Monday November 16, 2020

nine entertainment
Hugh Marks quits: Nine CEO the third TV boss to depart in 15 months

By James Manning

• Paparazzi hound Marks’ new partner, one reason why the TV boss quit?

The decision Hugh Marks made to stand down doesn’t make a lot of sense. Events seemed to spiral out of control at the end of last week as rumours about his private life brought forward his desire to leave the company he has led successfully for the past five years.

The only comment so far that goes part way to explaining his departure is Mark’s revelation in one of the company’s newspapers was that he was planning to depart soon, but until Friday he wasn’t too sure when that would be.

Nine Entertainment is now without a leader as it becomes the third of the three commercial networks where there has been change at the top in the past 15 months.

The first to go was Seven’s Tim Worner in mid-2019 after poor ratings did what a sex scandal couldn’t do. Few people thought Worner would survive as long as he did in the role after revelations of a relationship with an employee that spiralled out of control became a tabloid sensation at the end of 2016. Seven West Media executive chairman Kerry Stokes stood by Worner through all that, but cut him loose over poor financial performance impacted the business if 2019.

In early 2020 Network 10 chief executive Paul Anderson was let go despite a promotion not long before. His departure followed changes at the top at parent company ViacomCBS. Anderson should be on the list of candidates to replace Hugh Marks.

The most puzzling of the three departures though is Marks’. Just what he did to turn the Nine Entertainment board against him remains mystery. Marks started a relationship with an employee, but that employee left the company so as not to create a conflict of interest for the CEO. Too late.

There was rampant speculation on Saturday that there was further to be revealed about Marks and his private life in the weekend papers which, so the conspiracy theory goes, is why he discussed his new love interest with Andrew Hornery in The Sydney Morning Herald’s Private Sydney column on Saturday.

There were no further revelations in The Sunday Telegraph about Hugh Marks which some thought had been sitting on a bombshell that was set to explode on Sunday. It didn’t happen.

One thing that Marks would be wanting to avoid is his new partner being stalked by the paparazzi. There was footage on offer from a Sydney agency to media outlets on the weekend that featured his partner being hounded in Kings Cross after emerging from a local supermarket. If ever there was a life changing moment that might have been it.

It would be unlikely for Marks to stay on for the transition to a new leader as sound as that may seem. It could be an awkward few months for the executive team.

There could be an appointment of an interim CEO, Nick Falloon has already been mentioned as a possibility, as the search is made for a replacement.

Already it is being assumed it could be down to Stan’s Mike Sneesby or Nine Publishing’s Chris Janz. However, the company would need to through the search well beyond internal candidates to include possible other leaders from Australia and even maybe internationally.

Those candidates could include 10’s Paul Anderson and Foxtel’s Amanda Laing (a former Nine MD).

Depending on who ultimately gets the job at Nine, watch for changes as the new CEO arrives. People who are part of team Marks could move on, voluntarily or otherwise, ahead of a new team being appointed.

Marks, Worner and Anderson all left their businesses with considerable achievements. Worner had to fill the shoes of a TV legend in David Leckie and managed to lead Seven through a decade of ratings leadership. Anderson juggled 10 through very turbulent times when many though it would go out of business. Marks perhaps has the greatest achievement, even if he did inherit Stan and a TV line-up that started the year with Married At First Sight and ended it with The Block. Marks managed to merge with Fairfax Media without mountains of debt and in doing so created the biggest media business in the country which seems set for continued success.

SA Press Club Awards
Patrick Martin & Nicholas Harmsen big winners at SA Press Club Awards

The twelfth SA Press Club Awards night was held on Friday November 13, 2020. Below is a complete list of the winners:

Best News Report in Print or Digital

“Liberal MP Terry Stephens facing questions over allowance eligibility and ABC investigation”

Best Feature In Print or Digital
Joint Winners
“It roared five times”

“Human Rights Abuse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital”

Best Sports Story in Any Medium
“Hot Shots”

Best Finance or Business Reporting in Any Medium
“The Rankine File”

TRICIA WATKINSON, News Corp “Hellfire”

Best News Photograph in Print or Digital

“Lost at Sea”

Best Features Photograph in Print or Digital
“Lost at Sea”

Best Television News Report
“Cudlee Creek Fires”


Best Long Form Television Report
“Expenses scandal, a trip to Victor Harbor”

Best Broadcaster, Television, Radio or Online
“Expenses Investigated, MPs Adelaide Claims Under Scrutiny, Whip Faces Questions”

Best Special or Extended Coverage of a News Event, Television, Radio or Online
“Disability Care: An ABC News Special”

Best News Camera Coverage
Joint winners
“Cudlee Creek Fire”

“Cudlee Creek Bushfire Coverage”

Best Radio Report
“Edithburgh Evacuation”

Best News Feature, Podcast or Long Form Radio Report
CHLOE BOURAS, Network 10
“The Premiers: Steven Marshall”

Best Community Report Any Medium
“Jonda’s Story”

Best Regional or Rural Affairs Report Any Medium
“Are SA’s country towns really dying?”

Best 3 Headlines in Any Medium
“Lonely Harts Club Ban, Crows coach our for 6″
“Virus might boot scooting”
“No Womad, No Cry: Search on to replace Ziggy”

Best Graphics (Including Interactive, Illustration or Cartoon) in Any Medium
“Cudlee Creek Bushfires”

Best Columnist/Blogger Print or Online/Digital
“Three Thoughts”


Best Investigative Coverage of An Issue or Event Any Medium
“MPs expenses scandal: body of work”

Scoop of the Year in Any Medium
“Expense Scandal: Terry Stephens faces questions over allowance eligibility”

Young Journalist of the Year
CHLOE BOURAS, Network 10

Student Journalism Award

Gold Award

Delta Goodrem
ARIA Awards: Delta Goodrem to host Awards night on Nine

ARIA has announced the host of the 34th Annual ARIA Awards in partnership with YouTube Music, is multiple ARIA Award winner and multi-platinum singer/songwriter Delta Goodrem. Goodrem is no stranger to the ARIA’s, having won 12 ARIA Awards.

“I am beyond honoured to be hosting the 2020 ARIA Awards bringing to people’s homes the music that has meant so much to them this year. The Australian music industry has had a year unlike any other we have ever faced before, and I am so looking forward to celebrating with you all – albeit remotely, as we come together to recognise and celebrate how talented this industry is to a global audience,” said Goodrem.

Dan Rosen, chief executive of ARIA said: “We are very excited to have Delta Goodrem as our host for the 2020 ARIA Awards. She is no stranger to the ARIA stage, having taken home 12 ARIAs and delivered us a number of magic moments over her stellar career. This year she has dealt with the challenges of 2020 by remaining creative whilst raising funds and awareness for people in need. I can’t wait for Delta to lead our reflection – and celebration – of a one-of-a-kind year.”

Goodrem last week released her new Christmas album, Only Santa Knows through Sony Music Entertainment Australia.

ARIA has also announced the Australian and international stars who will be presenting this year’s ARIA Awards.

The ceremony will feature: last year’s host Guy Sebastian, Australian music icons INXS, Tones and I, comedian and musician Tim Minchin, rapper Briggs, multiple ARIA Award winner artist Christine Anu, global superstar Keith Urban and Nine Network personalities Richard Wilkins and Brooke Boney, television personality Sophie Monk, comedians Joel Creasey and Hamish Blake and director, Black Music & Culture at YouTube Tuma Basa along with A$AP Ferg.

Kylie Minogue
ARIA Charts: Kylie secures her seventh #1 album in two decades

By James Manning

• Singles: Ariana surrenders top spot after 2 weeks as 24kGoldn returns


Positions from Ariana Grande becomes the second single to have two weeks or less at the top of ARIA Singles chart this year. Positions slips to #2 after two weeks at #1, making way for the return of Mood from 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior which returns to the top for a fifth week. The only other short stay at the top this year was Taylor Swift with Cardigan which spent just one week at the top in August which coincided with the release of her #1 album Folklore that week.

Two new tunes moved into to the top 10 this week:

#16 to #7: The Kid Laroi with So Done. The first top 10 hit from the Sydney hip hop artist comes after the deluxe edition release of his album F*ck Love (Savage) which jumps up the album chart this week. Two additional tracks from the deluxe edition have debuted this week – Always Do (#37) and Tragic (#41).

#11 to #10: Dua Lipa with Levitating. After five weeks on the chart the track from the album Future Nostalgia hits a new peak. The British pop sensation has had three other tunes from her #1 album also in the top 10 this year.

Just one top 50 debut apart from the Kid Laroi this week – British DJ Sigala and British singer/songwriter James Arthur with Lasting Lover at #46.


Kylie Minogue

All the chart excitement this week is quite rightly about a new #1 from Kylie Minogue with Disco. It is the seventh chart topper from Kylie over two decades following the success of Light Years (October 2000), Fever (October 2001), X (December 2007), Kiss Me Once (March 2014) and Step Back In Time: The Definitive Collection (July 2019). Five of Kylie’s six albums released prior to 2000 made the top 10 in Australia, including her self-titled debut album in 1988 which peaked at #2. The new album has also topped the chart in the UK of course this week where it made headlines as Kylie became the first female artist to have a #1 album in five consecutive decades.

Dan Rosen, CEO of ARIA, said of the 15th Australian #1 of 2020: “Congratulations to one and only Kylie Minogue on her seventh ARIA #1 Album. It is incredible to think of the success she’s had throughout her stellar career, and that after over three decades as an artist she is still at the top of her game. Her new album is a much-needed injection of fun in a challenging year, even if many of us can only dance in our living rooms. It is clear that Australians are still in love with our Kylie and it’s brilliant to see her back on top of the ARIA Charts.”

Five other albums debuted top 50 this week, one of them landing in the top 10:

#7: Little Mix with Confetti. The sixth top 10 album for the British girl group’s sixth album. Little Mix have had two albums peak at #2 – Get Weird in 2015 and Glory Days in 2016.
#12: Brad Cox with My Mind’s Projection. Two years after his debut album and his first award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, the country singer-songwriter cracks the ARIA top 50 for the first time.
#14: Troy Cassar-Daley with Christmas For Cowboys. The first sighting of a Christmas release high on the chart. The album features a handful of Christmas carols, the title track made famous by John Denver, and two original tunes on what is Cassar-Daley’s first studio release in four years.
#30: The Smith Street Band with Viva La Rev. Disappointing chart debut perhaps for the Melbourne band who have previously had a motivated fan base push their previous 2020 releases to #1 (Don’t Waste Your Anger in April) and #4 (Live at The Triffid in March). This new album celebrates Melbourne’s The Reverence Hotel which closed in in February 2019.
#37: Ashton Irwin with Superbloom. A solo album from 5 Seconds of Summer drummer Ashton Irwin. The album has crept into the top 50 after its October release thanks to extra sales spurred on by its availability on CD and vinyl.


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The Block
Week 46 TV: Origin, The Block unbeatable, can Nine win final weeks?

By James Manning

Another week of State of Origin and The Block has kept Nine well ahead of all other networks. Can Nine keep the momentum going – there are two ratings weeks left in the year and only one episode of The Block in each week plus one State of Origin clash.

Nine Week 46

Primary share: 22.9% (21.6%)
Network share: 31.3% (30.6)%
Multichannels: GO! 2.7% (2.4%) Gem 2.3% (3.5%) 9Life 2.1% (2.1%) 9Rush 1.2% (1.0%)

Nine improved marginally on last week’s numbers winning six nights with Friday the only day it succumbed to a better share at Seven.

Game 2 of State of Origin 2020 and The Block were the key players in Week 46, with good support from Nine News, A Current Affair and 60 Minutes.

There was extra support on Tuesday and Thursday from Australian Crime Stories and a repeat of Paramedics with both programs delivering an audience over 400,000.

Seven Week 46

Primary share: 16.6% (16.4%)
Network share: 25.3% (24.3%)
Multichannels: 7TWO 3.7% (3.2%) 7mate 3.3% (2.8%) 7flix 1.8% (1.8%)

Seven took the points on Friday, but was off the pace on the other six nights. Shares were up marginally thanks largely to the multis. 7TWO was #1 for the week, up 0.5 to 3.7% with four nights over 4% including 4.9% on Saturday. That increase was also repeated at 7mate which enjoyed two nights on 4.7%.

Beat the Chasers was the best performing entertainment property with 630,000.

Both episodes of SAS Australia slipped below 600,000 for the first time since launch. The time-shifted and BVOD viewing numbers are lifting SAS Australia overnight viewing close to 30% (nationally).

ABC Week 46

Primary share 13.5% (12.9%)
Network share 19.2% (19.9%)
Multichannels: Kids/Comedy 2.9% (2.6%) ME 0.5% (0.5%) News 2.2% (3.9%)

The primary channel performed strongly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and it ranked #1 on Monday and Wednesday behind only Nine. The numbers were a bit softer at the ABC News channel after an edge-of-the-seat US Election week.

A big crowd visited the primary channel on Monday making Four Corners (828,000) and Media Watch (698,000) the most-watched ABC shows of the week.

Gruen and Hard Quiz are taking a battering from State of Origin with audiences down on averages. In a “normal” year, Gruen would have missed any midweek sport this late in the year.

10 Week 46

Primary share 10.3% (11.6%)
Network share: 16.9% (17.5%)
Multichannels: Bold 3.4% (3.2%) Peach 2.6% (2.4%) Shake 0.5% (0.4%)

The two-part final episode of Junior MasterChef went where no other episodes have this series with an audience of 881,000 and 652,000 on Monday.

Next best was Have You Been Paying Attention? on 652,000.

The network has perhaps been more impacted by Covid than Seven and 10 will need to navigate the last two weeks of survey with the final two episodes of Have You Been Paying Attention? for the year and lots of Jamie Oliver.

SBS Week 46

Primary share: 4.4% (4.7%)
Network share: 7.3% (7.7%)
Multichannels: Viceland 1.2% (1.3%) Food 0.8% (0.9%) NITV 0.3% (0.1%) World Movies 0.7% (0.8%)

The launch episode of Addicted Australia ranked #1 for the channel with 239,000. Great British Railway Journeys was the only other show over 200,000 with 215,000 watching.

Top Photo: Sarah and George at work on their studio space

The Block
TV ratings: Sunday Week 47 2020

By James Manning

• The Block and 60 Minutes maintain Nine’s Sunday form
• The Block just a week away from auctions, judges wrap up
• Best of rest: Beat The Chasers, Restoration Oz, Graham Norton

Primetime News
Nine News 949,000
Seven News 922,000
ABC News 655,000
10 News First 322,000/206,000
SBS World News 175,000

Daily current affairs
The Project 267,000/393,000
Insiders 386,000

Breakfast TV
Sunrise 196,000
Today 193,000
News Breakfast 177,000

Sunday TV

Seven: Seven’s penultimate Sunday survey share was its best in four weeks.

Beat The Chasers secured a top five finish with 630,000, the same number as last week.

Crime Investigation Australia was then on 337,000 as it looked at the mystery of the homestead murders. 

Nine: The penultimate episode of The Block combined with Nine News and then 60 Minutes to keep Nine’s Sunday night winning streak intact.

It was episode 48 of The Block which started with day 91 on the Brighton building sites which will reveal their worth in seven days. There were lots of minor dramas on the final day of work on the backyards before Scott Cam called “tools down” for the final time.

Making their final appearance on the show’s 16th season were judges Darren, Shaynna and Neale. Harry and Tash again started off the judging and Neale called their backyard undercooked and unfinished. His colleagues agreed and the duo again received the lowest score. As the judges continued to tour the properties of what Darren called “the best Block ever”, it was a contest between Sarah and George and Luke and Jasmine. Sarah and George won the night and a car for their work as they received three scores of 10, narrowly beating Luke and Jasmine who got two 10s, but “only” 9.5 from Darren.

Luke and Jasmine had enough points, just, to have the highest total score across the series which gives them the cover of Nine’s Domain magazine next weekend and lets them decide the order of the auctions next weekend.

The episode started with 977,000 and then 1,065,00, again making it a clear timeslot and demo winner as it has been for most nights this year.

60 Minutes followed with Nine’s Nick McKenzie reporting again on soliders accused of war crimes, followed by a great segment from Alison Langdon with AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Angus Young. The episode was on 526,000, deserving a bigger crowd after it had 651,000 a week ago.

Nine’s Late News kept newsreader Peter Overton back at work again. Last night he started the bulletin with a report on why people need to check for melanomas. The case study Nine used – Peter Overton – he had just returned from surgery himself. The bulletin had 271,000 tuned in.

10: The Project featured a long interview with Jewel with 393,000 watching after 7pm.

The Graham Norton Show then showcased successful Australian entertainment exports with a guest list that included Kylie Minogue and Nicole Kidman. The episode did 294,000.

ABC: Renovation Australia was back in The Rocks in Sydney, just minutes away from where it started this series with a property in nearby Millers Point. He show had a renovator who didn’t reveal the cost of the work done. It was an expensive exercise though and must have come close to doubling the purchase price of $4m+ for one of the oldest houses in the historic Sydney harbourside suburb. The show was on 525,000 after 522,000 last week.

Episode three of the Hugh Laurie British political drama Roadkill followed with 351,000.

SBS: The channel’s best after the news was a repeat of The True Story of King Tut’s Treasure on 136,000.

A repeat of the doco on WWE star Andre the Giant was on 124,000.

Week 46-7: Fri-Sun
ABC15.0%719.3%916.8%10 10.0%SBS One4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY3.2%7TWO3.1%GO!2.4%10 Bold3.5%VICELAND1.7%
ABC ME0.5%7mate4.7%GEM1.8%10 Peach2.4%Food Net0.7%
ABC NEWS2.5%7flix2.8%9Life2.1%10 Shake0.7%NITV0.4%
    9Rush1.3%  SBS World Movies0.9%
TOTAL21.2% 29.9% 24.4% 16.7% 7.9%


ABC12.1%714.8%919.5%10 6.7%SBS One4.1%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY3.8%7TWO4.9%GO!5.5%10 Bold3.8%VICELAND1.1%
ABC ME0.6%7mate3.3%GEM4.0%10 Peach3.1%Food Net0.9%
ABC NEWS2.5%7flix2.7%9Life2.2%10 Shake0.7%NITV0.6%
    9Rush2.0%  SBS World Movies1.2%
TOTAL19.0% 25.6% 33.1% 14.3% 8.0%


ABC11.2%720.0%925.8%10 8.5%SBS One4.4%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY2.8%7TWO2.1%GO!3.4%10 Bold3.9%VICELAND1.2%
ABC ME0.4%7mate2.7%GEM2.0%10 Peach2.4%Food Net1.0%
ABC NEWS2.0%7flix1.7%9Life2.0%10 Shake0.5%NITV0.2%
    9Rush0.9%  SBS World Movies0.8%
TOTAL16.4% 26.5% 34.2% 15.3% 7.7%


ABCSeven AffiliatesNine Affiliates10 AffiliatesSBS
ABC10.6%724.5%919.6%WIN6.5%SBS One4.9%
ABC ME0.8%7mate3.1%GEM3.5%WIN Peach1.9%Food Net0.8%
ABC NEWS1.9%7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)1.8%9Life2.0%Sky News  on WIN1.6%NITV0.2%
        SBS Movies1.0%
TOTAL16.1% 32.9% 29.4% 14.8% 7.9%


All People Ratings

Friday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 892,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 854,000
  3. Nine News Nine 776,000
  4. ABC News ABC 609,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 596,000
  6. Vera (R) ABC 493,000
  7. The Chase Australia Seven 479,000
  8. Better Homes And Gardens Seven 466,000
  9. Gardening Australia ABC 442,000
  10. A Current Affair Nine 437,000


Saturday Top 10

  1. Seven News Seven 730,000
  2. Nine News Saturday Nine 714,000
  3. ABC News ABC 575,000
  4. A Current Affair Nine 443,000
  5. Border Patrol Seven 341,000
  6. Victoria ABC 340,000
  7. Endeavour (R) ABC 267,000
  8. Shetland (R) ABC 257,000
  9. Weekend Sunrise Seven 232,000
  10. Getaway Nine 231,000
Sunday FTA
  1. The Block -Room Winner Nine 1,065,000
  2. The Block Nine 977,000
  3. Nine News Sunday Nine 949,000
  4. Seven News Seven 922,000
  5. ABC News Sunday ABC 655,000
  6. Beat The Chasers Seven 630,000
  7. 60 Minutes Nine 526,000
  8. Restoration Australia ABC 525,000
  9. The Sunday Project 7pm 10 393,000
  10. Roadkill ABC 351,000
  11. Crime Investigation Australia: Most Infamous Seven 337,000
  12. 10 News First Sun 10 322,000
  13. The Graham Norton Show 10 294,000
  14. Nine News: Late Edition Nine 271,000
  15. Insiders AM ABC 267,000
  16. The Sunday Project 6.30pm 10 267,000
  17. Nine News: First At Five Nine 239,000
  18. RBT Nine 225,000
  19. Killer Tapes Seven 217,000
  20. Seven News At 5 Seven 212,000
Sunday Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 204,000
  2. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 149,000
  3. NCIS Ep 2 (R) 10 Bold 147,000
  4. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 138,000
  5. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  6. Love Monster AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 127,000
  7. PJ Masks PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 126,000
  8. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  9. Rusty Rivets AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 120,000
  10. Insiders AM ABC NEWS 119,000
  11. Hey Duggee ABCKIDS/COMEDY 117,000
  12. The Expendables 3 9GO! 117,000
  13. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 112,000
  14. Book Hungry Bears AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 112,000
  15. Go Jetters PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
  16. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 106,000
  17. Play School AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 103,000
  18. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 103,000
  19. ABC News AM ABC NEWS 98,000
  20. Andy’s Baby Animals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 96,000
Sunday STV
  1. Live: F1: Turkey Race FOX SPORTS 506 158,000
  2. Live: Cricket: The Blast FOX CRICKET 77,000
  3. Live: Golf: The Masters: Round 3 FOX SPORTS 503 63,000
  4. Outsiders Sky News Live 63,000
  5. Live: WBBL: Stars V Renegades FOX CRICKET 60,000
  6. Outsiders Sky News Live 58,000
  7. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 48,000
  8. WBBL Mini FOX CRICKET 46,000
  9. Live: F1: Grand Prix Sunday FOX SPORTS 506 43,000
  10. Live: Formula One: Chequered Flag FOX SPORTS 506 39,000
  11. Highway Patrol FOX8 38,000
  12. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 38,000
  13. Live: Golf: From The Masters FOX SPORTS 503 37,000
  14. WBBL Mini FOX CRICKET 35,000
  15. 24 Hours In Emergency Lifestyle Channel 34,000
  16. Selling Houses Australia Lifestyle Channel 33,000
  17. Live: WBBL: Thunder V Scorchers FOX CRICKET 30,000
  18. In My View Sky News Live 29,000
  19. Casualty 24/7 Lifestyle Channel 29,000
  20. Border Security: Australia’s Front Line FOX8 28,000

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

Departure of Hugh Marks

Nine board faces questions over $2m bonus for Marks

Nine Entertainment’s board faces serious questions in the wake of Hugh Marks’s resignation after asking investors to back a $2m long-term bonus for the departing chief executive – two days before he resigned after his workplace relationship became public, reports The Australian’s Cliona O’Dowd.

Marks will walk away from a potential $5m payday, approved at the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday. Marks resigned on Saturday after a special meeting of the Nine board discussed his relationship with a former colleague who reported directly to him.

His departure was not mentioned at the Thursday meeting, but came a day after he confirmed to the Nine-published Sydney Morning Herald that he was in a relationship with the company’s former commercial managing director Alexi Baker, who departed in October.

[Read more]

Culture clash as Nine board splits over Hugh Marks’s sex scandal

The board of Nine Entertainment has split over chief executive Hugh Marks’s sexual relationship with a subordinate, leaving the media giant reeling in an apparent clash of cultures between the merged company’s broadcast and print divisions, reports The Australian’s James Madden and Nick Tabakoff.

In an interview with The Australian – in which at one point he had to pause because he broke down in tears – Marks revealed he had made the choice to depart the company on his own terms after the board phone hook-up, which was held without him.

“I’m just one cog of the business, and to take the pressure off the business, I moved on,” he said.

“I communicated with the chairman, and he communicated with the board.

“The gossip about me was getting so out of control – 99.5 per cent of which was untrue – and I thought to myself: ‘What’s the right thing to do for Nine and its people?’ ”

[Read more]

Nine boss says relationship gossip pushed weekend resignation

Outgoing Nine chief executive Hugh Marks has admitted he did not tell the board about his new relationship with former senior executive Alexi Baker until last week, but insists that any conflicts of interest have been handled appropriately, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The 54-year old said he is leaving to give a successor a clear path to take the well-performing business forward after more than five-years at the helm, but conceded the intense gossip about his personal life pushed him to move now.

Marks said the board was made aware of his new relationship with former director of commercial Alexi Baker “through the course of the week”.

Baker announced her resignation on October 1.

Without putting a timeline on it, Marks said the relationship “is still fairly new”, noting a difference between seeing someone, having a conversation and starting a relationship.

The Nine boss said he’d been thinking about leaving for some time.

“I don’t think as CEOs of media businesses you should just hang on forever. You’re a steward of an amazing business. Nine is Nine, it’s not me, it’s a mix of all the people that work here, and I’ve had an opportunity to lead it,” Marks said.

[Read more]

'Was someone out to get me? I don't know': Nine boss Hugh Marks

Outgoing Nine Entertainment Co chief executive Hugh Marks has conceded his relationship with former subordinate Alexi Baker worried some of the media company’s directors, and he described recent board meetings as occasionally lacking “calmness”.

Marks told The Herald and Age he decided a year ago to relinquish the top job at the free-to-air television, streaming, publishing and digital company once all staff moved into its new headquarters in North Sydney at the end of 2020 but had not “made any decisions about exactly when”, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

“When it became clear this relationship was going to become a subject of ridiculous gossip and so much pressure was going to come on the people in the business I just said to myself the right thing to do at this point is to take that pressure off the business and its people,” Marks said.

Marks has booked leave for two weeks at the end of November but is adamant he can work through the transition period despite the scrutiny.

“My job is become less of running the day to day of the business and more of working with more key executives to help and guide and make sure that we make the right big decisions,” he says.

[Read more]

The AFR: Personal focus took its toll on outgoing Nine CEO

Hugh Marks‘ time as Nine chief executive will be remembered for many things, but there will be two major events at the top of the list, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

First, the $4 billion merger with Fairfax Media in 2018, transforming the Australian media landscape with a deal to create the first, and still only, company with print, publishing, free-to-air TV, streaming, radio and real estate classifieds.

The second, like it or not, will be his resignation on Saturday afternoon after revealing a consensual relationship with a former direct report Alexi Baker.

[Read more]

The main contenders for the Nine Entertainment Co throne

Media industry insiders believe it is a two-horse race to succeed Hugh Marks as Nine chief executive, with Stan boss Mike Sneesby and Chris Janz, the company’s head of publishing and digital, the leading contenders. But others are still expected to but their hands up for what is one of the biggest jobs in Australian media, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

An executive search firm is likely to be appointed to identify potential candidates, but Marks said he is confident there are a number of people inside the business who could take on the job.

“There’s all sorts of opportunities…to develop people and that’s what I’ve certainly tried to do quite aggressively certainly over the last few years, so there are a number of people who can do the job,” Marks said. “[The decision] will be up to the board. It won’t be my decision, obviously. I want all of my children to be equally successful.”

The paper also lists Lizzie Young, Michael Stephenson and Tom Malone as internal candidates.

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News Brands

Peter FitzSimons: Vale Greg Growden, you will be long remembered

Greg Growden, the iconic rugby journalist, whose work appeared in these pages across an extraordinary six decades, from the late 1970s when he joined the paper as a cadet, through to this decade – with a long stint at ESPN thrown in – passed away Saturday night at Royal Prince Alfred’s Lifehouse facility after a long struggle with cancer, writes The Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter FitzSimons.

He was just 60 years old.

Growden worked as a sports journalist across many fields, but it was for rugby that he will be most remembered, one of only two journalists in the world to have covered every Rugby World Cup from 1987. Others came and went. Greg was always there – in the dressing room, by the field, on road trips, scouting out stories.

The Herald sends its deepest condolences to his family: his wife Elizabeth, and his children Anna and Angus. Greg made his mark, and will be long remembered.

Vale Greg Growden. Great family man, rugby writer, respected author. Cherished friend.

[Read more]

See also: ‘He made his mark’: Greats pay tribute to ‘Growdy’ by Iain Payten.

Chris Kenny hails the live cross as TV Zooms ahead

For someone who admits that “he’s not great with tech stuff”, Chris Kenny has surprised himself – and his bosses at Sky News – with how smoothly he has managed to broadcast his hour-long show from his small hotel room in central Sydney for the past week, reports The Australian’s Chris Kenny.

Kenny, who hosts The Kenny Report on weeknights, is halfway through a 14-day lockdown, having been placed in mandatory quarantine following his return from the US where he had been covering the presidential election.

But for Kenny, the experience has been a revelation in regard to the future of broadcast journalism, and how some traditional obstacles to airing news programs like his can now be easily overcome.

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Landline founder’s sad parting after 34 years with ABC

It was a tough week for one of the stalwarts of ABC TV. Kerry Lonergan, who Aunty dubs the “founding father” of its award-winning rural show, Landline, was told last Tuesday that his contract was up and that Friday would be his last day after 34 years with the public broadcaster, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

That apparently hasn’t gone down so well.

Lonergan, who started Landline in 1991, didn’t return to the office after the call. He’s believed to be seeking legal opinion at the urging of family and friends.

[Read more]


Nine Radio shake-up: Why is Kate Stevenson leaving 3AW Breakfast?

The changes in the Melbourne radio market keep coming with a favourite from the city’s top rating show set to make a surprising departure, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

Hot on the heels of Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy pulling the pin on their Triple M Hot Breakfast show, Kate Stevenson has confirmed she is departing 3AW’s all conquering Ross and Russel show and moving to corporate media role.

Stevenson has been a vital cog in the close knit team that works on 3AW breakfast for a decade.

She has been the show’s executive producer for seven years and in total she has been at AW for 14 years.

Stevenson’s will farewell the show and AW’s loyal listeners on Friday (November 20).

[Read more]

Eddie McGuire looks forward to having free time after Triple M

Eddie McGuire is not a quitter, but he admits after 11 years his daily breakfast radio show combined with his other commitments has taken a physical toll, reports News Corp’s Fiona Byrne.

McGuire announced on Wednesday he would end his Hot Breakfast radio show on November 27, making it Triple M’s longest-running breakfast program.

Incredibly, McGuire has spent 23 of the past 32 years involved in some capacity with Triple M breakfast and so has created an extraordinary legacy with the station.

McGuire dismissed suggestions he had had a falling-out with co-host Luke Darcy and that had been the catalyst for the show’s end. Rather, he said, they were planning to spend time ­together.

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How the Hemsworths were discovered and the pilot Nine rejected

Drama coach Louise Talmadge can still remember a hard-working young man named Luke Hemsworth was very popular in her drama classes – especially with the ladies, reports TV Tonight.

“Somebody said, ‘He looks like Brad Pitt, doesn’t he?’” she recalls.

“He said, ‘You should see my brother, Chris,’ So I said, ‘Let’s see him!’”

And with that, a show business family was born.

Talmadge was the first drama coach of the Hemsworth family, Luke, followed by Chris, Liam and mother Leonie. It was the late ’90s/early 2000s when Luke Hemsworth would drive from Phillip Island to Prahran to attend Talmadge’s drama classes. The US-born coach was renowned for her honest and sometimes brutal feedback and the ability to spot the emotional intelligence necessary for success.

Casting director Lou Mitchell cast Chris Hemsworth in a guest role as King Arthur in Guinevere Jones, a children’s series by producer Lynn Bayonas.

But their big break was due to be an ongoing role in a Nine/BSykB soap, The Coast.

While producers delivered several half hour episodes pitched as soap, Nine execs also wanted to see the same show as a one hour adult drama, prompting a re-edit into another pilot. Eventually the network passed on the series. It would be Home and Away that would become Chris Hemsworth’s starring vehicle, while Luke went on to Neighbours.

[Read more]

Sports Media

Could rugby be Stan Sport's audition for AFL rights?

The launch of Stan Sport last Monday gave many in the media a jolt, but probably none more so than Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany, reports The AFR’s Max Mason.

The News Corp-majority owned pay TV company’s agreement to show Australian football could now face more competitive pressure than Delany or Foxtel had been expecting.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, who didn’t extend Foxtel’s deal beyond 2022, is now in the driver’s seat. He will probably take a patient approach, giving Nine’s new venture, Stan Sport, time to prove its credentials as a major pay TV sports broadcaster after it signed a three-year $100 million deal with Rugby Australia, and giving Australian football the competitive tension that it lacks in pay TV rights.

[Read more]

'Let's see how they go:' Optus unfazed by Stan Sport launch

Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin has dismissed concerns about excessive competition in the streaming video market after the arrival of Stan Sport and revealed the telco will expand its fitness offering before searching for new content deals, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Zoe Samios.

Nine will use the rugby rights to launch Stan Sport, an additional subscription product which was announced last week. Bayer Rosmarin was not concerned about the potential for more competition in the streaming landscape, and for sports rights.

“Possibly [more competition for rights],” she said. “They’re going to start with rugby and let’s see how they go with that.”

[Read more]

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