Thursday December 10, 2020

Podcast Week: Pyne Time returning, Former MTV host unpacks travel series

By James Manning

• Two new ABC series, AFTRS shares creative insights and Little Bad Thing

Set your clock for more Pyne Time

Former Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne was no stranger to receiving a barrage of questions during his career in politics. Now out of the firing line and over to sitting in the interviewer seat, Pyne will launch the second season of Pyne Time in January 2021 on PodcastOne Australia.

Pyne Time’s first season saw interviews from Prime Ministers, political journalists, business leaders and comedians including current Prime Minister Scott Morrison, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, The Project‘s Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar.

Guests in the second season will include leader of the Australian Labor Party Anthony Albanese, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, political journalist Julia Baird and the former political strategist to Scott Morrison and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Sir Lynton Crosby.

“I’m looking forward to releasing the second season of Pyne Time soon. I’m going to cast a spell over my super interesting guests and get them to reveal a little of themselves that no one knew before. Just like the first season! It’s just the thing to liven up your summer,” Pyne said.

SCA head of podcasting – PodcastOne Australia, Grant Tothill, said: “Christopher has a very unique approach to his interviews that always has his guests revealing more than they would like… it’s the “Pyne effect” that makes Pyne Time such a fascinating listen.”

Listen to Pyne Time Season 1 here.

Former MTV host unloads travel series

Former MTV Australia host and journalist Lisa Hamilton has launched a new podcast exploring the wild, weird and wonderful world of travelling called, Vacay.

With closed borders, lockdowns and uncertainty, Aussies with a lust for adventure have largely had to cancel their plans. Just because people can’t travel like they used to doesn’t mean they can’t go on an audio vacation.

In each episode Hamilton chats to a special guest to hear all about their sexy, wild, scary, romantic, sad, thrilling and definitely shitty escapades from their travels.

The premiere episode kicked off on November 18th with internet sensation, Flex Mami, where she unpacked her horror journey to Ghana which was fraught with every kind of mishap you could think of. She also accidentally got a UTI by incorrectly using a robot toilet in Korea (you’re going to have to listen to get that full story). The second episode featured comedian Sam Taunton who tells a travel tale of a very unfortunate run-in with some pervy pigeons who made their way into his hotel shower in India.

Coming up on Vacay are activist and model AJ Clementine; TV presenter, Maude Garrett; actor, Cameron Robbie; host and conservationist, Candice Dixon; DJ Milly Gattegno; Urban List journalist, Morgan Reardon; culinary power couple, Karla and Alex Munoz-Labart and plenty more.

Vacay releases new episodes every Wednesday and can be streamed on all podcast platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts and more.

Listen to Vacay here.

ABC’s Stuff The British Stole and Thin Black Line

New from the ABC are the series Stuff The British Stole and Thin Black Line.

Stuff The British Stole is the story of colonialism, told through stuff… Award-winning journalist, podcaster, forthcoming RN weekend host and author Marc Fennell takes listeners on a globetrotting account of history as he traces the journeys of artifacts from across the world and how they’ve come to be housed in British museums and galleries.

Fennell is calling Stuff his “favourite” series so far, selecting one artifact each episode and then being taken on a wild, evocative, sometimes funny, often tragic adventure of how it got to where it is today.

“I realised these objects were a great doorway into our history, my history, Australia’s history, and the history of dozens of countries,” said Fennell.

For a story on Australian soil, you can now hear the full series of Thin Black Line, presented by Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist Allan Clarke (Unravel True Crime: Blood On The Tracks).

The podcast returns to the scene, on a spring afternoon in Brisbane’s Musgrave Park, as 18-year-old traditional dancer and amateur boxer Daniel Yock is drinking with his mates. When a police van arrives, the mood suddenly changes, triggering a dramatic chain of events. Thin Black Line is a deep dive into what happened that day — according to the one eyewitness who saw it all unfold, speaking publicly for the first time in almost three decades.

Listen to ABC podcasts here.

AFTRS shares creative insights

Talks@AFTRS Podcast: Lynette Wallworth, Daina Reid, Kate Dennis, Maria Tran

The Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) has launched Talks @ AFTRS Podcast, a series sharing insights and inspiration from industry some of Australia’s top creative practitioners.

The 11-episode series brings together some of our country’s leading directors, producers, podcasters, scriptwriters, and radio makers to talk careers, creative choices and making great work. The line-up includes directors Daina Reid and Emma Freeman and creative teams writer Tony McNamara and producer Marian Macgowan plus Helen Bowden and Tim Minchin, as well as VR pioneer Lynette Wallworth, actor/martial artist/stuntwoman Maria Tran and Triple J Hack host Avani Dias.

“For anyone interested in the screen or broadcast industries, this series is a must. The conversations provide a rare, fascinating glimpse into how our best creators make the brilliant work they do. It’s intimate, entertaining, inspiring as well as really practical,” said AFTRS CEO Nell Greenwood.

Episodes now available:

Episode 1: Directing TV & Film with Jocelyn Moorhouse and Kriv Stenders
Episode 2: Podcasting with Marc Fennell and Leanne Cartwright-Bradford
Episode 3: Experiential Storytelling with Lynette Wallworth
Episode 4: Writing & Producing TV Comedy with Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope
Episode 5: Radio Presenting & Journalism with Avani Dias
Episode 6: Directing TV ‘Dramedy’ with Kate Dennis and Jonathan Brough
Episode 7: Producing & Writing Hit TV Show ‘The Great’ with Tony McNamara & Marian Macgowan
Episode 8: TV Drama with Tim Minchin and Helen Bowden
Episode 9: Directing & Stunts with Maria Tran
Episode 10: Visual Storytelling with Mitch Torres
Episode 11: Directing TV with Daina Reid and Emma Freeman

Listen to Talks @ AFTRS Podcast here.

Little Bad Thing from The Ethics Centre

The Ethics Centre has launched its first podcast series, Little Bad Thing which explores the choices people wish they could undo and dissects the confusion and pressure of making decisions in hard moments.

From art cheats, bad breaker-upperers and selfish house guests, to vigilante warriors, being bystanders and accidentally starting riots, Little Bad Thing is promising a gritty, funny and intimate exploration of the little decisions that keep us up at night.

Eleanor Gordon-Smith, a 28-year-old Australian philosopher, journalist, and fellow of The Ethics Centre, hosts the eight-episode series. Currently at Princeton University, her work has appeared on This American Life and NPR.

Gordon-Smith interviews real people and tries to make friends with, laugh at, and learn from our worst decisions, sifting through concepts of lying, cheating, consent, blame and forgiveness.

“Most of the interesting stuff doesn’t happen under ideal circumstances – it happens in the dark, with the little lapses we’re taught to be ashamed of, to forget, or to write off. Little Bad Thing and the people who shared their stories with me bring those things to the surface.

“We’re all so busy concealing our mistakes for fear of judgement that we forget that other people have made the same ones, and that there can be insight and connection in talking about them,” said Gordon-Smith.

Little Bad Thing season 1 starts December 8, with new 20-minute episodes released weekly on Apple and Spotify.

The Wiggles
ABC Commercial negotiates return of The Wiggles to UK on BT TV

ABC Commercial has completed a deal with the TV arm of the British multinational telecommunications company BT for a package of preschool content from Australian music royalty The Wiggles.

The agreement will give BT TV broadcast and streaming rights to a collection of premium content from The Wiggles catalogue including Emma Series 1 (HD 30×4’) and Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle! Series 1 (HD 26×22’) plus a number of studio recorded specials including Wiggle Pop! (HD 1×70′), Nursery Rhymes (HD 1×70′) and Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas! (HD 1×63′).

The Wiggles

“We are so excited to be working with BT TV bringing The Wiggles to the UK,” said Jessica Ellis, head of content sales & distribution, ABC Commercial.

“The Wiggles have had tremendous success in the region through their tours, music and merchandise, now they will be engaging preschool audiences with their many hours of fun, entertaining and educational broadcast content.”

Lachy, Simon, Anthony and I are so excited to announce this deal. To be back on television in the UK with BT TV and be able to share our content with all of our fans there is a real thrill,” said Yellow Wiggle, Emma Watkins.

The Wiggles have been successfully touring the UK since 1998 and have continued to perform at many legendary venues, including the Hammersmith Apollo. The Wiggles have toured England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales selling over 50,000 ticket sales on a single tour.

WeThinkMedia to represent Discovery NZ after MediaWorks deal

Discovery NZ and MediaWorks Radio are continuing their respective engagement of WeThinkMedia as their exclusive advertising representative in Australia.

This follows Discovery, Inc. completing its acquisition of New Zealand’s independent free-to-air commercial broadcaster, MediaWorks TV, with MediaWorks retaining its radio and out-of-home assets.

WeThinkMedia’s Australian remit continues with Discovery NZ’s broadcast TV entertainment channels Three and Bravo; streaming service ThreeNow; multi-platform news and current affairs service Newshub; as well as channels Three+1, Bravo+1, The Edge TV, The Breeze TV, and the Bravo channel joint-venture with NBCUniversal.

WeThinkMedia also retains exclusive Australian advertising representation of MediaWorks Radio, New Zealand’s #1 radio network with nationwide brands: Mai, The Edge, George FM, The Rock FM, More FM, The Sound, The Breeze, Magic and rova.

Glen Kyne, general manager New Zealand and Australia, Discovery NZ, said: “WeThinkMedia has been a strong advocate for our television assets over the past three years, helping us build a significant presence in the Australian media marketplace. We look forward to building on that foundation as we realise the full value of our portfolio of brands in New Zealand and connect advertisers with highly engaged audiences across our premium news and entertainment offering.”

Michael Anderson, chief executive, MediaWorks, said: “WeThinkMedia understands our radio business and champions the great advertising opportunities that our nine unique radio formats offer. With more stations than any other New Zealand network, we look forward to continuing our longstanding and successful relationship to deliver successful results to advertisers across a wide range of audiences, music genres and tastes.”

Peter Wiltshire, executive director, WeThinkMedia, said: “MediaWorks New Zealand has been with WeThinkMedia from the start as our foundation client. It’s a resounding endorsement of our relationship that we both retain their radio business and continue to represent the New Zealand television assets as part of the Discovery NZ family. We look forward to further enhancing both platforms within the Australian advertiser community.”

Discovery NZ ( and foundation client MediaWorks New Zealand feature in WeThinkMedia’s portfolio of leading international media brands which also includes The New York Times, CNBC, ink, and New Zealand digital outdoor company LUMO.

Documentary streamer iwonder launches on Telstra TV with 99c deal

• Asia-Pacific’s fast-growing documentary streaming service adds Telstra to existing partners including Seven West Media, Qantas and the ABC
• 1,000+ factual films and TV series from iwonder now available to Telstra TV customers
• Exclusive Telstra TV customer offer includes iwonder access for just $0.99 for first three months

Documentary streaming service, iwonder, today launches on Telstra TV, adding more than 1,000 top factual films and series to Telstra TV’s line-up of on-demand home entertainment channels and apps.

Available to all new and existing Telstra TV users from today (Thursday December 10th), the iwonder app will include access to a huge range of award-winning and critically acclaimed films from the world’s most prestigious film festivals and academies, including The Oscars, the Cannes Film Festival, HotDocs and many more.

New documentaries available to Telstra TV customers this December also include The Pickup Game, a revealing look at the dark subculture of professional pickup artists, American Dharma, a tough-talking interview with recently-indicted alt-right figurehead, Steve Bannon, from filmmaker Errol Morris, Eating Animals, a look at the future of sustainable food production produced and narrated by Natalie Portman, and People You May Know, an undercover investigation into the political targeting of vulnerable church-goers in the US.

The deal with Telstra TV adds to iwonder’s growing list of premium Australian partners including: Seven West Media, where iwonder features within a branded area of 7Plus, Qantas with iwonder included within the entertainment portal on all domestic and international flights, and with the ABC and Reuters, with news integrations featuring prominently on the iwonder homepage and linked to associated content.

International partnerships also include deals with TVNZ in New Zealand, PCCW in Hong Kong and MBC in the Middle East.

iwonder CEO, James Bridges, said: “iwonder’s arrival on Telstra TV gives us the perfect platform to meet the growing appetite for entertaining, informative stories that Australian audiences crave. Our ability to curate award-winning documentaries, like Eating Animals and Alt Right, with news topics and trends in Australia and around the world is all about putting our subscribers in the driving seat of discovery, a mission that our partnership with Telstra TV will undoubtedly help us to achieve on an even greater scale.”

Rebecca Haagsma, executive and group owner, media at Telstra added: “Having just celebrated its fifth birthday, Telstra TV now boasts almost 50 premium apps from our streaming partners, and the introduction of iwonder provides world-class access to the increasingly relevant genre of thoughtful entertainment.

“We’re delighted to be bringing iwonder to our Telstra TV users, to further bolster the entertainment offering of one of Australia’s most popular SVOD devices – with over 1.65m devices shipped to customers to-date.”

In an exclusive offer for Telstra TV customers, new iwonder subscribers signing up through the platform will be able to enjoy the service for just $0.99 per month for the first three months.

iwonder is then available at $6.99 monthly or $69.60 annually with a 14-day free trial period. In addition to the launch on Telstra TV, iwonder is accessible via iOS and Android apps, browsers at, with Apple TV, Android TV or through Google Chromecast or Apple’s Airplay.

Big Bash League
Season 10 of Big Bash League launches tonight on Seven & Fox Cricket

The 10th season of the Big Bash League launches on Seven and Fox Cricket tonight.

So far this summer Seven has been covering the WBBL and it is keen to get into more primetime cricket after Fox Sports has been setting audience records with its exclusive coverage of the Indian tour of Australia.

Seven will be screening eight live games in seven days as the new BBL season begins.

Fox Cricket will be covering every match of the Big Bash League season, 16 of them exclusive to the channel.

All the Fox cricket coverage will be available on Foxtel or to stream on Kayo, Foxtel Go or Foxtel Now.

The Fox Cricket’s huge commentary team for BBL|10 will consist of Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Isa Guha, Mark Waugh, Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds, Mel Jones, Mike Hussey, Mark Howard, Kath Loughnan, Brendon Julian, Brad Haddin, Sarah Jones, Megan Barnard and Tom Morris.

Fox Cricket general manager, Matt Weiss, said: “The white ball international matches have attracted record viewing numbers across Foxtel platforms, and this shows that Australian Cricket fans have a hunger for great cricket this summer.

“Cricket Australia have worked hard to get a fantastic schedule together under tough circumstances. We are excited to have every game live on Fox Cricket and we can’t wait to get the games up and going on Thursday.”

Kayo Minis highlights will be available shortly after every match, with Minis from the last two seasons also available on demand. Kayo will also offer a weekly highlights package, wrapping up the best action from each round.

Top Photo: Fox Cricket commentators Adam Gilchrist, Isa Guha, Mark Howard and Andrew Symonds

TV ratings: Summer survey, Wednesday Week 50 2020

By James Manning

• ABC’s Gruen and Hard Quiz shine amongst mid-week programs
• Bad dogs, good Paramedics and royal weddings not so popular

The ABC’s primary channel had a rare win last night in what should be the first of two victories this month with ABC’s New Year’s Eve coverage now just three weeks away.

Most-watched for the ABC was the penultimate episode of Gruen with 640,000 making it the third-most-watched Wednesday program after the Seven and Nine 6pm news.

Tom Gleeson was well ahead of his competition last night at 8pm on Hard Quiz. An evening where viewers had the choice of a Paramedics repeat, misbehaving British dogs or a clip show about Royal Weddings which included the usual suspects (Dickie Arbiter etc). All three programs had audiences just over 300,000.

Also performing relatively well for the ABC was Reputation Rehab and an episode of Adam Hills: The Last Leg which only just missed the top 20 with 241,000. The episode first screened on Tuesday night on ABC Comedy.

10 Bold and 7TWO both had shares of 5% or more with their programs NCIS and Lewis the most-watched.

Week 49: Wednesday
ABC16.1%715.8%915.2%10 9.5%SBS One5.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY3.3%7TWO5.0%GO!2.5%10 Bold5.1%VICELAND2.1%
ABC ME0.6%7mate2.8%GEM2.6%10 Peach3.8%Food Net1.1%
ABC NEWS1.9%7flix1.7%9Life2.7%10 Shake0.5%NITV0.2%
    9Rush1.7%  SBS World Movies0.7%
TOTAL22.0% 25.2% 24.8% 18.9% 9.1%


ABCSeven AffiliatesNine Affiliates10 AffiliatesSBS
ABC12.3%715.5%914.5%WIN8.6%SBS One4.5%
ABC ME0.9%7mate2.9%GEM5.8%WIN Peach3.4%Food Net0.7%
ABC NEWS1.6%7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)1.6%9Life2.7%Sky News  on WIN2.1%NITV0.1%
        SBS Movies0.8%
TOTAL17.7% 27.6% 26.6% 21.0% 7.9%


  1. Seven News Seven 843,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 813,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 757,000
  4. Nine News Nine 754,000
  5. Gruen ABC 640,000
  6. Hard Quiz S5 ABC 618,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 606,000
  8. ABC News ABC 598,000
  9. 7.30 ABC 535,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 432,000
  11. Better Homes And Gardens Summer Seven 391,000
  12. The Project 7pm 10 367,000
  13. Reputation Rehab ABC 363,000
  14. Hot Seat Nine 343,000
  15. Paramedics -Encore Nine 332,000
  16. Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly Seven 323,000
  17. The Royals Revealed: Royal Weddings – Then & Now 10 311,000
  18. Sunrise Seven 274,000
  19. 10 News First 10 269,000
  20. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 248,000
Demo Top Five

16-39 Top Five

  1. Gruen ABC 110,000
  2. Hard Quiz S5 ABC 97,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 94,000
  4. Nine News Nine 90,000
  5. Seven News Seven 89,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Gruen ABC 185,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 180,000
  3. Nine News Nine 163,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 160,000
  5. Seven News Seven 158,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Nine News 6:30 Nine 227,000
  2. Gruen ABC 220,000
  3. Seven News Seven 204,000
  4. Nine News Nine 201,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 195,000
Wednesday Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 221,000
  2. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 199,000
  3. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 172,000
  4. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  5. Lewis PM 7TWO 147,000
  6. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  7. NCIS: Los Angeles (R) 10 Bold 145,000
  8. Neighbours 10 Peach 136,000
  9. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  10. Love Monster AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  11. NCIS: Los Angeles Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 129,000
  12. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  13. The Coroner PM 7TWO 126,000
  14. Peter Rabbit AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  15. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  16. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  17. The Big Bang Theory Ep 3 10 Peach 120,000
  18. PJ Masks PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
  19. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 114,000
  20. The Big Bang Theory Ep 2 10 Peach 114,000
Wednesday STV
  1. Live: AFL Draft FOX FOOTY 119,000
  2. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 63,000
  3. Escape To The Chateau Lifestyle Channel 46,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 45,000
  5. Chris Smith Tonight Sky News Live 41,000
  6. Border Security: Australia’s Front Line FOX8 40,000
  7. Love It Or List It Australia Lifestyle Channel 39,000
  8. NCIS FOX Crime 38,000
  9. AFL Draft FOX FOOTY 37,000
  10. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 36,000
  11. Inside The News Sky News Live 35,000
  12. NCIS: Los Angeles FOX Crime 34,000
  13. PML Later Sky News Live 31,000
  14. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 29,000
  15. Blue Bloods FOX One 25,000
  16. Border Security: International FOX8 25,000
  17. AM Agenda Sky News Live 25,000
  18. The Simpsons FOX8 24,000
  19. 24 Hours In Emergency Lifestyle Channel 23,000
  20. Better Homes & Gardens Lifestyle Channel 23,000

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

Bargaining code: Facebook maintains its threat of news blackout

Facebook is still considering blocking Australian users from sharing news on its platform if the federal government’s proposed media bargaining regulations become law, reports The Australian’s David Swan.

Despite significant concessions being made to the social media giants, Facebook has not changed its position on the news media bargaining code and is continuing to threaten consumer restrictions on its platform.

If the code – which will govern how Facebook and Google pay local media companies for using content – becomes law, Facebook will stop allowing publishers and users to share news, The Australian understands.

“We’re reviewing the draft legislation tabled by the Australian government,” Facebook Australia managing director Will Easton said in a statement on Wednesday. “We’ll continue to engage through the upcoming parliamentary process with the goal of landing on a workable framework to support Australia’s news ecosystem.”

[Read more]

Bargaining code: 'Arbitration is a last resort': ACCC’s Rod Sims

Competition boss Rod Sims hopes Facebook and Google can reach agreements with Australian media companies to pay them for journalism distributed on their platforms without having to use new legislation that regulates business dealings between the two sides, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Sims said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission supports the legislation, which was introduced to Parliament on Wednesday, despite changes which have split the country’s two largest media companies.

[Read more]

Bargaining code: Instagram now a hot source for news snippets, explainers

Instagram is fast becoming a go-to site of news media consumption, particularly for people aged under 35, raising questions as to why the federal government’s new media bargaining code will not apply to the platform, reports The AFR’s Natasha Gillezeau.

Sam Koslowski, co-founder of one of Australia’s only Instagram-native news sites The Daily Aus, who started the account in March 2017 with business partner Zara Seidler, said they had grown their account from 6000 followers to nearly 70,000 followers in the past 12 months.

“We think that it’s relatively early in the piece in terms of the news being an industry on Instagram like it is on Facebook,” Koslowski said.

“I think when Instagram is included in that sort of scope, you’d have to look at platforms like TikTok to also be included because the new generation of news is going to expand on whatever platform comes next.”

[Read more]

Nine boss Hugh Marks accuses government of bowing to Google, Facebook

Outgoing Nine Entertainment Co chief executive Hugh Marks has accused the federal government of bowing to pressure from Google and Facebook and watering down proposed laws that will force tech giants to pay media companies for their news content, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios and Lisa Visentin.

Marks, who resigned from the broadcasting and publishing company last month, took aim at the government’s decision to insert a “two-way value exchange” into its landmark media bargaining code. The change means referral traffic tech giants send to news outlets will now be considered when an independent arbitrator decides the value of payments from the tech giants to media organisations.

“We didn’t know that the government was going to go this way until they lobbed the legislation into the parliament,” Marks said. “I really strongly object to lobbing at the last minute a value exchange in an arbitration process where there’s already a commercial process to determine the value.”

[Read more]

News Brands

Nine Entertainment newspapers quit carrying China Watch supplement

Nine Entertainment has quietly dropped an arrangement with China Daily to carry an eight-page Communist party newspaper each month in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

Nine’s move to drop the propaganda sheet China Watch follows similar decisions by media organisations across the world, such as the UK’s Daily Telegraph, which shelved its own lucrative agreement as the pandemic hit in April.

Under previous owners Fairfax Media, in 2016 the newspapers began carrying the lift-out which is prepared by the Chinese Communist party’s official English-language organ.

Nine declined to comment on the ending of the relationship on Tuesday but Guardian Australia understands the contract was not renewed six months ago.

Rival publisher News Corp Australia publishes a Chinese language version of The Australian website with a limited number of its stories translated. The editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Dore, said the website was still operating but was not funded by the Chinese state.

The Australian is not receiving money from China for its Chinese-language edition,” Dore told Guardian Australia. “Unlike the Nine Entertainment tabloids, The Australian has never taken sponsored content deals from the Chinese government.”

[Read more]

Barrister casts light on case of missing witness Joe Aston

“Where is the witness?” asks The Australian’s Caroline Overington.

Where indeed? The Australian Financial Review’s Joe Aston had not been excused from his defamation hearing in Sydney’s Federal Court on Tuesday afternoon. Justice Michael Lee was expecting him back in the witness box on Wednesday morning.

“I want to ask questions,” Justice Lee said.

But Aston was nowhere to be seen. His barrister, Sandy Dawson SC, had told him not to come.

His failure to appear wasn’t deliberate. He knows that he’s Nine’s best weapon in court. So, when Justice Lee inquired “Where’s the witness?” it was for a sheepish Dawson to reply: “I’m sorry … I thought Your Honour had excused him.”

Dawson immediately offered to summon Aston, or bring him to court via Microsoft Teams.

“Don’t worry about it, that’s fine. That’s fine,” Justice Lee said.

[Read more]

See also: Where’s Joe? AFR’s Aston a no-show at Elaine Stead defamation trial

Ita Buttrose to offer no retreat on ABC Four Corners program

Journalists with decades of experience dealing with politicians were full of suggestions on how the ABC chair, Ita Buttrose, should respond to a letter from Communications Minister Paul Fletcher seeking a detailed “please explain” about the recent Four Corners program Inside the Canberra Bubble, which focused on allegations about the private lives of cabinet ministers Christian Porter and Alan Tudge, writes The Australian’s Niki Savva.

Buttrose has spent a huge chunk of her life dealing with extreme pressure and with much scarier people, such as the Packers. She needs little or no instruction in handling difficult situations. She was never one to be pushed around, and she is not about to let anyone, not even the Prime Minister who appointed her or any of his ministers, do it now. All peaches and cream on the outside, Buttrose is steely on the inside.

In her reply, she will reject absolutely the charge that she and the board failed in their duties. Those familiar with the inclinations of the board were confident her reply, expected to be pages long in order to cover the substance of the 15 questions from Fletcher, will give “short shrift” to the complaint.

[Read more]


Adelaide’s Epic Films and Brisbane’s Ludo Studio win Rose d’Or Awards

The 2020 Rose d’Or Awards virtual ceremony was hosted by Nish Kumar on Wednesday.

This year’s winners include television programming from six different countries – UK, USA, Germany, Argentina, France and Australia – as host Nish Kumar paid homage to an unexpected year by joking the awards would henceforth be known during lockdown as the Rose ‘Indoor’ Awards.

This year’s Rose d’Or Awards saw a record number of entries with 766 entries across 12 categories. Voted for by over 80 international judges from across the television industry, the 2020 awards included entries from every major territory in the world.

Mark Rowland, chair of the 2020 judges, said: “It has been an extraordinary year for television, reinforcing its role as central to all of our lives. It’s been an honour to review this incredible body of work – produced before and during the pandemic. Congratulations to the winners, all our entrants and every production team member who made these great shows possible.”

There were two winners from Australia this year amongst the 766 entries.

Brisbane’s Ludo Studio picked up yet another trophy while the other award went to Adelaide’s Epic Films.

Ludo Studio won in the social media and video category for Content made for the ABC. Also nominated in that category from Australia was the Facebook series Cancelled from More Sauce.

Epic Films won in the children and youth category for its series First Day made in associations with Australian Children’s Television Foundation and the ABC.

Also nominated this year in the audio category was the Marc Fennell podcast Nut Jobs made for Audible Australia.

Other Rose d’Or winners this year included David Attenborough and James Corden.

A fraction too much friction in TV's year of living dangerously

n this year of watching dangerously broadcasters were constantly at the sharp end. In Victoria the dialogue at Premier Daniel Andrews’ daily Covid press conferences became hotly contested subjects, while nationally the friction between the ABC and the federal government escalated repeatedly. On pay-TV, Sky News amped up partisanship with their evening commentary line-ups, while the ABC’s Insiders had to be publicly shamed into featuring a diverse panel of commentators.

Broadcast television is the centre of our viewing landscape – it was literally there first – but it’s being eroded by the fracturing of viewing habits and the growth of streaming services. It’s increasingly difficult to run a show that has mass appeal. What we’re going to see is more shows aggressively pursue a specific demographic. If that starts at reality competitions there’s no reason it won’t extend to current affairs.

[Read more]

Eureka’s Name That Tune supersizes classic game show

Filming on Name That Tune, with host Jane Krakowsi & musical director Randy Jackson finished in Sydney last Friday, reports TV Tonight.

Eureka Productions filmed 10 rebooted episodes in a coup for the FOX Network in the USA. Australia’s relative success in handling the pandemic has seen a number of international productions seek local solutions.

When it screens in the US in January the show will be partnered with the anticipated launch of The Masked Dancer.

In the Aussie-made version, Name That Tune is super-sized from its classic game show (originally debuting in 1953) to a shiny floor 2020 edition, complete with a live band and 4 singers.

[Read more]

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