Friday October 26, 2018

Mercado & Manning: Mediaweek TV podcast

The new Toni Collette UK drama series on Netflix, Wanderlust, gets an enthusiastic review from both Mediaweek editor James Manning and Mediaweek TV columnist Andrew Mercado in this episode.

Also discussed are the new Foxtel Original Fighting Season, the Netflix Halloween special The Haunting Of Hill House. We also talk about Jackie Weaver in Stan’s Bloom, Top Gear’s new Aussie connection, The Block, E’s forthcoming The Bi Life and its Aussie connection plus Andrew wonders what has gone wrong with TEN’s Blind Date and Game Of Games.

Listen here

Seven Allfronts: Bevan Lee drama & Miss Fisher spin off star

• Seven boasts after another winning year: “Our worst is still better than their best”
• MKR’s 10th anniversary season to launch, the year “Top Gear meets food” in new Gordon Ramsay series
• International dramas with Martin Clunes, Sheridan Smith, Kelsey Grammer and more

Seven Network has unveiled its content plans at its 2019 Allfront event in Sydney.

Highlights include four new local dramas, including the latest from writer Bevan Lee, two new reality formats, a female spinoff to an existing hit plus the landmark 10th season of one of Australia’s biggest shows that Seven plans will lead into its 13th consecutive year of ratings leadership.

Seven’s director of network programming Angus Ross said: “After a close win last year, we promised to up our game in 2018, and the team has delivered in spades. We’ve broken records and dominated the ratings throughout the year. In fact, in every month we have never dropped below a 39% share, while our competitors have never been above 39%. Our worst is still better than their best.”

New on Seven in 2019

Between Two Worlds

From Australia’s most successful creator/writer Bevan Lee (Packed to the Rafters, A Place To Call Home, All Saints, Winners & Losers, Always Greener) comes an intense, high-concept contemporary drama series about two disparate and disconnected worlds, thrown together by death and a sacrifice in one and the chance for new life in the other.

Between Two Worlds is a Seven Studios production.

Secret Bridesmaids’ Business

The lives of three friends are inextricably changed when one of them unwittingly invites a malevolent stranger into their world. A tangle of lies and laughter collides with a stalker’s chilling obsession in this contemporary adaptation of Elizabeth Coleman’s smash hit play. A celebration of female friendship reimagined as a high stakes thriller, Secret Bridesmaids’ Business will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Secret Bridesmaids’ Business is a Seven Studios production.

Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries

Geraldine Hakewill (Wanted), Joel Jackson (Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door, Deadline Gallipoli) and Catherine McClements (Wentworth) headline this spinoff of one of Australia’s most loved and successful series. Set in swinging 60s Melbourne, Hakewill portrays the gorgeously reckless Peregrine Fisher who inherits a windfall when the famous aunt she never knew, Phryne Fisher, goes missing over the highlands of New Guinea. Detective James Steed (Jackson) is a smart, ambitious cop constantly hamstrung by the rigid leadership of his immoral boss but respectful of the hierarchy. Instantly attracted to Peregrine, he’s dazzled by her audacity and often drawn into her mad plans.

Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries is produced by Every Cloud Productions with the assistance of Screen Australia and Film Victoria for Channel Seven.

The Super Switch

Based on Seven’s controversial series Seven Year Switch, six couples will put their relationships to the ultimate test in The Super Switch. At a crossroads in their relationships, the couples will say goodbye to their loved ones to live in an experimental relationship with a total stranger. They will be paired with a like-minded person who will hold up a mirror to their own behaviour and help them answer the question – is the grass greener on the other side? This year, the social experiment has been supersized with all the couples split into two mansions, transforming the experiment into a shared experience. With three experimental couples living in each mansion, new dynamics, relationships, questions and answers will help all our couples decide if their real partner is in fact the one.

The Super Switch is a Seven Studios production.

Wife Swap

The mother of all social experiments is getting a facelift! Two women from two very different families swap their homes and lives for two weeks. But in this brand new reboot, the drama is intensified – with visits from the mothers in-law and bombshells being dropped, these families are going to get a lot more than they bargained for.

Wife Swap is a Screentime production for Channel Seven.

The Proposal

From the creator of The Bachelor comes the new sensation in dating shows. Each episode, 10 eligible daters compete in four pageant style rounds to win the heart of a mystery suitor or suitress whose identity is concealed from them. When the winner finally gets to meet their concealed suitor, it comes with a romantic proposal.

The Proposal is a Warner Bros production for Channel Seven.

Extreme Weddings

A wedding is the most important day of a couple’s life. But for some, an ordinary celebration just won’t do. They want the extraordinary. Extreme locations, extreme themes, extreme expenses – our cameras will be there from the initial planning stages through to the big day.

Extreme Weddings is a Seven Studios production.

Inside ‘The G’

This documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of one of the world’s biggest and busiest stadiums – the MCG. 100,000 capacity, 2,500 staff, 165 years of history! With unprecedented access to the cathedral of Australian sport, Inside ‘The G’ will tell the stories of the projects, personalities and passions that bring this iconic stadium to life. From feeding the crowds to keeping them safe, every event offers a new set of challenges.

Inside ‘The G’ is a CJZ production for Channel Seven.

Australian Gangster

The two-part drama is a punchy, funny and violent adrenaline ride through Sydney’s decadently gorgeous but completely inane world of crime. It’s just the kind of story that writer and director Gregor Jordan (Two Hands, Ned Kelly) is the perfect person to tell.

Australian Gangster is a Roadshow Rough Diamond production for Channel Seven, with production funding from Screen Australia in association with Create NSW.


A true crime story that takes viewers to Sandy Bay, Hobart, Tasmania, January 27, 2009. Mother of two, Sue Neill-Fraser, 55, is woken by a call from the police – her yacht is sinking out in the bay. Sue’s partner, Bob Chappell, who was sleeping on board, has disappeared. The boat has been sabotaged, blood spatters the cabin stairs, a knife lies on the floor. Bob is never seen again, dead or alive.

Undercurrent is a CJZ production for Channel Seven.

 Returning series on Seven in 2019

Better Homes and Gardens

• Seven News – Australia’s number one news service
• Sunrise – Australia’s number one breakfast program
• The Morning Show – Australia’s number one morning program
• The Chase Australia – Australia’s number one 5pm-6pm weekdays• Home And Away – Australia’s number one weeknight drama
• Better Homes And Gardens – Australia’s number one lifestyle program
• The Good Doctor – Australia’s number one drama
• My Kitchen Rules10th anniversary season
• House RulesJamie Durie joins judges Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Wendy Moore and host Johanna Griggs

The Chase Australia

Interview With Andrew Denton

Andrew Denton returned to Seven in 2018, bringing his unique interviewing style to a series of surprising and inspiring conversations. In 2019, Interview With Andrew Denton will be back with a whole new crop of amazing humans.

The series is produced by Legacy Media for Channel Seven.

Sunday Night

Celebrating its 11th season in 2019, Sunday Night’s host and senior correspondent Melissa Doyle leads a team of Australia’s finest reporters, including Matt Doran, Steve Pennells, Denham Hitchcock, Angela Cox and Alex Cullen.

The Front Bar

After a hugely successful 2018, Mick Molloy, Sam Pang and Andy Maher will be back with their funny and irreverent take on all things AFL. And, after the footy season is over, the Front Bar team just might take a humorous look at some new territory further afield… all from the comfort of their bar stools.

The Front Bar is produced by Front Bar Entertainment for Channel Seven.

Instant Hotel

We’re back for another fun-filled adventure across the country to find Australia’s best Instant Hotel. From a unique desert retreat to a lush tropical hideaway, this season’s teams will take the ride of their life as they travel the country with some quirky companions, visit some truly stunning locations and compete for a grand prize that will change our winning home hotelier’s lives.

Instant Hotel is a Seven Studios production.

First Dates

The fly-on-the-wall dating show returns with more single guys and girls hoping to meet their dream partner on a blind date.

First Dates is a Warner Bros. International Television Australia production for Channel Seven.

Australian Spartan

A surprise recommission after a disappointing debut, season 2 welcomes Australian and New Zealand athletes back into the Spartan arena. In front of a live audience, hosts Edwina Bartholomew and Hamish McLachlan, along with sideline reporter Wendell Sailor, take viewers through each episode’s triumphs and tragedies as teams of three battle the course in a race for one of 10 places in the Grand Final, where one team will be crowned champions and win $150,000.

Australian Spartan is a Eureka/Matchbox Pictures production for Channel Seven.

Zumbo’s Just Desserts

Seven has teamed up with US streaming giant Netflix to bring back Zumbo’s Just Desserts, an original Seven Studios concept from the makers of My Kitchen Rules. Australia’s celebrated pâtissier Adriano Zumbo and acclaimed British chef, writer and broadcaster Rachel Khoo reprise their roles as judges of this ultimate dessert makers competition.

International programs returning with new and continuing seasons include 9-1-1, Criminal Minds, Modern Family, The Resident and Grey’s Anatomy, plus 7mate favourites The Simpsons, American Dad and Family Guy.

Seven will also continue to deliver Australian factual programming with new episodes of Border Security, Highway Patrol, Motorcycle Cops and Surveillance Oz to air in 2019.

Event Television on Seven in 2019

Ladies’ Night

Eight female celebrities will pull together to create a show-stopping performance, as they battle to overcome their nerves and inhibitions, learn to love their bodies and raise awareness for women’s health.

Who will dare to bare this time for a worthy cause?

Ladies’ Night is a Seven Studios production.

Carols In The Domain

On Saturday December 22, Australia’s biggest stars will come together at this iconic event to celebrate the spirit of Christmas. Now in its 36th year, Woolworths Carols In The Domain is the largest Christmas celebration in the country with close to 50,000 people on-ground and hundreds of thousands more watching from home across Australia.

Carols In The Domain is an Active TV production for Channel Seven.

 New overseas drama on Seven in 2019


A three-part miniseries based on the true story of a murder investigation that kept the people of Britain on the edge their seats – and defined a detective’s career. Starring Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) as DCI Colin Sutton, the story begins in August 2004 when a young woman’s body is found. Sutton is appointed senior investigating officer but initially struggles: there are no forensics, motive or witnesses. Painstaking detective work finally delivers a suspect – Levi Bellfield – but now the hunt is on for enough evidence to arrest him and make sure he’s found guilty at trial.

Manhunt is produced by Buffalo Pictures.


Two women, one truth. From the makers of Fleabag and Liar comes this four-part psychological thriller about university professor Leah (Katherine Kelly, The Night Manager, Strike Back) who starts a dangerous relationship with her student Rose (Molly Windsor, Three Girls). What begins as a seemingly open and shut case of academic deception quickly spirals out of control, ending in fatal consequences, and triggering a devastating sequence of events that threaten to engulf them both.

Produced by award-winning indie Two Brothers Pictures for ITV, UK in association with all3media international.

Cleaning Up

BAFTA winner Sheridan Smith stars in this moving, funny and surprising story. Office cleaner Sam is one of an invisible army who work every night in the gleaming buildings of London’s financial centre. She dreams of a better life but, struggling with an online gambling addiction and spiralling debts, Sam is going under until one night, hidden in plain sight, she overhears an illegal trade being made. This lucrative stock market information, if used correctly, could be the break she desperately needs.

The six-part drama is a Sister Pictures production for ITV.

Hatton Garden

Based on the audacious jewellery and cash burglary at the heart of London’s diamond district, executed by an elderly gang of career criminals in April 2015, the four-part drama tells the inside story of how the men pulled off the heist which was considered in a class of its own in terms of scale and ambition, and the extraordinary level of planning, preparation and organisation required to penetrate the vault of the Hatton Garden Safety Deposit Company.

From ITV Studios.

Miss Scarlet And The Duke

Set in the same 1880s London society that gave rise to Jack the Ripper, this British detective drama features a fearless, independent heroine played by Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders, The Crown). With her inquisitive mind, Miss Scarlet has always been more interested in running her late father’s detective agency than behaving like a proper lady. But nothing has prepared her for the dangers she is about to face as a woman in the murder investigation trade.

The six-part drama is produced by Element 8 Entertainment.

The Bay

Written by award-winning writer and playwright Daragh Carville (Being Human, The Smoke, Cherrybomb), The Bay is set in the unique coastal town of Morecambe Bay. When Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong is assigned to a missing persons investigation in Morecambe Bay, at first it seems like any other – tragic, but all too familiar. As a police Family Liaison Officer, she’s trained never to get emotionally involved. Her job is to support families during the worst time of their lives while also being the eyes and ears of the police investigation, a cuckoo in the nest. But there’s something very different about this particular case.

The six-part contemporary drama is executive produced by Catherine Oldfield, Tall Story Pictures (Trauma, Bancroft, Tutankhamun).

Proven Innocent

Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Danny Strong (Empire) partners with David Elliot (Four Brothers) to tell the emotional story of one woman’s fight for the innocence of others, as well as her own. Proven Innocent follows an underdog criminal defence firm led by Madeline Scott (Rachelle Lefevre, Under the Dome, A Gifted Man), a fierce and uncompromising lawyer with a hunger for justice. There is no one who understands the power of setting an innocent person free more than Madeline. At age 18, she was wrongfully convicted along with her brother in a sensational murder case that made her an infamous media obsession, a household name and a national cause célèbre. While a hero and a victim to some, Madeline’s bold and bullish tactics earn her a number of enemies – especially Gore Bellows (Emmy Award and Golden Globe-winner Kelsey Grammer (Frasier, Cheers, Boss), the prosecutor who initially put her away and still believes in her guilt.

Russell Hornsby (Seven Seconds, Grimm), Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men) and Nikki M James (BrainDead, The Good Wife, The Book of Mormon) also star.

Proven Innocent is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, in association with Danny Strong Productions.

The Passage

Based on author Justin Cronin’s best-selling trilogy of the same name, The Passage is an epic, character-driven thriller written by Liz Heldens (Friday Night Lights). Executive-produced by Emmy Award-winner and Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Ridley Scott (The Martian, Gladiator) and writer/director Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Cloverfield), The Passage focuses on Project Noah, a secret medical facility where scientists are experimenting with a dangerous virus that could lead to the cure for all disease but also carries the potential to wipe out the human race. When a young girl, Amy (Saniyya Sidney (Fences, Hidden Figures), is chosen to be a test subject, Federal Agent Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Pitch) is the man who is tasked with bringing her to Project Noah.

The Passage is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.

Top Photo: Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries

Seven launching Australia’s latest TV food channel: 7food

Seven has signed a partnership with Discovery for the launch of 7food network.

Another TV food destination is coming to Channel 74 on December 1.

On the menu already for food lovers are Foxtel’s Lifestyle Food and SBS Food. Fetch TV subscribers also get access to Food Network.

Seven’s deal with Discovery means it will have access to content from the Discovery-owned Scripps Network, which previously supplied content to the SBS Food channel.

Alton Brown- Cutthroat Kitchen

The 7food schedule will include first run seasons of international Food Network programs Guy’s Grocery Games, Food Network Star, Chopped, Restaurant: Impossible, Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives, Cutthroat Kitchen and Iron Chef America.

There will also be new seasons of Best Baker In America, Spring Baking Championship and Kids Baking Championship, plus new episodes of Ridiculous Cakes.

7food will also reheat Australian originals including My Kitchen Rules, Better Homes And Gardens, Zumbo’s Just Desserts, Fast Ed’s Fast Food, Anh Does Vietnam, My France With Manu, Around The World With Manu, Manu’s American Road Trip, My Ireland With Colin and Aussie Barbecue Heroes.

Ted Allen- Chopped

The faces of 7food network include Gordon Ramsay, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, Rachel Khoo, Giada De Laurentiis, Jonathan Bennett and Ted Allen, along with local chefs Manu Feildel, Pete Evans, Colin Fassnidge, Fast Ed, Karen Martini and Adriano Zumbo to name a few.

Seven is also promising local commissions to be revealed at a later date.

Discovery’s general manager, ANZ & Pacific Islands, Rebecca Kent said: “At Discovery our passion lies in sharing the best real-life stories with our audiences. Producing globally renowned content that is engaging and inspiring is what we love to do and working with local partners to entertain as many Australians as possible is the icing on the cake! We’re delighted to be joining forces with Seven on connecting all Australians to the power and joy of food with 7food network.”

7food network launches Saturday December 1 on Channel 74 and 7plus.

Content war: Seven and News Corp to battle Nine and Fairfax

Seven West Media and News Corp Australia have announced a partnership to innovate and disrupt the automotive advertising category.

Designed to drive awareness and advocacy through to purchase, a new marketing platform, Navigate Auto, will provide advertisers with a powerful new way to reach the sought-after car buyer.

The move comes close to three years after automotive digital business 112 and Fairfax Media’s announced the formation of a 50:50 joint venture in the online new car sector.

The aim of that joint venture was to strengthen’s position in market, and use it as a launch platform to create Australia’s premium destination for new car buyers. The JV never really delivered on that promise.

The new Seven/News partnership will help the companies position themselves better in market now that Fairfax’s has the ability to partner with Nine’s CarAdvice after the merger of the companies is completed.

In market next week, Navigate Auto is promising a one-stop media package that includes:

• SWM & News Corp’s research and data that together provide consumer insights and audience targeting
• Talent-fronted video and information content, featuring opinions and reviews from the two companies’ pool of lifestyle and motoring experts
• Strategic and targeted implementation of video, editorial, and product placement creative across all consumer touchpoints of SWM and News Corp’s market-leading broadcast, print, BVOD, digital and social ecosystems
• A national reach of 6.1 million auto-intenders, which covers 95% of all available intenders in metro markets.

SWM’s chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette said: “Buying a car is more than weighing up functionality. It’s a lifestyle decision – how will this brand and model facilitate the lifestyle I want to have?

“We know that 98% of auto intenders are engaging with lifestyle and news content regularly, so by drawing on the combined scale and might of Seven and News insights, data, creativity, talent, media brands and reach, we will work side by side with our advertising partners to supercharge their existing brand creative and messaging.

“Make no mistake, this will change the game. A fully integrated bespoke offering, across all touchpoints, to help consumers navigate the path to purchase.”

News Corp Australia’s managing director national sales Lou Barrett said: “News Corp is delighted to join forces with Seven Network in Navigate.

“For our auto clients, this is an innovative opportunity to unite the strength of two great media companies to deliver powerful insights, campaigns and results. Our customers will sit at the heart of Navigate and we can’t wait to start working with Seven on a range of exciting initiatives and projects.”

Ewen Leslie on Foxtel Original Fighting Season from Goalpost Pictures

Foxtel held a launch function for its latest Foxtel Original Fighting Season this week hosted by director of publicity and talent Jamie Campbell in the absence of director of television Brian Walsh.

Campbell interviewed both producer Kylie Du Fresne and writer Blake Ayshford and introduced key cast members to media from around Auastralia.

The new series launches on Fox Showcase tonight and is then available On Demand.

The talented ensemble cast for Fighting Season was assembled early last year after the subscription TV platform first announced the commission in November 2016.

Ewen Leslie in Fighting Season

Producer Goalpost Pictures started shooting in May 2017, with major attraction Ewen Leslie signing on just before that start date.

Leslie seems to have been in many major Australian drama series in recent times. “I’m not sure that is good or bad,” he grimaced, thinking about the effect it could have on employment.

He’s also been in The Cry (BBC and coming to ABC in 2019), Safe Harbour, Top Of The Lake 2 and had a recurring role in Rake.

“I am lucky that a number of producers I have admired for many years have been knocking on my door, which has given me the chance to work with some really wonderful people,” he told Mediaweek.

There is a pretty big spoiler that is hard to avoid when you talk with Leslie about his role as an Australian soldier, but he said the plot certainly got his attention when he started the script.

“Writer Blake Ayshford has structured it very well and you are getting small pieces of my character as the series progresses. Each piece builds the character until viewers get to the final episode when it all comes together.”

He is very happy with the finished product: “Blake is a really good writer and Kate Woods is a great director. It really felt like a story worth telling, which you can’t really say about everything.”

This is an excerpt from the full article, which appears on Mediaweek Premium. Read the full article here or subscribe to Mediaweek Premium here.

Top Photo: Ewen Leslie (centre) with the cast of Fighting Season

Pedestrian.TV co-founder Chris Wirasinha tells Your Money what’s next

In 2005, Pedestrian.TV founders Chris Wirasinha and Oscar Martin wanted to change the publishing game by creating a platform that would resonate with young Aussies in an entirely new way.

They succeeded well beyond their initial plan and now look after Australia’s biggest youth news website. Along the way they sold down their shareholding with Nine Entertainment picking up what it didn’t already own just last month. Chris Wirasinha joined James Daggar-Nickson and James Manning on Your Money this week to talk about the digital publishing marketplace.

How ambitious were your initial plans when you launched Pedestrian.TV?

The initial plans were very ambitious. If you talk to any startup founders, they want to take over the world. The initial plans were massive. Now when we look back we think we did pretty well but not quite to the level of our initial thoughts.

We thought we might have built a global business with reporters in 16 countries and not have just the #1 youth website in Australia but potentially the world.

We have had great success and a fun time building a team. When we started the business I was 21 and Oscar was 22 and we certainly had big dreams.

Is there still a chance you could go overseas? Did you ever explore that option?

We never did. We looked at it but we saw a lot of young media companies go overseas before they were ready. The US is a very sophisticated market for digital media and it is not a cheap market to break into. To break into the US there are eight major markets you need to have a presence in.

Three years ago we did a deal with Nine Entertainment and sold a chunk of the business and more recently finalised that sale. At that time we had the choice of either staying in Australia to focus on local growth or, do we potentially raise venture capital and roll the dice again?

Maybe we chose the less-sexy option to stay in Australia. Even by staying in Australia though, we can still be a lot bigger than we are now.

Tell us about the early days of Pedestrian.

For people who have no idea what we are talking about, Pedestrian.TV started life as a DVD magazine. It was filled with about 60 minutes of youth culture in a magazine-style TV show. After a couple of years we launched the website, which was a big shift that shaped what the business became. The fundamental concept of the site remains similar to what we are doing now.

Is the youth market hard and how do you stay relevant?

The youth market is hard if it is a business not run by young people. The youth market is really easy when you are in your 20s or early 30s and you are part of the audience. I am now 35 and I am starting to move out of that world. However, everyone in our team is younger and that is what we hire for. Being a digital product was easier for us too because online was where our audience was. One of the challenges now is the fragmented nature of the audience with so many digital platforms from Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube.

Was there much competition over the years?

We were the competition initially. There were much larger businesses targeting our audience when we started out. We were always the underdog and we used to have a third of the traffic [of other sites] and we had to build our numbers and commercial acumen. There are still traditional publishers [we compete with] in addition to two of the biggest companies in the world, Facebook and Google.

Do you still have the passion for Pedestrian.TV?

We did the Nine deal three years ago when we sold 60% of the business in 2015, which valued the company at $15.5m. We were very happy with that. We recently sold the rest of the shares and the business had grown significantly and the valuation when we sold the remaining 40% was just under $100m. We are super-pumped about where it can go. It is our legacy and we still love it. We want to make sure the business is positioned well for the next phase with the right management. We want a continuing relationship. I have two kids – nine and six – and in 10 years’ time I’d like to think they are reading the Pedestrian.TV website and saying, “Dad made that.”

Would you every get involved in a startup – maybe something for middle-aged Australia?

One area I am passionate about is how can media unlock the value that it delivers and compete on a better footing with Google and Facebook. I don’t think I would start a content-based media company, but things that help bolster and find great journalism to keep getting made are an area I am passionate about.

 What do you think of Nine’s Fairfax plans as you will be part of that big media family?

The moves Nine is making at the moment go beyond old media. The way they are running the business is really exciting and the way they are incubating businesses like Stan is great. Nine knows how to take ideas and compete with global players. When Stan launched against Netflix and Presto, I initially thought it might be a bloodbath but the numbers Stan has are phenomenal and it is a fantastic business.

Mercado on TV: A Foxtel Original war story and an authentic biopic

Foxtel has been punching above its weight this year with critically acclaimed local dramas. There have been Picnic At Hanging Rock, Wentworth, Mr Inbetween, A Place To Call Home and now it’s time for a big finish with Fighting Season, which is about the aftermath of a mission that has gone terribly wrong in Afghanistan.

By Andrew Mercado

Australia has churned out too many movies and series about Gallipoli, and probably not enough about Vietnam. Ten’s 1987 miniseries Vietnam was a real highlight though as it followed soldiers through conscription, battle and then their unhappy homecoming, shown over three nights (five hours). Fighting Season tells its story over six episodes and zeroes in on a group of traumatised soldiers who return home with secrets and cover-ups that attract suspicion.

This is a tough sell, particularly given audiences prefer shows like this to reflect back on past wars rather than current ongoing ones. Movies about Iraq and Afghanistan, even the critically acclaimed ones, have all been box office poison so it makes more sense for TV and streaming services to do such shows. While ratings may not be outstanding, one more critically acclaimed series will sit well with the other Foxtel Originals, particularly as they move more and more towards a standalone streaming service.

Actress Sarah Armanious told the Herald Sun she and the cast hope Fighting Season will “begin a dialogue about what our service men and women go through… when they come home affected”. Let’s hope so because there has obviously been a care of duty with how this show has been written and made. And along with some other local dramas from ABC and SBS, it’s heartening to see something that is socially relevant, especially when there is often no redeeming value in some of the popcorn fare served up on commercial TV.

The Aussie biopic is also considered box office poison these days, so perhaps HBO’s latest movie could give a clue about where this genre could go to next. My Dinner With Hervé, premiering tonight on Fox Showcase, is about the most unlikely of subjects, actor Hervé Villechaize of Fantasy “ze plane, ze plane” Island fame.

Played by Peter Dinklage, Hervé’s bizarre life story is told within the framework of the last interview he did before his suicide. The journalist who interviewed him, Sacha Gervasi, has gone on to write and direct this movie, with Jamie Dornan playing him as a character who has just as many demons to sort out as Hervé had.

One of the biggest problems with Aussie biopics, usually due to budget restraints, is lookalike casting and recreations that come across as looking very fake. There is not a single moment in My Dinner With Hervé that does not look totally convincing, and its Fantasy Island set is so real it must surely be the same location. So forget those two-night Aussie biopics trying to tell too much story and zoom in instead on smaller but more convincing tales.

TV Ratings Analysis: October 25

• Gogglebox and The Bachelorette Australia make TEN competitive
• News, ACA and Paramedics give Nine #1 primary share, Seven and TEN tie on 16.6%

By Kruti Joshi


The news and its early evening programs helped the channel record a primary share of 16.6%.

Seven News was the most-watched program of the night. The first half starting at 6pm had 860,000 watching. Home and Away was its most-watched non-news program with 554,000 tuning in.


The channel had the winning primary share of 19.1%. The 6pm news was its most-watched program with an audience of 790,000. A Current Affair had 690,0000 watching. Paramedics was the channel’s highest-ranking non-news program at #9. It attracted an audience of 588,000.

Also in the top 20 last night were RBT, Driving Test and Hot Seat.


Gogglebox Australia was last night’s most-watched non-news show and TEN’s highest-ranking show. It ranked #5 and had 745,000 people watching. The program was a winner in all demo groups.

The discussion points from last night’s episode of The Bachelorette were: Ali’s medieval-inspired hairstyle during the single date with Taite and the drama between Bill and Charlie. While the episode was meant to be about the feud between the two bachelors, Ali’s hairstyle easily managed to upstage that on social media. The episode, which established Taite as a frontrunner to win Ali’s heart, had 589,000 watching.

The Project did 402,000.


ABC News was its most-watched program with an audience of 634,000. 7.30 did 505,000.

Invictus Today had 342,000 tuning in.


Tony Robinson’s Hidden Britain By Drone was the channel’s best with an audience of 248,000.

Week 43 TV: Thursday
ABC Seven Nine Ten SBS
ABC 9.6% 7 16.6% 9 19.1% TEN 16.6% SBS One 5.4%
ABC 2 2.6% 7TWO 4.8% GO! 3.3% ONE 2.6% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 0.8% 7mate 6.4% GEM 1.6% ELEVEN 1.9% Food Net 1.0%
ABC NEWS 2.4% 7flix 2.6% 9Life 1.9%     NITV 0.3%
TOTAL 15.3%   30.3%   25.8%   21.1%   7.5%
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates Ten Affiliates SBS
ABC 9.3% 7 16.8% 9 16.9% WIN 12.4% SBS One 5.1%
ABC 2 3.8% 7TWO 7.9% GO! 3.1% ONE 2.1% VICELAND 0.9%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 7.8% GEM 3.0% ELEVEN 1.5% Food Net 1.2%
ABC NEWS 2.2% 7flix 1.9% 9Life 1.8% Sky News  on WIN 1.0% NITV 0.3%
TOTAL 16.3%   34.4   24.8%   17.0%   7.5%


84.6% 15.4%


  1. Seven News Seven 860,000
  2. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 800,000
  3. Nine News Nine 790,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 783,000
  5. Gogglebox Ten 745,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 690,000
  7. ABC News ABC 634,000
  8. The Bachelorette Australia   Ten 589,000
  9. Paramedics Nine 588,000
  10. Home And Away Seven 554,000
  11. 7.30 ABC 505,000
  12. RBT Nine 501,000
  13. The Chase Australia Seven 492,000
  14. Driving Test Nine 432,000
  15. Hot Seat Nine 420,000
  16. The Project 7pm Ten 402,000
  17. Ten Eyewitness News First At Five Ten 359,000
  18. Invictus Games Today ABC 342,000
  19. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 283,000
  20. Sunrise Seven 272,000
Demo Top Fives

16-39 Top 5

  1. Gogglebox Ten 241,000
  2. The Bachelorette Australia   Ten 209,000
  3. Home And Away Seven 117,000
  4. The Project 7pm Ten 100,000
  5. Seven News Seven 99,000


18-49 Top 5

  1. Gogglebox Ten 387,000
  2. The Bachelorette Australia   Ten 316,000
  3. Paramedics Nine 202,000
  4. RBT Nine 179,000
  5. Home And Away Seven 178,000


25-54 Top 5

  1. Gogglebox Ten 414,000
  2. The Bachelorette Australia   Ten 332,000
  3. Paramedics Nine 242,000
  4. Seven News Seven 219,000
  5. A Current Affair Nine 219,000
THURSDAY Multichannel
  1. M- Die Hard: With A Vengeance PM 7mate 220,000
  2. Father Brown PM 7TWO 184,000
  3. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 153,000
  4. Peter Rabbit ABCKIDS/COMEDY 148,000
  5. Highway Patrol PM 7mate 146,000
  6. Murdoch Mysteries PM 7TWO 145,000
  7. The Big Bang Theory – (R) 9GO! 141,000
  8. Dot. ABCKIDS/COMEDY 141,000
  9. Shaun The Sheep ABCKIDS/COMEDY 135,000
  10. Octonauts ABCKIDS/COMEDY 134,000
  11. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  12. Andy’s Wild Adventures ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  13. Dino Dana ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  14. Little Roy PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 129,000
  15. The Big Bang Theory Tx1 – (R) 9GO! 123,000
  16. Murdoch Mysteries-E2 PM 7TWO 118,000
  17. Neighbours ELEVEN 116,000
  18. Seinfeld-E3 PM 7flix 114,000
  19. The Middle 9GO! 111,000
  20. Spicks And Specks ABCKIDS/COMEDY 111,000
THURSDAY Subscription TV
  1. Love It Or List It Australia LifeStyle Channel 64,000
  2. Gold Rush Discovery Channel 51,000
  3. Family Guy FOX8 47,000
  4. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 44,000
  5. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 44,000
  6. The Simpsons FOX8 40,000
  7. Criminal Minds TVH!TS 37,000
  8. Credlin Sky News Live 36,000
  9. Major Dundee FOX Classics 35,000
  10. As Time Goes By Reunion Specials FOX Classics 34,000
  11. George Clarke’s Old House New Home LifeStyle Channel 34,000
  12. Bubble Guppies Nick Jr. 34,000
  13. Motorway Patrol FOX8 32,000
  14. NCIS TVH!TS 32,000
  15. Family Guy FOX8 32,000
  16. The Simpsons FOX8 31,000
  17. NCIS TVH!TS 31,000
  18. PML Overtime Sky News Live 30,000
  19. Seinfeld 111 30,000
  20. Bering Sea Gold Discovery Channel 29,000

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

Jennifer Collins appointed Fremantle Australia’s director of content

Fremantle has appointed television executive Jennifer Collins to the role of director of content within the Australian business. The appointment of Collins will be the cornerstone of a leadership team focused on creativity and content.

She will be responsible for the development and production slates for both scripted and unscripted programming, creating a consolidated strategy across the genres. Her primary focus will be to build depth to Fremantle’s offering and bring about collaborations with the best creatives in the business.

Chris Oliver-Taylor, CEO Australia & New Zealand, Fremantle, said: “I am thrilled that Jen is joining Fremantle. She will add significant creative depth that will complement our extraordinary team at Fremantle. As a professional and on a personal level, I think she will bring enormous value to the business, both culturally and creatively.”


Targeted by pipe bomb, CNN denounces White House’s rhetoric

CNN’s president on Thursday (AEDT) denounced the White House for its “total and complete lack of understanding” of the consequences of attacks against the media after the cable news network’s New York office and several prominent Democrats were sent pipe bombs, reports David Bauder in The Australian Financial Review.

Feelings were raw over a perceived reluctance by the administration to mention that CNN was sent one of the crude devices, which also went to Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and others. A fundraising email attacking CNN sent out as the story unfolded deepened that perception. Trump’s campaign later apologised for the email.

“The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter,” said Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide. “Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”

[Read the original]

ABC calls in reporter over multiple ‘sexual harassment’ claims

The ABC has taken “follow-up action” relating to a male ABC TV reporter accused of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviour towards several women, reports The Australian.

After questions from The Australian, the ABC yesterday confirmed it had “followed up on and made inquiries into a small number of complaints relating to the journalist’s professional conduct towards colleagues”.

“Our inquiries have concluded and appropriate follow-up action has been taken in accordance with the ABC workplace policies,” an ABC spokeswoman said. “To respect the confidentiality of those involved, the ABC will not comment further.”

The spokeswoman would not confirm the name of the male reporter, known to The Australian, or claims there had been 11 other complaints relating to him.

These are understood to be mostly from female journalists with the ABC and other media organisations, but the spokeswoman said there were “rumours and some misinformation surrounding” the allegations.

[Read the original]

ABC forced to reveal if Luke Foley harassment allegation involves claim of sexual assault

THE ABC will be forced to reveal whether the harassment allegation engulfing NSW Labor leader Luke Foley involves a claim of sexual assault as part of more than 40 questions lodged with the Federal Senate, report The Daily Telegraph’s Anna Caldwell and Rose Brennan.

It comes as Foley’s colleagues are canvassing alternative leadership options as he faces growing pressure over allegations made under parliamentary privilege that the Labor leader “harassed” an ABC journalist at a function after having “a little bit too much to drink”.

The Daily Telegraph can also reveal that a full week after the allegations were raised sensationally in NSW parliament, no one from the ABC has contacted NSW minister David Elliott – the man who made the claims.

This is despite ABC acting Managing Director David Anderson committing to an investigation of the matter three days ago.

[Read the original]

ABC apologises to Camp Gallipoli CEO over Tonightly skit

Tonightly has caused another headache for ABC management weeks after being axed, reports Broede Carmody in The SMH.

The broadcaster has apologised for a six-month-old Tom Ballard monologue where the presenter blasted the Camp Gallipoli Foundation over claims it failed to distribute money to RSLs and other veteran organisations.

However, the ABC now concedes that Ballard went too far. In a statement a spokesperson said the ABC wished to acknowledge that fundraising wasn’t Camp Gallipoli’s sole purpose.

“The ABC accepts that it did not have a proper basis to suggest that Mr Fox acted improperly in his role as CEO of the Camp Gallipoli Foundation,” a spokesperson said. “[We] unreservedly withdraw the statement made by Mr Ballard that the Camp Gallipoli concept was a poorly conceived plan that ballooned into a costly and devastating failure thanks to the greed and hubris of those in command.”

[Read the original]

‘Preposterous’ to see Rush texts to actress as sinister, says Buday

Actress Helen Buday told a court yesterday that a text Geoffrey Rush, then 65, sent to a younger co-star saying he thought of her “more than is socially appropriate” was “a wonderful example of really good mentoring”, reports Rosemary Neill in The Australian.

Buday starred alongside Rush and younger actress Eryn Jean Norvill in a 2015-16 production of King Lear for the Sydney Theatre Company that is at the centre of a defamation case Rush has brought against The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Buday flew in from France to give evidence for Rush in the defamation trial at Sydney’s Federal Court, and said the 2016 text by him – which included a winking emoji with its tongue out – showed “familiarity” and “sweetness” towards Norvill.

Asked by Tom Blackburn SC, lawyer for the Telegraph, whether it was appropriate for Rush to send “beginning actress” Norvill a text saying he thought of her “more than is socially appropriate”, Buday responded: “I think it’s appropriate… ‘appropriate’ is in the eye of the beholder sometimes.”

[Read the original]

VC-winner Ben Roberts-Smith extends legal wars offshore

Lawyers for the country’s most decorated soldier, Ben Roberts-Smith, have stepped up their legal war to defend his reputation, launching a defamation suit against Singapore’s The Straits Times newspaper, reports The Australian’s Deborah Cornwall.

The Victoria Cross winner is already suing Fairfax Media over a series of articles published between June and August this year that he says cast him as a war criminal, a “callous, inhumane” murderer and a bully.

The legal action against Singapore Press Holdings, publisher of The Straits Times, relates to an article by Australian journalist Jonathan Pearlman on September 6, three weeks after the defamation action was lodged against Fairfax. The article refers to “explosive investigative reports by Fairfax Media” and repeats some allegations levelled at Roberts-Smith – from “unlawfully killing detainees in Afghanistan” to “bullying Australian soldiers”.

[Read the original]

Facebook ‘in good shape’ despite looming regulation threat

Platinum Asset Management chief executive Andrew Clifford has brushed off concerns about his company’s decision to invest money in Facebook ahead of the Australian competition regulator’s report from a world-first inquiry into the digital platforms, reports Jennifer Duke in The SMH.

Platinum bought shares in Facebook soon after the social media platform went through a scandal in March over revelations politically connected firm Cambridge Analytica had managed to obtain private information about millions of the site’s users.

Facebook’s share price was US$185.09 ($261.65) on March 16 and fell 17.8 per cent to US$152.22 in less than a fortnight. The company recovered, reaching new highs of US$217.50 on July 25 but, after an earnings miss at its trading update, the share price fell even further. Now, the price is down 32.9% from the midyear peak at US$146.04.

“It’s actually a relatively new holding for us… and indeed one of the big issues for all of the internet names is this sense that we’re going to get regulated and it’s a potential threat and there’s no question this will be a ongoing theme for some time,” Clifford said at a Morningstar conference on Thursday.

[Read the original]


Southern Cross Austereo dials up revenue on increased advertiser demand, CEO tells AGM

Southern Cross Austereo chief executive Grant Blackley is ramping up plans to capture a bigger share of the fast-growing podcast market.

Australia’s biggest radio network owner will optimise its audio assets and “grow new audio platforms”, Blackley told analysts and investors at the group’s investor day on Thursday, based on its 94-page slide presentation.

The number of monthly podcast listeners is expected to more than double to 8.9 million by 2022 from 3.5 million last year, according to PwC’s Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook report.

Earlier this week, Southern Cross reported first-quarter revenue growth of 3.5%, driven by strong demand from advertisers.

[Read the original]

KIIS FM host Jackie O has parted ways with husband Lee Henderson

After one daughter and many magic memories, radio presenter Jackie O Henderson is signing off from her relationship of 18 years, reports Jonathon Moran in The Daily Telegraph.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the award-winning co-host of high-rating KIIS FM breakfast show Kyle and Jackie O has recently parted ways with her photographer husband Lee.

But there is no ill will and the pair have vowed to stay close as they co-parent their seven-year-old daughter, Catalina, whose nickname is Kitty.

“After 18 years together, we have made the decision to separate. We do so amicably, sharing many incredible memories and remaining best friends,” Henderson said.

“Our focus for this next chapter is of course our wonderful daughter and continuing to provide her love and happiness, together.”

[Read the original]


The Block 2018: Who will win? The experts tip a winner

Millions of Australians are expected to tune into the finale of The Block on Sunday night to find out which couple will be crowned the winner, reports Domain. And it’s shaping up to be a tight race.

But if you can’t wait that long, why not indulge in a little pre-auction speculation?

We asked the experts to share who they were tipping to win and why.

Nicole Jacobs

Director and buyers’ advocate at Nicole Jacobs Property, Nicole has previously bought several Block properties for clients, including three out of five houses last season.

This year’s series of The Block at The Gatwick St Kilda created interest from buyers before the show even aired. The history of the building and the transformation of St Kilda seem to have captivated buyers from local surrounding suburbs but also from well-established suburbs like Camberwell and Malvern and, as expected, interstate.

[Read the original]

What the Challenge apartment has that the other Block apartments don’t

It’s come with less fanfare and certainly less airtime: The Block’s Challenge apartment has been bereft of the attention gifted to its upstairs companions, reports Zara McDonald.

After all, this apartment isn’t going to auction. Instead, it will be given away to a lucky winner watching on from home. But far from being the leftover apartment in a building full of luxurious abodes, the winners of this one take home an apartment stocked full of hidden advantages.

For one, the Challenge apartment is exponentially more technologically advanced than the others.

According to Smart Spaces Director at Schneider Electric, Ben Green, while the five Block apartments are “great examples of what is currently functional and possible” with regard to how they function as smart homes, in the Challenge apartment, “the innovation and creativity is obvious”.

[Read the original]

Sam Newman reveals his fate at Channel 9

Sam Newman could still have a future at Channel 9 after discussions with network bosses, reports Jackie Epstein in Herald Sun.

But it’s unlikely The Footy Show star will be part of a new football program with the network next year.

Newman, out of contract at the end of this month, met with Nine CEO Hugh Marks and Nine Melbourne managing director Matt Scriven.

He said they explored the possibility of him working on a new show.

“Had a constructive chat to top office at Nine and we are in the process of trying to introduce a new show next year,” Newman said.

“Several options proposed by other production outfits with diverse formats. Sounds cryptic – but it’s not.

“Nine will have a football show in 2019. What I will be doing is uncertain.”

[Read the original]

Sports Media

Foxtel kicking goals in 4K: Australia’s first 4K football broadcast

Foxtel has announced Australia’s first 4K football broadcast with the upcoming LaLiga El Clasico matchup between Barcelona and Real Madrid, in partnership with beIN SPORTS.

The game will broadcast live and in 4K ultra high definition at 2AM (AEDT) Monday October 29 on Foxtel’s dedicated 4K channel (444).

The broadcast comes after Foxtel’s history-making broadcast of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in 4K, and comes weeks before Foxtel brings Australians the first ever live 4K cricket broadcast.

The 4K broadcast of the Barcelona v Real Madrid game adds a third major sport series to Foxtel’s 4K lineup and comes as part of Foxtel’s longstanding relationship with beIN SPORTS, which is partnering with Foxtel to supply 4K footage of the LaLiga series.

The move will also see ongoing 4K coverage of two LaLiga games every round of the 2018/2019 season, continuing from November 4 for Foxtel Sports subscribers with the HD pack and an iQ4.


Australian cricket: Runs hard to get, but revenues surge

Cricket Australia has announced annual results for 2017-18.

While the Australian cricket team is struggling in its overseas matches against Pakistan, the sport’s governing body has reported its biggest ever year with record revenues and record crowds watching the game live via online and television.

Here are the highlights from the annual report:

The 2017-18 financial year resulted in an operating surplus of $8.3 million compared with an operating deficit of $50.8 million last financial year.

Fox Sports returned as a broadcast partner as well as Seven West Media as cricket’s free-to-air partner, with the broadcast rights negotiation resulting in a new agreement worth $1.182 billion over a six-year period.


James Sutherland departs CA heartbroken by sandpaper scandal

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland exited the game yesterday expressing his heartbreak at the events in South Africa with a belief that if he had not switched off the television that night, things may have turned out better, reports The Australian’s Peter Lalor.

Sutherland stood down after a board meeting re-elected chairman David Peever. Only after the states voted on his tenure did the cricket chief release to them the cultural review into the organisation commissioned after the ball-tampering scandal.

The states had hoped to see the review but were not handed it until after the AGM, which revealed a growth in profits and participation.

Sutherland, who has presided for 17 years at Cricket Australia as the game grew enormously, spoke to Cricinfo, revealing he had turned off the television before Cameron Bancroft was caught with a piece of sandpaper in South Africa.

[Read the original]

Cricket fans come to the party after Twitter appeal for story leads

Also from Lalor in The Australian: I had been hoping somebody would leak me the cultural review, or maybe notes from the board meeting, but what I got was far more entertaining.

Full disclosure. Mornings ahead of season are full of anxiety. Cricketers and fans may be anticipating the summer ahead, but cricket writers are only thinking about a blank space or two in the sports section that need to filled.

I always dread the call from the sports editor (wise and handsome man that he is), which usually begins one of two ways:

“Got any gold for me?”


“Hey mate, got a splash?”

[Read the original]

Alan Jones: The punters have spoken to Rugby Australia

The reaction to the columns I have been writing, and in particular last week’s, has been, by any reckoning, extraordinary, writes Alan Jones in The Australian.

Last week, when I wrote about the rugby tent being barred and no trespassers allowed, Russell wrote: “This story is a great analysis of the woes of the state of rugby in Australia. The game is run by people who are the Old Boys’ Club and you’ll have so much trouble in trying to remove them. They have created, as AJ has said, a closed tent, with little prospect of any outsider gaining entry. It will have to get so much worse before the supporters of rugby revolt and demand change. What is so galling is that across the ditch there is a model worth analysing and adopting.”

Calvin said: “I am not Alan Jones’s biggest fan, but he keeps nailing it in these articles. Regardless of your thoughts of him or the various issues he points out, it is absolutely clear the game is at a crossroads. It is stuffed at the moment and may fall off the cliff. Look at attendances. No one’s going to games, Tests included. Anyone on the board of Rugby Australia who thinks it is all rosy needs to get their head out of the sand. There are huge systemic issues that need to be addressed and heeding some of the calls Alan is presenting would be a start.”

[Read the original]

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