By James Manning
• After launching MTV Australia in 1987, producer returns to music TV
Some of the biggest TV audiences this year have been for live music shows – Australian live music too. The Fire Fight Australia concert in February on Seven delivered them a huge Sunday audience across the afternoon and into the night.
The Anzac Day Music from the Home Front special also delivered a good crowd for Nine. And it brought together producer Saul Shtein and the Mushroom Group, working with Adrian Swift at Nine.
Now the ABC is now meeting audience demand for a program showcasing live music. Just days ago it commissioned The Sound, and after some deft work pulling it all together, the Mushroom Vision delivers the first episode this week to be screened at 5.30pm Sunday.
Every week across six initial episodes hosts – music aficionado Jane Gazzo (triple j, Chanel [V], Recovery) and Double J’s Zan Rowe – will be joined by a special co-host.
Helping pull it all together for Mushroom Vision is producer Saul Shtein – a TV veteran best known for his achievements on the sporting arena. “There is a lot of synergy between sport and music,” Shtein told Mediaweek.
“Athletes and musicians both want to do their very, very best and to entertain people. I am very excited about this project and to be able to work with the great team at Mushroom.”
The aim will be for the ABC to have enough confidence in what the initial six episodes show to commission a longer series for the future. “You should be asking the ABC about that, but that is our hope and the dream for anybody who makes any TV show.
“The quality of what we have been doing is great and the format of the program offers variety so hopefully the viewers will come and stay. Sometimes we tend to take for granted just how talented our local artists are and seeing them performing live will remind people how good they are.
“We will be showcasing raw talent. When it is presented live it is very real, with an integrity to it. I think people will be saying ‘How good is this’.”
The ABC only greenlit the program recently. “From them saying ready, set, go we have had little more than a week to deliver the first episode.” That episode is to arrive at the ABC today ahead of the first episode broadcast on Sunday.
“The team at Mushroom, who I was also lucky enough to work with on Music from the Home Front, have done a great job under the leadership of creative director Tom Macdonald who pulled it all together. Anna Toman and Susan Heyman organised all the acts. To get all this done in literally hours has been an extraordinary performance.
Shtein added: “None of it would have happened without the passion and guidance of Michael Gudinski. Working with him has been an incredible experience – he gets involved in all detail no matter how big or small.”
Shtein is no stranger to music TV. While working as Nine’s head of Wide World of Sports he was pulled aside to launch MTV in Australia on the network in 1987. After establishing the brand here as part of the Nine offering, Shtein returned to sport, handing the reigns of MTV to one of his Wide World of Sports colleagues, an up-and-coming producer called Mark Fennessy.
Better TV experience would be hard to find – Shtein did a total of 17 years with Nine, then nine years with Fox Sports and 15 with Seven where he was also head of sport.
After spending so many years in TV working on sport and music, Shtein said he can’t help but watch TV as a producer. “It’s a sad thing, my wife and children have had to put up with it across the years.” It has rubbed off on the family too. Shtein’s daughter Caitlin is at Sky News and his eldest son is a sport cameraman.
Episode 1 of The Sound
Sunday’s premiere episode sees music lover and acting great Bryan Brown co-host alongside Jane and Zan. There are performances from artists including Mark Seymour and the Undertow, Kate Ceberano, Steve Kilbey, Sean Sennett, Eskimo Joe, DMA’s, BENEE, Lime Cordiale and a very special exclusive preview performance by Nick Cave.
Production Credits: A Mushroom Vision production in association with ABC.
Producer Saul Shtein. Executive Producer Michael Gudinski. ABC Executive Producer Janet Gaeta.
Top Photo: Saul Shtein
Bauer Media has announced it has now completed the sale of its Australian Publishing business to Mercury Capital. The divestment, which was previously announced in June, has received the approval of the relevant regulatory authorities. The sale price has never been formally revealed, but it is thought to be less than $50m.
All of Bauer Media Australia’s employees, the ownership of its print and digital assets, including those brands recently acquired by Bauer from Pacific Magazines, and Bauer’s New Zealand mastheads have now transferred to Mercury Capital.
Bauer Media previously announced it had agreed to sell its Australian publishing business to Mercury Capital.
Mercury Capital has aquired all of Bauer Media Australia’s print and digital assets which cover Women’s Entertainment & Lifestyle; Fashion, Beauty & Health; Homes; Food; Motoring & Trader lifestyle categories.
The agreement also includes those brands recently acquired by Bauer from Pacific Magazines and Bauer’s New Zealand mastheads. Mercury Capital is expected to resurrect some of the key New Zealand titles including Listener, North & South and Metro. Mercury is led by Kiwi-born Clark Perkins and features prominent NZ business figures on its board.
Veit Dengler, Bauer Media COO said: “Bauer Media remains committed to magazine publishing. This decision supports our strategy to invest in our market leading brands where we believe we are best placed to do so.
“We have been proud to be the custodian of these iconic brands in Australia. I would like to thank our talented teams for their commitment and the contribution they have made to Bauer Media. I wish them well for the future.”
• Covid-19 and the growth of BVOD
Stephanie Famolaro from digital advertising company The Trade Desk joins the Mediaweek podcast to talk about the massive impact Covid-19 is having on consumers and how they are staying connected with the media this year. One of the boom categories is BVOD.
The TV shows being reviewed this week include One Night Only: The Beatles, Micallef On the Sauce, Wentworth, programming on 10 Shake, the movies premiering on TV including Mr Dundee, Walter Mercado and Eurovision: Fire Saga plus James discovers the Just Watch app and Andrew talks about “alternative histories” on Plot Against America, Man in the High Castle and Noughts + Crosses.
Nine commentators, pit reporters and presenters will bring ARG’s racing categories to life, with a minimum of three hours per day of free-to-air broadcasting, on top of the all day live streaming on 7plus.
Hosting the coverage will be Seven’s lead sports broadcaster Mark Beretta. It will be a return to Australian motorsport circuits for Beretta, who was part of the Supercars coverage with Seven from 2007 to 2014.
Joining Beretta in a host role will be rising media talent Abbey Way. The 29-year-old hosts AFL and cricket for Seven, as well as its reality program House Rules. This year, she will add motorsport to her resume.
Calling the shots for the classes such as TCR Australia, S5000, Touring Car Masters, Trans Am and more will be a wealth of professional talent, including Greg Rust, Matt Naulty, Richard Craill and Cameron van den Dungen.
And the three will work pit lane will know their way around the garages. Jack Perkins (Supercars endurance driver), Molly Taylor (2016 Australian Rally champion and TCR driver) and Jessica Dane (part-owner of Triple Eight Race Engineering) will give television viewers the inside line from pit road.
Every moment of Saturday and Sunday track action, from 9am-5pm, will be broadcast on Seven’s digital offering 7plus.
In addition to the live stream, 7mate will feature a minimum of three hours per day of free-to-air coverage.
Racing categories that will feature on the channels of Seven include TCR Australia, S5000, Touring Car Masters, Trans Am and more, plus the brand-new Bathurst International event in November.
The opening event is slated for September 4-6 at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Matt Braid, CEO Australian Racing Group, said: “It is a pleasure to announce our commentary team in conjunction with the Seven Network as we prepare to start racing,” said Braid.
“We have Australia’s best mix of exciting motorsport categories, and now an equally exciting commentary team that includes a group of Australia’s most respected and experienced commentators and presenters, together with some great new talent, who collectively will provide exceptional coverage of ARG’s race categories and events on Australia’s leading television network.”
Lewis Martin, managing director Seven Melbourne and head of Network Sport, said: “Motorsport has long been a core part of Seven’s DNA so we’re rapt to partner with the Australian Racing Group to bring fans a feast of top-line racing live and free in 2020,” said Martin.
“With a minimum three hours’ coverage on Seven on each day of competition and every second of every day live-streamed on 7plus, racing fans are in for a high-octane mix of TCR, S5000, Touring Car Masters, Trans Am and much more. We can’t wait for the free flag to get things started.”
“It’s fantastic to have regular motorsport back on Seven,” said Beretta.
“TCR is booming around the world because of its accessibility, brand rivalry and tight racing, so I know this season is going to grab the attention of Australian sports fans and take them on a brilliant ride!
“To launch a new racing family on Seven is super exciting. Our team of commentators are fresh, knowledgeable, passionate and keen to bring the action to viewers in a way they’ve never experienced before. This is racing with real energy from the team calling the action because they love everything about TCR.
“We’ve got a mix of legends and young guns racing in cars designed to create a even contest, so the recipe for full-on racing action is spot on! I honestly can’t wait to get this party started!”
“I could not be more excited to be part of this incredible team,” said Way.
“Motorsport is a new challenge for me and one I already know is going to be a hell of a lot of fun with the group we have together. It’s fresh, exciting and going to be the ultimate entertainment. The countdown is well and truly on for Sydney!”
“I’m so excited because, on a personal level, it means I’ll have a box seat!” said Rust.
“I’ve been fortunate to be part of the motor racing coverage on many Aussie TV networks over the years but not the country’s best. Channel 7 has a deep and proper connection with motor sport and this latest chapter looks like being a special one. The team they’ve assembled is one I’m enormously proud to be part of. It will ensure the fans get fabulous coverage of the contest while showcasing the characters of the game. That’s a real point of difference and something I’m particularly passionate about.
“In terms of the TCR Australia Series, 2019 was a standout for me. In over 20 years covering the sport, I really loved the freshness of working on TCR. It’s one of the most energised paddocks I’ve ever been in and the racing really delivered. Plus we had a mix of emerging stars competing and some legends not to mention the variety of makes on the grid.
“This year it will go to another level with some trick broadcast innovations too. I can’t wait to get going.”
“I’m really looking forward to being part of this great team calling the TCR and S5000 series in 2020 after helping at selected rounds in 2019,” said Naulty.
“I think everyone is just excited to get back to a track after being away for so long, so there will be plenty of energy and hopefully that reflects in the coverage.
“The quality of the drivers, cars and teams in TCR for 2020 is second to none and it has the perfect mix of experience, youth and the weekend racer all combined into one. Im keen to see them at Bathurst as I think they will look great going across the Mountain on the first lap.
“S5000 will really make an impact if the two events late in 2019 were any form guide! The noise is the biggest attraction along with the fact that the cars look cool and they are super fast, so Im really looking forward to seeing them around tracks like SMP or Symmons Plains for the cornering and places like Winton where patience is a big factor, its going to be great.”
“Last year gave us a tease of the potential that exists in S5000, and the pause in life we’ve all experienced in 2020 has just added to the anticipation,” said Craill.
“This is going to be an exciting new chapter in the sport, with lots of exciting stories – stories that motorsport fans may not know but we know they will find absolutely compelling – and great racing to come.
“Some of the greatest heroes in our sport have come out of big, loud, fast and exciting open-wheelers in this part of the world. The VHT S5000 Australian Drivers Championship, with its totally unique mixture of old-school V8’s and the latest safety and sporting ideas, means we can create some more for a new generation of fans … and also tell the nearly 60-year story of the Australian Drivers Championship and the Gold Star award along the way.”
“It’s been a year that we’ll never forget, and we haven’t even started racing yet,” said van den Dungen.
“I like to think of it as the longer the wait the sweeter the taste of the incredible categories that are part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships.
“Amongst the incredible category line-up on offer this year, I’m extremely excited to see the National Trans Am Series get stuck into the action-packed racing that these modern V8-powered, rear-wheel drive muscle cars always provide. The calibre of drivers and their mouth-watering machines will be a must-see for any motorsport fan!”
“Having been involved in the inaugural season of TCR and the first race of S5000 last year, the natural progression into the second year is going to be great. ARG have secured more racing categories as well, with Trans Am and TCM, so the undercard is as good as the main event,” said Perkins.
“After everything we’ve gone through in 2020, it’s great that we’re finally going racing again and to have Motorsport back on Channel 7, with a new team, new people – its great to be a part of it!
“Touring Car Masters is a real crowd favourite. The old cars and in some cases old drivers attract a lot of attention! These cars have lots of power, vary in shapes and sizes and the racing is always very exciting through the field.”
“Like everyone, I cannot wait to get back to the track,” said Dane.
“It’s been a rollercoaster year so far, but this is definitely something to look forward to – the racing should be fantastic with everyone so keen to get back behind the wheel and the coverage will give fans at home plenty to tune in for.
“Honestly, I thought my broadcasting days were long behind me in the UK, but I’ll never turn down an opportunity to go racing, so I’m massively excited to be joining such a great team who will be aiming to deliver the best possible television for the fans.”
“There’s always a lot of anticipation over the off-season and this extended break has certainly built our excitement to get back out there,” said Taylor.
“I think the atmosphere is going to be incredible and I can’t wait to be a part of it.
“It’s going to be a strange feeling flipping positions and being on the other side of the microphone. I’m sure it’s going to be a steep learning curve, but I’m really excited to be part of the action from a different perspective.”
As the Triple M Network celebrates it 4Oth birthday, Triple M is going back to the nineties with a dedicated station – Triple M 90s, launching on Monday July 20 on the Triple M app and DAB+ radio.
The station will celebrate a pivotal era for Triple M’s music history, featuring a plethora of the best 90s tracks, some of which haven’t been heard on the radio in many years. From the rock of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden to the party anthems from The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim.
The new station is the latest addition to the network’s line up of DAB+ stations, including Triple M Soft Rock, Triple M Country, Triple M Classic Rock, and Triple M Hard N Heavy. Triple M 90s will replace Triple M Greatest Hits.
The new station can be heard across all DAB+ markets including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and will be included as an additional station option in Perth.
Head of music – Hit and Triple M Networks, Mickey Maher, said: “The 90s was a turning point for the sound of rock, delivering so many awesome bands and songs, many unheard on Australia radio in years! Now you’ll hear them in one place, Triple M 90s on DAB+ radio.”
Triple M’s full suite of DAB+ stations can be accessed via DAB radio, the Triple M app or at www.TripleM.com.au
Sony Music Australia has announced three new staff appointments for the Sydney based team: Alexander Franco joining A&R, Annette Gevert joining promotions and communications and Jessica Barlow joining sync/licensing.
Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand Denis Handlin said: “I am thrilled that Franco, Annette and Jess have decided to join the company in their new crucial creative roles. Each of them brings a significant amount of experience in their own field and respect in the market with important relationships. I look forward to the valuable contribution that they will make to our artists, their teams and the company.”
‘Franco’ as he is known throughout the industry, has been appointed senior director, A&R and creative development. Franco will report to Pat Handlin (VP, A&R, ANZ) and commences with the company on July 27.
In a newly created position, Franco will sign and develop his own roster of artists, as well as take over A&R responsibilities for some of the existing artists amongst Sony Music’s diverse roster. Franco will also be a key strategist between the A&R and domestic artists marketing teams allowing the creative vision of artists to be fostered, encouraged and then executed in ground-breaking campaigns.
Franco joins Sony Music from Future Classic where he held the role of senior director of marketing and artist manager from 2016. He has been integral in the development of Flume, G Flip, Hayden James and Flight Facilities. Prior to this, he spent four years as marketing manager at EMI Music Australia working with artists including Alison Wonderland, Sam Smith and Keith Urban. He has also held marketing and communications roles at SBS and Good Vibrations Festival.
In addition to his role at Sony Music, Franco will continue to manage multi-award-winning Hip Hop artist B Wise (who is signed to The Orchard, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment) and emerging new R&B artist, Jeida Woods.
Franco said: “I’m excited to join a global powerhouse like Sony Music for the next chapter of my career. I look forward to working closely with their impressive roster, while signing and developing the next crop of stars that will resonate far beyond Australian shores.”
Gevert has joined the company as national promotions & communications manager, reporting jointly to Dan Nitschke (VP, business development & media partnerships) and Grant Donges (VP, international artists marketing & communications).
Gevert will be responsible for managing promotions relationships with youth and alternative radio, importantly including Triple J and Double J, as well as other media partners including community radio and alternative media. She will also have communications responsibilities for a range of artists on the domestic and international roster.
Gevert joins the company from boutique PR and communications agency, Positive Feedback, where she held the role of publicist, driving PR campaigns for a variety of artists and clients. An experienced promotions and communications specialist throughout her 12-year industry career, Gevert has held roles in both Sydney and Melbourne at Dew Process, Secret Service Public Relations, the Mushroom Group, Shock Records and Warner Music Australia.
On joining the company, Gevert said: “I am so very pleased to be joining the brilliant team at Sony Music Australia. I have been blown away by the warm welcome that I have so far received from my fellow colleagues, artist managers and media partners. It is an absolute honour to be given the responsibility to represent the extensive and diverse roster of Sony Music’s world class artists.”
Barlow has commenced with the company as licensing manager, reporting to Hannah Marsh (director, licensing & business development).
In this role, Barlow will be responsible for developing the company’s licensing and synchronisation business by pitching Sony Music repertoire to clients and responding to incoming music briefs. The role involves working across a far-reaching client base, which includes key clients such as music supervisors and TV networks.
Barlow joins Sony Music from Warner Music Canada, where from 2018 she held the role of synchronisation & licensing consultant, responsible for creative strategy and video game licensing. Prior to this, she held the role of synchronisation & licensing manager at Warner Music Australia from 2016. She has 10 years of experience in licensing that also includes working at Alberts, Universal Music Publishing Group in London, EMI Music in London and EMI Music Australia.
Barlow said: “I am ecstatic to be joining the Sony Music team! Their passion and support for their artists, as well as their reputation in market, is second to none. I am really looking forward to jumping in and start working with the team to create new opportunities for their renowned domestic and global roster.”
By Andrew Mercado
Journalists and comedians have been getting very personal lately, and the audience is all the better for it. Now the revelations keep coming from Shaun Micallef, Kurt Fearnley, Amy Schumer and Paul Hogan.
There’s already been Adam Hills: Take His Legs (10Play), which was about football, so everybody loved it. Stan Grant’s moving “I Can’t Breathe” on Four Corners (iview) was about racism, so everyone didn’t love it and the usual suspects couldn’t shut up about why they hated it. Sigh.
Now we have Shaun Micallef’s On the Sauce (Tuesday on ABC) examining Australia’s relationship with alcohol, using personal recollections about his own family and past, while Jack Thompson revisits his alcohol-soaked classic Wake in Fright (still the greatest Aussie film ever made, now on iview).
Micallef is pretty revealing but it’s hard to top Americans when it comes to going on a “journey”. Amy Schumer’s three-part docuseries Expecting Amy (Binge) is about as personal as you can get, with the highs and lows of her new marriage, debilitating pregnancy and then the birth. Fans will love it.
What a great idea to get Kurt Fearnley to take over from Barrie Cassidy as the new host of One on One (Thursday on ABC). Even better, his first guest is Dylan Alcott. See, it really is that easy to get more diversity on screen.
The Very Excellent Mr Dundee (Amazon Prime) is the best Paul Hogan movie since the first Crocodile Dundee. Many seem desperate for him to be the poster boy for “cancel culture” but Hoges is already one step ahead, portraying himself in this mockumentary as a dinosaur who puts his foot in it every time he leaves his Hollywood mansion.
The gags are non stop and spot on and the cast is a hilarious mix of new talent, Hollywood biggies and local comedians. There’s everyone from John Cleese to Paul Fenech, and Olivia Newton-John to Bev Killick.
Speaking on Studio 10, Angela Bishop didn’t correct Hoges when he messed about why that episode of Fawlty Towers was problematic. It was not because of WWII jokes about Germans, it was temporarily removed because of racial slurs, specifically the ‘N’ word. It’s no wonder Hoges was confused given how many in the media have misrepresented the facts. Fawlty Towers is now back on its UK streaming site with a disclaimer. Calm down everyone.
It’s going to be great to see Aussie music back on TV. The Sound (Sunday on ABC) will be all live music, but pre-taped so we don’t have any Molly incidents like the old days of Countdown. Fingers crossed.
By James Manning
• Seven takes the points with Perth AFL match close to 700,000
• Dennis Cometti visits Basil Zempilas during Seven’s AFL coverage
• Raiders win over the Roosters keeps Nine #1 Sydney & Brisbane
Seven News 1,127,000/1,092,000
Nine News 1,063,000/997,000
ABC News 768,000
A Current Affair 615,000
The Project 308,000/529,000
10 News 424,000/263,000
News Breakfast 223,000
News Breakfast 216,000
SBS World News 190,000
The Drum 179,000
Seven: Home and Away wrapped for the week on 586,000 after strong audiences close to 700,000 on the first three nights.
The AFL followed on either Seven or 7mate across the network with 695,000 watching Collingwood snuff out a late resurgence from Geelong. The Melbourne audience was 439,000. Footy fans got to see Dennis Cometti return briefly to the network when he visited Basil Zempilas in the commentary position during the broadcast.
Nine: A Current Affair’s dipped to 615,000 on an episode that featured an interview with Scott Morrison.
The NRL then screened across the network on Nine or 9Gem with 351,000 watching the Raiders upset victory over the Roosters. The Sydney audience was 202,000 with 122,000 in Brisbane.
10: After launching with 595,000 on Wednesday, the second episode of Bachelor in Paradise was on 501,000. The episode again performed strongly in the demos, ranking #1 Thursday 16-39 and 18-49.
Earlier in the night The Project 7pm did 529,000.
Later in the night Celebrity Gogglebox USA was on 274,000.
ABC: The property hunt was in the Byron Bay region on Escape from the City with 295,000 watching an episode that took nearly two years to get to air. Prices in the property hot spot have move up significantly since.
The Heights was on 183,000 after 8pm.
SBS: Another travel by train series has moved into the Thursday night schedule with the first of the two-part repeat of Inside the Orient Express screening to 239,000 at 7.30pm.
Drain on Alcatraz then did 203,000, followed by the second week of War of the Worlds on 190,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.9%||7TWO||3.8%||GO!||1.8%||10 Bold||4.5%||VICELAND||1.4%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||5.3%||GEM||1.9%||10 Peach||2.5%||Food Net||1.1%|
|9Rush||1.0%||SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.2%||7TWO||5.8%||GO!||2.3%||WIN Bold||5.2%||VICELAND||1.5%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||4.2%||GEM||3.6%||WIN Peach||2.3%||Food Net||0.8%|
|ABC NEWS||1.8%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.5%||9Life||2.7%||Sky News on WIN||1.9%||NITV||0.2%|
|THURSDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top Five
18-49 Top Five
25-54 Top Five
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
Film and television productions will be lured to Australia with $400 million in cash grants in a federal plan to capitalise on the country’s low rate of coronavirus infections compared to other countries, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s David Crowe.
The Morrison government will offer the new incentive on top of existing tax breaks after attracting films such as Thor: Love and Thunder, Godzilla Versus Kong and Monster Problems.
While border controls will limit the immediate take-up of the new scheme, the government is pitching the incentive as a way to bring work to a safe location in Australia when productions have stalled in Hollywood and elsewhere.
The taxpayer aid for the entertainment business is contentious at a time when other industries are seeking help, but the government argues the support has paid off in the past with thousands of jobs.
Government modelling suggests the $400 million would attract about $3 billion in foreign expenditure in Australia and would create 8000 new jobs over the seven years of the new program.
The new offer, called the Location Incentive, adds to an existing Location Offset that gives film and television producers a tax break for big-budget productions.
The government estimates 10 productions have gained support worth $123 million from the Location Offset for productions including the Thor and Godzilla movies, as well as Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
“I am excited to announce that we have appointed Ted Sarandos to be Netflix co-CEO with me, and also elected him to our board of directors,” said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings today.
“He will continue as our chief content officer. We have also appointed Greg Peters to be our chief operating officer, in addition to his role as chief product officer.
“Ted’s been instrumental to our success as a company. While I saw streaming coming and pushed for it, Ted drove the revolution in our content strategy, which was way ahead of its time and has been key to our continued success. It was typical of his ability to see where the industry – and consumer tastes – are headed. He’s built an extraordinary team, attracting some of the most creative and best entertainment executives from all around the world.”
“In terms of the day-to-day running of Netflix, I do not expect much to change. Our key executive leadership groups are unchanged. So think of Ted’s well deserved promotion formalising how we already run the business today.”
Sarandos commented: “I’m excited and honoured to have been appointed co-CEO of Netflix. When Reed and I first met over 20 years ago, he described Netflix almost exactly as it now works. But at the time, I was sceptical. The Internet was still new and Netflix’s main competitor, Blockbuster, was huge and had completely disrupted the business model of my previous company. Part of Reed’s brilliance is his persistence and so I eventually said yes, back in 1999.
“My journey to co-CEO of Netflix has been as a fan of great entertainment. And that’s my commitment to Netflix members going forward: to keep pushing the boundaries of what a consumer-first company can achieve for people who love stories.”
Music mogul Simon Cowell is taking full control of Got Talent and The X Factor prodco Syco Entertainment, after striking a deal with Sony Music Entertainment, reports TBI.
The agreement will see Cowell personally buying out Sony’s stake in the joint venture, with ownership of all of the TV formats being moved into a privately held company, also to be called Syco Entertainment.
Cowell will have sole ownership of this independent entertainment company, having maintained a buy-back option. As part of the agreement, Sony Music will retain the JV’s music assets, including its roster of current artists and back catalogue.
Cowell said: “I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Rob and all of the Sony Music executives, artists and partners all over the world. It’s been a unique partnership and Sony have always backed and supported me to create television formats.”
Rob Stringer, chairman of Sony Music Group, added: “At this particular contractual crossroads, it was simply the right thing for Simon to take control of his TV assets and propel his company in a new direction.
“Sony Music has had incredible global success with so many artists that have been launched through Simon’s vision and innovation and we are proud to continue to represent the Syco music catalogue and its artists. On a personal note, it has been an amazing adventure working with him as we have shared so many exciting pop culture moments as friends and partners.”
Sony purchased Cowell’s share of Syco Music and Syco Television in 2005. Four years later, The X Factor host launched a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment whereby the JV owned the rights to several formats including Got Talent and X Factor.
The Got Talent brand currently has 76 local versions produced around the world, while The X Factor airs in more than 130 territories.
Jessica Watson had the whole of Australia behind her when she sailed back into Sydney after her 210 day solo, non-stop voyage around the world. It was a moment in history most Aussies will probably never forget.
A feature film is now being developed for Netflix based on her #1 best-selling memoir, True Spirit.
The writers are Cathy Randall and Sarah Spillane. Spillane will also direct the film.
Sydney’s Sunstar Entertainment will produce True Spirit, with US producer Debra Martin Chase.
Sunstar’s directors, Shahen Mekertichian and Andrew Fraser, have worked together on this project for many years and were elated that it will finally be made into a feature film.
“The hallmark of Sunstar Entertainment has been to bring to the world audience true, inspirational, Australian-centric stories. We feel privileged to have finally found the right partner in Netflix to articulate Jessica’s incredible story authentically and without compromise. We’re really pleased to make this exciting announcement today,” said Mekertichian.
“True Spirit has been Sunstar’s passion project. We have waited a long time for the stars to align and for us to feel comfortable that the right ingredients were present to do justice to Jessica’s achievement. Our partnership with Netflix will ensure Jessica’s epic story is shared with a global audience, as it deserves to. We’re really happy for Jessica too,” said Fraser.
Jessica, who is also represented by Sunstar, said: “It’s quite humbling to have Netflix bring my story to life. I hope that the film inspires people around the world to try sailing and to also pursue their own adventures. I’m thrilled that it will be directed by Sarah and supported by such a strong production team. I look forward to working with them all as a technical consultant.”
True Spirit information
Writers: Sarah Spillane and Cathy Randall
Director: Sarah Spillane (Around the Block, This Life)
Producers: Debra Martin Chase (Harriet, The Princess Diaries, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) for Martin Chase Productions and Andrew Fraser (Lion) for Sunstar Entertainment
Executive Producers: Shahen Mekertichian (Lion) for Sunstar Entertainment, Sarah Spillane
For the three leads in the new, epic fantasy-drama Cursed, the biggest danger wasn’t wizards, demons, bloody sword battles or religious fanatics. Rather, it was the fact they might slip back into their natural Australian accents, reports News Corp’s James Wigney.
Against all the odds for Netflix’s big budget retelling of that most British of tales, the King Arthur legend, three of its main actors learned their craft in Perth, literally a world away from the mythical Camelot.
Katherine Langford, who plays the magical Nimue, was born and raised in Perth, going on to get her break in the controversial 2017 drama, 13 Reasons Why.
Devon Terrell, who plays Arthur and is best known for his role as Barack Obama in the 2016 biopic Barry, was born in the US but moved to Australia at the age of five.
And Shalom Brune-Franklin, who plays the feisty nun Igraine, relocated from England at 15 and studied drama at the Western Australia Academy of the Performing Arts.
Shaun Micallef isn’t that big on functions and parties, but when he does socialise his beverage of choice is mineral water, reports TV Tonight.
He hasn’t partaken of alcohol since his university days, nearly 30 years ago. But being an abstainer comes with its own pitfalls.
“I often feel like I’m an observer, although there are increasingly more things I go to where people aren’t drinking to excess. But in the early days, it was like I was not really there. I was just kind of observing something else going on. So that’s the downside to it, because you just feel a bit ‘other.’ You don’t feel like you’re really part of the community that you’re living in,” he tells TV Tonight.
“If you’re offered a drink and you say ‘No thanks,’ the response can be ‘Why?
“It’s kind of taken as a judgment of them,” he explains.
“It’s taken as such a personal rebuff of a gesture of friendship.
In his latest ABC series Shaun Micallef’s On the Sauce, he travels around the nation to discover the new face of alcohol in Australia. He is confronted by the highs and lows of alcohol consumption and witnesses the changing shape of a national pastime.
Footy commentators have accused Bruce McAvaney of delivering a flippant description of Collingwood star Jordan De Goey’s sexual assault charge, reports news.com.au’s Tyson Otto.
The Channel 7 icon was commentating on Thursday night as De Goey celebrated his return to the Collingwood side with the first goal of the match against Geelong in Perth.
McAvaney – in the eyes of some – appeared to describe the assault charge as a “hiccup” for the Collingwood player, leading to a social media storm.
The 67-year-old responded to the criticism when he took a moment after the Magpies’ 22-point win to apologise for his comment.
“I do apologise. Jordan is facing some serious allegations and it’s more than a hiccup and I realise that. So for anyone that’s taken offence, I understand completely.”
While McAvaney has moved to clarify his comment, footy commentators were earlier quick to criticise him for a poor choice of words.
The Australian’s Jessica Halloran posted on Twitter: “The Victorian Police have charged Jordan De Goey with sexual assault. A ‘hiccup’?”.
Halloran has previously campaigned for the AFL to adopt the same “no-fault stand down” rule that stops NRL players from playing while there is a serious matter before the courts.
Fox Footy reporter Max Laughton posted on Twitter: “A ‘hiccup’ for Jordan de Goey. Not great”.