Wednesday May 27, 2020

Think TV: It’s all about content as networks prep H2 2020

By James Manning

• From Big Brother, The Block to The Bachelor and Bake Off

With many sectors starting to awaken from a COVID-19 hibernation, media is one of the sectors that was between a rock and a hard place in the past three months. The demand for its products was at an all-time high, yet monetising those big audiences was a challenge as advertisers juggled their response to the pandemic.

At its peak, linear audiences were up 30% reported ThinkTV, while BVOD saw more than 2 million hours watched in one week.

Now that most sectors are in recovery mode, television in particular is hoping to benefit from the return to spending. One of the ways it is conveying its message to the market is reminding them of the content to come for the remainder of calendar 2020. TV schedules have experienced only minimum impact from productions shutdowns.

When asked by Mediaweek about the first half challenges, “difficult” is how ThinkTV CEO Kim Portrate described it. “The silver lining is perhaps we were originally anticipating a much slower recovery process. But the National Cabinet has opened up an enormous number of industries in the past two weeks which has been good for my shareholders. At the moment times are tough and there’s nobody in the media sector who would suggest otherwise. The question is ‘What is the shape of the recovery and how quickly will it come?’ But nobody has an answer for that.”

While the revenue impact has been less than some were predicting, perhaps the recovery will come quicker than the bleaker forecasts? “I certainly hope so. As customers start to arrive at returning businesses they need to start to advertise. Let’s hope that speeds up the recovery.”

Among advertisers who froze all spending, Portrate speaks about the travel industry. “They really had no option to conserve their funds. Meanwhile food delivery and supermarkets have been doing well. The different reactions across the industry were nuanced.”

As to other sectors broadcasters would like to see find there feet quickly, Portrate pointed to automotive and retail. “As a provider of ad services, we will follow the categories that are growing.”

Despite advertisers holding back, Portrate said her shareholders had not been idle, pointing to Seven’s new ad load experiments and Foxtel’s new streaming service. “The broadcasters are continuing to build their businesses despite some trying economic circumstances. They are working towards delivering more content in a more user-friendly way as we move out of COVID-19.”

ThinkTV leaves the individual sales pitches to the respective members to look after, instead it focuses on big picture issues and at the moment that includes busting any myths surrounding a lack of premium content for the next six months.

There has been a lot of inaccurate coverage suggesting there are real issues surrounding programming for the second half. We know that’s not true, and something that Mediaweek has covered in its conversations with the networks.

“Now is the right time to talk about what people can look forward to in the second half.”

ThinkTV pitches its message to both agencies and clients. “In agencies we reach out to everyone from the trading floor to the CEO and everyone inbetween. Typically the conversations with advertisers are at the more senior levels.”

While Portrate prefers a face-to-face conversation, she realises that is not possible at present so she and her team have adapted quickly to the technology that replaces that. “We are more than able to make do with what we’ve got.”

The TV sector is still awaiting the introduction of the enhanced audience measurement system VOZ and ThinkTV is confident it will definitely launch later in 2020.

In addition to marketing the benefits of television, ThinkTV is now also part of the bigger play by a broader group of Australian media owners, the Premium Content Alliance, explaining the benefits of advertising in premium content from the members.


Get-Ready-To-Be-Entertained from Think TV on Vimeo.

Remembering newsman Tom Krause: Friends and colleagues pay tribute

• Social media has been awash with tributes to one of the greats to Australian journalism Tom Krause.

News of his death spread quickly yesterday and it comes only months after a fundraiser was held for him by the Sydney Media Club in February this year.

The inaugural club event featured an address from Laurie Oakes and was hosted by Nine and 2GB’s Ben Fordham. The aim was to raise funds to help Krause during recovery after a serious injury he suffered in a road accident in 2019.

Krause is best known perhaps for his work as a producer on Nine’s Sunday program and in more recent times he worked at Sky News Australia and on the programs Meet The Press and Sunday Agenda.

Krause used an image of Hunter S Thompson for his photo on social media accounts and he published a blog called Gonzo Meets the Press.

Just a few of the people remembering Krause in posts today are Laurie Oakes (who spoke about his friend on ABC Radio National), Paul Bongiorno, Anita Jacoby, Craig Norenbergs, Peter FitzSimons, Jim Wilson, Peter Ryan, Michael Pascoe, Sarah Stinson, Kathy Franco, Ross Greenwood, Tom Ravlic, Quentin Dempster, Justin Stevens, Angela Bishop, Brett Mcleod, Saron Roobol, Jacqueline Maley, Chris Urquhart, Nina Stevens, Ashleigh Gillon, Michael Usher, Janine Perrett and many more.

Mr Inbetween
FX reveals 2021 schedule: American Horror Story delayed

• Key Foxtel supplier unveils program schedule through until 2021 including AMHS spin-off

One of Foxtel’s key content pipelines has confirmed its programming plans rough until 2021. FX has officially given the green light to American Horror Stories, a spin-off of Ryan Murphy’s award-winning hit anthology series American Horror Story, adding to the FX original programming slate through 2021, it was announced by Eric Schrier, President, FX Entertainment.

At the same time it revealed a new season the original series has been delayed until 2021.

American Horror Stories is a weekly anthology series that will feature a different horror story each episode. American Horror Story, the progenitor of the modern-day limited series format – and the longest running hour-long series in FX’s history — debuts its 10th installment next year. FX has ordered the show through season 13. American Horror Story and American Horror Stories are produced by 20th Century Fox Television.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our roster of new and returning shows slated through next year,” said Schrier. “It has been an extraordinary time for FX over these past three months with the launch of FX on Hulu, which has transformed our business. We believe the continued strength of our original series coupled with the growing awareness of FX on Hulu as our streaming platform will make the FX brand stronger and more relevant and accessible than ever before.”

New FX original series include:

• The 10-episode, half-hour limited series A Teacher, starring Kata Mara and Nick Robinson, from Hannah Fidell, Michael Costigan, Jason Bateman, Danny Brocklehurst and Kate Mara. Produced by FX Productions.
• The drama series The Old Man, starring Jeff Bridges, John Lithgow and Amy Brenneman from John Steinberg & Robert Levine, Warren Littlefield, Dan Shotz, Jeff Bridges, David Schiff and Jon Watts. The Old Man is produced by Fox 21 Television Studios.
• The drama series Y: The Last Man, based on Brian K. Vaughn’s acclaimed comic book series, starring Diane Lane from showrunner Eliza Clark and producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson, and Vaughn. Produced by FX Productions.
• The weekly hour-long anthology American Horror Stories, a spin-off of American Horror Story, from Ryan Murphy and produced by 20th Century Fox Television

Returning series on the slate include:

• Season three of the comedy series Mr Inbetween. Produced by FX Productions.
• The third installment of the Emmy and Golden Globe award winning limited series American Crime Story, Impeachment: American Crime Story, starring Beanie Feldstein, Sarah Paulson and Clive Owen from producer Ryan Murphy and produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions
• The 10th installment of the Emmy and Golden Globe award winning anthology series American Horror Story, produced by 20th Century Fox Television
• Season 11 of the Emmy Award winning animated comedy series Archer. Produced by FX Productions.
• Season three of the Emmy and Golden Globe winning hit comedy series Atlanta created by and starring Donald Glover. Produced by FX Productions.
• The acclaimed and award-winning comedy series Better Things created by, starring, written and directed by Pamela Adlon. Produced by FX Productions.
• Season two of the comedy series Breeders. Produced by FX Productions.
• The second season of the comedy series Dave , the #1-rated US comedy series ever for FX, co-created by and starring Dave Burd. Produced by FX Productions.
• The fourth installment of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning limited series Fargo, starring Chris Rock from Noah Hawley, and produced by MGM Television and FX Productions.
• The record 15th season of the acclaimed hit comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Produced by FX Productions.
• Season three of Ryan Murphy and Steven Canals’ Emmy Award winning drama series Pose. Produced by FX Productions.
• The hit drama series Mayans M.C., produced by Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions.

Independent Media Agencies of Australia
Independent Media Agencies of Australia (IMAA) welcomes new members

The Independent Media Agencies of Australia (IMAA), the new, national, not for profit industry association for the independent media agency industry, has welcomed nine new members.

The new members are: Alchemy One, Indago Digital, Leonards Advertising, The Media Precinct, Mentor Marketing, Next & Co, Oddfish Media, Pivotus and Valore Media.

Members receive a range of benefits including a formalised network of industry leaders, a code of conduct, staff training, pitch support, IMAA certification and membership of the world’s largest independent agency network, thenetworkone.

“The IMAA now has members across Australia, as the independent media agency sector continues to thrive. We’ve already been able to offer our members some great benefits, including our series of COVID-19 webinars with experts and the media, and we have some exciting plans ahead. We would like to welcome our newest members and look forward to their input,” the IMAA Leadership Team said.

Joel Trethowan – Alchemy One

Alchemy One managing director Joel Trethowan said: “Joining the IMAA is such an exciting opportunity. The service, passion and dedication independent agencies provide is our collective competitive advantage to the holding groups and our work and client testimonials are a testament to that.

“The IMAA presents an incredible platform and network to drive and empower independent agencies in Australia, helping raise the voice about the difference and benefit in working with an independent agency. We believe and continue to see that independents are the future of the industry as more than ever clients are looking for passionate individuals they can work with end-to-end, who they can trust and connect with in the way of a partner, not a vendor.”

Indago Digital managing director Gary Nissim said: “Independent agencies are continuing to provide better service, results and value for money than the agency groups. Banding together with likeminded people will allow us to better educate the market and ensure more clients receive the benefits or using a smaller, typically owner-managed agency.”

Leonards Advertising CEO Kate Faithorn said: “Never has the time been better and the urgency as great for an association of independent media agencies in Australia. By banding together through the IMAA, indies are able to have a collective voice, shared intelligence and maintain a vital position in servicing Australian businesses in an age of multinational holding companies and dramatic media ownership changes.”

Amanda Reid – Mentor Marketing

Mentor Marketing director Amanda Reid said: “‘Like attracts like’ and the IMAA does exactly that; provides an exciting opportunity for likeminded agencies to come together, support each other and work collaboratively. Whether it be our sheer passion for media, our core beliefs in the benefits associated with being independent or our industry experience, the IMAA represents these shared strengths.”

Next & Co’s Nick Grinberg

Next & Co head of strategy Nick Grinberg said: “We wanted to connect ourselves with like-minded agencies all striving to make a mark as indies.  We are very excited and believe there is huge potential in this network.”

Michael Petersen Pivotus Profile Photo

Pivotus CEO Michael Petersen said: “I applied to join the IMAA because being an independently owned and operated digital ad agency comes with a few negatives alongside the many positives. One negative is that unless we’re well networked in the industry and avid learners, we’re destined to repeat the mistakes of those that have been where we’re planning to go. I see the IMAA as an opportunity for us to connect with those with ‘been there, done that’ experience. It’s an opportunity to smooth the road ahead for myself, our team and our clients.”

The Big Bro Show with Mike Goldman coming to has unveiled its exclusive online series The Big Bro Show.

Hosted by Mike Goldman – who did voice over work on Big Brother from 2001 to 2014 – the online ‘made for fans’ show is promising all the drama, laughs, controversies, romances, fights, and evictions.

The veteran TV host and voice-over artist told that the show was his “sneaky” way of being involved in this new season.

The Big Bro Show is a backdoor way of getting me into another Big Brother series keeping my 20yr record intact.”

Goldman will be joined by different guests each week, including current and former housemates, the show’s host Sonia Kruger and Big Brother insiders.

“The show is simple, and what I’ve done for two decades; deliver to Big Brother Fans my views and opinions. And after being involved for that long with Big Brother, I have a few of those.

“What I love about Big Brother today is what I have always loved – The VO guy and anything with me in it. Have I mentioned I’ve also done this for 20 years?

“I get hooked on watching people in intense situations and how they handle it. How people evolve over a short space of time whether it be a relationship or a challenge.

“Just when you think someone is Jacinda Ardern they can turn on you and become a Donald Trump.”

Host Sonia Kruger

The Big Bro Show forms part of’s dedicated Big Brother hub, featuring all the latest news from the house – major announcements, evictee interviews, episode recaps, plus insider news and insights.

Visit’s online Big Brother site here.

TV Ratings Tuesday May 26 Week 22 2020

By James Manning

• The Voice and MasterChef slug it out for 7.30pm victory
• Grey nomad Miriam Margolyes again the winner later
• Plus: ACA’s strong start, Prince tribute a musical delight

Seven News 1,229,000/1,128,000
Nine News 1,156,000/1,100,000
A Current Affair 854,000
ABC News 808,000
The Project 393,000/633,000
7.30 570,000
10 News 423,000/317,000
Sunrise 299,000
The Drum 245,000
News Breakfast 203,000
Today 198,000
SBS World News 188,000

Seven: Home and Away transitioned from 678,000 on Monday to 666,000 last night.
House Rules: High Stakes moved to Tasmania where it was time for work to start on renovating the home of Tassie twins Kimmy and Rhi. After no Tuesday episode for a couple of weeks the program was on 465,000 last night.
The US thriller Absentia then continued with a double episode – 166,000 and 124,000.

 Nine: A Current Affair is having close to its best start to a week this year with a second successive night over 850,000.
Jesse Teinaki returned to The Voice and managed to get all four coaches to turn their chairs – Boy George took a while, but he got there eventually. Later in the show was the moment being advertised as something you’ve never seen on The Voice before. And the episode delivered – “I originally came from Mongolia,” a performer called Bukhu explained. “It’s the last nomadic culture around the world. I’ve been living in Australia for 10 years now.” All the judges were intrigued and Guy Sebastian said he’d like to work with Bukhu in the recording studio and include him in his shows, helping to move Bukhu to select Team Guy.

The Voice launch week

Sunday 1,012,000
Monday 953,000
Tuesday 988,000

A second music event followed The Voice. Monday night it was Queen, while last night it was Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince. The list of artists paying tribute on the fourth anniversary of Prince’s death ranged from rockers like Chris Martin and Dave Grohl to Mavis Staples, Earth Wind & Fire and John Legend. Prince aficionados would have been in heaven and it was a nice moment when original members (and music directors of the special) Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis joined Morris Day and The Time onstage for medley of Prince hits. Prince didn’t have as many fans though as Queen – with 440,000 on Monday and 318,000 last night.

10: After 602,000 on Monday, The Project 7pm pushed a little higher to 633,000.
MasterChef again narrowly trailed The Voice all people, but its audience of 920,000 was made up of more viewers in key demos than the singing show had. Kirsten Tibballs arrived in the kitchen and set the four cooks vying for immunity the task of preparing her chocolate Meljito.
How To Stay Married then followed with 400,000 after 413,000 last week.

ABC: Foreign Correspondent featured an examination of England during lockdown which attracted an audience of 486,000.
Episode two of Miriam Margolyes Almost Australian saw the host travelling across Australia south to north with stops in Alice Springs and Darwin. Highlight was the host power napping at a drag show in Darwin. After launching with 573,000 a week ago, episode two was on 569,000.

SBS: After Lisa Wilkinson had an audience of 416,000 watching her episode of Who Do You Think You Are? a week ago, Bert Newton did 362,000 tracing his mother and father’s lives in Fitzroy early last century.
Jenny Brockie was then back on duty for an episode of Insight talking to vets with 200,000 watching after a Marc Fennell audience of 199,000 a week ago getting information about a better night’s sleep.

Week 22 TV: Tuesday

ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 12.7% 7 15.6% 9 21.9% 10  14.8% SBS One 5.7%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.2% 7TWO 3.0% GO! 2.4% 10 Bold 3.5% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.7% GEM 1.9% 10 Peach 2.1% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix 2.1% 9Life 2.3%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 1.0%     SBS World Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 16.6%   24.4%   29.5%   20.4%   9.1%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 12.6% 7 17.5% 9 18.0% WIN 11.5% SBS One 5.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.5% 7TWO 4.4% GO! 2.7% WIN Bold 3.6% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 5.7% GEM 2.9% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.0% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.6% 9Life 2.0% Sky News  on WIN 2.3% NITV 0.1%
                SBS Movies 0.7%
TOTAL 16.9%   29.2%   25.6%   19.7%   8.5%


88.8% 11.2%
  1. Seven News Seven 1,229,000
  2. Nine News Nine 1,156,000
  3. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,128,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,100,000
  5. The Voice Nine 988,000
  6. MasterChef Australia 10 920,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 854,000
  8. ABC News ABC 808,000
  9. Home And Away Seven 666,000
  10. The Chase Australia Seven 664,000
  11. The Project 7pm 10 633,000
  12. Hot Seat Nine 606,000
  13. 7.30 ABC 570,000
  14. Miriam Margolyes Almost Australian ABC 569,000
  15. Foreign Correspondent ABC 486,000
  16. House Rules: High Stakes – Tue Seven 465,000
  17. 10 News First 10 423,000
  18. How To Stay Married 10 400,000
  19. The Project 6.30pm 10 393,000
  20. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 383,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 308,000
  2. The Project 7pm 10 162,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 152,000
  4. The Voice Nine 152,000
  5. Nine News Nine 145,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 483,000
  2. The Voice Nine 318,000
  3. The Project 7pm 10 290,000
  4. Nine News Nine 287,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 277,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 492,000
  2. The Voice Nine 377,000
  3. Nine News Nine 347,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 332,000
  5. Seven News Seven 327,000


Tuesday Multichannel
  1. Outback Truckers PM 7mate 188,000
  2. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 185,000
  3. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 167,000
  4. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 160,000
  5. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 159,000
  6. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 158,000
  7. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 156,000
  8. Thomas And Friends: Big World! Big Ad ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  9. Floogals PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  10. Nella The Princess Knight PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 151,000
  11. Rita And Crocodile PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 145,000
  12. Shaun The Sheep AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 144,000
  13. Neighbours 10 Peach 142,000
  14. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 142,000
  15. Luo Bao Bei ABCKIDS/COMEDY 132,000
  16. Highway Patrol-Ep.2 Pm 7mate 130,000
  17. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  18. Rusty Rivets PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  19. Desert Collectors PM 7mate 122,000
  20. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
Tuesday STV
  1. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 75,000
  2. Jones & Credlin Sky News Live 72,000
  3. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 63,000
  4. Blue’s Clues & You Nick Jr. 60,000
  5. Blaze And The Monster Machines Nick Jr. 59,000
  6. Calvin & Kaison’s Play Power Nick Jr. 56,000
  7. Credlin Sky News Live 56,000
  8. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 52,000
  9. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 51,000
  10. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 50,000
  11. Curious George Nick Jr. 46,000
  12. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 45,000
  13. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 44,000
  14. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 44,000
  15. Alvinnn!!! And The Chipmunks Nick Jr. 42,000
  16. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 41,000
  17. Blaze And The Monster Machines Nick Jr. 40,000
  18. PML Later Sky News Live 38,000
  19. WWII: Battle Of Crete History Channel 37,000
  20. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 37,000

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 chief Fred Schebesta joins AAP suitors line-up founder Fred Schebesta is the latest suitor for the AAP newswire service in what could become an increasingly competitive bid for the 85-year-old company due to close in June, reports The Australian;s Leo Shanahan.

Schebesta sent a go-between to management on Tuesday to express his own interest in AAP newswire and potentially its other businesses which include media releases service MediaNet and sub-editing company PageMasters.

Schebesta was in early talks with AAP management and their consultancy TMT Partners yesterday but stressed any interest in the company was preliminary.

“Finder has a lot of journalists and we write a lot of great content. I saw that they have a lot of great journalists in their business, and they write a lot of great content,” Schebesta told The Australian. “I thought maybe there is a way to protect the industry.”

[Read more]

SBS weighs up whether to pause wage increases requested by Government

SBS is considering whether to enforce a six month freeze on wage increases following a request from the Australian Public Service commissioner last month, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios and Fergus Hunter.

The public broadcaster received a letter asking it to defer general wage increases after a Morrison government decision, but sources said SBS had expressed reluctance to comply.

SBS staff received a 2 per cent pay rise earlier this year when a new enterprise agreement came into effect, but they are expected to receive another 2 per cent within the next 12 months.

Sources who spokes on the condition of anonymity said SBS is trying to work out ways to avoid the pause altogether. Alternative cost-cutting measures are being discussed as well as the potential for a reduction in this year’s pay increase.

SBS is trying to adapt its business model due to significant advertising revenue decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Read more]

Warner Music launches IPO which could value business at US$13.3b

The Warner Music Group, the home of stars like Ed Sheeran, Cardi B and Led Zeppelin, announced on Tuesday that it would proceed with an initial public offering that would value the company at up to US$13.3 billion, reports The New York Times.

The listing, planned for Nasdaq, would be the latest sign of the dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of the music business. Warner was bought for $3.3 billion in 2011 by Access Industries, the conglomerate controlled by the Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik, when the industry seemed to be on a terminal decline.

Since then, the music business has been reinvigorated by streaming services, leading investors to cash in. Last year, the Chinese company Tencent Holdings bought 10 percent of the Universal Music Group at a price that valued Universal at more than $33 billion.

The Warner I.P.O. would float 70 million shares, or 13.7 percent of its common stock, for between $23 and $26 a share — valuing the company’s equity from $11.7 billion to $13.3 billion.

[Read more]

News Brands

Journalists, media face trials over suppression order of George Pell’s conviction

Journalists and media organisations could face more than a dozen separate trials over contempt charges for alleged reporting on Cardinal George Pell’s conviction, with the first trial tentatively scheduled for November, reports The Australian’s Tessa Akerman.

Cardinal Pell was convicted by a jury in the Victorian County Court in December 2018 of child sexual abuse charges while the subject of a suppression order.

Cardinal Pell was acquitted by the High Court earlier this year.

Barrister Lisa De Ferrari SC, acting for the DPP, told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that there were still various issues including the media organisations not giving notice of the evidence they intended to call until the close of the prosecution case or its witnesses.

Barrister Matt Collins QC, who is representing all 30 accused, said 19 individuals had been charged and 11 corporations with six corporate groups and it was likely multiple trials would be sought.

“At present it appears to us there are 13 separate controversies and on the face of it, it would to an injustice to have journalists for rival news organisations to face trial at the same time,” Dr Collins said.

All would be heard by a judge alone.

[Read more]

Warner Music boss' former lover to face murder, forgery charges in France

The Sydney family and friends of Australian pop music executive Peter Ikin, who died in mysterious circumstances in a Paris hotel more than 11 years ago, have welcomed news that his former lover will face trial in France on murder and forgery charges, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Hornery.

Alexandre Despallieres, 52, settled a lawsuit with Ikin’s Sydney family in 2009 after he claimed he was the sole beneficiary of the former Warner Music boss’ $20 million estate.

However, a French judge ruled last week that Despallieres would face trial for first-degree murder and forgery. He has until the end of the week to appeal against the decision.

Despallieres, 20 years younger than Ikin, 62, had enjoyed the high life with his lover and his celebrity friends.

Ikin was well known across Sydney’s media and showbiz circles, having worked for years with Warner Music, and was considered a close friend of pop star Elton John and his former manager, London-based John Reid.

[Read more]


Alan Jones retirement: Ben Fordham visits radio veteran’s home studio

Alan Jones began his final week behind the microphone of his ratings topping breakfast show by reminding listeners: “This time next week it will be the Ben Fordham show”, reports News Corp’s Matthew Benns.

Drive host Ben Fordham was in Jones’s home studio in the Southern Highlands on Monday morning to watch the master in action.

“I did work experience with you when I was 15 and I’m here again doing work experience at 40-bloody-three.” he said.

Fordham drove up and stayed the night in order to be up for the show that has seen Jones deliver a record 226 ratings wins.

After some gentle ribbing about his passion for bacon sandwiches and coffee Jones offered his replacement some sage advice: “Just be yourself. You’re not Alan Jones, you’re Ben Fordham. Be yourself.”

[Read more]


Charlie Albone on Selling Houses Australia as his final episode airs

Charlie Albone recalls his motivation to join the cast of Selling Houses Australia back in 2008, reports News Corp’s Cameron Adams.

“My ex-girlfriend said ‘You’ll never try TV and if you do it you’ll be really sh– at it’,” Albone recalls.

“They were her exact words. I was a 26-year-old landscaper who got into his TV because his ex said he’d be no good at it. That really spurred me on to have a go at it.”

This February when Albone announced he’d joined Better Homes and Gardens and was leaving Selling Houses Australia after 13 seasons, he got a reminder of just how passionate the viewers of the hit Foxtel show are.

“There were people calling me Yoko Ono,” Albone jokes.

When the offer from Channel 7 came in, while Albone was filming Selling Houses Australia last year, he initially thought he could juggle both shows, just as his co-stars Shaynna Blaze (who also judges on The Block) and Andrew Winter (who also co-hosts Love It Or List It) do.

Even when they finished their last house together, which is also the series final airing on Lifestyle this week, Blaze and Winter still thought Albone was planning to do double duty.

“They didn’t know I wasn’t coming back,” Albone admits.

“I didn’t want to let anyone down. But it became too hard on me and my family.”

[Read more]

Hannah Gadsby returns with stand-up show Douglas on Netflix

Hannah Gadsby’s second stand-up show Douglas (named after her dog), drops on Netflix this week, a routine she toured last year. She jokingly called it her second album, even though it’s more like her 12th album, reports’s Wenlei Ma.

If you want more soul-eviscerating material, Gadsby says she’s fresh out of trauma.

Douglas is more low-key, a little more fizzy and “easier” to experience though Gadsby still engages in “gentle needling” of the patriarchy.

This is less confessional, more conventional.

She cleverly sets up the whole show in the first 14 minutes, detailing exactly what to expect, including a Louis C.K. joke she promises we’ll find hilarious (it is). And she also tells everyone she’s been diagnosed with autism.

The diagnosis is a through-line for her set though Douglas isn’t as focused and thematically cohesive as Nanette. Some of her fury has dissipated.

Among those that come in for her insightful jibes are Americans, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, anti-vaxxers and golfers, the latter of whom are deemed to be the worst humans (Gadsby was a former golfer).

What’s curious is how much of her set Gadsby devotes to the haters, something she’s aware of but insists she’s microdosing on the hate to slowly build immunity. She tells her audience that she fully expects the anti-vaxxer brigade to come after her in a co-ordinated effort once Douglas hits streaming (and they will).

So she’s baiting them too – perhaps collecting material for future material?

[Read more]

A review in The Hollywood Report calls Douglas “a consistently hilarious crowd-pleaser”:

If Nanette demonstrated Gadsby’s mastery of tone and command of the audience, Douglas is an even richer showcase for the comic’s technical prowess. Gadsby robs herself of the element of surprise by exhaustively listing at the beginning of the special everything she’ll talk about, then manages to startle us anyway with her crackerjack comic timing and cascade of clever callbacks.

There’s probably no matching Nanette in its intensity or revelations – “If it’s more trauma [you expect], I’m fresh out,” Gadsby half-jokes. But she’s clearly determined to satisfy with this lighter, broader hour, partly by managing expectations, partly by outlining in great detail her many dissatisfactions with the Ninja Turtles. In lieu of the self-deprecation she publicly eschewed in Nanette is a more overt swagger about her comedic talents. It’s wholly justified.”

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Sports Media

After softening-up period, stand by for big hits in TV rights stoush

Hard man Peter V’landys has softened up the rugby league “family”, using the media to warn of an inevitable decline in the code’s income, ahead of the imminent announcement of a reduced, long-term, pay TV deal with News Corporation’s Foxtel, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Roy Masters.

The mechanics of the reported 2020-27 deal are the reverse of the current contract, which then NRL CEO Dave Smith secretly negotiated with Channel Nine’s David Gyngell, leaving Foxtel furious it had been sidelined.

Legal sources say the current TV contracts do not obligate the NRL to take a cut. When the former NRL CEO, Todd Greenberg, went to Nine boss Hugh Marks and pointed out the 2018-22 contract did not even require the NRL to takes less in this Covid-19 interrupted season, it was the end of his rugby league career.

It would be almost heretical to suggest V’landys, following his brilliant strategy in bringing NRL to our TV screens on Thursday night, could one day be shown the door.

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A-League 2020 restart: 36 days of non-stop football to finish season

The A-League season would be finished in a blizzard of 36 days of almost continuous football, under a resumption plan put forward to clubs and TV broadcasters, reports News Corp’s Tom Smithies.

The remaining rounds and finals series would begin on July 18 with the grand final slated for August 22, as part of the schedule which requires the agreement of Fox Sports and the conclusion of a pay deal with players to cover the extra three months needed to finish the season.

The games would all be played in a single hub, based in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, with players based locally for the duration – playing 32 games in 36 days, including the 27 outstanding league games plus five finals.

But perhaps the biggest issue will be the lack of clarity over what next season’s competition finances will look like. All sports are in the process of renegotiating broadcast deals in the wake of the damage caused by the coronavirus to the economy, and sponsorship income has dried up.

FFA will have to renegotiate the remaining three years on its broadcast deal with Fox Sports, reducing the current value of $57m a year, and then agree a revamped salary cap with the A-League players dependent on how significant that reduction proves to be.

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Cancel all plans: AFL fans have to watch TV every Thursday night

Thursday night blockbusters are set to be a weekly occurrence this year, AFL fixture boss Travis Auld has revealed, reports’s Marc McGowan.

There were only nine Thursday matches in the original Toyota AFL Premiership Season Fixture, which was turfed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Auld said on Tuesday morning that there could be a spike in that timeslot with fans unable to attend games.

“I think there is an opportunity this year,” Auld told SEN radio.

“We haven’t historically had Thursday nights each week, just because we’re mindful of families being able to get to games.

“We had eight or nine in the original fixture this year – working around school holidays and weather and the like – (but) given, unfortunately, at the moment that’s not a constraint, then there is the opportunity to roll Thursdays through.

Thursday night matches typically rate well on TV, with four of the 17 games last year that topped the million audience mark being held in that timeslot.”

The others were on Friday night and the Anzac Day and Anzac Day Eve games.

Auld said the AFL would turn its attention to contemplating South Australian and Western Australian hubs after the revamped fixture up to round five was released on Monday.

Shortened quarters will remain throughout season 2020, while all finals could be held at night if the current crowd situation doesn’t change.

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