Tuesday May 12, 2020

Alan Jones out, Ben Fordham gets 2GB breakfast ahead of Ray Hadley

• Nine Radio to appoint new Sydney drive and Brisbane breakfast hosts

Ben Fordham has been named as the new host of 2GB’s breakfast program replacing legendary broadcaster Alan Jones, who this morning announced his retirement following advice from his doctors.

Fordham got the breakfast job ahead of Ray Hadley. “Ben has my full support,” said Hadley this morning. “I am supportive of management’s decision. To appoint me to the breakfast shift wouldn’t have been the correct decision.” Hadley added he expects his radio career to end at the expiration of his current contract in five years’ time.

Fordham is a Walkley award winning journalist who has won “Best Talk Presenter” in Australia five times and who has, for almost decade, served as 2GB’s host in the fiercely competitive Drivetime slot where he consistently tops the ratings.

“We are delighted that Ben is stepping up to host 2GB’s breakfast program,” said Tom Malone, Nine’s managing director – radio. “For decades 2GB’s breakfast show has set the agenda for Sydney and the country, and Ben will continue this great legacy and bring his unique energy to the show.”

Fordham said he was excited to be taking up the mantle as host of the #1 breakfast show in Sydney.

“I feel a sense of both responsibility and opportunity. There’s a huge responsibility in taking over from Alan and the opportunity to bring my own flavour to breakfast,” said Fordham.

“Alan is the most successful broadcaster in the history of Australian radio.  There will only ever be one Alan Jones. My first taste of radio was as a 15-year-old work experience kid on the Alan Jones breakfast show. I can’t quite believe that all these years on I’m taking over the position he’s made his own”.

After launching his career in the 2UE newsroom, and Sky News Australia, Fordham joined the Nine Network in 1999 and has been a leading reporter on A Current Affair, and a senior journalist for Nine News, including stints on the Today show, 60 Minutes, and working with Laurie Oakes in the Canberra Bureau.

Fordham has been awarded Best Talk Presenter five times (2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019) and voted Best Metropolitan Current Affairs Presenter in 2017 in the prestigious ACRA Awards.

Nine also confirmed it would look to introduce a local breakfast program to 4BC in Brisbane. An announcement on this will be made in due course.

“With Ben in Breakfast, Ray Hadley in Mornings – broadcasting to more than 30 stations across the country, Deb Knight in Afternoons, and a new Drive host to be announced, we know we have the right team to build on 2GB’s great position as the #1 radio station in Sydney.” said Malone. “Meanwhile in Brisbane we know 4BC deserves a local breakfast program and we will be making an announcement on this in the coming weeks.”

Nine’s CEO Hugh Marks said: “I want to acknowledge Alan for his contribution to 2GB, and prior to that 2UE, over many years. Alan has shown a dedication to his craft unlike any other and with that dedication comes excellence.

“This focus on his program’s content has given him outstanding audience loyalty demonstrated over decades. We wish him well and thank him for all he has done.”

“Alan’s radio career is without peer,” said Tom Malone. “The most telling indicator of his greatness was the switch from 2UE to 2GB – when Alan moved stations and the audience followed in lockstep. Alan did not miss a beat at #1. Sydney’s listeners repaid his advocacy with loyalty – Alan has always put them first.

“Alan is a giant of Australian radio. We look forward to celebrating his soaring achievements at the appropriate time. We wish him well and thank him for everything he has achieved.”

Jones will be continuing to broadcast on Sky News and will also continue writing for The Daily Telegraph and The Australian.

Television milestone for 10 news presenter who transitioned to commentator

By James Manning

• “Our healthy debates might border on arguments at different times”

Under the current lockdown laws, it was hard for former 10 Perth news presenter and now Studio 10 presenter Narelda Jacobs to celebrate her recent milestone at the network. “I have two people coming around to our house tonight. Woo!” she told Mediaweek recently.

Jacobs this month celebrates 20 years with Network 10. She recently relocated to Sydney from Perth for love, to be with her partner Stevie Cruz Martin, a film and TV commercial director.

Network 10’s Narelda Jacobs

After landing a job in a regional TV newsroom straight out of university, Jacobs thought it was her dream job. Everything she has achieved since that role with GWN in Bunbury has been a bonus.

Jacobs is now a Studio 10 presenter and she presents weekend news for the Perth market out of Sydney when required.

Of her move from news presenting to a talk show, Jacobs told Mediaweek: “It was a big jump because news anchors didn’t really have opinions they could share. I was always taught to remain independent and unbiased and not make political statements at all.

“That is what I adhered to for 19 years. When I first had the opportunity to appear on Studio 10 and also The Project I realised I did have things I wanted to say. For my personal growth I wanted a bit of a challenge and then this job became available.”

Jacobs celebrates 20 years at 10 with Studio 10 colleagues Sarah Harris, Angela Bishop and Joe Hildebrand

Jacobs said the industry is more relaxed now about news presenters having an opinion. “I was always openly gay and I’m an aboriginal. It’s been pretty hard to separate those things, especially during the marriage equality debate. With social media people are now commenting on everything via Instagram and other platforms.”

Jacobs said working on Studio 10 gives her a wonderful platform to share he views. “I started a couple of weeks before January 26 and it gave me a platform to be able to share things I felt really passionately about regarding when we should be celebrating Australia Day. A month after that came Mardi Gras which gave me a chance to talk about LGBTQIA+ issues which I also feel passionately about.”

Joel Creasey, Narelda Jacobs, Courtney Act and Zoë Coombs Marr hosted SBS Mardi Gras coverage this year

After reading social media comments after she spoke on both topics, she was reminded there were plenty of people who didn’t share her views. “I thought I might be getting a collective hug from all of Australia! What I do appreciate is that it starts a conversation for things we need to talk about.”

Working at Network 10 comes with complete freedom of any editorial input in the news, said Jacobs. “We just react to the news of the day and we have never pulled any stories, never been cautious when we have approached stories and that is the beauty of Channel 10. We have always had the freedom to be journalists.

“There is a lot of job security here with the backing of ViacomCBS and we feel the future is looking pretty good. Everybody has always said they like working at Network 10 and that’s something I agree with.

“I worked through several waves of redundancies. When people depart they often come back after time at another network. We are a bit of a family.”

Jacobs with Studio 10 team Sarah Harris, Natarsha Belling, Angela Bishop and Joe Hildebrand

Jacobs is enjoying working with new colleagues on a daily basis at Studio 10, “I have such a lot of respect for them. They do a wonderful job. Sarah Harris and Joe Hildebrand do a wonderful job and it’s good how we challenge each other all the time. The aim of it is to get people at home thinking about issues and to see what position they take on it. Our healthy debates might border on arguments at different times, but we always respect each other.

Kerri-Anne Kennerley has upset some members of the team in the past who have called her different names. “I get on really well with Kerri-Anne and really respect her,” said Jacobs.

Politically Kennerley and Jacobs could be quite far apart we asked? “When I am with her I wouldn’t know because we get on very well. I appreciate working with someone like her because she represents a lot of the community. She knows television better than anybody in the country and I am learning stuff from her.”

Lockdown has meant Jacobs hasn’t been able to visit Perth – she had to cancel her Easter travel plans and a recent weekend trip too. “I now have the opportunity to read the weekend news for Perth as it comes out of Sydney. That has been great and allows me to maintain a connection with the city.”

Top Photo: Network 10’s Narelda Jacobs

Nova's original podcast The Babble returns for season 3

• Season three of The Babble podcast will return, now featuring three episodes a week.

Matty J and producer Ruby Teys will be covering the return of Mondays listener letters and special guests, Thursdays review on all things celebrity and entertainment and an all-new fan-requested Pop Culture Quiz episode on Saturdays.

A diverse range of guests will join the team on Mondays including the first guest Hollywood heavy weight and former MTV VJ Keiynan Lonsdale, known for roles in The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, The Divergent Series: Insurgent and The Finest Hours. Mondays episodes will also feature Will Égg Boy’ Connolly, the Australian teenager who donated close to $100,000 to the survivors of the Christchurch terrorist attack, after smashing an egg on Senator Fraser Anning’s head. Égg Boy has now raised $200,000 for the long term mental health support of Australia’s bush fire victims and travels the world for global unity outreach programs.

Andrew Brentnall, Nova’s Managing Editor said, “The Babble is a great example of Nova’s strategic direction to build new audiences through original and relevant content. Digital audio plays an important role in the future of Australian media and is an exciting place to see real creativity shine through. Our original content is developing and adapting to the needs and wants of the Australian market. The Babble is now even more focused on providing light relief during these challenging times – hand picking the best entertainment stories to discuss, finding the most interesting people to interview and delivering quirky answers to listener problems. In response to audience demand for more content from The Babble, we are now publishing three times a week and launching a special quiz off each Saturday to provide an opportunity for listeners to become involved.”

The Babble launched in November 2019 and is the Nova Network’s first original popular culture podcast.

TV Ratings Monday May 11 Week 20 2020

By James Manning

• Lego Masters selects four remaining teams for Finals Week
• Hamish Blake underwater during most-watched ep this season
• Twist Week on MasterChef: Teams swap in middle of challenge

Seven News 1,337,000/1,234,000
Nine News 1,184,000/1,143,000
ABC News 927,000
A Current Affair 891,000
7.30 777,000
Four Corners 706,000
Media Watch 658,000
The Project 413,000/647,000
Q+A 517,000
10 News 491,000/315,000
Sunrise 312,000
The Drum 256,000
News Breakfast 243,000
The Latest 226,000
Today 218,000
SBS World News 201,000
Nine News Late 161,000

Nine: Lego Masters finished its short week with the last elimination before Finals Week. Missing the cut last night were Jennifer and Jodie who bowed out with what Brickman called their best build of the competition. The Monday constructions were made for underwater, with a wet-suited Hamish Blake supervising the lowering of each of them into a tank toward the end of the episode. The episode did 1,238,000, well up on last week’s 1,089,000.
After 7pm A Current Affair was on 891,000 after a week 19 average of 712,000.
Later in the night the second episode of Emergence did 344,000.

Seven: Laith and George topped the leader board on House Rules after its three-episode short week. The Monday ep did 568,000 after 625,000 a week ago.
9-1-1 did 344,000 later in the night.
Earlier in the night Home and Away was on 707,000 after a week 19 average of 639,000.

10: “This week we are going to push you further than you’ve even been pushed before,” promised MasterChef judge Andy Allen to his contestants last night. A service challenge saw Melissa divide the remaining 17 contestants into two teams with Hayden sitting out. Each team had to cook for 50 people with three hours to prep. The first curve ball thrown in Twist Week was making the teams swap halfway through the cook. The clever surprise made it all the more interesting although none of the contestants were thrilled. The Monday episode did 870,000 after 876,000 a week ago.
The second episode of HYBPA? saw Ed and Sam joined by Lloyd, Celia and Mel. Ed was the clear winner as was the channel in the timeslot with 868,000 watching after a launch episode did 935,000 a week ago. 

ABC: Four Corners had the biggest audience after News and 7.30. The 8.30pm current affairs audience was 706,000 for an episode on Donald Trump and his leadership during the COVID-19 health crisis.
Elsewhere last night Australian Story did 670,000, Media Watch was on 658,000 and Q+A had an audience of 517,000 watching the east coast mainland premiers talking about their response to COVID-19 and their road map back.

SBS: The Secrets of the Royal…Jewels was the second episode in a season of five about the British royal family. The episode did 244,000 for the channel’s biggest audience.

Week 20 TV: Friday-Sunday

ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 15.6% 7 17.3% 9 21.0% 10  16.1% SBS One 4.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 1.8% 7TWO 3.5% GO! 1.8% 10 Bold 3.0% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 0.4% 7mate 2.8% GEM 2.4% 10 Peach 1.9% Food Net 0.8%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 1.7% 9Life 1.5%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.2%     SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 19.2%   25.2%   27.9%   21.0%   6.7%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 14.6% 7 20.5% 9 16.5% WIN 12.4% SBS One 3.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 4.3% GO! 1.5% WIN Bold 3.8% VICELAND 1.2%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 4.4% GEM 4.4% WIN Peach 2.2% Food Net 0.6%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.4% 9Life 1.7% Sky News  on WIN 2.1% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.9%
TOTAL 18.6%   30.6%   24.1%   20.5%   6.3%


89.0% 11.0%
Monday FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,337,000
  2. Lego Masters Nine 1,238,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,234,000
  4. Nine News Nine 1,184,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,143,000
  6. ABC News ABC 927,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 891,000
  8. MasterChef Australia 10 870,000
  9. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 868,000
  10. 7.30 ABC 777,000
  11. The Chase Australia Seven 767,000
  12. Home And Away Seven 707,000
  13. Four Corners ABC 706,000
  14. Australian Story ABC 670,000
  15. Media Watch ABC 658,000
  16. The Project 7pm 10 647,000
  17. Hot Seat Nine 627,000
  18. House Rules: High Stakes Seven 568,000
  19. Q+A-Encore ABC 517,000
  20. 10 News First 10 491,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Lego Masters Nine 365,000
  2. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 276,000
  3. MasterChef Australia 10 236,000
  4. The Project 7pm 10 167,000
  5. Seven News Seven 160,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. Lego Masters Nine 624,000
  2. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 440,000
  3. MasterChef Australia 10 395,000
  4. Nine News Nine 318,000
  5. Seven News Seven 308,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. Lego Masters Nine 659,000
  2. Have You Been Paying Attention? 10 474,000
  3. MasterChef Australia 10 426,000
  4. Nine News Nine 391,000
  5. Seven News Seven 385,000
Monday Multichannel
  1. Doc Martin PM 7TWO 173,000
  2. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 171,000
  3. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 166,000
  4. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  5. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 150,000
  6. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  7. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 147,000
  8. Thomas And Friends PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 146,000
  9. Neighbours 10 Peach 146,000
  10. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  11. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  12. ABC News Mornings AM ABC NEWS 140,000
  13. Floogals PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  14. Luo Bao Bei ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  15. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  16. Bargain Hunt PM 7TWO 121,000
  17. The Inspector Lynley Mysteries PM 7TWO 120,000
  18. Rita And Crocodile PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  19. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 115,000
  20. Book Hungry Bears AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 110,000
Monday STV
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 81,000
  2. Credlin Sky News Live 77,000
  3. Outlander FOX One 77,000
  4. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 77,000
  5. Family Guy FOX8 49,000
  6. Family Guy FOX8 46,000
  7. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver COMEDY CHANNEL 46,000
  8. PML Later Sky News Live 45,000
  9. AM Agenda Sky News Live 43,000
  10. Kenny On Media Sky News Live 42,000
  11. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 41,000
  12. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 40,000
  13. Newsday Sky News Live 38,000
  14. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 37,000
  15. Border Security: International FOX8 36,000
  16. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 35,000
  17. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 35,000
  18. Jeopardy! FOX Classics 35,000
  19. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 34,000
  20. AM Agenda Sky News Live 34,000

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

News Corp weighs up regional and community restructure or sale to ACM

News Corp is believed to be weighing up a major restructure of its regional and community publishing portfolio versus proceeding with a sale to Antony Catalano’s Australian Community Media, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

News Corp Australia managing director of mergers, acquisition and strategy Richard Skimin is believed to be running the potential sale process for the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company and charged with keeping New York management in the loop. Sources said News Corp, which is headed locally by Australasia chairman Michael Miller, is running to a strict deadline and if a sale could not be agreed upon, it is ready to pull the trigger on a major restructure of the division.

If a restructure is favoured it will likely mean the closing of titles and a focus on a long-term sustainable model. Miller warned when the media business suspended printing of the community titles that the mastheads needed to be a “viable business” and said some of the publications were “more community service than commercial business”, which was not sustainable.

[Read more]

NZME and Stuff’s merger saga just reached a bizarre new peak

NZME yesterday asked the commerce commission for urgent approval to buy Stuff for $1. Minutes later, Stuff’s owner said it was no longer in talks with NZME, reports The Spinoff’s Duncan Greive.

In the space of a chaotic few hours, the long-running courtship between print media giants NZME and Stuff dramatically escalated, as NZME informed the sharemarket that it was seeking urgent government permission to buy its rival. A hour later Stuff published a story in response, in which its owner, Australian media conglomerate Nine, said that talks between the two had broken off last week.

It didn’t stop there, with NZME posting a follow-up announcement just after noon, asserting that it remained “in a binding exclusive negotiation period with Nine” and “does not accept that exclusivity has been validly terminated”.

The episode began through a story on the NZ Herald site, one of a large number of media properties owned by NZME, which stated that it had filed an urgent application with the Commerce Commission to be given permission to buy its rival. It cited a price of $1, which would exclude certain non-media assets, but include all its liabilities, and a date of settlement of May 31.

[Read more]

News Brands

Editor of Herald Sun and The West defend publishing Laidley image

When the Herald Sun and West Australian pressed publish on a photo of former AFL coach Dean Laidley in custody, Twitter was already abuzz with the Laidley photos, reports Paul Barry on Media Watch. Which is not surprising given that more than 100 police officers had allegedly been sent them via WhatsApp.

But does that justify newspapers and TV showing them too, and adding to his shame? When they could have reported his arrest without the images and prurient details, which for all we know are entirely irrelevant to the alleged crime.

So how does the Herald Sun defend its decision? Editor Sam Weir told us:

The publication of the arrest story and photographs was clearly newsworthy and in the public interest. The story, photographs and accompanying headlines provided a complete and accurate account of the arrest of a high-profile person charged with serious criminal offences, and also a complete and accurate account of the fact there was a police investigation into the leaking of the images. Both were major news stories.

Email, Sam Weir, Editor, Herald Sun, 8 May, 2020

We had a similar response from the editor of The West Australian, Anthony De Ceglie, who told us:

Pictures of a high-profile public figure such as Dean Laidley being arrested are always going to be in consideration for the front page – no matter what the alleged offender is or isn’t wearing.

Email, Anthony De Ceglie, Editor-in-Chief, The West Australian, 10 May, 2020

[Read more]


Network 10 says Pilot Week out, Amazing Race Australia on hold

10 has been forced to call off its third Pilot Week due to the production shutdown caused by coronavirus impact, reports TV Tonight.

The third week of new originals was due in coming months, although no dates had been set.

A Network 10 spokesperson said: “At this stage we are unable to include Pilot Week 2020 in our program schedule due to the impacts that COVID-19 has had on production companies.

“We are extremely proud of the success Pilot Week has achieved and we hope to bring many more entertaining, innovative and groundbreaking pilots to viewers in 2021.”

It’s a disappointing but understandable outcome given the widespread shutdown.

Meanwhile hopes for The Amazing Race Australia to begin filming in June are also out.

“We continue to monitor domestic flight restrictions as well as social distancing regulations to ensure The Amazing Race Australia can go back into production at the right time,” the spokesperson added.

[Read more]

Remembering Mark Ruse, distinguished producer who has died suddenly

Mark Ruse, who was partnered with Stephen Luby in Ruby Entertainment for 20 years, died unexpectedly on Saturday. He was 64, reports Don Groves at IF.com.au.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Ruse produced more than 250 hours of prime-time comedy and drama, more than 20 hours of documentaries and 300 hours of live television.

“Mark was a true gentleman; incredibly talented, understated and generous, he gave many lucky people a leg up in the industry,” Julie Marlow, screen industry consultant and former Film Victoria director, tells IF. “He was a joy to deal with and will be sadly missed by so many.”

Luby said of his colleague and close friend: “Mark was a man of incredible integrity, kindness, creativity, intelligence, dedication, work ethic, humour and goodness.

“His express philosophy was to ‘enable other people’s talents to shine.’ He loved to support and nurture people’s creative journeys (including mine).

“Producer skills developed since his formative years at Swinburne Film and Television School in the 1980s were distilled into an elixir of creative insight and a wise problem-solving capacity that I came to rely upon at every turn.

“He was equally at home providing incisive script feedback, negotiating a contract or doing a Producer Offset final return.”

Ruby Entertainment’s most acclaimed drama is The Secret River, the ABC miniseries directed by Daina Reid, adapted from the Kate Grenville novel.

Starring Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Sarah Snook, Lachy Hulme and Tim Minchin, it won the AWGIE for best miniseries screenplay for Jan Sardi, Mac Gudgeon and Grenville, and was nominated for eight AACTA Awards.

[Read more]

Cold or still simmering – is My Kitchen Rules on the chopping block?

Fuelling rumours My Kitchen Rules will not be renewed is Seven’s investment in Plate of Origin, a soon-to-launch cooking competition starring MKR judge Manu Feildel and MasterChef alumni Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan, reports The Age’s Michael Lallo.

Speculation intensified last week when the debt-laden network, which declined to comment for this story, “amicably” parted ways with Feildel’s MKR co-host Pete Evans.

At first glance, it appears MKR is being broken up and sold for spare parts.

“But it would be a brave programmer to say the show is over and done with,” says Ben Willee, general manager and media director of the Spinach advertising agency. “It’s been a ratings juggernaut for so many years. We’ve seen other reality shows reinvent themselves and Seven would have to be very confident about what they put in MKR’s place before they axe it.”

The show’s value to Seven, Willee says, extends beyond the size of its audience. An original Seven creation, MKR has been sold to more than 160 countries and its format licensed to several international markets. Like most reality franchises, MKR commands a premium from sponsors who want their product featured in the program as well as the ad breaks. It also punches above its weight in the lucrative 25-54 demographic, including those who do the bulk of their household’s grocery shopping.

[Read more]

TV reveal: MasterChef fans stunned by Chris’ marriage revelation

MasterChef contestant Chris Badenoch was eliminated from the competition in Sunday night’s episode, but not before a revelation about his personal life left some fans of the franchise “shook”, reports news.com.au’s Nick Bond.

A package that rolled during last night’s episode revealed a fact about Chris that only MasterChef fans with very long memories could recall: He’s married to fellow contestant Julia Jenkins.

The pair met when they were both contestants on the debut season of the show way back in 2009, with then-23-year-old Julia placing fifth and then-41-year-old Chris coming third, behind winner Julie Goodwin and runner-up Poh Ling Yeow.

After those tentative beginnings, Chris and Julia have stayed the distance, marrying in a simple ceremony in Daylesford in 2013 (they had a wheel of cheese instead of a wedding cake).

[Read more]

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