Friday January 24, 2020

Guardian's lifestyle editor on balancing hard news and lighter content

By Claudia Siron

With Guardian Australia recently launching a lifestyle offering, journalist Alyx Gorman was appointed the new section’s editor, overlooking and commissioning stories that illuminate how Australians are living now.

Gorman shared with Mediaweek how the launch of the new section came about, how Guardian Australia balances hard news and lighter content, and her plans with the section in 2020 as recently appointed lifestyle editor.

Gorman has been working as a lifestyle journalist for 12 years at media outlets including Fairfax and Bauer. “Prior to coming to Guardian Australia, I spent four years working with Time Out – in Australia as editorial director and then in New York and London as Time Out Group’s global strategy and engagement lead, overseeing our social media and video departments, as well as elements of our digital strategy,” Gorman told Mediaweek. “If you ever need a travel recommendation, you know where to find me!” 

Gorman said the lifestyle section has a small team of two; herself and her boss – Guardian Australia‘s associate editor (features, lifestyle, and membership) – Lucy Clark. “But, we work with a large stable of freelance writers and experts, like the brilliant organic farmer Palisa Anderson who writes a weekly column on growing and cooking fresh produce, and stylist Emma Read who curates our monthly shopping page.

“You’ll also find voices you already know from Guardian Australia in the section, like Alex Spring, who writes a heart-warming weekly column How We Stay Together profiling couples in long term relationships; and Josephine Tovey, who writes for us fortnightly.”

Gorman told Mediaweek that Guardian Australia will always, first and foremost, focus on incisive reporting on the issues that matter. “Our expansion recently hasn’t just been into lifestyle, we’ve also grown our news desk, launched a podcast Full Story – which I’m obsessed with, you should really listen – and expanded our investigations and environment coverage.

Lifestyle is there to act as a bit of reprieve from the news cycle, which can feel pretty grim – especially lately. And also to equip our readers with the information they need to navigate our turbulent times on an individual level. It’s our sprinkle of brown sugar to make the carrots caramelise properly.

Gorman said she wasn’t in the room at the time, but she has her suspicions of why the lifestyle offering now exists. “I suspect the decision to create a lifestyle section came because we knew our growing audience was ready for lighter stories from us – and because we wanted to introduce new audiences to what Guardian Australia does, in ways that appeal to their passions and interests.

“When we launched our lifestyle section, we wanted to take a very Guardian approach to lifestyle. That means grappling with leisure and domesticity with the same rigorous journalistic approach, and brilliant writing you see across the rest of Guardian Australia‘s offering. It also meant creating a section that really spoke to the issues our readers are passionate about – be it global heating, ethical eating or how the ways in which we relate to each other as families, couples and friends are changing.”

Gorman said the section isn’t just about being purposeful, it’s also about finding the joy and humour in life and looking at the lighter side of things. “A couple of months after the section launched, we also started working with Guardian Australia‘s culture desk on a Saturday morning email – Saved For Later – which is a really fun primer on the lighter side of life from Guardian and beyond; whether it’s the show everyone’s talking about, the funniest challenge on TikTok that week or a really juicy, thoughtful long read.”

When it comes to what Gorman is looking for from journalists, she’s wanting first person and reported features that really speak to what it feels like to live in Australia right now. “Whether that’s Jayne Tuttle writing about the difficult decisions you have to make as an Australian parent living overseasLuke Ryan trying to live like a Hemsworth for a week, or Wendy Syfret exploring the alluring but unsettling world of micro-apartments.

“Pitches that are tied to the news cycle or a major trend and feel very ‘of the moment’ are hugely welcome; but so are evergreen stories that are useful, funny or just make you feel something.”

In terms of PR, Gorman said most of their features aren’t really PR-led. “Although we do some shopping stories, we don’t tend to cover things like product launches or new lines. I’m always interested in hearing about fascinating people to interview as well as new data and survey results (as long as the methodology behind them checks out).

“This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send me press releases – it’s very useful for me to know as much about what’s going on as possible; just that it’s more likely what you send will end up as part of a broader trend piece, rather than a stand-alone feature about brand x’s new y.”

Gorman said the lifestyle offering consists of content surrounding sustainability, travel, food, fashion, fitness and wellbeing, relationships, homes, even a bit of personal finance. “I don’t have a favourite section per-se, but one of my favourite things to edit is definitely a really well-thought-out trend piece that collates an idea or phenomenon that’s been bubbling under the surface and really explains why it’s happening and what it means for people.” 

Gorman revealed that the tone of the lifestyle section is pretty varied. “We can be gleefully silly or beautifully poignant, depending on the writer and the topic at hand. It’s about finding an approach that suits the story you’re trying to tell at the time. For more service-driven features, I always prefer they’re written with one eyebrow raised, so they’re fun and relatable to read, as well as functional.”

In terms of their demographic, Gorman said it’s really more of a psychographic. “We want to appeal to audiences who are smart, curious, open and progressive – and deliver them the kind of coverage they crave and deserve. Traditionally, lifestyle skews a little female, but I don’t see why men wouldn’t be interested in great weeknight recipes or a juicy first person story too.

When asked what her plans are for the section in 2020, Gorman said it’s still early days. “As the section grows and we learn more about what resonates with our audience, we switch up the mix to make sure we’re serving our readers’ needs. I’m looking forward to finding new voices (pitch me!) and working on some larger projects as we learn more about what’s important to our readers.”

ABC News in 2020: Celebrating 10 years

In 2020 ABC News channel will celebrate a decade on air as Australia’s leading source of continuous broadcast news. 

Launched on 22 July 2010, ABC News channel was Australia’s most-watched 24-hour news channel in 2019 with a metro average weekly reach of 2.1 million viewers on broadcast TV, a monthly average of 735,000 live-streams via ABC iview and 11 million views of the live-stream on YouTube (up 52% YoY). 

“Viewers want an accurate, up-to-the-minute news service they know they can trust,” said Director ABC NEWS Gaven Morris. “I was proud to lead the launch of ABC News Channel, and a decade on it continues to demonstrate its value to audiences – delivering factual news coverage and independent analysis, not opinions. 

“Having set the standard for live local broadcast news, today ABC News Channel is also leading our strategy to provide the video-on-demand services Australian news consumers are increasingly demanding.” 

What’s in store for 2020?

It’s a US election year and Planet America gets promoted to a new timeslot of 10:10pm Wednesday nights on ABC TV, with a second show on Friday nights at 8pm on ABC News Channel. Chas Licciardello and John Barron will bring you the latest from the US campaign trail – and attempt to make sense of it – two nights every week.

The Drumcontinues 6pm weeknights on ABC TV and at the later time of 9pm on the ABC News channel. Hosts Ellen Fanning and Julia Baird lead a panel of experts and opinion-leaders discussing the key issues gripping or confounding Australia. The Drum will also continue to go on the road for in-depth programs from regional Australian communities.

Exclusive to the ABC News Channel, Afternoon Briefing with Patricia Karvelas extends to every weekday from 4pm, delivering coverage of current events and Karvelas trademark sharp political analysis.

New ABC News is a series of segments from Jeremy Fernandez. Across broadcast and digital platforms, these reports will deliver topical stories and useable information on subjects including education, entertainment, health, families, finances, environment, social affairs, the economy, Indigenous affairs, Australia in the Asia Pacific, security and crime.

Barrie Cassidy returns to the hosting chair after signing off from Insiders after 18 years, for a special series of One Plus One focused on leadership on both ABC TV and ABC News Channel. Later in the year Kurt Fearnley takes over the hosting chair to bring more in-depth conversations about excellence.

Throughout the day and night the latest breaking news will be reported by a team featuring:  Joe O’Brien,  Miriam CorowaRos ChildsKirsten AikenGemma VenessKarina Karvalho, Andrew Geoghegan and Michael Tetlow; and the presenting team in Canberra led by Greg JennettAndrew Probyn and Jane Norman.

Also on the schedule will be returning arts program The MixThe World with Bev O’Connor each weeknight at 10pm, Weekend Breakfast with Jo Nicholson and Fauziah Ibrahim and The Business with Elysse Morgan (at the new time of 8.45pm on ABC News Channel, and at 10:15pm on Main Channel, as part of the Late News).

Mediaweek Industry Awards: Best Australian Journalist/Columnist

• Winner: David Speers

As David Speers prepares to host his first edition of Insiders on ABC TV next week, the recently arrived ABC presenter has won this category for 2019 after being the runner up in 2018.

Speers flagged his intention to quit Sky News Australia for the ABC mid-year, but the News Corp news channel kept him on until late in the year.

See also:
As Sky News loses it’s biggest star, the ABC’s week just gets better

His departure from Sky News was a blow, but the channel did well to keep him for two decades after he first joined in 2000, soon making his mark covering politics in Canberra.

In addition to his work at Sky News, where he never seemed to be off air during major events like elections and leadership challenges, Speers also wrote a weekend column for News Corp Australia metro newspapers.

While Speers managed to take place first place this year, the voting was very close for the top five candidates. So close that we will not separate them and just list the four joint runners-up.

In alphabetical order they are: Waleed Aly (Network 10), Peter FitzSimons (The Sydney Morning Herald), Kate McClymont (The Sydney Morning Herald) and Leigh Sales (ABC).

Sales was in second place last year, ahead of McClymont who was ranked third.

10 partners with Travlr for co-branded travel marketplace

Network 10 and Travlr’s co-branded travel marketplace, 10 Travlr, is now live, on the site and app, consumers can find travel and accommodation deals alongside specially curated travel content.

• The ability to mix and match airline and airfare options.
• Dynamic and static rate options for hotels, cruises, guided holidays, day tours and on-location experiences.
• Vouchers for local restaurants and health and beauty experiences.
• The ability to book VIP transfers, fast track passes through airports and tickets to ‘jump the queue’ at major attractions.
• An itinerary builder allowing travelers to curate and share personal itineraries.

Studio 10 will unveil ’10 deals from 10 Travlr’ kicking off Friday 24 January and featuring travel deals to destinations including Fiji, Thailand, Maldives, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and China; and on Sunday 26 January, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here will be giving audiences a chance to win a trip to South Africa.

Network 10 will also broadcast a two-part travel series in partnership with Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand called 10 Travlr New Zealand on Saturday 25 January at 4:30 pm on Channel 10, exploring various travel experiences across New Zealand.

Network 10’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said: “Through our shows like MasterChef Australia, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! and The Bachelor, we naturally find ourselves exploring beautiful destinations around Australia and the world, often inspiring our audiences to travel.

10 Travlr encourages our audience to take that extra step and book their next holiday, which is a great way for us to extend their viewing experience in a unique and rewarding way. We’re really excited to be launching the brand across all our platforms today.”

Over the next few months, 10 Travlr will work with local industry and tourism bodies on initiatives to promote domestic travel to areas affected by the recent bushfires.

10 Travlr global commercial director Gordy Bayne said: “We’re really excited to be launching the first phase of the 10 Travlr partnership. Since announcing our partnership with 10 late last year to launch 10 Travlr, we have been overwhelmed with interest from the industry.

“Network 10 has a powerful network with an unrivaled combination of platforms and brands. The opportunities to partner with 10 Travlr are endless for the travel industry – from a dedicated TV show to a consumer competition, in-show integration to a podcast, curated editorial content to a digital hub – we’re well and truly open for business, ready to take consumers from screen to dream.”

Fiveaa’s David and Will start and end the week in former SA fire zones

Fiveaa’s breakfast team of David Penberthy and Will Goodings broadcast live from Kangaroo Island on Monday and then finished their first week back on air for 2020 by broadcasting live from Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills.

The team appreciated the opportunity to view and understand the scale of damage on Kangaroo Island and wanted to offer the same support to those Adelaide Hills residents who have been so greatly affected by the recent fire devastation.

For the broadcasts on Monday across Fiveaa the station was donating the revenue from live reads to the bushfire appeal and close to $20,000 was raised.

For the broadcast Friday, David and Will saw it as a great opportunity to highlight both the impact and, moving forward, what is required for the Adelaide Hills and its people to recover.

The Fiveaa breakfast hosts said, “We really wanted to get behind all those impacted in the Adelaide Hills and, like with those on Kangaroo Island, we know much needs to be done for so many people in the days and months to come. We want to remind people to throw their support behind the Adelaide Hills residents and businesses and spend time in this stunning part of SA.”

The breakfast studio on Friday was set up in the Emma & Ivy café in the main street of Lobethal (pictured). Fiveaa was encouraging listeners to book out the café and was paying for coffees today as an incentive.

Fiveaa station manager Craig Munn said: “David & Will and Fiveaa are committed to supporting all of the communities, towns and numerous families that have been affected by fires both on KI and in the Adelaide Hills. Broadcasting live from Kangaroo Island on Monday and from the main street of Lobethal is to encourage our listeners to support the beautiful Adelaide Hills – something that our station and David & Will are passionate about.”

Good Weekend special bushfire edition for Australia Day weekend

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s Good Weekend will feature a special 16-page bushfire wraparound including photos taken by Herald and Age photographers during the current bushfire crisis.

The wraparound, which is on the January 25 issue, has images taken by photographers such as Kate Geraghty, Nick Moir, Wolter Peeters, Justin McManus, Alex Ellinghausen and Eddie Jim.

Good Weekend is all about delivering stories on what’s important to Australians – and right now there is nothing more important than the bushfires sweeping our beautiful country,” said Katrina Strickland, editor of Good Weekend.

“Staff photographers from The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have been covering the crisis all summer and their pictures really are worth a thousand words. Our 16-page wraparound uses their work to tell a story of what’s been lost, the human and animal suffering amid the devastation, and the amazing work of those who put themselves in the line of fire, literally, on behalf of us all.”

The special presentation features an essay written by Good Weekend’s Konrad Marshall, featuring interviews with fire experts such as CEO of the Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre, Richard Thornton, and the Herald and Age photographers documenting the fires on the frontline.

“Piecing together what we’ve lost – adding and multiplying the devastating data – will take months, years. Until that cruel calculus is counted and considered, imagery can tell the stories,” writes Marshall.

Fine art prints of some of the photographs featured in the wraparound will be available for purchase through The Store, with profits to be donated to NSW RFS, CFA VIC and WIRES.

Visit The Store here.

Top Image: Escape at Orangeville by Nick Moir

The Voice: New Hosts + All four coaches return for 2020

2020 will see another season of The Voice Australia feature on Nine new hosts Darren McMullen and Renee Bargh.
 

McMullen returns to the show after having hosted the first four seasons of The Voice Australia as well as The Voice Kids. He is also known for roles on House Husbands and SeaChange.

McMullen said: “I’ve hosted a lot of fun shows around the globe since leaving but nothing compares to the buzz you get from walking out onto The Voice stage.

“The seasons that I hosted were the most fun I’ve ever had in television, and I can’t wait to pick up the reigns again to front the biggest show in Australia.”

Bargh spent the past decade as a host on Emmy award-winning US entertainment show, EXTRA. She returns home to star on Australian TV for the first time in ten years.

Bargh said: “It’s an absolute dream come true to be heading home to Australia and joining The Voice family.

“When it comes to entertainment television, it doesn’t get much bigger or more dynamic than The Voice. I’ve always been a huge fan of the show and am looking forward to meeting the next wave of incredibly talented Aussie artists”.

For the first time, all four Coaches will return with Kelly Rowland, Guy Sebastian, Delta Goodrem, and Boy George all gearing up for another round of auditions.

Nick and Femi from Amazing Race host event for an amazing cause

In response to the bushfire crisis currently facing Australia, mental health nurses and The Amazing Race Australia‘s Nick and Femi gathered the cast of the show and teamed up with Handpicked Wines in Chippendale to host a fundraiser for the Australian Red Cross last night. 

Krystie Steve, the director of Play Agency, and Sophie Muir, from Maven PR, put together this event to raise funds with a live auction offering money can’t buy experiences for an absolute steal.  Aside from the auction, all ticket proceeds went to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund; and each ticket gave guests prosecco, cheese, charcuterie canapés, and the chance to mingle with the Amazing Race cast.

Some of The Amazing Race Australia cast

Handpicked Wines donated 10% of all bar proceeds for the entire night to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund, as well as providing a stunning venue for the fundraiser. 

Over $25,000 worth of prizes were auctioned off; prizes including memorabilia from the show, hotel and restaurant vouchers and experiences such as a double dinner date with Nick and Femi. Collectively, the guests last night donated over $10,000.

Nick commented: “You can’t help but feel helpless watching the country burn for the last few months and seeing so many people lose their homes and businesses. Femi and I had to do something to contribute to the amazing efforts of the Australian Red Cross.”

Femi added: “When we put the call out to the crew from the show everyone was happy to get involved. One thing about Australians is we all stand together and help during times of crisis.”

Summer TV Ratings: January 23

• Nine serves an ace: Tennis delivers 850,000 and 28% share

Big stars delivered big audiences for Nine on day four of the Australian Open. Nine recorded its biggest share of the week and the biggest share of the year for any channel.

Kyrgios was the main attraction early in the evening and the good news for Nine was he took four sets to do the job against Simon. Nadal then followed as he progressed to the third round, defeating Delbonis in three sets. Nine’s tennis audience was 843,000, the biggest of the tournament so far. Later in the night there was still 345,000 watching.

Seven and 10 fought it out well behind in second and third place. Seven had the first Big Bash League match featuring returning Australian team members Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Despite the heavyweights, Brisbane Heat could only manage 126 runs with Labuschagne contributing 3 while AB de Villiers improved on a previous performance with 25. Sydney Sixers made the total easily and only lost two wickets – one of them was Steve Smith who made 9.

The tennis hurt the cricket numbers with less than 350,000 watching each innings.

10’s I’m A Celebrity did 609,000 for the main episode before the numbers lifted to 697,000 for the elimination. A week ago the episode did 733,000.

Elsewhere last night a repeat episode of Stop Laughing…This Is Serious on ABC did 238,000.

SBS had a timely Monty Python special programmed – Monty Python Live: One Down, Five to Go – which did 139,000.

Week 4 TV: Thursday
THURSDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 7.9% 7 14.3% 9 27.8% 10  12.8% SBS One 3.9%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.9% 7TWO 4.2% GO! 3.2% 10 Bold 4.0% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.9% 7mate 3.9% GEM 2.0% 10 Peach 2.6% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.8% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 2.1%     NITV 0.1%
                SBS World Movies 1.3%
TOTAL 13.5%   24.3%   35.1%   19.4%   7.7%

 

THURSDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 7.3% 7 17.2% 9 22.4% WIN 12.0% SBS One 3.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.4% 7TWO 6.9% GO! 3.8% WIN Bold 4.8% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 1.1% 7mate 5.5% GEM 2.3% WIN Peach 2.0% Food Net 1.1%
ABC NEWS 1.7% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.6% 9Life 1.5% Sky News  on WIN 0.9% NITV 0.1%
                   
TOTAL 12.5%   32.1%   30.1%   19.8%   5.5%

 

THURSDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
86.1% 13.9%
THURSDAY FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 846,000
  2. 2020 Australian Open D4 Night Nine 843,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 810,000
  4. Nine News Nine 809,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 794,000
  6. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 697,000
  7. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 609,000
  8. ABC News ABC 606,000
  9. The Chase Australia Seven 492,000
  10. The Project 7pm 10 418,000
  11. 2020 Australian Open D4 Night Pre Match Nine 401,000
  12. 10 News First 10 396,000
  13. 7.30 ABC 384,000
  14. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Bris V Syd Sixers Inn Seven 378,000
  15. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Bris V Syd Sixers S1 Seven 373,000
  16. Seven’s Cricket: Big Bash League Bris V Syd Sixers S2 Seven 348,000
  17. 2020 Australian Open D4 Late Nine 345,000
  18. The Chase Australia 5pm Seven 336,000
  19. 2020 Australian Open D4 Day Nine 274,000
  20. Sunrise Seven 266,000
Demo Top 5

16 – 39

  1. 2020 Australian Open D4 Night Nine 186,000
  2. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 160,000
  3. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 122,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 104,000
  5. Nine News Nine 94,000

 

18 – 49

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 297,000
  2. 2020 Australian Open D4 Night Nine 293,000
  3. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 251,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 191,000
  5. Nine News Nine 176,000

 

25 – 54

  1. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! Elimination 10 346,000
  2. 2020 Australian Open D4 Night Nine 320,000
  3. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! 10 294,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 234,000
  5. Nine News Nine 222,000
THURSDAY Multichannel
  1. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 185,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 176,000
  3. School Of Roars ABCKIDS/COMEDY 154,000
  4. Dot. PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  5. Father Brown PM 7TWO 149,000
  6. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  7. Bondi Rescue Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 144,000
  8. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  9. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  10. Noddy Toyland Detective PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 140,000
  11. Olobob Top PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  12. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  13. Rusty Rivets ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  14. Judge John Deed PM 7TWO 129,000
  15. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 128,000
  16. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  17. Hawaii Five O (R) 10 Bold 122,000
  18. Andy’s Safari Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  19. Floogals AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  20. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 118,000
THURSDAY STV
  1. Live: Between The Innings FOX CRICKET 182,000
  2. Live: BBL: Heat V Sixers FOX CRICKET 171,000
  3. Live: BBL: Heat V Sixers FOX CRICKET 144,000
  4. Live: BBL Post Game FOX CRICKET 52,000
  5. Live: B4 The Bash! FOX CRICKET 47,000
  6. Credlin Sky News Live 44,000
  7. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 43,000
  8. Chicago Fire FOX One 38,000
  9. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 38,000
  10. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 38,000
  11. Gold Rush Discovery Channel 37,000
  12. Bargain Hunt Lifestyle Channel 31,000
  13. Grand Designs New Zealand Lifestyle Channel 29,000
  14. PML Later Sky News Live 29,000
  15. Escape To The Country Lifestyle Channel 28,000
  16. Midsomer Murders UKTV 28,000
  17. Chris Smith: Inside The News Sky News Live 28,000
  18. Family Guy FOX8 27,000
  19. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 27,000
  20. Escape To The Chateau Lifestyle Channel 27,000

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

Bauer determined to proceed with $40m Pac Mags deal with Seven

Bauer Media remains “100 per cent” committed to its $40 million purchase of Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines, despite private equity firm Mercury Capital abandoning plans to buy the German publisher’s Australian arm, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Brendon Hill, the local chief executive of Bauer which owns magazine titles including Australian Women’s Weekly and Woman’s Day, dismissed speculation Mercury Capital’s decision to walk away from takeover talks would affect its planned acquisition of Pacific. “It was completely separate,” Hill said. “We both are 100 per cent committed to this deal being approved.”

[Read the original]

Can CBS' Grammys Telecast Weather an Explosive Scandal?

Deborah Dugan has gone from leading the Recording Academy to being a whistleblower. Here’s why those watching — or not watching — this year’s awards ceremony may be more consequential than any judge, reports The Hollywood Reporters Eriq Gardner.

Just how many people will tune into CBS on Sunday to watch the Grammy Awards? The question carries extra weight this year thanks to a bombshell complaint filed on Tuesday by Deborah Dugan, the suspended chief of the Recording Academy.

In a 46-page discrimination charge lodged with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Dugan alleges she was sexually harassed by general counsel Joel Katz, one of the music industry’s most powerful attorneys. She claims the Recording Academy — the 62-year-old organization that runs the Grammys — wished to hire her predecessor Neil Portnow as a consultant for $750,000 despite not having his prior contract renewed after allegedly raping a female recording artist. (Portnow strenuously denies the claim.) She further lays out her case that the Grammys are a “boys club,” that minorities are systematically underrepresented, and that “secret committees” use their positions in power to push forward artists with whom they have relationships.

Read more

Entertainment

Greg Page discharged from hospital

Original Yellow Wiggle Greg Page has been released from Westmead Hospital, less than a week after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a bushfire relief fundraising concert, reports TV Tonight.

Page thanked hospital staff in a video and The Wiggles posted a final update on social media.

Read more

Amy Shark hints at new music with Ed Sheeran

Amy Shark has teased new music with global phenomenon Ed Sheeran, reports News Corp’s Cormac Pearson.

The Gold Coast star revealed the collaboration with the hitmaking English singer, sharing a series of photos of the pair writing music to Instagram on Thursday night.

Shark, who experienced a meteoric rise to fame following her 2016 hit Adore, said she had “spent some time overseas writing songs with my new English friend Ed.”

“I know I have been quiet on the topic of new music but I can today let you know that this shark is about to start circling,” Shark wrote on the post.

[Read the original]

Television

Rhonda Burchmore calls Nicole Kidman a ‘diva’ on I’m a Celeb

Rhonda Burchmore has made her opinion of Nicole Kidman known, reports News.com.au.

And it seems she wasn’t impressed by Kidman’s “diva-like” backstage antics on the set of the film Australia.

Chatting around the campsite with her fellow I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! contestants, the entertainer did her best to keep her opinion of the Big Little Lies star to herself – struggling to keep a straight face when asked what she’s really like.

Explaining that she knew Kidman when they were both at acting school together, international reality star Charlotte Crosby pressed her for details.

But while Burchmore did her best to remain diplomatic, she eventually caved – recalling Kidman being full of complaints on the set of the 2008 Baz Lurhman film.

Read more

Karl Stefanovic calls Richard Reid ‘a tosser of the highest order’

Karl Stefanovic and Richard Reid blasted each other on Kyle and Jackie O’s KIIS FM breakfast show this morning in separate interviews, reports News.com.au’s Andrew Bucklow.

Stefanovic was the first to appear on the radio show and he was asked by the hosts how he felt when Reid revealed on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! last year that the Today star had “hair plugs”.

At the time, Reid said in the jungle: “So I go into the hair room, and this guy looks up and he’s kinda like balding. It was Karl Stefanovic without his spray-on hair … And then he went away and got hair plugs.”

On radio this morning, Stefanovic called Reid, who worked on the Today show for seven years before he quit in 2015, a “tosser of the highest order”.

“Richard and I have had a beautiful relationship over many years,” Stefanovic said to Kyle and Jackie O. “I never really saw him in person because he was always too busy flapping about.

“When he said it (on I’m A Celeb) … I just thought, ‘You’re just a tosser! Richard Reid is a tosser of the highest order!’”

Read more

Marty Sheargold jokes about axed weatherman Steve Jacobs on Today

The Today show co-hosts didn’t know what to say when Marty Sheargold cracked a joke about axed weather man Steve Jacobs live on air Thursday morning.

Sheargold, who co-hosts Nova’s drive show Kate, Tim and Marty, was appearing on Today to promote his national comedy tour which kicks off next month.

Looking around the Today show’s temporary set at The Australian Open, Sheargold joked: “I’ve never seen so many people working on a show. You could have cut a few of these people and kept Stevie, couldn’t you?”

Allison Langdon laughed at the comment as Sheargold continued, “Or do we not talk about those guys anymore?”

“No, I don’t mind talking about that,” Karl Stefanovic replied.

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Radio

triple j sees record Hottest 100 voting, Decade’s poll to follow

triple j has this week revealed record numbers voting in its January Hottest 100 poll. It has also revealed it will go again with another poll in March!

triple j listeners have once again broken the voting record by placing 3,211,596 votes in the 2019 Hottest 100, beating last year’s vote tally by 16.4%.

Here’s who the votes came from, which could very well influence the content of the countdown:

3,211,596 total votes, up 16.4% from last year
45.3% of votes were from people aged between 18-24
58.5% of votes were from people aged 24 and under
77.5% of votes were from people 30 and under
55.5% of votes came from females
42.4% of votes came from males
2.1% of votes came from people who identified as non-binary, unspecified or other

KEY DATES

12pm AEDT Sat 25 Jan: Hottest 100 on triple j
10am local time Mon 27 Jan: Hottest 200-101 on triple j
10am local time Mon 27 Jan: Classic Hottest 100 of 1999 on Double J

Meanwhile, the March poll will be the Hottest 100 of the Decade.

This special edition of the Hottest 100 series follows on from previous all-time countdowns including the Hottest 100 of All Time (1998 & 2009), Hottest 100 Australian Albums of All Time (2011) and 20 Years of the Hottest 100 (2013).

Listeners are being asked to help us celebrate the decade that was by creating a definitive list of the 2010s.

Voting will be open during February.

triple j has listed some of the decade’s music highlights to inspire voters:

• We witnessed the rise of once-in-a-generation artists like Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar and Florence and the Machine
• Australian acts like Gotye, Sia, Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett and Tones and I took over the world
• Producers like Flume and Alison Wonderland went from their bedrooms to stadium shows
• In 2017, we saw hip hop overtake rock and pop as the most popular genre of music in the US
• Streaming services and social media flipped the industry on its head
• Viral took on a totally new meaning and pop music had a renaissanc
• Beyoncé headlined Coachella
• The Avalanches, Daft Punk and Tool made comebacks
• We mourned the loss of some of our favourite performers: Mac Miller, Juice WRLD, Amy Winehouse, David Bowie, Prince, Chris Cornell

Sport

Tip of the iceberg: Other sports braced for cuts at Fox Sports

The rugby league, AFL, cricket and football departments at Fox Sports are bracing for staff cuts after the broadcaster took an axe to its once-sprawling rugby department on the eve of the new Super Rugby season, reports SMH’s Georgina Robinson.

Rugby officials were briefed by Fox executives on Thursday that their sport was the first cab off the rank for staff and programming cuts, as the pay television provider embarks on a cost-slashing campaign on the back of $417 million in financial losses at its parent company Foxtel.

The sport was rocked by news that popular rugby host Nick McArdle had been let go the day before the launch of the new season and that the Monday and Friday night shows had been scrapped in favour of a drastically leaner schedule.

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Simply the Rest: Jimmy Barnes courted by NRL to sing at GF

Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes and his band Cold Chisel will headline the very first music concert at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night – but it’s his potential appearance at the NRL grand final singing Tina Turner’s Simply the Best that should have rusted-on rugby league fans in a lather, reports SMH’s Andrew Webster.

As revealed by this humble little column last year, the NRL has been in serious negotiations with Turner’s manager, Roger Davies, about making her the face of the game for the 2020 season because it marks 30 years since the song became the sport’s anthem.

Turner is 80 years old and rarely leaves her home base in Switzerland, let alone performs, so it was always a long shot that she would make the trip to Australia. But her song will still be the cornerstone of NRL promotions, which are expected to start after the All Stars match on February 22.

Channel Nine – owner of this masthead – launched its season promo during the Australian Open broadcast earlier this week and it featured Turner singing the song with old footage of her spliced in between classic rugby league moments.

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