By Trent Thomas
• What went into the post production of 10’s hit singing show
The Masked Singer Australia finale had one final reveal on Monday as the Bushranger was revealed to be Neighbours star Bonnie Anderson and the winner of season two of Network 10’s popular singing show.
The show posted a national total average audience of 1.23 million viewers, including a capital city total audience of 915,000.
While Anderson went home the winner, the biggest accomplishment of the night might have been that the show went to air on its original air date after a series of production hurdles.
After several crew members of the show tested positive for Covid-19 hours away from the filming of the final episode, the show was put on hold and everyone, including the judges and host, went into two weeks of quarantine.
The Masked Singer Australia finale was rescheduled to record with feeds streaming in from different locations with a five-day deadline, with the show filmed across two countries, two states, two studios and a hotel room.
Those two countries were Australia and New Zealand, the states were NSW and Victoria, the two studios were Docklands in Melbourne where the rest of the season was shot and 10’s Pyrmont studios. The hotel room belonged to Urzila Carlson back in quarantine in Auckland after returning from Melbourne.
Panellists Dave Hughes and Dannii Minogue stayed in Melbourne along with the three remaining singers who took part in the last episode. Sydney-based panellist Jackie O, host Osher Günsberg and many of the Warner Bros creative team were in 10’s Sydney studio.
The post-production facility used for the show was City Post which has been the post house for shows like The Dr Blake Mysteries, My Life is Murder and BAFTA-winning/ Emmy-nominated The Cry.
Mediaweek spoke with Nadia Diggins, City Post’s operations manager, about what it was like being a key cog in the production of the show with so many moving parts during the pandemic.
“We were literally about to record the finale – eight hours later and it would have been recorded. We had to close everything down and everyone went into quarantine for 14 days, but they still wanted to keep the original transmission date. So we recorded the finale on the Tuesday with Osher having a feed in Studio 10 in Sydney with Jackie O, and Urzila was in her hotel.
“They pulled the key through the desk so Osher appeared as a hologram of sorts, and we had to put him in there which required replacing some of the shots because the link would break up and he would freeze. Through all of his shots we used reflection maps and that sort of thing to sit him in the environment with Jackie O. Urzila recorded her feed on her laptop so hers was a bit more limited.”
“We came in on the Wednesday and it was picture locked on the Saturday morning, graded, and then mixed, and we ended up delivering on the day of transmission on the Monday. It proves you can pivot in this environment.”
Diggins said that she had experienced tight turn arounds before but this pandemic-induced challenge presented its own unique situation.
“I have worked on a lot of live television and tight turn around formats like The Voice but nothing quite like this with the geographical distance of key members of the show in remote locations.”
“It would have been nice to have more time to turn things around and go back to the original green screen for a lot more of the shots. But we had a fantastic team whereby everyone was happy to roll up their sleeves.”
The silver lining according to Diggins is that the process has opened up the possibility of new ways of approaching projects like The Masked Singer Australia in the future.
“I think there have been reservations in the past to have remote setups because people feel being a creative industry we need to be in the same environment to effectively collaborate. For a long time, Sydney has really been a bubble where all the work has been focused which meant you had to relocate to Sydney. But it is nice to see the technology is there and it can be just as creative in another state or another country.”
Network 10 executive producer and head of entertainment Stephen Tate told Mediaweek: “What the finale became was a technical feat and it got the best out of our crews that I have ever seen. To produce a show out of two countries, two states, two studios…and a hotel room…is not something I have ever done before, nor would many of the crew have ever done before.
The unsung heroes of The Masked Singer USA will be making their big entrance Wednesday, September 30 at 7.30pm on 10 and 10 Play.
10 has released a few hints about the costumed contestant ahead of the first episode.
Baby Alien : “If you’re looking for a hint about this Baby Alien, all you have to do is look to the stars.”
Broccoli: “I’m a lean, mean, heart-pumping machine. After all, it’s how I got my six pack.”
Coming in at 8 foot tall, Giraffe is the show’s tallest costume: “If you’re looking at a hint, I share something with a powerful giant.”
The Masked Singer Australia concluded on September 14 with the Bushranger ranger revealed to be Neighbours star Bonnie Anderson who sang her way to victory with a final performance of David Guetta’s club anthem When Love Takes Over.
Urzila Carlson and Dave Hughes were convinced the vocals were the work of Australian singer Jessica Mauboy, but Jackie O and Dannii Minogue continued their winning streak with the correct placement of singer Bonnie Anderson as Bushranger.
The show posted a national total average audience of 1.23 million viewers, including a capital city total audience of 915,000.
Minutes viewed on 10 Play reached 26 million and its live stream audience jumped 50% compared to 2019.
The Masked Singer Australia also ranked #1 entertainment show on social media every time it went to air, achieving 293,000 interactions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
After months stuck in quarantine, these American stars are chomping at the bit to get back in the spotlight and share their hidden talent with in the premiere of The Masked Singer USA on 10 and 10 Play.
TV Week Gold Logie winner Grant Denyer, will host Network 10‘s broadcast of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, live from Friday, 16 October until Sunday, 18 October.
The Mount Panorama track is the most recognisable race on the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship calendar, and the 1000km race will serve as the season finale.
Denyer has competed in the Australian motorsport event on three occasions and will lend his expert hosting skills and intimate knowledge of the track and racing to 10’s live broadcast.
Denyer said: “Racing has been my number one passion my whole life. I live for it. The honour to host 10’s Bathurst telecast is a proud coming of age for me because one of my first ever TV jobs was a pit lane commentator for the Supercars. I was a pimply-faced, squeaky-voiced rookie back then.
“Having raced in the event three times as a driver and now getting to spearhead the entire telecast, it’s an extraordinary opportunity to share my deep passion and love for that incredible mountain and what I reckon is the best motor race in the world. It’s simply phenomenal.”
Joining Denyer for 10‘s live race coverage are Bathurst winners Rick Kelly and Will Davison, as well as Michael Caruso, and Kate Peck who will be reporting from pit lane.
By Andrew Mercado
National Geographic have outdone themselves with the new two-part documentary Save This Shark (Foxtel). It’s hosted by surfing champ Mick Fanning who, despite his near-death experience with a great white, doesn’t want to live with fear or revenge.
Instead, he just wants to learn why it happened, and keeping oceans healthy is top of his agenda. His search for pointers takes him from Ballina to the Bahamas, and there’s always lots of “beer and bait” on board. His findings are astonishing – five stars.
Someone else who swims with sharks is Ms Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her four-part series Hillary (SBS On Demand) is equally fascinating, covering her history with civil rights, womens lib and how she was in the front row to impeach Richard Nixon. Wow.
This doco also follows her on the campaign trail from 2015, with new interviews culled down from over 35 hours. It’s a revelation to see Hillary so loose and laid back.
There’s even a companion series of sorts, The Good Fight (Wednesday on SBS), because the fourth season, starring Christine Baranski, Louis Gossett Jr and Michael J. Fox, is set in an alternate reality where Hillary became President.
Of course, Hillary did not win in 2016, but now we have The Comey Rule (Friday September 27 on Stan). Jeff Daniels plays one time FBI director James Comey while Irish actor Brendan Gleeson is Donald Trump. His performance will be much talked about and is either the best acting of the year or a caricature. Of a caricature. Either way, this series is compelling.
Donald Trump’s win is partly attributed to social media and Fox News. The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty (Sunday on ABC) covers how the phone hacking scandal left Rupert’s reputation in tatters. And then, along came his “good friend” Trump.
Throw social media into the mix and it’s no wonder a new documentary is sounding some major alarm bells. The Social Dilemma (Netflix) looks into the addictive and soul-destroying rise of depression, anxiety, and fake news. It suggests that humanity will be ruined unless there is urgent regulation. Scary.
In this environment, it’s no wonder The Masked Singer Australia (10) topped the ratings this week. Well done to everyone involved for pulling off that feel good Grand Final under such trying circumstances.
Good luck to all the nominees at the “virtual” 72nd Emmy Awards (Monday on Fox Arena), and here’s hoping Succession (Binge/Foxtel) and Schitt’s Creek (Netflix and ABC) sweep their categories, because this is their year, surely?
On the other hand, Ms DeGeneres has not been having a good year and yet Ellen (Tuesday on Nine and Fox Arena) is back with a new season. After what will no doubt be an apology to be better, Foxtel might be better off with the buzzy Drew Barrymore Show, while Nine should stick with those Desperate Housewives repeats.
By james Manning
• Nine makes it 5 from 5 with NRL only FTA primetime sport
• The Bachelor settles on the final four for finals week
Seven News 970,000/889,000
Nine News 935,000/939,000
ABC News 711,000
10 News First 315,000/231,000
SBS World News 184,000
Daily current affairs
A Current Affair 667,000
The Project 295,000/474,000
The Drum 179,000
News Breakfast 195,000
Late night news
The Latest 199,000
Nine News Late 117,000
ABC Late News 112,000
Seven: Home and Away ended the week with 522,000 after audiences close to 600,000 and then 565,000 across the week.
Thursday AFL only went into Perth on 7mate as West Coast and North Melbourne did battle with 127,000 watching in that market.
On the primary channel episodes of America’s Got Talent (180,000) or Border Security (96,000) followed the latest from Summer Bay in various markets.
The Front Bar saw Andy Lee in for Sam Pang again. The show’s guest Guy McKenna reckoned Gary Ablett Jr was a better player than his dad. The episode was on 231,000 with 143,000 in Melbourne.
Nine: A Current Affair Thursday did 667,000 after three previous evenings in the 700,000s.
Thursday NRL featured Souths v Bulldogs with an audience of 314,000 with 187,000 in Sydney and 98,000 in Brisbane.
The post-game Golden Point was on 133,000.
10: Em Rusciano was a guest panellist on The Project as a discussion about California wildfires and then Luke McGregor finished the show. The audience was 474,000 after three previous nights over 500,000 at 7pm.
The Bachelor Australia made a tough decision about who would be heading into the final week. Kaitlyn left the mansion leaving Bec, Bella, Irena and Izzy to return for the final week. The Thursday episode was on 631,000 after 561,000 last week.
Gogglebox Australia looked at the Mick Fanning shark doco and Indian Matchmaking. After 604,000 a week ago, last night was on 644,000.
ABC: The Height shad a crowd of 211,000. Escape from the City was searching for a property in the Coffs Harbour hinterland for its audience of 290,000.
SBS: World’s Most Scenic Railway Journeys was on 320,000 for its journey across northern Spain. Secrets of the Tower of London was on 196,000.
The numbers then climbed for Stage 18 of Tour de France with 199,000.
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.1%||7TWO||4.7%||GO!||2.0%||10 Bold||4.3%||VICELAND||1.7%|
|ABC ME||0.4%||7mate||4.9%||GEM||1.6%||10 Peach||2.7%||Food Net||0.8%|
|9Rush||1.1%||SBS World Movies||0.7%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||10 Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY||3.2%||7TWO||6.8%||GO!||1.8%||WIN Bold||5.1%||VICELAND||2.0%|
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||3.7%||GEM||2.5%||WIN Peach||2.3%||Food Net||0.5%|
|ABC NEWS||1.1%||7flix (Excl. Tas/WA)||2.7%||9Life||2.2%||Sky News on WIN||2.0%||NITV||0.2%|
|THURSDAY METRO ALL TV|
18 – 49
25 – 54
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Publicis Groupe ANZ CEO, Michael Rebelo, has announced performance marketing agency Performics and customer experience agency Mercerbell will join together to create a new agency.
The new ‘Performics Mercerbell’ offering will combine Performics’ proprietary intent-based marketing approach, with Mercerbell’s focus on creating behavioural change through behavioural science, data analytics, technology and creative.
Jason Tonelli, CEO of Performics ANZ will take on the role of Performics Mercerbell CEO, while retaining his existing dual role as Publicis Groupe ANZ’s Chief Product Officer.
Rebelo said: “Through the fusion of Performics and Mercerbell, we’re combining the science of intent and powerful creativity to deliver measurable change to clients’ businesses. It’s a unique alchemy that will further amplify the market-leading capabilities of both agencies.
“As a technology company at heart, Performics has the ability to leverage years of academic research on consumer intent in order to influence people’s purchasing behaviours and drive revenue for clients. At Mercerbell, the team are experts at creating experiences that change behaviour. Not only is there an obvious synergy between the two, but when you bring performance and experience, or intent and creative together, it creates a multiplier effect.”
The development follows the joint appointment of Performics and Mercerbell to Collective Wellness Group’s Anytime Fitness brand at the end of last year. The two agencies have been tasked with developing and executing the fitness brand’s omnichannel marketing strategy across B2B and B2B2C environments. Both agencies also work on the Toyota Financial Services account.
Tonelli said: “As our customers increasingly look for one solution across media and creative, the coming together of the Mercerbell behavioural science creative approach and Performics’ intent-based media capability presents a potent combination for the market. I could not be more excited to be working with a fantastic leadership team and an amazingly talented group of people to deliver intent-powered ideas for our customers and beyond.”
Meanwhile, Julie Dormand, CEO of Mercerbell has decided to leave the business to pursue new opportunities, after 20 years with the agency.
“The passion and dedication Julie has invested into Mercerbell over the years has earnt her the respect and trust of her many peers, as she has progressed through the ranks to CEO,” said Rebelo. “I appreciate her desire to seek out a new challenge, and I’d like to thank Julie for her contribution and leadership, and wish her great success in her next venture.”
Dormand said: “After nearly 20 years at Mercerbell, I’ve decided it’s time to start a new journey. I’m honoured to have been part of creating Australia’s first CX agency, joining Publicis Groupe, and more recently helping transition the team to the exciting new Performics Mercerbell proposition.
“The new agency will deliver even more insight, capability and best-in-class performance media. The awesome leadership team have come together to deliver on this exciting future. Jason Tonelli – the team are lucky to have you guide them into the future. I have no doubt about the future success of Performics Mercerbell, and I will be the first person cheering on the team as they grow. Thank you to Nick Mercer, David Bell and Mike Rebelo for believing in me.”
Mercerbell’s clients include American Express, Nestle Purina, Lion beer brands, Pernod Ricard, Qantas and Caltex. While Performics’ works with Lenovo, Toyota, Red Energy, Lumo Energy and Ancestry.com.
ABC and SBS are at loggerheads with Regional Broadcasters Australia over maintenance and repair charges for broadcast equipment, previously done for free, has led to more than 400 residents of Goulburn, NSW, not having access to the public broadcasters and threatens coverage across regional and remote parts of the country, reports AFR‘s Max Mason.
Regional Broadcasters Australia Holdings had been retransmitting the ABC and SBS signals and maintaining equipment for free. The impasse between the public broadcasters and RBAH could spread further.
The argument centres around who should pay for the ongoing maintenance and repair of the tower facilities that broadcast TV signals in 80 regional and remote areas. The sites sit outside the primary digital signal in regional and remote areas, and the high costs to commercial regional broadcasters mean they need to consider whether they will keep them operating at all.
Police are interviewing overseas witnesses in their case against celebrity manager Titus Day after he was accused of defrauding Guy Sebastian of more than $1 million, a court has been told, reports News Corp’s Derrick Krusche.
Day, 46, of Bondi, was mentioned in the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday after being charged with 61 fraud offences against his former star client dating back to 2013.
According to a police fact sheet, Day was “calculating” when deciding which amounts of money to redirect and which amounts to actually pay The Voice judge when managing his career.
The police fact sheet alleges an overseas company called Premier Muzik made 24 payments into a “trust account” for the services of Mr Sebastian between 2015 and this year, but only five of these payments were actually paid through to the singer.
The other 19 payments were either kept in the account or diverted into unknown accounts, police allege in the fact sheet.
“The amount totals over $1 million dollars — this is a significant amount of money,” police allege in the documents.
Police prosecutor Malek Alzaim asked the court for an adjournment because officers still needed to gather statements from witnesses who were overseas.
Competition tsar Rod Sims will not change key elements of a draft regulatory code that would force Google and Facebook to pay news outlets for their content, despite pressure from the tech giants to water it down, report SMH‘s Lisa Visentin and Zoe Samios.
Sims said arbitration and non-discrimination rules were the “glue” holding the news media bargaining code together and would remain in the final version handed to the Morrison government early next month.
“The code will change. It’s a draft. A draft is meant to elicit comment and we’ve got a lot of comment,” Mr Sims said during a digital panel hosted by The Australia Institute.
“But the core of the code can’t change. You need an arbitration mechanism. You need a non-discrimination clause. They are the bits of glue that hold the code together that make it workable.”
Billionaire Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings says the American streaming giant’s plans to voluntarily produce high quality Australian programming that resonates with global audiences proves government-imposed local content quotas are unnecessary, reports Good Weekend’s Konrad Marshall.
Hastings reveals Netflix is planning to produce more Australian content for both local and international audiences. “Having Australian content is super important for Australian culture, but also for Netflix,” Hastings says. “So then the question becomes, is it good to use incentive funds? Is it good to use quotas? Is it good right now just to monitor and write reports and see what’s happening?”
Screen production groups want quotas imposed on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Stan. But the streaming platforms are instead pushing for “voluntary” targets.
“What we want to do as we grow is develop content in many countries, and have all of that content be shared, which is possible on the internet and a lot harder on linear television. Nobody wants homogenous storytelling,” Hastings says. “Whether it’s our Spanish consumers or Australian consumers or Polish consumers – they want to see some of their stories.”
Legendary local television producer John Edwards says the local industry is “carrying a sense of dread” about the potential quota removal. Almost none of his hit shows – from Offspring to The Secret Life of Us and Love My Way – would have been made without the current quota, he said, which compels free-to-air broadcasters to screen at least 55 per cent Australian programming each day. “Most shows fail. A quota forces a fair lot to be made despite that risk,” he says. “If you don’t have that – if it’s unregulated and controlled by a couple of oligarchs – you’re not going to get the breadth of programming we need, and what we see on screen won’t reflect our country.”
Australia has secured a strong opening to its 2020 Emmy campaign, with cinematographer Greig Fraser winning an award in the cinematography for a single-camera, half-hour series category, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato.
Fraser and New Zealand-born director of photography Baz Idoine won the award for their work on the critically acclaimed Star Wars series, The Mandalorian.
The series, which airs on the Disney+ streaming platform, is set five years after the events of the film Return of the Jedi – the sixth chapter of the nine-film Star Wars saga – and follows the adventures of a Mandalorian gunslinger named Din Djarin.
In his acceptance speech, Fraser acknowledged the show’s creative leaders, writer/producer Jon Favreau, writer/director/producer Dave Filoni and producer Kathleen Kennedy. “Your leadership and vision are incredible,” he said.
A number of camera operators at TCN9 are being made redundant as the network moves to its new home in North Sydney, reports TV Tonight.
Nine studios in the new North Sydney headquarters are evidence of increasing automation in the industry and the broadcaster is consulting with camera operators on redundancy. Shows regularly produced at the historic Willoughby site largely comprise Nine News, Today, Today Extra, A Current Affair, 60 Minutes and various Sport programs.
TV Tonight understands the number of affected roles is less than 10, but Nine is not alone in the transition to automation, which has been impacting camera departments for years.
Nine Entertainment Co has not submitted a formal bid for Rugby Australia’s new broadcast rights package despite the governing body indicating to other bidders that it has made a formal offer, report The Sydney Morning Herald’s Tom Decent and Zoe Samios.
Sources with knowledge of negotiations said RA reached out to Nine on multiple occasions to gauge the broadcaster’s interest in showing Wallabies matches and Super Rugby games on its television network and streaming services 9Now or Stan.
However, the media company has not expressed a formal interest in the rights, made a bid or discussed how much money it would be prepared to pay to broadcast the 15-man code.
The discussions between Nine and RA were informal and while Nine boss Hugh Marks has previously said it was not a priority for the network given its focus on rugby league, tennis and a potential foray back into cricket, a deal cannot be completely ruled out.
A ceasefire has descended upon cricket’s broadcasting war, but it remains a race against the clock to avoid a legal showdown, reports News Corp’s Ben Horne.
Both Cricket Australia and Channel 7 reported constructive talks were had in their crunch meeting on Thursday, in the first sign the governing body may be ready to work towards striking a new deal with its disgruntled TV partner.
It’s a positive development for the game following a tumultuous week which started with Channel 7 commencing the process of terminating its $450 million contract, before the network and Fox Sports escalated the drama again by only partially paying on their multi-million dollar TV rights instalment.
Sources from both Seven and Cricket Australia say it felt like the intensions were there at Thursday’s meeting in Sydney to work constructively and try and avoid that alarming D-Day in court.
But the $1.2 billion question is, can it happen?
So far both parties have been at polar opposites in their position, with Channel 7 furiously claiming that the summer – particularly the BBL won’t deliver on value – while, Cricket Australia has maintained all along that it would uphold its end of the bargain and deliver a full and glittering schedule.
Cricket Australia’s plan to turn the Big Bash League into a travelling roadshow has met a roadblock, with Foxtel keen for a genuine home and away season so that a party atmosphere remains at games, report Nine Publishing’s Andrew Wu and Jon Pierik.
As the sport’s governing body and Seven West Media called a brief truce in their high-stakes feud, after what both parties described as a “constructive” meeting on Thursday, it has emerged the structure of the BBL is a bone of contention between Jolimont and its pay-TV partner.
CA’s top brass will meet Foxtel executives on Friday for the first time since the pay-TV network paid only a part of its instalment on Tuesday.
CA’s plan to take BBL hubs, or “villages” as they are being called by administrators, around the country has not been welcomed by Foxtel executives, according to a source familiar with the issue.