghan, and we have another staff writer who does mornings and after hours, Joseph Earp.”

While Junkee reports on viral news, big pop culture events and entertainment – which is similar to what other pop culture and news websites do – Junkee’s mission is always to engage with the conversation rather than just re-produce it. “Whether or not that means finding the best voice to write the smartest take, or to be the people who are writing the silliest thing about the big high-brow culture of the time, we are always adding things that are new, different or needed to the conversation.

Lenton remembers back to when he was a staff writer at Junkee, people joked that his beat was anything horny. “It’s one of the things that you can have the most fun with,” he laughed. “But I also really like to shift entirely away from that to a bit more serious stuff. I really like writing about representation at the moment. I’ve written a lot throughout my career on queer representation and intersectionality in film and TV, and why that matters. 

“In general, I love taking something that is being held up as a very big serious-worthy sort of thing and then writing possibly the silliest take on it, or finding what people are saying that’s incredibly stupid about it – which is similar to our overall tone at Junkee.”

Outside of Junkee, Lenton has published a book called Uncle Hercules and Other Lies; a collection of mostly funny but definitely absurd memoir essays. “They’re true stories from my life. I’ve been working on this book for a while because I do a lot of comedic storytelling nights at places like Story Club in Sydney, which I’ve been doing for years and years. It meant that I sort of kept writing more and more stories drawn from my life, and I thought I could put these into an anthology. Each story is on a certain theme and they work well together. After quite a few years, I’ve finally published.”

Former editor Johnston grew Junkee’s gaming and tech coverage from literally nothing into another strong pillar. “We’re a pop culture publication, so we find the pop culture issues in gaming and tech now, which is fantastic.

“Being online and consuming news at the moment is sometimes really traumatic, and it can get very upsetting; there’s a lot of stuff that absolutely needs to be out there and needs to be said, and Junkee does a really good job of talking about the important things and we’ll obviously keep doing that. All the other editors before me have set that up as a foundation of what Junkee’s about, but I also really want to make sure that people are actually having fun, and can look at Junkee and be like ‘there’s going to be something really silly, funny, and weird on there’.”

Lenton said he’s spent a really long time finding some of the best comedians and weird writers that can help do that with Junkee. “A bit more cursed humour! Things can be bad, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t have a chuckle.

Amazon calls in the A-Team for streaming war in Australia

The Amazon Prime Video executive in charge of content for Australia and New Zealand, Tyler Bern, hosted a function in Sydney last night just hours after the streaming platform confirmed it commissioned a new season of one of the biggest dramas ever on Australian TV.

With major platforms Netflix and Stan increasing their focus on Australian content, Amazon Prime Video will make the most noise in the market in 2020 when TV’s first family returns.

See also:
Amazon Prime Video confirms new Back to the Rafters for 2020

The commissioning of Back to the Rafters was an indication of how important the platform considers Australian content for Amazon Prime customers, explained Bern. The return of the Rafters family will also be available to millions of Prime customers around the world, joining an exclusive group of award-winning TV shows that includes The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and Fleabag.

Erik Thomson, Michael Caton, Jessica Marais, Angus McLaren, George Houvardas and Bevan Lee

Bern also spoke about the other Australian commissions LOL: Last One Laughing: “Produced by our friends at Endemol Shine, it was filmed in October in Sydney and it will be a great show. We also have a series of 10 stand-up comedy specials with Australian comedy stars including Tommy Little, Tom Gleeson and Judith Lucy. Produced locally by Guesswork, the specials were filmed in September.”

The Amazon Prime executive then mentioned the recent acquisition of The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team, a docuseries following the Australian Men’s Cricket team during the 2018/2019 season.

Bern also introduced the cast of Back to the Rafters (minus Rebecca Gibney who is in London this week) onstage for a photo opportunity.

Guests at the exclusive gathering in a marquee at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair on the edge of Sydney Harbour included returning Rafter’s castmembers Erik Thomson, Jessica Marais, Hugh Sheridan, Angus McLaren, Michael Caton and George Houvardas.

The cast were joined by creator Bevan Lee, series producer Chris Martin-Jones, executive producer and Seven head of drama Julie McGauran and CEO of Seven Studios Therese Hegarty.

Endemol Shine was represented by CEO Carl Fennessy and chief content officer Peter Newman. The night out came after winning a handful of awards at the AACTAs on Wednesday night.

Representing Guesswork was creative director Todd Abbott.

Top Photo: Angus McLaren, George Houvardas and Erik Thomson

Radio ratings – year over as teams celebrate on break-up day

Macquarie Media stations haven’t always followed the survey breaks when it comes to December. However under Nine’s new radio boss Tom Malone announcers are getting generous breaks.

At 2GB Alan Jones is already off air with Steve Price now hosting breakfast.

In Melbourne at 3AW Mercedes Benz giveaways marked the end of the year for some of the shows. The cars come from two different dealers who have agreements with its biggest shows – breakfast with Ross and John and morning with Neil Mitchell.

In FM radio Kyle and Jackie O presented a second consecutive live show (!) with both announcers in Sydney for their final program of the year. It was a packed program with Robbie Williams, a $10,000 version of the Pop Quiz, a visit from Santa and a performance from Samantha Jade. The shows follows a big Thursday program where the #1 Sydney FM breakfast show gave away a house, land and car package. ARN colleagues Jonesy and Amanda joined them on air after 9am.

At Triple M Melbourne it was breakup day for Eddie McGuire, Luke Darcy and Wil Anderson with Rosie. The show peaked during its final week though with a show for a live audience on Wednesday. The giveaways started early with Luke Darcy giving away fuel vouchers in the opening break. The show also spoke with the custodians of the timeslot over the next couple of weeks, Brig, Lehmo and Billy Brownless. Anderson dropped a bomb after 9am with news he was quitting the show effectively immediately. (See separate news item.)

It was the final free-cash Friday on Moonman in the Morning with Triple M Sydney’s Lawrence Mooney promising a big program to end his first year as host of the breakfast slot. He and co-host Chris Page started the show wondering about the indiscretions of the SCA HR department.
After $10,000 was given away earlier in the week, there was another pile of cash on offer this morning.
Reptile of the Year was also revealed after 8am – it went to George Pell.

The low-maintenance gem in ARN’s crown remains WSFM, even if it is now without a content director. Breakfast hosts Jonesy and Amanda started their last 2019 show with a Christmas quiz in the traditional early morning timeslot. In the final Fight for Your Flashback, Amanda chose a Mental As Anything tune to celebrate the life of Greedy Smith after the show also paid tribute to him earlier in the week.
One lucky winner is going to New York in February to see Billy Joel in addition to a $10,000 cash prize. The multi-skilled Jim Dolan put together the show’s audio highlights package

At KIIS 101.1, Jase and PJ were broadcasting a special Christmas Feel-good program from a listener’s home. The show was able to put together a package to make over the home with furniture and more plus Ford delivered an $80,000 vehicle to the family in need. The hosts had special thanks for their team including EP Alex Perigo for helping sort the amazing surprise. “See you in 2020 – we are shocked as well that we are coming back,” laughed Jase as they went off air.

Fifi, Fev and Byron also had Robbie Williams on their final Fox breakfast show of the year. It was also a year in review edition of the show, which was also an RnB Friday. The production team under Leon Sjogren put together a tune summarising the show’s year set to Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh. The champagne cork was popped early in the show ahead of the summer break.

Melbourne’s #1 FM breakfast show had a number of giveaways and host Christian O’Connell revealed the name of the Gold Ticket winner. The breakfast show was also clearing out its prize cabinet with prize packs on offer across the morning until its 10am finish. O’Connell’s co-hosts were planning their quick getaways after the show, but Christian joked he would be recording 5-weeks of breakfast show intros later in the day. “And Easter too in case I don’t come back until then.”

On Nova 96.9 co-host Wippa was recovering from his embarrassment after Fitzy revealed this week that his “friendship” with Niall Horan was not exactly what it seemed. Wippa has been exchanging texts with the British pop star on everything from football scores to same sex marriage laws, but he found out on the show this week when Horan visited the program that the number he was texting was not his!
Robbie Williams was working the breakfast shows hard with an appearance too on Nova Sydney, calling in from Berlin.
Highlight of the last show of the year was the appearance of Vanilla Ice in the year’s final Rap Up of the Week.
Vanilla Ice flexed his rap muscles firing back with ultimate ice-cold one-liners like “Fitzy looks old, there’s no debating, To know your real age we need to do carbon dating” and “Wippa’s so old he drinks Campari & Soda, Body-hair of a Wookie and the skin of Yoda, You spend your time doing free plugs on air, But the best plugs you do are in your hair!!!”
Sarah McGilvray had to pick a winner for the Ultimate Rap Battle, but couldn’t decide – she left it to the Amazon Alexa device to decide, with the final winner crowned…Vanilla Ice.
The show’s audio producer Snitchy was in at 2am to produce a 7-minute 2019 highlights package.
The show ended with a call from Prime Minister Scott Morrison who discussed what he might be getting his wife for Christmas. The PM will also be in the audience for a Tina Arena show in Sydney next week.

At Nova’s Melbourne station Sam Pang made a rare Friday appearance as he joined Chrissie, Sam and Deano for the final show of the year. The program had a party on air with its regular contributors guesting across the morning.

Wil Anderson quits Triple M to return to touring comedy show

There was speculation this week that Wil Anderson may not be returning to Triple M Melbourne’s Hot Breakfast after revealing he hadn’t signed a new contract.

Anderson took part in the final show of the year this morning without giving any hint about his radio future…until just after 9am.

It was then he took the microphone to confirm his departure.

“Being asked to join this show was one of the thrills of my life. I was such a big fan before that. Today is my last day on The Hot Breakfast. It was an amazing challenge when I arrived to fill the shoes of Mick Molloy who is a great hero of mine and one of the great radio and comedy talents in the country.

“The management here has been incredible to me as has been the off-air support from the digital team, the musical team and the sales team – everyone in this office – has always been 100% behind me and the things that I wanted to do here.

“I want to in particular give a massive shout out to our off-air production team – LJ Gorse, Tom Martin and Michael James who took over from Jay Mueller and did such a good job. And special mention to Dave Collins who collaborates on my best comedy bits. Every morning when I come in with ideas they are the ones who run with them.”

After running through the Hot Breakfast team, Anderson made special mention of publicist Kelly Black who Anderson noted is also a good friend. (Black previously worked with Anderson at his management company Token Artists.)

Anderson paid tribute to his on-air team starting with Rosie Walton. “We have become very good friends and we have both gone through some hard times over the past couple of years. She has been there for me in ways I could never explain out loud. She is incredible – the heart and soul of this show and the heart and soul of this network.”

Of Luke Darcy, Anderson said: “What a great pleasure it is to be friends with somebody and then get the opportunity to work with them. To see the way you live your life is a real inspiration to me. You are a genuinely good human being.”

Saving Eddie McGuire for last: “Thanks for the incredible opportunity. A lot of people don’t know how generous you are. You are also incredibly generous in letting me make fun of you.”

As to why he is leaving, Anderson said: “This is a job you have to do at 110%. That means in the last year I haven’t been able to tour my comedy show which is my main job and important to me. I will be doing another year of Gruen and I want to develop my podcasts some more.”

Radio week of change continues: ARN cancels Bianca, Mike & Bob

ARN has cancelled Brisbane’s 97.3FM Bianca, Mike and Bob breakfast show, claiming there are plans to take the station in a different direction in 2020, with hosts Mike Van Acker and Bianca Dye departing their roles.

Despite ARN calling Van Acker “a much-loved and respected part of the 97.3FM Breakfast show” there is no place for him any longer. In a statement, ARN thanked him for his talent, passion and professionalism during the past two years.

Both Bianca Dye and Bob Gallagher will stay with ARN, but in as-yet revealed roles. Gallagher is expected to perhaps be part of the new 97.3 breakfast show.

That new Brisbane breakfast show could see Robin Bailey back at her old station. ARN famously dropped her from the station in a contract dispute several years ago, but all could be forgiven if they can negotiate a new deal.

As a part of the new ARN strategy for 97.3FM breakfast, the existing show’s executive producer Liam Renton will also be finishing up his role.

ARN indicated this morning the new breakfast show won’t be named until 2020.

Meanwhile ARN has also been busy in Sydney where Radio Today has reported on the departure of Scott Muller as the station’s content director.

[Read about Muller’s departure]

The arrival of a new content director would be the third at the station in two years as Charlie Fox departed in December 2017.

Other radio movements this week saw the departure of Matt Tilley from Nova 100 in Melbourne, while Irene Hulme is out as music director for SCA’s Hit Network. Hulme could perhaps be a candidate for the WSFM job, making a return to ARN.

[Read about Hulme’s departure]

There is still one day of radio ratings left in 2019, so buckle up for some more movement.

Mercado on TV: WTF – goodbye 2019 and the summer’s sexiest show

By Andrew Mercado

Last week, we talked about 2019’s great Aussie shows, like Lambs Of God (Foxtel) and Total Control (ABC). They both won major AACTA Awards but you might have missed it, given that telecast spent so much time focusing on reality TV.

 When did the slappers from MAFS and the prawn head from The Masked Singer take precedence over our world class drama and comedy in cinema and television? And now the Government has abolished the Department of Arts to merge it in with … Transport? What. The. Fuck?

Thankfully, those countries not bogan enough to merge their creative industries with semi-trailers will always give us great TV. For me, the best dramas from overseas were the harrowing and thought-provoking Years and Years (SBS), Chernobyl (Foxtel) and When They See Us (Netflix). Gentlemen Jack (Foxtel) and Morning Wars (Apple+) were lighter fare, but still had something important to say, while El Camino (Netflix) was the surprise Breaking Bad sequel movie we didn’t know was coming, but boy were we glad it did.

A pleasing phenomenon in 2019 was good shows that got even better in their second seasons, and that’s not something I can say about Killing Eve (ABC) or Big Little Lies (Foxtel). This year was all about the filthy rich and diabolically evil clan from Succession (Foxtel) and their end of season cliffhanger was truly gobsmacking.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge won three Emmys for the second season of Fleabag (Amazon), and it now sits in TV history alongside Fawlty Towers, another British classic that pulled the pin after just 12 episodes. And Pose (Foxtel), despite delving into a darker period of AIDS history, was even more moving and joyful the second time round.

As we move into 2020, let’s hope there will be less mistakes made on Australian TV. If you are going to reboot a reality format, don’t make it twice as long on half the budget (Changing Rooms). Don’t cannibalise your own shows with similar formats (Saturday Night Rove and Chris and Julia’s Sunday Night Takeaway). And don’t do a Pilot Week with shows like Sydney’s Crazy Rich Asians, I Am Roxy.

Sorry 10, but plenty of flops were yours. Seven was no better, with misses like The Super Switch and The Proposal. And Nine, you stuffed up Today. Can Karl Stefanovic ride to the rescue? Will Big Brother revive Seven? And can 10 succeed with new judges on MasterChef and a new show for The Living Room team? Have a great Christmas everybody and in the meantime, check out The L Word: Generation Q (Monday on Stan), the sexiest new show of summer.

Week 49 TV: Thursday
THURSDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.9% 7 15.3% 9 18.3% 10  8.5% SBS One 4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.8% 7TWO 5.0% GO! 4.5% 10 Bold 5.3% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 3.3% GEM 3.4% 10 Peach 2.8% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 2.1% 7flix 2.0% 9Life 3.1%     NITV 0.2%
    7Food 1.4%         SBS World Movies 1.5%
TOTAL 18.7%   26.9%   29.2%   16.6%   8.6%

 

THURSDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 11.3% 7 17.3% 9 13.9% WIN 7.6% SBS One 3.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.2% 7TWO 7.4% GO! 3.8% WIN Bold 5.4% VICELAND 1.6%
ABC ME 1.2% 7mate 5.4% GEM 5.0% WIN Peach 2.1% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.8% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.5% 9Life 2.8% Sky News  on WIN 1.5% NITV 0.1%
    7food (QLD only) 1.7%            
TOTAL 17.5%   34.4%   25.6%   16.6%   5.9%

 

THURSDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
83.7% 16.3%
THURSDAY FTA
  1. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 790,000
  2. Seven News Seven 777,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 766,000
  4. Nine News Nine 736,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 657,000
  6. ABC News ABC 595,000
  7. 7.30 ABC 521,000
  8. Grand Designs Australia ABC 441,000
  9. The Chase Australia Seven 410,000
  10. Hot Seat Nine 408,000
  11. Better Homes And Gardens – Countdown To Christmas Seven 392,000
  12. Great Getaways Nine 387,000
  13. The Project 7pm 10 363,000
  14. 10 News First 10 335,000
  15. Sunrise Seven 307,000
  16. Zumbo’s Just Desserts Ep.2 Seven 299,000
  17. Race Across The World Nine 299,000
  18. Zumbo’s Just Desserts Seven 288,000
  19. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 280,000
  20. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 259,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. The Project 7pm 10 84,000
  2. A Current Affair Nine 69,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 68,000
  4. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 67,000
  5. Race Across The World Nine 66,000

 

18 – 49

  1. The Project 7pm 10 152,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 150,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 140,000
  4. Nine News Nine 139,000
  5. Seven News Seven 132,000

 

25 – 54

  1. Nine News 6:30 Nine 212,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 190,000
  3. Nine News Nine 187,000
  4. Seven News Seven 181,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 181,000
THURSDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 181,000
  2. Hawaii Five-O (R) 10 Bold 143,000
  3. Austin Powers: International Man Of 9YGSTOER! Y 141,000
  4. A Touch Of Frost PM 7TWO 141,000
  5. Father Brown PM (R) 7TWO 139,000
  6. Survivor: Island Of Idols 9GO! 137,000
  7. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  8. Qi ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  9. Death In Paradise 9Gem 128,000
  10. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  11. Masters Of Flip 9Life 113,000
  12. Luo Bao Bei ABCKIDS/COMEDY 112,000
  13. Masters Of Flip Tx1 9Life 110,000
  14. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 109,000
  15. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 108,000
  16. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 108,000
  17. Beach Cops-Ep.2 Pm 7mate 107,000
  18. Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
  19. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
  20. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 105,000
THURSDAY STV
  1. The Great Australian Bake Off Lifestyle Channel 95,000
  2. Outback Opal Hunters Discovery Channel 59,000
  3. Gold Rush Discovery Channel 54,000
  4. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 49,000
  5. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 39,000
  6. Princess Margaret: The Rebel Royal UKTV 39,000
  7. The Simpsons FOX8 36,000
  8. Credlin Sky News Live 35,000
  9. Escape To The Chateau Lifestyle Channel 31,000
  10. The Simpsons FOX8 31,000
  11. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 31,000
  12. Eastenders UKTV 30,000
  13. PML Later Sky News Live 29,000
  14. Chicago Fire FOX One 29,000
  15. NCIS: Los Angeles FOX Crime 28,000
  16. Family Guy FOX8 27,000
  17. Coronation Street UKTV 25,000
  18. Family Guy FOX8 25,000
  19. Border Security: International FOX8 24,000
  20. Shark Week: Sharks Of The Badlands Discovery Channel 24,000

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

Media News Roundup

Business of Media

Foxtel cuts jobs after restructure, total of 30 positions impacted

Foxtel has cut about 30 positions across promotions, production and commercial, after the consolidation of three creative teams across the News Corp majority-owned pay TV business, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The redundancies occurred as a result of a restructure Foxtel announced in October, which brought together Felix, FNA Creative and Fox Sports Creative.

The 30 redundancies include a number of contractors and vacant positions. The number of staff leaving Foxtel is understood to be about 20.

Separately, Tony Pollitt, who has been Foxtel’s director of business affairs, movies and content commercialisation, is also leaving the business.

The restructure in Foxtel’s creative arm saw the three teams become one under group creative director Guy Sawrey-Cookson and creative services general manager Mat Harrington.

The new teams report to Foxtel chief marketing and sales officer Kieran Cooney.

A Foxtel spokesman confirmed the about 30 job cuts, including 20 staff and 10 contractors and vacant positions.

[Read the original]

Lachlan Murdoch's Christmas drinks attract Sydney media elite

It was a white-ish Christmas at Bellevue Hill on Thursday night as smoke haze from the bushfires settled on Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch’s Christmas drinks, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Helen Pitt.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese were among those expected at the soiree.

The gaggle of Sydney’s A-list and business folk included Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman, Crown casino boss John Alexander, cardboard king Anthony Pratt and Sky News chief executive Paul Whittaker.

Celebrity chef Guillaume Brahimi was trailed by a posse of News Corp people including executive chair Michael Miller, former head of Sky News Australia, now head of Sky Arabia Angelos Frangopoulos, and Daily Telegraph columnist Joe Hildebrand.

[Read the original]

Actor tells some women who accuse McLachlan have 'other motives'

An actor in the stage show where Craig McLachlan allegedly indecently assaulted four women has told a court some of the accusers had “other motives” in making complaints, reports The Age’s Adam Cooper.

Actor Brendan Irving on Thursday told Melbourne Magistrates Court he never saw McLachlan put his tongue in the woman’s mouth during the kiss, and the contact was brief, in keeping with the scene, and not indecent.

He said the woman spoke about making a complaint about McLachlan, but only after she failed to land a role in the 2017-18 production.

Later in the day, theatre producer John Frost told the court McLachlan was the perfect leading man who “would sell a lot of tickets”, as he had performed the role to acclaim previously and the country “adored” him.

“We wouldn’t have done the show without Craig,” he said.

Frost said he never received any complaints about his friend and that he was angry when advised in December 2017 of the complaints because he didn’t know who the accusers were.

[Read the original]

Radio

Brisbane 97.3FM hosts talk about their axed breakfast show

The axe has fallen on two of 97.3FM’s breakfast show hosts, with Bianca Dye and Mike Van Acker cut from the prime time slot, reports News Corp’s Sophie Chirgwin.

“At the end of the day I understand that change is part of working in this industry and, while I will miss the breakfast show, I’m looking forward to what lies ahead for me at ARN in 2020,” Bianca Dye said.

Sources also revealed Dye, who will stay with ARN in “a new capacity”, and Van Acker were blindsided by their booting and it caused a stir at the station, with workers seen crying in the car park.

Van Acker, who replaced long-serving former host Terry Hansen after he resigned last year citing health concerns, said he was “really disappointed” but looking forward to new opportunities.

“I loved my time at 97.3, and I’m really disappointed that it has to end – but that’s the reality of commercial radio,” he said.

“I’ll miss chatting to our listeners each morning.

“I’ll be back though – have had a positive call from a rival radio station just now but, as they say in the classics, ‘I can’t talk about it yet’.”

[Read the original]

Kate Langbroek decision makes way for Hughesy and Ed show

Broadcaster Kate Langbroek will keep living “la dolce vita” in Italy in 2020, reports News Corp’s Nui Te Koha.

The radio star and co-host of Fox FM’s popular Hughesy And Kate show, alongside Dave Hughes, is extending her stay in Bologna.

Ed Kavalee, who has filled in for Langbroek in the second half of 2019, will join Hughes permanently in 2020.

Langbroek will phone in to the show occasionally.

Langbroek and husband Peter moved to Italy with their four children in late 2017.

Head of the Hit Network, Gemma Fordham said: “I’m excited Ed Kavalee is a permanent addition to drive in 2020 as he and Hughesy have a history and chemistry that is a joy to listen to.”

[Read the original]

Television

Scott Tweedie departs Network 10 heading to E! News in NYC

The Loop’s presenter Scott Tweedie is New York-bound for the next big step in his career, hosting for E! Entertainment, reports TV Tonight.

Tweedie will join Emmy-winning host and Lilliana Vazquez on E! News at 7am and Pop of the Morning at 11am from Monday, January 6.

It was his own enterprising approach that laid the foundations for his big move.

“Back in 2014 I was preparing for my hosting duties on the ARIA’s Red Carpet because Network 10 had the broadcast,” he tells TV Tonight.

“I watched a Ryan Seacrest pre-Oscars YouTube video where he was being quizzed hours before his awards show.

“I thought to myself: ‘Ryan is one of the busiest men in Hollywood, I want to know his pre-production system to remember everything.’ So I looked up one of the ladies quizzing him on Twitter, and asked if I could Skype her. She replied within hours, and said I was the first person in the world to reach out to her.”

Tweedie’s final Loop edition is on Saturday morning playing retro/old school “farewell songs” after 8 years at 10.

[Read the original]

ABC: “We have ended discussions” with Giant Dwarf for consumer show

ABC has ended talks around a new consumer show with Giant Dwarf and today taken steps to distance itself from legal proceedings between The Checkout producers, reports TV Tonight.

In recent weeks producer Julian Morrow has taken to social media campaigning for the show’s future, including criticising ABC for supposedly preventing Checkout creatives from being attached to other consumer projects. But ABC was extremely unhappy with those posts and their tone.

As revealed by TV Tonight, Giant Dwarf and CJZ were in court last month and will return tomorrow.

ABC today said in a statement:

The ABC had preliminary discussions with producer Giant Dwarf to develop a consumer affairs program that offers something new to our audiences, showcasing fresh ideas and diverse Australian talent. We have ended those discussions after Giant Dwarf’s public statements and correspondence and dealings with the ABC made it clear we are not creatively aligned, which is a necessary first step when considering development of a new program.

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Sports Media

Amazon’s entry into Premier League streaming on NRL’s radar

A quiet revolution that could have major repercussions for the NRL has been unfolding in England over the past few days, reports The Australian’s Brent Read.

Amazon Prime is in the final throes of telecasting the most recent round of the English Premier League and the ARL Commission is watching closely as it counts down to the day when it will open talks with broadcasters over the next broadcast deal.

The success or failure of the Premier League could yet determine whether Amazon Prime becomes a factor in those talks.

The ARL Commission will no doubt be hoping it attracts rousing support given tension in the market can only drive up the price of the next broadcasting deal.

Amazon Prime paid an estimated £90m ($172.5m) for the right to broadcast 20 Premier League matches per season – one group of matches across a bank holiday weekend and the other a midweek program.

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Harold Mitchell's no-show as witness is incriminating, ASIC says

Media mogul Harold Mitchell‘s decision to not appear as a witness to defend a court case brought against him by the corporate regulator is incriminating, the Federal Court has heard, reports The AFR’s Liz Main.

Although Mitchell has been in court almost every day of the four-week trial to watch ASIC’s case against him unfold, he and his legal team have decided against putting him in the witness box.

Delivering ASIC’s closing argument on Thursday, ASIC’s barrister Michael Pearce, SC, called on Federal Court Justice Jonathan Beach to draw an adverse inference from the fact that Mitchell did not step into the witness box to explain McWilliam’s emails.

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How the NRL and AFL are chasing the TV dollar

It would seem Australia’s two main football codes are heading in different directions, regarding the length of games and media strategy, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Roy Masters.

According to a Herald report, the ARL Commission will consider dividing NRL games into four quarters, whereas the AFL is yet to decide if it will cut its half-time break from 20 minutes to 10.

Both codes are positioning themselves to demand more than $2 billion for the next rights deals from the same sources – free-to-air TV and Foxtel – and are blowing smoke to achieve it.

AFL fans in Melbourne write letters to the newspapers protesting how shortened half-time breaks mean they will have less time to drink a beer, eat a pie and visit the toilet. But the motive for cutting the main break is not about the fan who attends the game. It’s about the supporter who sits at home watching the game on TV.

Broadcasting revenue is the single biggest source of income to Australian sport.

Inserting more TV advertising into the first- and three-quarter time breaks of NRL games at a time when the AFL is seeking to halve its commercials during the main divide doesn’t add up.

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