Wednesday February 19, 2020

Peter Stefanovic says new evidence in Sky News doco could find missing jet

By James Manning

Being able to host primetime documentary specials is one of the good things about Peter Stefanovic’s contract with Sky News.

The long-time Nine Network foreign correspondent was let go by Nine around the same time his brother Karl stepped away too before he returned earlier this year.

Peter subsequently signed with Sky News and has been co-hosting the revamped Sky News breakfast show First Edition with Laura Jayes.

“I now have the best of both worlds at Sky,” Stefanovic told Mediaweek. “I love covering the day-to-day news and live news on First Edition every morning. On the side I get to do longform journalism which is something I have always loved.”

Stefanovic was speaking on the eve of the broadcast Wednesday night of the documentary MH370: The Untold Story. Last year he also hosted a Sky News documentary on Lawyer X.

He noted the MH370 story had been covered many times before since the original disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines jet. But Stefanovic said the documentary will reveal new information.

“It might well lead to the resumption of the search which is the whole point of the exercise. It would be great to give the families some closure by finding out where the plane is.”

MH370 disappeared off the radar on Match 8, 2014. Stefanovic was at the time Nine’s European correspondent.

One of the promos for the new doco has pilot Byron Bailey claiming he knows where the plane is. Stefanovic says that is not overhyping what the show will explain.

“Bailey worked in commercial aviation for many years and he is quite sure he knows where that plane came down. Up until this point though the government and the aviation authorities have been wrong. His alternate view may well be right.”

When asked if Byron is right, could the plane be recovered, Stefanovic said: “The wreckage would be recovered. He believes there was a attempt to purposely hide the aircraft. Not everyone thinks that however.”

The MH370: The Untold Story has assembled all the major players at the time of the disappearance, said Stefanovic. Including former PM Tony Abbott and transport minister Warren Truss plus Sir Angus Huston who led the search. “These interviews uncover quite a bit of new information.”

The producers have also worked with Ean Higgins, a journalist with The Australian, author of The Hunt for MH370, a book that Stefanovic called “the best account so far of what happened”.

Speaking about his move to subscription TV, Stefanovic said there are less staff to work on projects at Sky News than he was used to at Nine. “A smaller number of people are therefore required to do more. That is preferable for me as it allows me to do more producing than I have done in the past. Laura also gets to produce.

“When I do the documentaries I also get to produce as well. I like having more responsibility and having more challenges.”

First Edition ratings continue to climb, said Stefanovic. “We want to inform our viewers without gimmicks. There are no giveaways on our show. We are allowed to cover the hard news stories that interest us. There are some stories that might have been difficult to get across the line where I used to work, but now if I am interested and I book the guests, then we have got ourselves a segment.”

Of his breakfast co-host Laura Jayes, Stefanovic said: “There are not too many people across politics the way she is. She is hungry and it is great to learn off her and watch how she does it.”

Turning off the Grill: Gus Worland on life after breakfast radio

By Trent Thomas

After 10 years of 4am wake ups, Triple M Sydney’s Gus Worland unplugged his microphone after nine years as part of The Grill Team and one final year as part of the Moonman in the Morning team, so that he could invest more time in his new life’s mission, his charity Gotcha4Life.

Worland created the Gotcha 4 Life Foundation in 2017 and its aim is to address the issues around men’s mental health and the unhealthy culture that teaches boys and men to not express how they are feeling. This is an issue near and dear to Worland’s heart as he lost his lifelong mentor and close friend Angus Roberts to suicide. Losing Roberts inspired Worland’s involvement in the ABC-TV documentary series Man Up which highlighted the stoicism and isolation that contributes to the culture of men not wanting to ask for help with their emotions.

“Once Man Up was shot I knew that it was going to become something that was much more than a job,” Worland told Mediaweek. “Men in Australia are just hopeless at doing certain things and I wanted to help blokes out and Gotcha4Life was born.”

Worland didn’t anticipate how much the foundation would need him once it was created but it was becoming harder and harder to balance his two passions, The Grill Team and Gotcha4Life. In 2018 Matty Johns announced that he was leaving the Triple M breakfast show which followed the exit of Mark Geyer in 2017.

“When the Gotcha4Life programs were set up I thought we are right now, but then all of a sudden people started to need me a little more and I was starting to feel slightly jet-lagged in the mornings from going to schools and staying up late at night talking to blokes or going to conferences. I didn’t know if I could keep doing both much longer and this was when all the Triple M changes where happening and it just seemed right. I did miss it and I felt very sad initially I must admit.”

Mark Geyer, Matty Johns, and Gus Worland

When talking about The Grill Team you can still hear the love in Worland’s voice as he waxes lyrical about working with Johns, Geyer, and Chris Page, and he says while he thinks sport can still thrive in a breakfast show format, you need to have the right talent.

“Talent like MG and Matty are hard to find so I think when they decided to move on and do different things and not wake up at 3:30 in the morning Triple M went ‘Right, we haven’t got another Matty Johns so let’s see what the next big thing is,’ and that was Lawrence Mooney. Lawrence is obviously much more focused on comedy and that’s when they decided to make the change, and it was a big change and obviously that was hard for me initially. I was in my last year and was wondering where I fit in, but in the end, it was just my foundation and Gotcha4Life that needed me and it was nice to be able to go and stay part of the Triple M family with Dead Set Legends and go back to what I’m happiest doing which is talking about sport.”

Worland is now 14 kilos lighter and able to do the thing that he loves while also staying part of the Triple M family through his new Saturday show Dead Set Legends

When asked about his bucket list he said that he wants to contribute to changing the rules about what it means to be a man in Australian society while having fun and being able to mix in his passion of sport.

“After working with Steve Smith for a year, going to all the schools with him and him being vulnerable, I realised there is such a thin line between people that are healthy and perhaps going through some stuff. I want to help set some new rules about what it takes to be a man in Australia and combine a bit of fun and sport with that particular message.”

Check out the Gotcha4Life website here

Tomorrow: Gus Worland talks the new Dead Set Legends

Ad-free Fire Fight Australia gives Foxtel record breaking day

Foxtel’s historic coverage of the Fire Fight Australia bushfire relief concert was a ratings hit on Sunday across FOX8, [V] and on a dedicated 4K Ultra HD channel.

Across the day the broadcast reached almost one million Foxtel subscribers (994,000) and propelled FOX8 to its third highest day share ever.

An average of 193,000 tuned into FOX8’s non-stop coverage from 1 pm-10.30 pm with performances from Queen + Adam Lambert, Alice Cooper, k.d. lang, 5 Seconds of Summer, Hilltop Hoods, Guy Sebastian, Delta Goodrem, John Farnham and Olivia Newton-John, in front of a packed ANZ Stadium of more than 75,000 people. 

Foxtel’s Director of Television, Brian Walsh, said: “Sunday was one of the most significant moments in Australian entertainment history and all of us at Foxtel are very proud to have been part of this landmark event. This was a day that Australia united and supported each other, saluted the heroes, remembered the fallen and began the rebuild – and the results are extraordinary. 

‘We’d like to thank our friends at TEG Dainty, TEG Live and Seven for being such generous and collaborative partners, as well as the amazing 22 music artists who gave their all to be part of the incredible event.”

Foxtel’s coverage featured hosts Peter Stefanovic and Laura JayesDeborah Hutton and Matt ShirvingtonRove McManusHannah Hollis and Jason Dundas with Bernard CurryShaynna Blaze and Eddie McGuire

The event has so far raised close to $10 million towards bushfire relief, with more donations expected from around the world following international broadcasts.  Foxtel provided its coverage to networks in the US, the UK, New Zealand and other parts of the world to secure more fund raising opportunities for the rural relief fund.  Fire Fight Australia was broadcast in the UK on Sunday February 16, in New Zealand on Monday February 17, and will air on the Fox Network throughout the United States in primetime on Saturday February 29.

All of the show-stopping performances are available to Foxtel subscribers On Demand via iQ3 and iQ4 set top boxes. 

The Australian TV Demand Report: The top SVOD trends and digital originals

Parrot Analytics‘ have released their Global Television Demand Report and the SVOD platform demand share of digital originals for 2019 for all major markets including Australia.

This reveals the top digital original series representing the most successful original content produced by SVOD platforms around the world and which were most successful in Australia.

See Mediaweek’s weekly TV Demand reports here

This data was derived by measuring global content demand. Consumers express their demand for content through multiple “demand expression platforms” including video streaming platforms, social media platforms, photo sharing platforms, blogging and micro-blogging platforms, fan and critic rating platforms, peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing platforms. Parrot Analytics captured the expressions of demand from these sources and combines them, using the power of advanced artificial intelligence, into a weighted measure of demand called Demand Expressions.

See Also: Behind the TV Demand data with Parrot Analytics CEO Wared Seger

Meaning that the differences in demand for content between markets can be empirically measured even if that content has not yet been officially released in that market.

Australia TV Demand

In 2019 audience demand for digital originals in Australia closely mirrors the average demand breakdown across genres for countries in this report. Similar to other English speaking countries, Australian audiences express a relatively high share of demand for digital original reality series. With just under half being for drama series this is slightly below average compared to other international markets.

Sci-fi drama is the most popular digital original subgenre in Australia in 2019, also we are just one of four countries where comedy drama is in the top three most in demand subgenres for 2019.

Australian audiences expressed the highest demand for digital original series from Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+, with 13.0% and 1.5% respectively. While Netflix had one of the lowest demand shares for the year in Australia capturing 54.8% of demand for digital original series in 2019.

Netflix’s declining share continued to accelerate in the second half of 2019, partly driven by growing demand for Amazon Prime Video digital originals plus the addition of new platforms Apple TV+ and Disney+ in November.

The most in-demand digital original series in Australia was Netflix’s Stranger Things which had 46 times the demand of the average show in Australia. This was followed by The Handmaid’s Tale in Australia with 18.9 times the demand for the average title. 

Disney+’s The Mandalorian was the best performer from the platforms launched in 2019 becoming the tenth most in-demand digital original series  with 11.9 times the demand of the average title. 

In Australia, Netflix has the lowest share of demand for digital original dramas of all markets in the report. With 55.5% of demand it is more than 5% below the average demand share in 2019.

Australian audiences express the highest share of demand for digital original dramas from Amazon Prime Video (16.1%), Apple TV+ (2.6%), and Hulu (12.6%).

In the trend chart we can see that Apple TV+ cut into both Netflix and Hulu’s share of demand at the end of the year. The new platform was able to capture 2.6% of demand for digital original dramas in 2019.

DC Universe titles account for the largest share of Australian demand for action/adventure digital originals in 2019 with 36.4%.

Amazon Prime Video grew its demand share through successful series such as The Boys, however, it lost steam with the introduction of Disney+

The 24-month trend shows how DC Universe overtook Netflix as the most demanded platform for action/adventure digital originals in 2019. However, in December 2019, the demand for Disney+ (33.1%) actually surpassed DC Universe (28.6%).

TV Demand: Who can stop the Mandalorian?

By Trent Thomas

It’s now 13 weeks in a row that The Mandalorian has reigned supreme on top of the TV Demand charts in Australia and New Zealand with no shows able to close the gap between the Disney+ original and the rest of the field.

This week Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the Witcher are the closest to knocking off the reigning champ but there is still a sizeable gap between them and the top spot.

Generally, it has been a fairly quiet week with no stand out new entries to join the charts in either market. Considering the trends established in 2019 it is likely that the show that will usurp the Mandalorian has not joined the charts yet. Considering last year was mostly dominated by three shows in Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and The Mandalorian with Brooklyn Nine-Nine also spending time at #1 it will take quite the circuit breaker to take that top spot.

Potentially it could be the return of Stranger Things which released a teaser trailer for the show’s fourth season on Feburary 14.

As seen by the above table Stranger Things was by far the Top Digital original in Australia last year, only edged out overall by the final season of Game of Thrones.

Traditionally Stranger Things generally comes out mid-year with the latest release being season two which was released in October 2017. Can Manadlorian last that long? Or will another show take its spot before then?

MAFS recap & ratings: A few husbands in trouble during intimacy week

In the eleventh episode of Nine‘s Married at First Sight, the now nine couples – since Poppy and Luke called it quits – continued their exploration of intimacy during this week’s challenge.

Cathy and Josh tried out raunchy role play with whipping and smacking of the bum, while Aleks and Ivan learned how to win a staring competition.

Hayley and David consummated their marriage, and David wanted to make it clear to Australia that their sex was not vanilla. Moving on.

Hayley and David. Credit: 9Now

Amanda made awkward, jokes while shopping with new wife Tash for their homecooked vegan meal.

Stacey revealed to Michael how much of a jerk he was when he arrived home in a drunken state the previous night – a repeat of their honeymoon blow up. “You’re on strike two,” she told her sheepish husband. “You said to me ‘I’m going home! I never want to speak to you again!'”

Michael. Credit: 9Now

Connie was still deeply frustrated with Jonethen‘s relationship with technology; he believes she just wants an insatiable amount of attention though. Later, they draw live nude models, where Jonethen made comments that triggered Connie and she actually walked out of the couple’s activity. “I didn’t come on the experiment to marry a child.”

Connie and Jonethen. Credit: 9Now

Mishel felt she and Steve are the old married couple and said she’s bored out of her mind. She wanted to go outside and be with nature, whereas Steve would prefer to make a reservation for dinner.

They fought, and Mishel said: “For f*** sake, we might as well go to the retirement village, at least they’ll have planned activities for us.”

Married at First Sight returns tonight at 7:30pm on Nine and 9Now

Top photo: Mishel. Credit: 9Now.

Australian Ninja Warrior moves to new location + tickets now available

Australian Ninja Warrior will return in 2020 with a brand-new course, purpose-built at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

Also returning are hosts Rebecca MaddernBen Fordham and Freddie Flintoff who will once again take viewers on the Ninja Warrior ride as fan favourites – and new ninjas – return to Melbourne for another chance at the $400,000 prize money. 
Nine’s Head of Content Production and Development, Adrian Swift, said: “Australia has embraced Ninja as one of the most popular programs of the past decade. But nothing can compare to the exhilaration of seeing these athletes live, sitting right in the Ninja course.
“We invite Melburnians to come on down and check out our massive new course in its brand-new home at the Showgrounds.”
To get your chance to be part of the audience and watch the new season of Australia Ninja Warrior live in Melbourne, head to

TV Ratings: February 18

By Trent Thomas

• Married at First Sight continues intimacy week with another 1m+ audience
• MKR: The Rivals under 500k but improves on last week
• Australian Survivor gets the shows biggest audience of the season

MAFS ratings are love at first sight for Nine as it continues to be a consistent winner in the 7:30 pm time slot with 1,005,000 viewers continuing its streak of 1m plus audiences since the seasons premiere in January. MAFS isn’t the only winner for Nine with Paramedics also winning its timeslot with 627,000, and A Current Affair also providing a strong 769,000.

These solid numbers helped Nine have another nightly win with the top primary share of 24.3% and the top network share of 30.1% as it topped all key demos & total people. This continues a good trend for the network as it has won the primary and network shares every night that it has aired MAFS, besides on Sunday when Seven aired The Fire Fight Australia bushfire relief concert. 

Seven had the second best primary channel (16.1%) and network share (24.5%) on Tuesday night with 951,000 people tuning in for its news bulletin, while the most watched non-news show was Home and Away with 575,000.

MKR: The Rivals continues to try and find a place with fans in the 7:30 pm time slot with 461,000 viewers tuning in last night which is a slight increase on its 455,000 from last Tuesday but a decline on the 501,000 that watched the show on Monday night once again dipping under the 500k threshold. The long running cooking show fell 169,000 viewers behind Australian Survivor: All Stars last night as it continues to lag in the battle for 7:30 pm.

Speaking of Australian Survivor, the reality TV series had its best numbers of the year for Network 10 last night with 630,000 tuning in for the major twist of a double tribe vote followed by a fire challenge which saw Olympic Gold Medalist Lydia go home, and Phoebe receiving a second chance. The episode received a lead-in of 449,000 from The Project.

The ABC and SBS continued the unofficial Tuesday night train night with both channels seeing success with their locomotive centric shows. The ABC’s top non-news show of the evening was Griff’s Great Australian Rail Trip with 489,000, while SBS’s most watched program was Great Australian Railway Journey’s which had 373,000 viewers. 

Week 8 TV: Tuesday
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.8% 7 16.1% 9 24.3% 10  13.2% SBS One 6.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 2.9% GO! 2.2% 10 Bold 3.8% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.9% GEM 2.0% 10 Peach 2.8% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix 1.5% 9Life 1.6%     NITV 0.1%
                SBS World Movies 0.6%
TOTAL 16.4%   24.5%   30.1%   19.8%   9.2%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.9% 7 17.6% 9 20.4% WIN 10.2% SBS One 5.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.8% 7TWO 4.0% GO! 2.6% WIN Bold 4.2% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 5.7% GEM 4.2% WIN Peach 2.1% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.0% 9Life 1.8% Sky News  on WIN 2.5% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.5
TOTAL 16.0%   28.3%   29.0%   19.1%   8.1%


88.4% 11.6%
  1. Married At First Sight Nine 1,005,000
  2. Seven News Seven 951,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 931,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 858,000
  5. Nine News Nine 848,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 769,000
  7. ABC News ABC 691,000
  8. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 630,000
  9. Paramedics Nine 627,000
  10. Home And Away Seven 575,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 520,000
  12. The Chase Australia Seven 508,000
  13. Griff’s Great Australian Rail Trip ABC 489,000
  14. My Kitchen Rules: The Rivals Seven 461,000
  15. The Project 7pm 10 449,000
  16. Hot Seat Nine 432,000
  17. Foreign Correspondent ABC 400,000
  18. Great Australian Railway Journeys SBS 373,000
  19. 10 News First 10 361,000
  20. The Chase Australia 5pm Seven 301,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 291,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 206,000
  3. Paramedics Nine 155,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 108,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 104,000


18 – 49

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 477,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 325,000
  3. Paramedics Nine 264,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 219,000
  5. The Project 7pm 10 194,000


25 – 54

  1. Married At First Sight Nine 527,000
  2. Australian Survivor: All Stars 10 357,000
  3. Paramedics Nine 291,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 268,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 244,000
TUESDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 175,000
  2. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 159,000
  3. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  4. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 157,000
  5. Dot. PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  6. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  7. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
  8. Highway Patrol PM 7mate 138,000
  9. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  10. CSI: Miami 10 Bold 135,000
  11. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  12. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  13. Highway Patrol Ep.2 PM 7mate 133,000
  14. Thomas And Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  15. Olobob Top PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 131,000
  16. Play School Art Time PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  17. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  18. Outback Opal Hunters PM 7mate 125,000
  19. Neighbours 10 Peach 124,000
  20. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  1. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 63,000
  2. Credlin Sky News Live 49,000
  3. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 48,000
  4. The Great British Bake Off Lifestyle FOOD 46,000
  5. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 46,000
  6. Jones & Credlin Sky News Live 45,000
  7. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 43,000
  8. Antiques Roadtrip Lifestyle Channel 37,000
  9. Family Guy FOX8 33,000
  10. Antiques Roadshow Lifestyle Channel 33,000
  11. The Simpsons FOX8 31,000
  12. The Simpsons FOX8 29,000
  13. Outlander FOX One 29,000
  14. Two And A Half Men FOX Funny 28,000
  15. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 28,000
  16. Family Guy FOX8 27,000
  17. PML Later Sky News Live 27,000
  18. Eastenders UKTV 26,000
  19. Highway Patrol FOX8 26,000
  20. Better Homes & Gardens Lifestyle Channel 26,000

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

Sleepless at Seven: What's keeping James Warburton awake at night

So what keeps Seven West Media boss James Warburton up at night other than a shrinking advertising market and the prospect of a big fall in full-year profit? I’d venture several things, comments The Sydney Morning Herald’s Elizabeth Knight.

First would be the coronavirus and its potential to compromise the Tokyo Olympics in July if headline athletes boycott the event because many advertisers would follow.

Second, Warburton will be sweating on the outcome of an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) decision that would allow Seven West to offload its magazine division and pocket a much needed $40 million in cash. The ACCC has already raised concerns and is due to deliver a verdict in April.

Seven is elbow deep in efforts to empty as many logs as it can to get its debt down in order to ensure it doesn’t get dangerously close to breaching any of its bank lending covenants.

[Read more]

Seven slumps on earnings downgrade

Investors have punished Seven West Media, which is feeling the pinch of an advertising slowdown, as the television network’s boss, James Warburton, seeks to cash in on production business Seven Studios in an effort to transform the media company and cut its $541m-plus debt pile, reports News Corp’s Lilly Vitorovich.

Seven West shares slumped 21 per cent to a record low of 20c on Tuesday, valuing the company at $309.2m, after worse than expected first-half underlying earnings and a 13 per cent downgrade to its full-year guidance. That is in contrast to the stock’s record high of $15.39 in 2007 when it was a multi-billion-dollar business, albeit before the global financial crisis and explosion of streaming services such as Netflix.

The Kerry Stokes-controlled media group, which also includes The West Australian newspaper, announced on Tuesday that it has begun strategic reviews of “undervalued and surplus assets following inbound enquiries”, amid a difficult advertising market and weak start to the TV ratings year.

[Read more]


Barefoot Investor Scott Pape hosting Road To Recovery Foxtel special

Production has started on Road To Recovery With Scott Pape, a one hour special following the Barefoot Investor as he joins the bushfire recovery effort to help people who have lost everything start to rebuild their lives from scratch.

Produced by Foxtel, this one-hour documentary – premiering on Wednesday, March 11 at 8.30pm – seeks to make sense of the most horrific of natural disasters and provide an insightful story of hope and resilience with a practical message.

A bushfire survivor himself, and this country’s best-selling ‘money guy’, Pape is uniquely placed to help Aussies on the ground, and has been deployed as a financial counsellor in the frontline of the recovery effort.

Pape said: “Financial counsellors help put people back in control of their money, which is an essential part of the road to recovery for bushfire survivors. Many are traumatised and grief-stricken and yet we expect them to make the most critical of decisions, which can affect the rest of their lives. What they need is a financial counsellor, who is independent of the banks and insurers, and works with the community to help get them back on their feet – and back in control.

“It’s been a challenging but rewarding journey to be on. It gives meaning and purpose to what I’ve been through to have the privilege of helping people through this bushfire crisis.”

Travelling to the bushfire ravaged towns of Corryong and Cudgewa in Victoria, Pape meets with the extraordinary locals, leaders and mentors who are right in the thick of the recovery effort and keen to feel practical support from the wider community.

Throughout the special, viewers will also bear witness to Pape’s personal story of loss in Romsey, Victoria, where his family home was reduced to ash; hear from local heroes who have rallied to get their communities back on track; and go back in time to understand what it takes to travel the long hard road – from day one after the inferno, to weeks, months and years down the track of repair.

Lifestyle general manager Wendy Moore said: “Knowing how to truly help people in the recovery process after a traumatic time like this only comes when you have an opportunity to take the time to listen to what they actually need. This is a powerful documentary that gives the communities and the people within them a voice, and allows them to tell their own story and at the same time regain some control over their future.”

All proceeds from advertising and sponsorship packages during the broadcast of the special will be donated to Anglicare Victoria Financial Counselling, to assist with their specialist Bushfire Recovery Financial Counselling Program.

Outgoing MAFS star unleashes on Nine over show’s ‘dirty tricks’

Hit reality TV show Married At First Sight has been rocked by explosive claims from a contestant that staff manipulated her into saying things on camera by threatening her that if she did not do so “Australia will f***ing hate me”, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran & Mibenge Nsenduluka.

Outgoing contestant Poppy Jennings has vowed not to be “some whingeing little weak person that is going to be silenced” over the way she was treated during production of the hit show.

On Monday night’s episode, Jennings appeared emotional as she made the decision to leave while her husband was shown in tears, and in a more favourable light as a jilted partner.

Jennings said the truth of the situation was not conveyed in the episode.

“Why is Luke crying when I left???” Jennings wrote in a Facebook post that has since been removed. “What really happened that he was crying over! You don’t know because I wasn’t allowed to say!! It’s too controversial!”

Channel 9 refused to comment when contacted about Jennings’ Facebook allegations.

[Read more]

Poppy goes rogue with furious Facebook post about MAFS

Channel 9 and Endemol Shine have reached out to Married At First Sight contestant Poppy Jennings after she went rogue and blasted the show and her TV husband in a fiery Facebook rant, reports’s Andrew Bucklow.

“We have seen Poppy’s post and note her distress,” Channel 9 and Endemol Shine wrote in a statement to “We have reached out to her to offer support and won’t be making any further public comment and will focus on doing our best to support both Poppy and Luke.”

Typically, couples on the Channel 9 reality show are only allowed to leave if they both write “leave” during the commitment ceremonies. There was no commitment ceremony in last night’s episode.

In response to the confusion, an Endemol Shine spokesperson told today: “The experiment is structured to give every couple the best opportunity for their relationship to develop. However, there are times that couples need to leave outside of the commitment ceremony for various reasons and we would not make anyone stay against their will.

“This is also not the first time a couple has left the experiment outside of a commitment ceremony.”

[Read more]

Married At First Sight 2020: Amanda blasts Tash for going public with her new girlfriend

Amanda Micallef from Married at First Sight has blasted her TV wife Tash Herz in a series of scathing Instagram comments, reports News Corp’s Andrew Bucklow.

MAFS contestants aren’t meant to reveal publicly whether or not their relationships work out so as to not ruin the outcome for viewers.

However, in the past couple of weeks, Tash has flouted Channel 9’s rules and made it clear her relationship with Amanda failed.

Tash is now in a relationship with a woman named Madison Hewitt, and the two happily posed for photographers at an event in Melbourne on Saturday night.

Overnight, Amanda let rip at Tash on Instagram after a MAFS fan account posted a video of Tash and her new partner.

Under the post, Amanda commented: “What a pack of fake plastic try hard moles! No f**ks given”.

She also wrote about Tash: “She’s a disgusting person on many levels … every dog has their day.”

[Read more]


The Pussycat Dolls to perform live on SCA’s World Famous Rooftop

Global megastars The Pussycat Dolls will perform on The World Famous Rooftop next month. Hit Network drive hosts Carrie & Tommy made the announcement yesterday on their show.

The Pussycat Dolls have made a return to music with the icredible new single React – a slice of electro pop that the band teased on their recent show-stopping X Factor UK performance, making the track a worldwide talking point weeks before release.

Listeners to the Hit Network will have a rare and special opportunity to win tickets to see Doll Domination up close and personal when they perform on The World Famous Rooftop, hosted by Ash London from Ash London Live.

The Pussycat Dolls – Nicole Scherzinger, Ashley Roberts, Kimberly Wyatt, Jessica Sutta and Carmit Bachar – are known for their hit singles Don’t Cha, Buttons, Stickwitu, When I Grow Up and Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny), have sold more than 55m records worldwide and have over 3 billion streams. In Australia they have had nine top 10 singles, eight in the UK, and four in the US.  Their nine top 10 singles in Australia has earned them the title of one of the best-selling female groups of all-time.

The Pussycat Dolls will then return to Australia in April, playing Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.

Sports Media

AFL: Record crowds push profit to almost $50m, $150m in 3 years

The AFL is the clear sporting powerhouse in financial terms, revealing a net profit of almost $50m for 2019 in which it reaped record revenue and attracted its biggest ever attendances, reports The Australian’s John Stensholt.

Such is the league’s financial strength that it has made combined profit of almost $150m in the past three years, while paying down debt and booking revenue and profit ahead of budget forecasts because of increasing sponsorship deals and strong finals series.

The league also has net assets of about $240m on its balance sheet and contributed $20m to a reserve fund which now stands at about $60m. Revenue increased by $15.3m to a record $793.9m.

On consolidated terms, which includes its Marvel Stadium ownership, a share in Champion Data and its state subsidiaries, the AFL recorded a $27.9m surplus, up from $25.9m in 2018.

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AFL juggernaut booming as league sinks cash into women's footy

Football at the elite level remains in robust health with the AFL revealing a $48.5 million profit last year, which was $2 million down on the year before due in part to the league’s investment in AFLW, reports The Age’s Michael Gleeson.

The AFL’s revenues increased by $15 million to $794 million because of broadcast revenue and commercial income hitting a new record.

The popularity of AFLW was best measured by almost 600,000 women and girls playing the game, an 11 per cent increase. The AFL funded the AFLW by $16.4 million last year and this is set to increase by $6 million this year with the expansion of the competition to 14 teams.

The AFL paid its 11 executives a combined $10.5 million last year, down $160,000 on the year before. The AFL commissioners are paid a small amount of this overall figure, primarily to cover costs. Chief executive Gillon McLachlan was reported by Good Weekend to have earned $1.8 million, but his salary is no longer disclosed by the league.

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Supercars preparing for life without the Holden brand

Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer said the sporting body had been preparing for life without the Commodore and had opened discussions with a number of car manufacturers to plot a new road forward to deal with shock exit of the Holden brand from Australia, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

Seamer told The Australian Financial Review that Supercars, which has been built on the historic rivalry between Holden and Ford, had already been searching for an alternative plan after General Motors, Holden’s parent company, announced it would axe the Commodore model in favour of sports utility vehicles and utes in December 2019.

Seamer said Supercars had been working with General Motors and a number of manufacturers around a new set of regulations that are set to open the motorsport up to more vehicle types in 2022.

He said the sport’s broadcast partners, Network 10 and Fox Sports, were across the new sets of regulations. Its current broadcast deal, brokered by former CEO, now Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton, runs out after the 2020 season.

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Telcos' face-off in RA rights war a new kind of Super League

The looming battle between broadcasters Foxtel and Optus Sports for Rugby Australia media rights threatens to reignite the embers of the Super League war from a quarter of a century ago, reports SMH’s Roy Masters.

The 1995-97 conflict was seen as a fight between Australia’s two biggest media titans, Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer, over pay-TV rights to rugby league.

While News Corporation and its partner Telstra funded Super League’s $1 billion campaign to win rugby league content to offer to subscribers of its new pay-TV network Fox Sports, Packer contributed little to the Australian Rugby League’s fight to retain the rights.

Optus was the main funder of the ARL during the three-year battle, which ended with Murdoch and Packer dividing the spoils. Fox Sports and Nine screened matches of the new merged NRL competition, sponsored by Telstra.

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