By James Manning
• Rebuilding Australia, Coronavirus, iHeart, Michael Idato
Audio is one of the best ways to distribute information quickly around the globe, and there is plenty of information out there in podcast world on the coronavirus. Here is a quick guide to just some of what is on offer:
A daily podcast from the ABC health unit answering questions about the virus with Tegan Taylor and Dr Norman Swan. 10 episodes so far.
Last month the PodcastOne global affairs specialist used history and political science to examine the Coronavirus outbreak in two episodes – “Killer epidemics of the 20th century” and “The economic impact of the Coronavirus outbreak”.
Join CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta for the latest news about the coronavirus. 10 episodes so far.
A daily news podcast from NPR in the US that launched this week about the coronavirus pandemic, covering all dimensions of the story from science to economics and politics as well as society and culture. Hosted by Kelly McEvers from Embedded.
The Coronavirus Podcast
BBC News brings listeners the latest on the global coronavirus outbreak, featuring correspondents and expert guests.
Coronavirus 411 podcast provides daily updates, news, alerts, and information regarding the Corona virus COVID 19. Coronavirus 411 collects Information from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) the World Health Organization (WHO) and other news sources. This information is aimed to help people stay informed and updated about Coronavirus with just the facts. 56 episodes so far!
Each day, ABC News (USA) answers questions about COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus. ABC’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton and other experts respond directly to questions submitted by listeners and viewers.
Executive coach Margie Hartley speaks with Australia’s top psychologists and mental health experts on this new PodcastOne series to help guide people through the mental effects the bushfires may have had and seeks advise on how to manage the different feelings and emotions that might pop up. Whether it’s managing anxiety around the uncertainty surrounding bushfires, learning how to deal with the grief and loss suffered during the bushfires, or advice around how to speak to children about what has happened, these experts alongside Hartley will help listeners understand they’re not alone and that help is out there.
Guests in the four episodes now online are CEO of Beyond Blue, Georgie Harman, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Professor Brett McDermott, Head of Crisis Services and Quality at Lifeline, Rachel Bowes, and ‘The Friendly Psychologist’ Jacqui Manning.
Other podcasts at PodcastOne from Hartley are Fast Track: Career Conversations, and Superwomen We Ain’t with Janine Allis.
ARN only recently launched iHeartPodcasts Australia, but it has already been making an impact. ARN’s Commercial Product and Audio Partnerships Director Corey Layton told Mediaweek it was using its market-leading ARN radio stations to promote the shows and to help with discovery. “It can be hard for podcasts to be discovered and to grow the audience. There is so much choice, but we have the opportunity through the radio stations to guide listeners to our content.”
Life Uncut is one of the early podcast successes where iHeartPodcasts Australia has a partnership with hosts, ex-Bachelor contestants Laura Byrne and Brittany Hockley. The series ranked #21 in the latest Podcast Ranker.
A more recent launch is Ordineroli Speaking with former Fox Sports host and reporter Neroli Meadows. “Within days of launching it became Australia’s #1 sports podcast,” said Layton. “Neroli is an incredible talent and we are very lucky to be working with her.”
Layton has been looking for new opportunities and added: “We are also very open for established content creators to come to us.”
Part of the role of the Australian business is to help promote US podcasts from the iHeartPodcast Network. “Audiences enjoy podcasts from all around the world, not just Australia. They don’t ignore international podcasts, just like they don’t ignore international films or TV series.” Layton said close to 80% of podcasts subscribed to by Australians were international podcasts. Half of the Australian podcasts subscribed to come from the ABC, he added.
“The iHeartPodcast international data gives us some clear indicators as to what podcasts will and won’t work. It is not an exact science however, and you need to use gut instinct as well.”
Part of the search for new titles is not just podcasts that will engage with audiences, but that will also let brands integrate into.
Layton wasn’t about to reveal any new signings. “We are just getting started and there is some great content to come as the Australian industry continues to grow. We have a number of projects underway so watch this space.”
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have launched three new podcasts in 2020, offering listeners a whole new range of audio from our newsrooms.
The titles are Good Weekend Talks, The Televisionaries and Naked City, in addition to the relaunch of Real Footy and the expansion of the weekly news podcast Please Explain.
Of most interest to this column is The Televisionaries, a podcast from critics at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age dedicated to all things TV. The series has started with host Louise Rugendyke who was joined by reviewers for The Guide and Green Guide, Michael Idato and Kylie Northover.
In the days of podcasting, Idato was a semi-regular guest on Mediaweek podcasts and it is great to see him back giving his insights and commentary from his Hollywood base.
The very prolific David Koch has recently launched yet another podcast series with PodcastOne. On Kochie’s Property Ladder he takes listeners through all they need to know to get their dream home and at the best price. He delivers his tips on how to best climb the property ladder and become a savvy property investor by telling how to recognise the up and coming areas for property investment, how to manage a rental property with minimal fuss and what is needed to be done to sell property for the best price.
Kochie’s other podcasts are Kochie’s Easy Steps to Financial Success and Kochie’s Guide to Starting Your Own Business.
By James Manning
After 16 years at 3AW, Dwayne Russell made the move to SEN 1116 at the start of this year. Craig Hutchison made the football commentator an offer he couldn’t refuse for his own afternoon show at the sports talk station.
Russell also works for Fox Footy on weekend commentary. The former Port Adelaide SANFL and then Geelong AFL footballer has had a long career in the media including years with K-Rock, the ABC, Nine and time spent in journalism at The Age.
Like Garry Lyon told Mediaweek yesterday, Russell is another member of the Crocmedia family excited about where the CEO is leading the business. “Hutchy’s vision is amazing and it’s good to be riding on his coattails,” Russell told Mediaweek.
Before this move to SEN, Russell had never really considered leaving 3AW. “The opportunity to host my own show was kind of in my mind. The opportunity to do that at 3AW was limited. I did get to host Fright Night Football and I was the solo host of Sports Today/Sportsday when Gerard Healy was away. The opportunity at SEN was one I couldn’t say no to as it’s a very exciting to be able to sit there and talk footy to people.”
Russell won’t hear talk that afternoons can be the hardest shift to build an audience for. “We are talking footy in Melbourne. There should be nothing tough about that. Once you open the lines and tell people they will be able to have their say, they will come.
“It is kind of the dream shift for me as it gives me the chance to be expansive with people. Breakfast shows have to be punchy and don’t have the chance and Gerard’s show at 3AW is an interview show where he gets the big name guests on. I have an opportunity to spend three hours talking to people about the issues of the day. So far it has been great.”
Commuting to Geelong has always been a part of Russell’s day and he sounds pleased he almost has a 9 to 5 job at SEN. “I leave home at 9 am and then get home about 5.30 pm. My family is still getting used to having me home at night.”
Regarding weekend match commitments, Russell said he won’t call as much football for SEN as he did at 3AW. “Because I have my own show I will also get the non-ratings breaks off as well. It is nice to get some time off during the footy season and I will be doing less travel on Thursday and Fridays.
“At Fox Footy they own me every Saturday and Sunday and I go wherever they tell me to.” The SEN commitment works well with Fox Footy and Russell treasures both roles. If he’s interstate for AFL on a Sunday he can always do his Monday radio show from Crocmedia studios interstate.
“Fox Footy has been the main employer of me for a long time and I won’t neglect that.”
Russell enjoys other sports when he gets the chance. His Foxtel connections saw him calling equestrian events at the London Olympics in 2012 and he then did speed skating in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics. He is also a basketball fan and calls some of the NBL games including some of the shortened 2020 Grand Final series.
He gets a break from footy when he goes home. Russell’s daughter is a pilot and his son is not into sport either. He is a performer at a network of bars he co-owns around Geelong and Colac called The Piano Bar.
Russell has set himself a special goal for his SEN afternoon show. “I want to break the all-time listener call per hour record. I want to take as many calls as possible, doing less interviews than many shows do. I want to hear from the audience about what is moving them. That’s nothing new, it’s old school talkback, with a few texts coming in too.”
• Less hours for sports channel with focus on shows, weekends
While exact details of the cuts and new broadcast times are yet to be revealed, The Australian reported the decision could result in 20 redundancies. The News Corp newspaper reported the focus from now will be on morning sports bulletins and the programs NRL Tonight, AFL Tonight and Cricket AM.
Nearly three years ago Fox Sports News was moved out of the Fox Sports family and into Sky News Australia in a move that was not clearly explained. Since then the channel has moved from Fox Sports HQ in Artarmon to Sky News at Macquarie Park before eventually settling at Surry Hills in the News Corp Australia HD where it took over the former studio of Sky News Business and Your Money.
The decision about the change of strategy comes on one of the biggest sporting news days for some time as sports fans awaited a decision on the future of the AFL 2020 season.
The Fox Sports News ratings have not been spectacular for the sports news channel. While that might not have been a game changer in times of prosperity, it seems to have led to this decision in times when the ad market is crumbling.
Quoted in The Australian, Sky News CEO Paul Whittaker said the decision to pull back on Fox Sports News might be the first of some tough decisions still to come: “[The] decision results from trends in viewing away from peak times in recent years, and an industry-wide softness in the advertising market rather than the coronavirus. It is too soon to determine what the long-term effects of the pandemic may be on the industry as a whole and our business.”
Fox Sports chief Peter Campbell said: “I must reiterate Fox Sports News is an incredibly important brand to Foxtel and Kayo providing premium sports video content for our own digital assets including foxsports.com.au and our social media, as well as across the News Corp masthead websites. Fox Sports News content will also continue to be available on Sky News channels, on Qantas in-flight and the Sky News international service Australia Channel.”
Campbell added in a statement: “We are constantly reviewing our channel line-up to ensure our programming reflects what our customers want to watch and when they want to watch it. As a result, we are making some changes to the programming on Fox Sports News effective at the end of this month.
“Customer viewing now peaks in the morning and evening with low daytime viewership, therefore we are going to focus on delivering live sports news and the channel’s marquee programs, including AFL Tonight, NRL Tonight and Cricket AM, during those peak periods.
“Unfortunately, less live sports news programming will mean a number of redundancies from the Fox Sports News team. Where possible we will seek to redeploy employees across the Foxtel group.
“The decision is not about the coronavirus and its impact on sport. It simply reflects fewer viewers, particularly away from peak times – and the very soft advertising market.”
Among Fox Sports News staff to announce their departure from the channel are reporter Daniel Garb, Adelaide reporter Josh Money, Perth reporter Josh Garlepp, reporter and producer Carly Adno, producer Andrew Peake, presenter/reporter Natalie Yoannidis, and reporter Mark Gottlieb.
Fox Sports News cut the show Bill and Boz with Bill Woods and Mark Bosnich earlier this year. Bosnich remains with Fox Sports as an analyst, but Fox Sports News didn’t renew Woods’ contract.
Bauer Media has announced a major multi-platform transformation for its parenting brand Bounty with the launch of a new product review website, a members’ rewards program and a refreshed brand identity.
Through its iconic sample bags, Bounty has been providing information and support to Australian parents and expecting parents for more than 35 years. In this extensive brand expansion and with the launch of BountyParents.com.au, Bounty is now reaching and interacting with parents online as they make their purchasing decisions and seek authentic advice, reviews and information.
The brand expansion also includes a members’ loyalty program for parents and parents-to-be, offering rewards, exclusive offers and the opportunity to be part of product trial teams, as well as a fresh approach to the industry respected Bounty Baby Awards.
Sarah-Belle Murphy, executive general manager at Bauer Media said: “Bounty is such a well-known and trusted brand among Australian parents and the health industry. Our Bounty bags are endorsed by the Australian Midwives Association and hospital-approved, and the reach is unrivalled – getting into the hands of over 80% of both expectant parents in the first trimester and new parents in the first 48 hours of their baby’s life.
“Now, with our digital platform we’ve grown that ability to reach Australia’s broader parenting audience, supporting, advising, informing and engaging across more channels than other parenting brands.
“For our commercial partners a wide range of highly targeted opportunities are available across platforms to connect brands with this very active audience at key life stages, from pregnancy and birth through every parenting milestone.”
The new Bounty digital business builds on the beautyheaven model, leveraging the power of peer-to-peer product reviews, product trial teams, and a robust and highly engaged membership. And it adds to a large portfolio of parenting products ranging from the Bounty Bags to information books, the annual awards and video.
It is also backed by the Bauer digital network and publishing portfolio which reaches an audience of 3.3m and includes heritage brands like Elle, The Australian Women’s Weekly and OK!.
Fiona Baker, Bounty brand director, says Bounty’s expanded digital business makes perfect sense with research showing that the vast majority of parents and parents-to-be turn to online reviews and comparison sites before making purchasing decisions.
“We know that expectant parents and mums and dads are hungry for information about all things parenting – and that extends to the products and services they buy for their family,” Baker said. “Not only are they eager to read, listen and watch parenting content, they are also keen to share their own insights and opinions, and highly rate ‘word of mouth’ reviews.
“The new Bounty website is also a hub for expert advice and information that parents are seeking, with premium content on everything parenting from the time a woman conceives until children are well and truly moving through school.”
By Claudia Siron
The issue is a celebration and dedication to rebuilding post-fires and includes a travel spread to encourage local tourism. The special issue will also donate $1 per copy sold to bushfire relief charities. Editor and content director Alex Noonan spoke to Mediaweek about helping make a difference.
Noonan revealed that having Barber on the cover was a continuation of their partnership as they’ve also collaborated with her in the past. She was first on InStyle’s cover in March last year and received incredible engagement and sales. “She really resonates with our audience,” said Noonan. “We then acknowledged her as a ‘woman of style’ at our big awards last year in May for the incredible way she uses Instagram as a platform to start a conversation and change perceptions around body positivity.
“To see her less than 12 months later using her platform to help raise funds for all the people in need is just brilliant. We really wanted to celebrate that achievement. The reason she wanted to get involved with us on this issue was she knew there was a lot we were doing to continue that conversation as well.”
InStyle is very much committed in a long-term sense to support those communities that have been affected. Noonan said Barber also wanted to collaborate with the magazine as a thank you to all those people who got behind her and helped raise $51m. “That’s why she’s got ‘Power to the People’ written on her hand, which is also a tattoo she’s considering (see full cover below). We saw people come together on such a global scale to make a positive impact and that’s what this issue really is a celebration of. We’re celebrating the best in the Australian spirit and the way people are using their platforms in order to make change.”
Noonan explained InStyle had to find a really authentic way to put a spotlight on this important cause that’s continuing to make a difference. “We’re very much about celebrating women, so we’ve got Celeste on all the incredible work she’s done, as well as also profiling the founder of GIVIT – Juliette Wright – who started the incredible foundation.
“It’s a national, not-for-profit virtual warehouse connecting those who have with those in need. A dollar from every sale of this issue is going to her organisation to help communities continue to rebuild.”
The magazine brand is also working with five partners: Country Road, Linen House, Matt Blatt, Royal Doulton and Pillow Talk. Each partner donated $5000 which InStyle will be giving to GIVIT, to contribute to those who are in need. “We were able to raise $25,000 in vouchers to give people those everyday necessities to rebuild their homes.
InStyle consistently puts a spotlight on shopping, as that’s a huge reason their readers come to them. The brand wanted to highlight rural communities and ways their readers can support those communities. The InStyle team bonded over online shopping just recently and bought something from different regional stores. “That’s through Grace Brennan’s social media movement @Buyfromthebush. It started a conversation with Grace and her team about an ongoing partnership, so we’re committing for at least the next 12 months to put a spotlight on regional businesses and use our platform to drive retail dollars to those communities.”
InStyle has also put together a regional travel piece highlighting five areas. The six-page travel feature showcases Australian destinations to encourage Aussies to keep it local on their next holiday.
Noonan said with the bushfire crisis unfold over the summer, it was amazing to see the Australian community come together and support each other. “To then see everything that’s going on now with the virus with people fighting in supermarkets and so on, we really want to put the focus back on the good part of the country and continue to encourage everyone to keep supporting each other.”
• New studios for Ray, Alan, Ross, John, Kyle, Jackie, Fitzy & Wippa
As the world grapples with the coronavirus outbreak, radio has a more important role than ever to keep audiences well-informed, said Commercial Radio Australia CEO Joan Warner this week.
The comments came as some shows were remote broadcasting from home studios and some staff were in isolation after being tested for the virus.
“Isolation policies, remote working, closures of community meeting places and rapidly changing circumstances mean listeners and businesses will rely on radio for information, entertainment and to stay in touch with breaking news relevant to their local area,” said Warner.
All 260 commercial radio stations around Australia – including 220 in regional areas – have contingency plans and procedures in place to work with emergency and essential services organisations to ensure accurate and timely broadcasts as required.
Warner: “The full impact of the coronavirus on ad spend and the media and marketing industries is uncertain, but what is clear is that it’s essential for governments and businesses to keep communicating with their customers during these challenging times, and radio remains an important and effective channel.”
SCA has asked staff to continue working from their respective offices.
Southern Cross Austereo told Mediaweek it is prepared for any event in the wake of the rapidly changing circumstances of COVID-19. “We have the technical ability and a high level of awareness and training among all our people to either operate in our offices or remotely.”
All staff, including content teams, can work remotely with no interruption to business. “Our Technology Services division has been employing new technologies, software and hardware to meet the challenges of the future. This has resulted in SCA becoming a world class agile media entity able to meet both known and unknown threats to the continuity of our operations.”
All offices remain open and operational at this time.
“SCA has 65 offices across the nation and if any cases do present, we will work with offices on an individual case by case basis. Some offices are in densely populated areas, others are remote, so we will not necessarily adopt one policy for all our operations.
“We are updating our people regularly on any pertinent news and reminding them of personal hygiene best practice. It is a very fluid situation and we remain in close communication with our people and their circumstances. SCA has the ability to make changes quickly and be agile in our thinking.”
Southern Cross Austereo has taken precautionary measures to cancel or postpone all its external listener events nationally.
Southern Cross Austereo has cancelled all non-essential travel to minimise exposure to COVID-19 for its people.
A Nova Entertainment spokesperson told Mediaweek:
“At this stage the majority of our teams (Nova, smoothfm, Fiveaa and Star 104.5) are working from their usual studios but we have the technology, and have been testing this equipment with various announcers over the past few days, to provide us with confidence that they can broadcast from home or an alternative location if need be.
“At this stage Nova 96.9’s Fitzy & Wippa and their team are all broadcasting from their respective homes, a unique situation to broadcast from four locations, while they are awaiting the final results of their tests following close contact with Richard Wilkins who tested positive. The majority of the team have received negative results while we are still waiting on results for a couple of the team.
“Smallzy and his team are experienced at broadcasting remotely, as they travel internationally regularly, so have been using this technology for many years. Smallzy is still broadcasting his night show from the Sydney studios.”
Fitzy & Wippa team update: Yesterday executive producer Tommy, plus Fitzy & Sarah got their Coronavirus results back and they were all negative for COVID 19.
This morning both Matt de Groot and Wippa received news of negative test results for Coronavirus.
At the start of the week both the breakfast shows at 2GB and 3AW were working remotely. 3AW’s Ross and John have plenty of experience at broadcasting from Ross Stevenson’s home after he suffered a bad back several years ag and couldn’t make it into the studio. 3AW’s Neil Mitchell has also been operating from a home studio.
Also working remotely in 2GB’s Alan Jones. Drive host Ben Fordham is also working remotely, but it’s not strictly connected with Coronavirus. Fordham is in Melbourne co-hosting filming of the new season of Nine’s Ninja Warrior.
Kyle Sandilands wondered on Monday why the Nine Radio big stars were not in the studio, but he and Jackie O were. “Does nobody care about us,” he asked listeners (and management).
Come Tuesday morning he and Jackie were both broadcasting from their homes. The hosts were in self-isolation while awaiting the results of Christian Wilkins’ test for COVID-19 (he visited them in studio last week). Now that Christian’s test results have come back negative, Kyle and Jackie are expected back in studio tomorrow.
The program was playing a Best Of show today as Kyle was unwell.
At WSFM, Amanda Keller was broadcasting from home this week, also being cautious after working with Christian Wilkins on TV last Sunday on Dancing with the Stars. Her co-host Brendan Jones explained to listeners he was still in the ARN Macquarie Park studio because he had to operate the panel and put the show to air. “We aren’t as well-resourced as some other shows,” he noted on Tuesday.
At Gold 104.3, the host of Melbourne’s #1 FM breakfast show Christian O’Connell talked about a home set-up ARN techs were putting together in case he needs to broadcast from home in the future.
Top Photo: 3AW’s Ross and John in their home studio
By James Manning
• Nine #1 with commitment ceremony on Married At First Sight
• The audience chooses: The Front Bar v midweek Footy Classified
• News and current affairs shows have biggest week for some time
• Should Seven late news be renamed The Coronavirus Latest?
Monday 519,000/330,000 (6pm)
SBS World News
A Current Affair
Monday 387,000/582,000 (7pm)
Nine News Special: COVID-19
Seven News: The Latest
Wednesday 251,000 (Biggest show since 2018)
ABC News Breakfast
News and current affairs shows are having their best weeks for this year and possibly the best weeks for much longer than that.
Seven News at 6pm has the edge still, but all five network news bulletins are posting bigger audiences.
News and current affairs shows are also doing their best numbers in some time – A Current Affair and 7.30 have each been above 800,000 every night this week.
Nine’s late bulletin has been over 600,000 each night. It has a much better lead-in, and a better name too. Maybe it is time for Seven to work Coronavirus into its title?
It was time for the final commitment ceremony on Married at First Sight with all five remaining couples deciding to stay in the show. The audience was again 1m+ on 1,077,000.
Nine’s new midweek edition of Footy Classified debuted last night. It was a pretty busy night for host Eddie McGuire. After being involved in discussions about the start date of the 2020 season earlier in the day, he guested on Fox Footy’s AFL 360, filmed an intro to the new Footy Classified at the MCG and then made it into the Nine Dockland’s studio to host the show. He was joined on the show by Caroline Wilson and Matthew Lloyd from the Monday program and former coach Ross Lyon made his TV analyst debut. The content was good, the ratings not quite so spectacular. That was partly because it started 90 minutes later than Seven’s The Front Bar in Melbourne. That is also a good thing – going head to head could have been bad news for at least one of the programs.
Seven’s Front Bar was the #2 show in Melbourne, only narrowly trailing the size of the 6pm news audience. The long break meant the writing team was stockpiling gags and it was a cracking Front Bar episode. Viewers had to wait until a little later in the program until new recruit Andy Lee took his place behind the bar. There was a studio audience of just two – some bloke and Sunrise’s Cash Cow.
10’s final Survivor episode of the week was going to be a formality with two versus four. AK was targeted at Tribal Council and a late intervention from the producers gave him a chance in a fire challenge to burn a piece of string. But he couldn’t quite match Moana’s fire skills and the final five is now all set for the final week. The audience of 714,000 was just short of Tuesday’s record.
An encore episode of Hard Quiz was on 753,000 on the ABC.
Mad As Hell also finished top 10 with 737,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.0%||7TWO||3.0%||GO!||1.7%||10 Bold||4.1%||VICELAND||1.2%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||2.4%||GEM||3.1%||10 Peach||2.3%||Food Net||1.1%|
|SBS World Movies||0.9%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||2.1%||7TWO||4.0%||GO!||2.0%||WIN Bold||5.1%||VICELAND||1.2%|
|ABC ME||0.7%||7mate||3.1%||GEM||4.5%||WIN Peach||2.5%||Food Net||0.8%|
|ABC NEWS||2.9%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||1.5%||9Life||2.0%||Sky News on WIN||2.0%||NITV||0.1%|
|WEDNESDAY METRO ALL TV|
16 – 39
18 – 49
25 – 54
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
The ABC has delayed the announcement of its five-year blueprint and job cuts, which was slated for the end of the month, as it focuses on its staff welfare and news reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Australian’s Lilly Vitorovich.
Managing director David Anderson wrote to staff on Tuesday afternoon telling them of the decision, as the government introduced new measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and ordered that non-essential big group gatherings stop.
Anderson said he will come back to staff with “more information on the five-year strategy announcement as soon as we have returned to normal levels of activity”.
The five-year plan was expected to include the loss of around 200 jobs following an extensive review of ABC’s television, radio and online operations, aimed at plugging an $84m budget hole. The ABC was planning to focus beyond the inner cities to suburban and rural communities and improve its representation of multicultural Australia.
The Block in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton will continue production after Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning deemed construction sites still open for business, reports Nine.com.au.
The cast of The Block, alongside host Scott Cam, watched the Prime Minister’s address about the nation’s response to the coronavirus together this morning on site.
The producers of The Block are going to unprecedented levels to make the site safe for everyone, are following all the advice from the Government and giving briefings to contestants throughout the day as the coronavirus situation develops.
Executive Producer and co-creator of The Block, Julian Cress, said they are taking the situation very seriously and will continue to do so, but as of now, the construction is continuing.
“We all stopped this morning to watch the address from the Prime Minister, this is a very fast moving situation,” he said.
As soon as the inevitable decision was announced, the equally predictable responses rolled in: Eurovision’s cancellation was apparently a “silver lining” in an otherwise grim global crisis, reports Nine publishing’s Bevan Shields.
Yes, it’s only a song competition. And the pandemic that felled the contest is first and foremost a grave public health emergency.
But with hundreds of millions gripped by deep anxiety and dread over the coronavirus outbreak, the loss of yet another event that spreads joy during troubled times is nothing to celebrate.
Eurovision’s cancellation is a cultural moment for the continent. The contest was created out of the ashes of World War II and has been uniting an often divided Europe for 64 years since. It has never before been cancelled. Two hundred million people watch on television. Thousands of people will now be out of work and many more fans have had their travel plans thrown into chaos.
Executive producer Sietse Bakker said Eurovision’s loyal community would be disappointed but said perspective was important because “we realise that this decision and its consequences don’t compare” to the challenges faced by Europe during the worsening pandemic.
Rebecca Maddern has been cleared of a coronavirus test and is returning to Australian Ninja Warrior, reports TV Tonight.
She self-isolated as a precaution following a positive test by Today co-star Richard Wilkins, missing two heats with Shane Crawford alongside Ben Fordham.
“I’m negative and that means I’m back to work and back on the set of Ninja Warrior, that I can’t wait for,” she said.
“I hope he had a really good time but sorry Shane I’m back.
“I’m really thankful for him and I’m sure he would have done a terrific job. By all reports he smashed it out of the park.”
Nine has confirmed Season 4 will continue filming at Melbourne Showgrounds.
Producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon, who adapted their thriller Homeland from the Israeli series Prisoners of War (Hatufim), have planted a time bomb under its eighth and final season, reports The Age’s Debi Enker.
When the 12-episode swansong began, CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) had just been released from a Russian prison. During her incarceration, she’d been interrogated and denied the medication she needed for her bipolar disorder. Her memories of the time in jail are hazy, shrouded in shadow, returning in jarring fragments. She doesn’t know what she said or did and large chunks of her time are lost or – at least temporarily – forgotten. So this fierce heroine, a relentless fighter for her country, has now become even more unreliable.
Carrie has always been a maverick: impulsive, reckless, erratic. But also really good at her job, the kind of agent who spots things that others miss. Not one to follow orders, she’s both a loose cannon and a valuable weapon for her country. Now her time in Russia threatens to affect her, and her work, in myriad ways.
As she’s gone about her business, cutting short her convalescence and returning to the frontlines at the behest of her boss, mentor, friend and father figure, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), Homeland has continued to explore the murky operations of the international intelligence community.
Patinkin has said he hoped that Homeland would end on an optimistic note. That’s hard to imagine, although in this volatile fictional world, anything’s possible.
Homeland is on SBS Viceland, Monday, 8.30pm, and On Demand.
Seven, along with the actual footy, the funny and irreverent Front Bar has returned with a star recruit – comedian Andy Lee, reports The Age’s Bridget McManus.
“It’s obviously a stretch to have to sit down and talk footy while having a beer, so I said to them, ‘Look I’ve been in training for this for around 15 years. I think I’m the right man for the job,” says Lee.
“I’ve loved Channel Nine, but it doesn’t mean you can’t love other shows and play elsewhere and I think the television industry has to start understanding that,” says Lee. “As a whole, the television industry could band together a touch more because they’re competing against outsiders. It’s kind of like when the White Walkers came in Game of Thrones and everyone had to settle their differences.”
A Carlton supporter by birth (former player Kevin Hallis his father’s cousin), Lee understands the emotional connection generations of men have with the game. But he has seen how the “religion” holds the same meaning for women.
On their 35th anniversary – to the day – Neighbours has announced it will suspend production – but only until next week – while it assesses filming procedures, reports TV Tonight.
Producers, cast and crew hope to come up with a workable solution, such as smaller crews, to resume work next week.
Network 10 and Fremantle said in a statement, “Neighbours has decided to take a short break this week to ensure the production model in place can withstand any potential impact of the current COVID-19 situation. Today, all cast and crew met to discuss this issue as a result of a specific concern about the pandemic.
“Production will resume on Monday as planned with no interruption to the on-air or delivery schedule. The health and well-being of everyone on the set of Neighbours will always be our priority.”
D-Day was Gill-Day on Wednesday and the most confronting decision in AFL history — to play or not to play — got the green light.
It was the right decision, comments News Corp’s Mark Robinson.
Others will vehemently disagree.
But as the national coronavirus crisis grows by the day, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan determined the show must go on, a decision that perhaps will define his legacy as chief executive.
It is a momentous and brave decision.
In some ways, it seems unreal.