Wednesday September 11, 2019

Neil Whitaker
Foxtel showcases content, new channels

• Foxtel’s pitch to advertisers: Less clutter, live TV still a thing
• Foxtel’s pitch to viewers: Less ads, live TV still a thing

Foxtel gathered the executives running Australia’s major media agencies last night to explain the reasoning behind rebranding MCN as Foxtel Media. The crowd at the Foxtel On Oxford venue included Dentsu Aegis Network’s Henry Tajer, Omnicom Media Group’s Peter Horgan, PHD’s Mark Coad, Group M’s Mark Lollback and Wavemaker’s Peter Vogel.

The evening started with Eddie McGuire finding time in a busy schedule to make the trip to Sydney to spruik the subscription TV platform to advertisers.

McGuire started paying tribute to Fox Footy’s Danny Frawley, revealing he had last seen him on Saturday night as they shook hands at the end of an episode of The Bounce as McGuire took over hosting that night’s AFL finals coverage.

McGuire also recalled his Foxtel TV journey and how Frawley had been a key component at Fox Footy when the channel launched.

Then, in the first of two outfits last night, Mark Frain strode onstage to talk about the rebrand of MCN. The CEO assured advertisers that Foxtel Media is much more than a name change. It will offer an enhanced viewing experience, which will be both great news for advertisers and viewers.

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany jumped onstage for the first time to give his own tribute to Danny Frawley before he introduced a Foxtel reel.

Delany then noted a number of recent Foxtel achievements that included successful iQ4 upgrades and the launch of Kayo.

Delany also mentioned the recent BBC deal and the impending launch of BBC Earth. He congratulated local BBC boss Jon Penn, who was in the audience, about his recent regional promotion.

Delany loves a live demo and he didn’t disappoint last night with a short iQ4 navigation session, revealing some of the functionality will also soon be available in iQ3 boxes.

Addressing the agency executives in the room, Delany talked about the content shakeup, noting that while Foxtel supplies much content on demand, live TV is still a significant part of its pitch to viewers.

Foxtel then showed a reel with Foxtel favourite, and former Channel [V] host, Renee Bargh walking around the Fox lot in Los Angeles, explaining that Foxtel is the exclusive home of Fox content in Australia. Bargh is now the host of the weekend edition of the entertainment program Extra in the US.

Bargh revealed the four new channels coming to the Foxtel platform:

• FOX ONE
• FOX FUNNY
• FOX HITS
• FOX CRIME

See also:
Foxtel overhauls entertainment line-up

When the reel ended, Delany said. “And that’s just the start. There are more Fox channels to come.”

When talking about TV advertising, Delany showed a page from an old David Jones publication featuring tips from his mother Maureen Duvall about advertising on the medium. Duvall was a spokesperson for DJs for many years and later was a TV regular.

Foxtel Media chief Mark Frain then reappeared onstage in a fresh T-shirt with the company’s new logo.

He threw to an interview held at Sky News with Peter Stefanovic interviewing Foxtel Media’s Nev Hasan. The TV sales executive talked about initiatives that include Foxtel dropping all mid-roll advertising from on demand content. It is also introducing two new formats. “What are they,” asked Peter.

Q break – a 15 sec ad break
M break – a mini break with two 30 sec ads

Frain then revealed a partnership with Samsung where advertisers can sponsor a tile on smart TV menus that will show trailers.

Foxtel’s chief data and analytics officer Jane Eastgate then joined Frain onstage in armchairs for a fireside chat.

It was then time for the Wendy Moore show that started with a short clip of Foxtel’s general manager of the Lifestyle Group taking a tour of the Foxtel On Oxford venue with Andrew Winter and Neale Whitaker. “Will you love it or list it,” asked Moore.

Moore than explained the refresh of the Lifestyle brand and the importance of women to the platform.

“We have an audience of women hungry for content,” she said.

Moore than revealed the four pillars that make up the Lifestyle offer: Discovery, Emotional connection, Optimism and a Sense of belonging.

That all leads to Foxtel viewers using Lifestyle as their “happy place”.

Two new commissions that will be part of the new Lifestyle are Deborah Hutton’s Find Me a Beach House and Scott Pape’s Money School.

Moore than explained that the Arena channel will now sit within her Lifestyle group, although the name won’t be changing. The tagline for marketing Arena is “Everyone needs a bit of glamour in their life”.

The channel will be the home for another season of The Real Housewives of Melbourne. Casting is underway for new Housewives to join the franchise.

The presentation finished with a summary of the highlights from Foxtel Media’s chief sales officer David Roddick.

He started with a card trick and ended by building an onscreen to do list that advertisers could use for future engagement with Foxtel Media.

Foxtel then fed its guests in the lobby. Included was a baking spread that looked like it had just come from the set of The Great Australian Bake Off.

Foxtel Ballers
Foxtel overhauls entertainment line-up

Here is the announcement from a Foxtel programming event held in Sydney on Tuesday.

Foxtel has announced the most significant overhaul of its entertainment TV channel line-up in a decade with the introduction of four new and exclusive FOX-branded channels and a wholesale repositioning and refresh of its popular Lifestyle franchise.

The channel changes across entertainment and lifestyle are a further step by Foxtel in providing its customers the best of TV and on demand all in one place, at the best value.

Entertainment Channels

From 7 November, Foxtel customers will enjoy four new and exclusive FOX-branded entertainment channels FOX ONE, FOX FUNNY, FOX HITS and FOX CRIME in addition to existing FOX-branded entertainment channels FOX SHOWCASE, FOX8 and FOX CLASSICS, together with Foxtel’s FOX branded sports channels.

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany said: “FOX is a breakthrough global entertainment brand known for surprising and shaking things up. These new FOX-branded TV channels allow us to take control of our entertainment programming based on bold channel personalities that keep things fresh and aligned to what our customers want from us. They will also deliver great outcomes for our advertisers.

“The channels are unapologetically and unmistakably Foxtel. They are exclusive to us and make it even easier for our customers to access our huge range of television, from the latest international and local drama series to the most popular crime and comedies.

“They add to our existing flagship FOX-branded channels and will be home to thousands of hours of the best live and on demand TV. There is no other collection of channel brands like it on Australian television or streaming platforms.”

• FOX ONE will be a new flagship channel along-side FOX SHOWCASE and FOX8 and home to the latest premium US network and cable series and contemporary hits including Ballers, Chicago Fire and Mayans M.C. and new season premieres including Prodigal Son, legal drama All Rise and the explosive War of the Worlds.

• FOX FUNNY will showcase the latest contemporary comedy including The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, The Office, 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother.

• FOX HITS is a new comedy channel that will deliver classic comedy favourites from the 80s and 90s such as Friends, Will and Grace, Frasier and Malcolm in the Middle.

• FOX CRIME is a new channel featuring the best crime series on television including NCIS, Criminal Minds, CSI and Bones.

Foxtel Lifestyle Group

The Foxtel Lifestyle Group, which recently came under the control of Wendy Moore who joined Foxtel this year from Pacific Magazines, has undergone a brand revision and revitalisation, which now also includes Foxtel’s Arena channel which has been repositioned and refreshed.

Delany added: “Our female audiences are incredibly important and this wholesale revision and revitalisation of the Lifestyle Group doubles-down on delivering more value through relevant and contemporary programming for Australian women and their families.

“We know that seeing your own lives and dreams beam directly to your home is a powerful motivator. Our Lifestyle channels have built a strong emotional connection with women by inspiring them with what’s on-trend and what’s possible.

“We know however that life is about the perfect mixture of sugar and spice. Part of viewer enjoyment and well-being involves indulging their guilty pleasures.

“This is where the repositioning and refresh of the Arena channel fits in as the home of risqué reality, glamour and salacious gossip and drama. This will see the channel air a fresh, new series of Australia’s Real Housewives of Melbourne in 2020.”

From 25 September, Foxtel’s Lifestyle channels will see a brand revision and revitalisation to align with the lives and aspirations of contemporary Australian women. The refresh will be accompanied by the arrival of the new Foxtel Original series, Find Me a Beach House and the return of Lifestyle favourites, Love It or List It Australia and The Great Australian Bake Off.

• Lifestyle bringing local and international experts into Australian homes including Selling Houses Australia, Grand Designs Australia, Love It or List It Australia and new series Find Me a Beach House starring Deborah Hutton.

• Lifestyle Food celebrating the variety and cultural beauty of food including The Great Australian Bake Off, Masterchef UK and Hell’s Kitchen.

• Lifestyle Home, the ultimate destination for 24/7 home and property entertainment including Love It or List It, A Place in The Sun and Coast v Country.

• Arena, the home of guilty pleasures, glamour and fame featuring The Real Housewives franchise, Project Runway and Vanderpump Rules.

The channel changes follow yesterday’s announcement that the BBC’s new premium factual channel BBC Earth will launch on Foxtel on 10 October, bringing viewers incredible stories about the world around us including four of Sir David Attenborough’s biggest titles – Blue Planet II, Planet Earth II, Frozen Planet and The Hunt. BBC Earth will replace the existing channel BBC Knowledge and will include a significant increase in on demand programming.

Roxy Fitzy Wippa
Pilot Week’s reality TV dream team? Wippa and Roxy with Matchbox

Michael ‘Wippa” Wipfli and Matchbox Pictures might seem like strange production partners, but there is nothing conventional either about the subject of their first TV pilot together – I Am Roxy. The shows screens Wednesday September 11 night during Pilot Week.

By James Manning

Wippa’s fledging production company, Two Basic Scoops Media, had the idea and the consent of Sydney’s most outrageous PR maven to be involved, when someone suggested talking to Matchbox Pictures. He thought it made sense because of Matchbox’s history in the genre with the Real Housewives franchise in Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand.

Wippa worked with one of the best in the business – executive producer Debbie Byrne. “She is an absolute gun, just brilliant. In terms of getting the tone and the feel right she was great,” Wippa told Mediaweek.

He also paid tribute to 10’s Bev McGarvey for letting a radio guy pitch her a TV idea. “I feel lucky that 10 has been prepared to take a risk.

Wippa first met Roxy Jacenko about eight years ago as they turned up at the same events.

“I was always amazed by her business success, the size of her growing empire and her ability to get things done. It’s blows everyone’s mind at how it operates.”

The producers ended up with a lot of footage for the extended half hour show – 30 minutes plus ads. “If we are lucky enough that 10 decide it is worth commissioning to series we already have a whole lot of content,” said Wippa who moonlights as one half of Nova Sydney’s Fitzy and Wippa breakfast show.

Wippa said he feels there is plenty of content for Roxy to become a reality TV franchise. “She lives an extreme life. That’s a combination of her business life and then how she likes to celebrate when she has any free time.

There are also plenty of interesting people in the subnarratives – from family members to her business team. They are all really terrific on camera.

“This show will answer many questions people might have about Roxy, but I want people to be able to see more and hopefully it goes beyond a pilot.”

Wippa noted the PR queen never stops. Since the show stopped filming, Roxy has already been on the Arctic P icebreaker with Gretel Packer and other A-listers, launched another business and started an online series.

Many reality shows are almost programs about nothing, when you look at what Roxy is doing there is so much substance. The program also covers the everyday issues that all couples go through – bickering over different things.”

Jacenko is a polarising person. Wippa said the series will show why that happens. But he added: “When that happens it is usually through a lack of understanding from people who only see a few headlines. I find it refreshing that she does things without the concern of what other people will think. There’s probably a part of most of us who would probably like to say more than we probably do or to be brave enough to make the calls she does.”

With so much of Jacenko’s life already played out in the media, was there anything left to tell?

“We had to make sure the storylines weren’t things repeated from news services. We needed to make the story with enough depth and guts to make it more than just click bait.”

Two Basic Scoops Media to-date has done some podcasting, but in regards to TV, Wippa told Mediaweek, “This is the first big swing. I am working with Carlie Millican our development producer. At the moment we have a few ideas we are pitching to other networks and platforms.”

Millican worked with Nova Entertainment previously.

While I Am Roxy is very much reality TV, Wippa said their other concepts are varied. “We have many ideas crossing most genres to be honest. We have concepts in the game space, also romance and also in the light entertainment field.”

Wippa’s past brushes with TV started off as a joke, sort of. “There was On The Couch with Wippa and Up Reasonably Late with Fitzy and Wippa. I think that peaked at about 36,000,” he recalled.

Wippa also experienced reality TV firsthand as a guest contestant on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Outta Here. He also co-hosted a season of Nine’s 20 To 1.

Follow the hits: See Mediaweek’s Pilot Week Dashboard here.

Top Photo: Fitzy and Wippa with Roxy and husband Oliver

WBB
Case study: How does Cartoon Network market one of it’s biggest shows?

Part one of our interview with Robi Stanton, Vice President & General Manager – Turner Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Territories, covered Cartoon Network’s marketing strategy in bringing international shows to an Australian market. 

By Trent Thomas

In Part two of Mediaweek’s conversation with Stanton, we will be taking an up-close look at the most recent campaign for Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears.

We Bare Bears is an animated series about the adventures of three brother bears in civilised society, which Stanton describes as, “We Bare Bears is a huge show for us. There’s something so cute but also so relatable about the bear-bros and everyone has a favourite. Mine is Ice Bear. He probably talks a little less than me but he’s super talented and uber cool.”

We Bare Bears has developed a bear sized footprint globally for Cartoon Network with a baby bear spinoff and a TV movie scheduled for 2020. Also in Australia, We Bare Bears has a partnership with retailer Miniso who sells a varied line of popular bear merchandise.  In 2018, Cartoon Network estimated that We Bare Bears engaged its fans through more than 200 million touchpoints in Asia Pacific. The show has also recently held promotional campaigns in Singapore with Fraser’s Malls, South Korea with professional baseball team the Doosan Bears, and Temuera Morrison voiced the character Grizzly for Cartoon Network New Zealand to celebrate Maori Week.

Temuera Morrison

Stanton explains that series has engaged with international audiences due to the likeable and relatable nature of the content that resonates with both kids and adults,

“The We Bare Bears are very likeable and relatable. The bears are three unique characters trying to find their place in the world and we think a lot of people can relate to that on a personal level. The series juxtaposes a somewhat mature sense of humour which relates to both kids and adults. Australians have a similar sense of humour and they don’t take themselves too seriously either.

“Fans also respond really well to the diversity aspect of the show. The series takes place in the Bay Area around San Francisco which is very multicultural. The show also has a high ‘cuteness’ factor since Daniel, the creator, has a soft spot for the Japanese ‘kawaii’ or cute aesthetic which you can see has influenced the show.”

To continue the promotion of the animated series Cartoon Network recently held a fan tour of Australia and New Zealand to promote the show that started with a visit to the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Pitt St Mall, China Town, and Bondi Beach. Stanton says that a lot of planning went into the tour to create a marketing campaign that was true to the brand,

“A lot of planning went in to their tour of Australia and New Zealand. It was important to create opportunities for fans to engage with the bears in person. We also looked at their characteristics and created a campaign that stayed true to them. The bears are always looking to make friends, so spreading bear-hugs and meeting new people is completely on-brand for the show and a “fun” thing to do which is core to the Cartoon Network brand DNA.

“We wanted to take the bears to places that are frequently visited by tourists, as that is essentially what they are. They are having so much fun visiting iconic locations such as the Harbour Bridge, which made them feel right at home as it reminded them on the Golden Gate Bridge. The bears are obsessed with food so we had to factor that in to the tour also by creating a life-size food truck.”

This isn’t the first time that Cartoon Network Australia has used a campaign like this to drive fandom, Stanton explains how Cartoon Network tries to use technology to connect with its fanbase,

“At Cartoon Network we continuously look at ways to drive fandom. We know that fans love to engage with our brands in real life, so on the ground events are a very important part of the way we connect with them. In the past we have run multiple OTG campaigns, of which our Ben 10 AR experience is a good example. We used technology to enable fans to do what they have always imagined being able to do. To morph into their favourite Ben 10 alien and brought to life on a big screen where they could use their superpowers. This activation toured the country and kids loved being able to play their favourite hero.

“A few years ago we created the world’s largest skill tester – a 10×10 metre contraption filled with toys where kids controlled the joystick and parents were the claw!”

This builds on the influencer campaigns that are a heavy component of the Cartoon Network strategy. In May this year, We Bare Bears announced a partnership with K-pop group Monsta X which saw the members voice characters in the series. This continues a string of celebrity partnerships that include NBA stars Charles Barkley, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving and Paul George, and rapper T-Pain (who has a tattoo of the We Care Bears character Panda). Stanton says that it is important to connect with their audiences in different ways, and a partnership allows both brands that are involved to widen their appeal,

“It is important to us to engage with our audience in unique and creative ways. Brand collaboration and partnerships where there is a shared or overlapping fan base is an incredibly powerful way for both brands to bring joy to the fans of both brands and to widen the appeal of both brands respectively.

“We know a lot of the fans of both We Bare Bears and Monsta X cross over so it was really great to make this happen. The original idea actually came from a fan on Twitter and the creator, Daniel Chong, loved the idea so we approached Monsta X who themselves are fans of the series, so it all aligned. We had a similar experience when we engaged with T-Pain, Daniel Chong discovered that he had a Panda Bear tattoo on his arm and thought it would be brilliant to have T-Pain feature in an episode.”

Along with the tour of Australia, Cartoon Network has also created an online platform for fans to vote on the next destination of the We Bare Bears Tour at hugstour.cartoonnetwork.co.nzThis is accompanied by an APAC “We’ll be There” journey official Facebook page allows fans to follow the Bears’ journey at We Bare Bears Community Page. Stanton says that it is important to provide their fans different ways to engage with the brand and to communicate what they want from the show,

“The response has been overwhelming. We understand that our fans use different platforms to engage with our brands which is why we used social avenues to engage further. Our campaign allows fans to determine the journey of their tour and also provides iconic meeting places for fans to have a bear hug with the adorable bear brothers.

“When you are able to engage your fans so deeply and immerse yourself into their everyday life, we believe that is the ultimate measure of a successful campaign which is really based on a broader strategy around ‘total consumption’ of our franchises and brands.”

Staton says that Cartoon Network is aware that they need to be where their fans are both online and offline and the important part that real-life experiences play especially for such a young audience,

“To drive fandom we need to make sure we are everywhere our fans are, whether that’s online, on social, on-air or on the ground. With kids brands in particular we know that real life experiences are very important as this grows connections with the brands they love. We’ve noticed while touring the We Bare Bears that they receive a very positive response from fans as the mascots are very soft and cuddly and fans can’t seem to keep their hands off them.

“That said, while the real life experience may be the highlight of a campaign, it is never done in isolation and we always take a 360 approach across digital, social and/or on-air which not only deepens the engagement but also amplifies it to a significantly larger fanbase.”

While most of the content on Cartoon Network Australia comes from its various studios all over the world, Stanton says that the local offices are given a lot of freedom when promoting the content to domestic audiences.

“Although our shows are created by our various studios, which are located in different countries across the world, we have a very localised approach to marketing. Each market is able to do their own campaigns as long as it’s on brand for both the franchise and the channel. Each year we decide which shows drive fandom and we design a campaign around it – it’s a lot of fun coming up with different ideas. With We Bare Bears we knew we needed to play into the cuteness factor of the show – who doesn’t want a bear hug?!”

Apple TV plus
Streaming wars: November a big month with Apple + November 1

Apple today announced Apple TV+ will launch November 1 in over 100 countries and regions. That launch date is just over two weeks ahead of the much-anticipated Disney+ service coming to Australia on November 19.

The two entertainment giants also have different pricing packages.

AppleTV+ is launching at $7.99 a month for Australian subscribers.
Disney+ will cost a dollar more at $8.99.

Highlights from Apple details released overnight at the Apple event on the Apple campus:

Apple TV+ will offer a powerful and inspiring lineup of original shows, movies and documentaries, including Morning Wars, Dickinson, See, For All Mankind and The Elephant Queen.

See separate post for details of first AppleTV+ schedule details.

The service will be available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac and other platforms, including online at tv.apple.com, for A$7.99 inc. GST per month with a seven-day free trial.

Starting today, customers who purchase any iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch or Mac can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free. Through Family Sharing, up to six family members can share one Apple TV+ subscription.

“With Apple TV+, we are presenting all-original stories from the best, brightest and most creative minds, and we know viewers will find their new favourite show or movie on our service,” said Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s head of Worldwide Video.

“Each Apple TV+ original offers its own unique story, fresh perspective and powerful message — all meant to entertain, connect and inspire cultural conversations.”

Subscribers can watch Apple TV+ originals both online and offline, ad-free and on demand, on the Apple TV app, which comes pre-installed on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and iPod touch and will soon be on Mac with macOS Catalina. The Apple TV app is also available on select Samsung smart TVs, and will come to Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku and Sony platforms in the future. Customers can also sign up and watch Apple TV+ originals on the web at tv.apple.com.

Starting today, viewers can watch trailers and add Apple TV+ series and movies to Up Next on the Apple TV app, so they can be notified when the first episodes become available. At launch, most Apple TV+ series will premiere with three episodes, with one new episode to roll out each week, while full seasons of some series will be available all at once.

Audiences worldwide can enjoy Apple TV+ originals subtitled and/or dubbed in nearly 40 languages, including Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (SDH) or closed captions. Apple TV+ series and movies will also be available with audio descriptions in eight languages.

Apple TV+ is one of Apple’s newest services, joining Apple Arcade, the world’s first game subscription service featuring over 100 new and exclusive games; Apple News+, which brings together over 300 magazines, newspapers and digital publishers worldwide within the Apple News app; Apple Music, the home of over 50 million songs, thousands of playlists and daily selections from the world’s best music experts; Apple Pay, the most popular mobile contactless payment system in the world that gives customers an easy, secure and private way to pay using their Apple devices; as well as the App Store and iCloud.

Pricing and Availability

Apple TV+ will be available on the Apple TV app for A$7.99 inc. GST per month with a seven-day free trial starting 1 November on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, Apple TV (3rd generation), iPod touch and Mac. To subscribe to Apple TV+, customers must update to iOS 12.3 or later, tvOS 12.3 or later and macOS Catalina.

The subscription will automatically renew at A$7.99 inc. GST per month at the end of the seven-day free trial.

Apple TV+ will also be available on the Apple TV app on select 2018, 2019 and newer Samsung smart TVs, and to Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku and Sony platforms in the future.

Customers can also subscribe to and watch Apple TV+ at tv.apple.com in Safari, Chrome and Firefox.

Customers with AirPlay 2-enabled Samsung and LG smart TVs must update to iOS 12.3 or later or macOS Catalina to play or mirror Apple TV+ originals from the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac directly to their smart TVs. Customers with eligible Sony smart TVs will be able to enjoy AirPlay 2 support later this year.

Customers who purchase any new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch starting 10 September can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free. Beginning 1 November, customers can initiate the one-year free offer in the Apple TV app on the device running the latest software. Customers have three months after device activation to claim the offer, or if the device was purchased and activated before the launch of Apple TV+, they will have three months starting 1 November.

The subscription will automatically renew at A$7.99 inc. GST per month after one year. Customers can cancel at any time in Settings at least one day before each renewal date. Customers who cancel during the offer period will forfeit the remainder of their offer. This limited time offer applies to both new and refurbished models, is not restricted to any specific sales channel (e.g. Apple Store, resellers) and will be available in all countries where Apple TV+ will launch.

Up to six family members can share one Apple TV+ subscription and watch using their own Apple ID and password. Only one one-year offer is available per family, regardless of the number of devices purchased.

The Morning Show
Apple TV+ reveals launch schedule with all-new, exclusive originals

Apple has revealed its list of Apple TV+ originals that will debut on the Apple TV app on 1 November:

See, an epic drama starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard, is set 600 years in the future after a virus has decimated humankind and rendered the remaining population blind. When all humanity has lost the sense of sight, humans must adapt and find new ways to survive.

Morning Wars, a cutthroat drama starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoonand Jennifer Aniston, and starring Steve Carell, explores the world of morning news and the ego, ambition and the misguided search for power behind the people who help America wake up in the morning.

Dickinson, a darkly comedic coming-of-age story, explores the constraints of society, gender and family through the lens of rebellious young poet, Emily Dickinson.

For All Mankind, a new series from Ronald D. Moore, imagines what would have happened if the global space race never ended and the space program remained the cultural centrepiece of America’s hopes and dreams.

Helpsters, a new children’s series from the makers of Sesame Street, stars Cody and a team of vibrant monsters who love to help solve problems. It all starts with a plan.

Snoopy in Space, a new original from Peanuts Worldwide and DHX Media, takes viewers on a journey with Snoopy as he follows his dreams to become an astronaut. Together, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts crew take command of the International Space Station and explore the moon and beyond.

Ghostwriter, a reinvention of the beloved original series, follows four kids who are brought together by a mysterious ghost in a neighbourhood bookstore, and must team up to release fictional characters from works of literature.

The Elephant Queen, an acclaimed documentary film and cinematic love letter to a species on the verge of extinction, follows a majestic matriarch elephant and her herd on an epic journey of life, loss and homecoming.

Oprah Winfrey joins the world’s most compelling authors in conversation as she builds a vibrant, global book club community and other projects to connect with people around the world and share meaningful ways to create positive change.

More Apple TV+ originals will be added to the Apple TV app each month, including:

Servant, a new psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, follows a Philadelphia couple in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home.

Truth Be Told, a gripping new series starring Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and Emmy Award winner Aaron Paul, explores America’s obsession with true crime podcasts and navigates urgent concerns about privacy, media and race.

Little America, inspired by the true stories featured in Epic Magazine, brings to life the funny, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring and surprising stories of immigrants in America.

The Banker, a feature film inspired by a true story, stars Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson as two African American entrepreneurs who try to circumvent the racial limitations of the 1950s and quietly provide housing loans to the African American community in Jim Crow Texas. Nia Long and Nicholas Hoult also star.

Hala, a feature film and official selection of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, follows a high school senior struggling to balance being a suburban teenager with her traditional Muslim upbringing.

Boomtown
Boomtown’s $1 million competition attracts major brands

• Deal of a lifetime as advertisers look to reach regional Australians.

The competition developed by Boomtown offering $1 million in regional advertising to a national brand has received an overwhelming number of entries, in an outstanding response to experience first-hand the benefits of advertising to regional Australians.

The competition, announced in July, called for submissions for a media strategy that speaks to 8.8 million regional Australians reached across Boomtown members Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), Prime Media Group, WIN Network, Australian Community Media, Imparja, Grant Broadcasters and News Corp Australia.

Entries have been received from a range of well-known brands and categories, including fast moving consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, insurance, automotive, healthcare, technology and charities.

“The criteria to enter our $1 million Boomtown competition was complex and involved submitting a complete media strategy, so we are thrilled and excited to receive such a high number of entries from some amazing brands,” Boomtown chair and SCA chief sales officer Brian Gallagher said.

“It demonstrates not only that our Boomtown initiative is working to redress the imbalance of advertising investment in regional Australia, but also the desire for brand owners to reach this lucrative and growing market.”

Entry submissions, which closed this week, required media agencies and brand owners to submit a media strategy focusing on the brand’s business challenge, consumer insight and strategic regional media approach across the TV, radio, press and digital assets of Boomtown’s media owners, and how success would be measured.

The competition was promoted extensively via trade media, LinkedIn posts, event sponsorship, an agency promotion and Boomtown microsite.

Phase one of judging with the Boomtown Steering Committee now begins and points will be awarded to each entry on the following criteria: consumer insight, strategy and strategic media/channel approach.

Five finalists will be announced on 23 September and will pitch in person to judges Mark Ritson, Melbourne Business School Adjunct Professor of Marketing; Nigel Marsh, management consultant, communications specialist and author; and Nikki Clarkson, SCA Head of Marketing and Communication.

The winner will be announced on 11 October.

More information is available on their website.

Spud tribute
A Rub to remember: Triple M & 1116 SEN tribute to Danny Frawley

Spud Frawley’s great radio mates will reunite this Saturday afternoon with Triple M and 1116 SEN to simulcast a special edition of The Saturday Rub in a tribute to the life of the St Kilda champion and larger-than-life media figure.

For 10 years, Frawley, alongside Brian Taylor, James Brayshaw, Garry Lyon and Damian Barrett, formed the ultra-successful Triple M Saturday Rub team, entertaining the public with a unique brand of humour and footy analysis.

In recent years, Taylor, Brayshaw and Barrett have remained core members of The Saturday Rub team, while Lyon and Frawley made the move to SEN to be key players in the station’s football coverage. From 12pm this Saturday, they will come together once more in a tribute to their great mate.

Head of Triple M Mike Fitzpatrick said, “This idea, dreamt up by Garry, James, Damo and Rub producer Luke Tunnecliffe, to honour their dear friend, is a fitting tribute to a beautiful man who was larger than life. All rivalries are put aside so we can celebrate a great man. There won’t be a dry eye.”

Pacific Star Network managing director Craig Hutchison said Frawley would love the idea.

“No-one told a yarn better than Danny so the idea of getting his mates together to reflect and share some of Spud’s great moments and stories will be really moving and promises plenty of laughs”, he said.

“Spud was everyone’s mate and news of his passing has had a huge impact on us all. We look forward to honouring him in this way.”

See also:

• Triple M’s Mike Fitzpatrick on what made Danny Frawley great on air
• Hutchy on Danny Frawley: ‘He was a brilliant radio talent’

The simulcast will be heard in Melbourne on 105.1 Triple M and 1116 SEN, 104.7 Triple M and 1629 SEN SA in Adelaide, as well as Triple M Hobart, Albury, Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura, Mt Gambier, Griffith, and 3BA Ballarat.

Dan Frawley tribute
Hutchy on Danny Frawley: ‘He was a brilliant radio talent’

• SEN and Triple M planning joint broadcast to remember ‘Spud’

By James Manning 

Crocmedia was hurting as much as anybody this week when news of the death of Danny Frawley came through.

Frawley has worked with the Crocmedia business for the best part of a decade, chief executive Craig Hutchison told Mediaweek on Tuesday.

Sports journalist-turned-TV executive Hutchy was clearly still shattered by the news of his good friend and one of his key talents had gone.

“We loved him. Our business is big in regional Victoria and regional Australia, and he loved the country. He was a man of the land and he loved country people. He loved people from the bush just a little bit more with is enormous heart” said Hutchy. 

He loved travelling with us in regional areas and he loved broadcasting in regional areas. We did a lot of things with him in regional Victoria on radio and TV.

“He was still the host of our regional television show Off The Bench on SCA. There will be a tribute to him on that show this Thursday night when we bring all the former hosts together to remember him.”

The shows are broadcast every Thursday from Crocmedia studios in Melbourne, but Frawley had taken last week off.

Frawley was very much part of the Crocmedia family – he was managed by the associated company Bravo Talent Management and his daughter Chelsea Frawley works for Crocmedia as strategy and solutions manager.

“Our offices are doing it very tough today,” Hutchy admitted.

“We are working with Triple M on how we might come together for a special broadcast to acknowledge his radio journey.” Hutchy has been talking to Triple M’s Fitzy to work out the details.

Frawley Off The Bench

See also:
Triple M’s Mike Fitzpatrick on what made Danny Frawley great on air

Frawley was all-consumed by coaching during his time at Richmond, the move to Triple M was important in bringing his excitement and humour back, said Hutchy.

“We were working with him simultaneously in regional markets during those years. Before I arrived at the radio station he joined SEN.”

Regarding his mental health problems, Hutchison said: “He was so courageous sharing his struggles in the past six years. I don’t think anyone understood the depth of them.

Frawley hosted a radio show about mental health called No Man Should Ever Walk Alone and the program ran for a number of years on SEN and more recently returned occasionally with special episodes. “He wanted to give everyone who was struggling a chance to share their struggle.”

Hutchy said Frawley was also full of ideas. “He was a rampant texter and on the phone often ringing around his mates. Everyone loved him, it didn’t matter if you were wearing a suit or a pair of overalls, a politician or a plumber. He walked in all circles.”

Frawley had been working for several years on Crocmedia’s AFL Nation syndicated AFL broadcasts. The business had been key to Crocmedia’s growth and Hutchison credited Frawley as part of the success. “That call is heard around the country in many regional and metro markets. His readability to the bush was a big part of his appeal to us.

“He was a brilliant radio talent. He was infectious. An incredible storyteller and he loved taking the mickey out of people. If he had one morsel of information about you he would hold onto it all week like an excited school kid and use it on the weekend. He’d have a laugh at you, but also laugh at himself too.

“Some people have the entertainment gene and he had it. The people that he worked closest with – Jason Dunstall on Fox Footy, and Garry Lyon when they were both development offices at the AFL – are both really battling.”

As to how good Frawley was working off the cuff, Hutchison said: “I don’t think he ever saw a script in his 20 years in the media. He broke every rule, just look at him on The Bounce. Australian kids and families love that show.” Hutchy said he didn’t understand that until he got together with his partner and her kids.

“He reached a whole new generation in the last few years. The Golden Fist is a much-mimicked award on Sunday nights.”

Hutchy said he supported the online petition aimed at making The Golden Fist an annual award. “It would be sensational on Brownlow night and I hope it happens.”

Carnival Row
TV Demand: Carnival Row rolls into the Digital Original charts

Stranger Things has regained its spot on top of the mountain, holding the number one spot of all the TV Demand charts after slipping in New Zealand last week.

By Trent Thomas

While it has continued its gradual slide back to the rest of the pack, its regression was less than its closet challenger 13 Reasons Why which has slowing momentum after releasing its third season on August 23.

While the top two has remained the same, the top three of all four charts has been shaken up a little with last week’s fresh face The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance continuing its movement up the charts settling in at the third spot of the charts for both Australia and New Zealand.

There are two new standouts that have entered the charts this week with Amazon Prime’s Carnival Row in the Digital Original charts and Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe entering the Overall TV Charts.

Carnival Row is a neo-noir fantasy series created by René Echevarria and Travis Beacham which premiered on August 30, 2019 starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne. The series follows mythical creatures who have fled their war afflicted lands and seek refuge in a city with building tensions among the citizens and increasing immigrant population.  The series plot also revolves around a number of unsolved murders, madness of power, unresolved love, and social adjustments that are eroding away at the peace between the people of the city.

Steven Universe was created by Rebecca Sugar for Cartoon Network and is the first animated show for the channel that was created solely by a woman. The series premiered on May 21 2013, and is the coming-of-age story of  Steven Universe voiced by Zach Callison, who lives with the magical, humanoid alien Crystal Gems in the town of Beach City. Steven, who is a young boy that is also half-Gem, helps the Gems protect the world. Some of the themes covered by the series include love, family, and the importance of healthy interpersonal relationships. One reason that it has pushed its way to number six on the Overall TV Charts for both Australia and New Zealand is the series released it’s first television movie on September 2, 2019.

TV Ratings Analysis: September 10

• All good mates again on The Block with Tuesday season high
• Wild Tribal Council on Survivor as Abbey gets the boot
• ABC’s hit Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds grows again

Tuesday Week 37 2019

By James Manning 

• Seven News 1,047,000/955,000
• Nine News 900,000/981,000
• ABC News 654,000
• 7.30 503,000
• The Project 277,000/479,000
• 10 News First 382,000
• The Drum 176,000
• SBS World News 126,000

Breakfast TV

• Sunrise 293,000
• Today 196,000

Seven

Home and Away held steady with 660,000 after 674,000 on Monday.

Seven’s night then dropped away dramatically after 7.30pm with Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly on 421,000 after 484,000 last week.

The Proposal took another hit after an audience of 307,000 last week turned into 252,000 last night.

Nine

A Current Affair held above 800,000 for a second night.

The Block featured an apology from Mitch and Mark with the episode setting a new Tuesday season high of 968,000.

SeaChange then did 550,000 after 529,000 a week ago.

10

The Project dipped from 515,000 on Monday to 479,000 last night.

Calling Tribal Council on Australian Survivor last night the best ever is a big call as there have been some special elimination votes so far this season. But the carry-on ahead of Abbey getting chucked off was pretty special. The episode did 809,000 after 808,000 a week ago.

The second of the Pilot Week 2019 programs screened last night – Part Time Private Eyes pulled a respectable 344,000 at 8.30pm. This came after Sydney’s Crazy Rich Asians did 254,000 on Sunday night.

The first of two NCIS repeats then did 153,000.

ABC

The channel’s Tuesday hit Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds was one of the most-watched shows on any channel last night with 657,000 after 630,000 last week.

Foreign Correspondent did 390,000 and a repeat Louis Theroux episode did 316,000.

SBS

Britain’s Most Historic Towns did 220,000 with a visit to the Scottish town of Stirling. It could be again the channel’s most-watched this week.

Insight followed with 146,000.

Week 37 TV: Tuesday
TUESDAY METRO
ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 13.5% 7 15.5% 9 22.7% 10  12.5% SBS One 4.3%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.1% 7TWO 3.1% GO! 2.5% 10 Bold 3.8% VICELAND 1.4%
ABC ME 0.6% 7mate 3.4% GEM 3.8% 10 Peach 2.4% Food Net 0.9%
ABC NEWS 1.3% 7flix 2.6% 9Life 1.9%     NITV 0.1%
    7Food 1.1%         SBS World Movies 0.5%
TOTAL 17.6%   25.5%   30.9%   18.8%   7.2%

 

TUESDAY REGIONAL
ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 11.8% 7 16.2% 9 17.5% WIN 9.6% SBS One 4.0%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.6% 7TWO 5.6% GO! 3.9% WIN Bold 3.8% VICELAND 1.1%
ABC ME 1.0% 7mate 5.2% GEM 5.3% WIN Peach 2.1% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 1.2% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 2.5% 9Life 2.6% Sky News  on WIN 2.3% NITV 0.4%
    7food (QLD only) 0.8%            
TOTAL 16.6%   30.2%   29.2%   17.8%   6.2%

 

TUESDAY METRO ALL TV
FTA STV
87.1% 12.9%
TUESDAY FTA
  1. Seven News Seven 1,047,000
  2. Nine News 6:30 Nine 981,000
  3. The Block Nine 968,000
  4. Seven News / Today Tonight Seven 955,000
  5. Nine News Nine 900,000
  6. A Current Affair Nine 819,000
  7. Australian Survivor 10 809,000
  8. Home And Away Seven 660,000
  9. Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds ABC 657,000
  10. ABC News ABC 654,000
  11. The Chase Australia Seven 597,000
  12. Seachange Nine 550,000
  13. 7.30 ABC 503,000
  14. The Project 7pm 10 479,000
  15. Hot Seat Nine 465,000
  16. Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly Seven 421,000
  17. Foreign Correspondent ABC 390,000
  18. 10 News First 10 382,000
  19. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 347,000
  20. Part Time Private Eyes 10 344,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. Australian Survivor 10 269,000
  2. The Block Nine 261,000
  3. A Current Affair Nine 142,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 120,000
  5. Seven News Seven 117,000

 

18-49 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 445,000
  2. Australian Survivor 10 436,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 255,000
  4. A Current Affair Nine 243,000
  5. Nine News Nine 220,000

 

25-54 Top Five

  1. The Block Nine 481,000
  2. Australian Survivor 10 462,000
  3. Nine News 6:30 Nine 332,000
  4. A Current Affair Nine 302,000
  5. Nine News Nine 282,000

 

Monday Multichannel
  1. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 183,000
  2. Kiri And Lou PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 177,000
  3. PJ Masks PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 166,000
  4. Octonauts PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 161,000
  5. Death In Paradise 9Gem 149,000
  6. Go Jetters ABCKIDS/COMEDY 143,000
  7. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 139,000
  8. Floogals ABCKIDS/COMEDY 139,000
  9. Highway Patrol Special PM (R) 7mate 139,000
  10. Play School Art Time PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  11. CSI: Miami 10 Bold 136,000
  12. Dinosaur Train ABCKIDS/COMEDY 136,000
  13. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  14. Neighbours 10 Peach 126,000
  15. Olobob Top AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  16. Fireman Sam AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  17. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 121,000
  18. Thomas And Friends AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  19. Kiddets AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 119,000
  20. CSI: Miami Ep 2 10 Bold 119,000
Monday STV
  1. Live: AFL 360 FOX FOOTY 75,000
  2. Jones & Credlin Sky News Live 55,000
  3. Family Guy FOX8 54,000
  4. Live: NRL 360 FOX LEAGUE 45,000
  5. Open Mike FOX FOOTY 44,000
  6. The Simpsons FOX8 44,000
  7. Family Guy FOX8 42,000
  8. Ryan’s Mystery Playdate Nick Jr. 42,000
  9. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 41,000
  10. Live: The Back Page FOX SPORTS 503 39,000
  11. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 38,000
  12. Credlin Sky News Live 36,000
  13. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 34,000
  14. Kid-E-Cats Nick Jr. 34,000
  15. The Simpsons FOX8 34,000
  16. Butterbean’s Cafe Nick Jr. 33,000
  17. The Fan FOX LEAGUE 33,000
  18. Peppa Pig Nick Jr. 33,000
  19. Below Deck Mediterranean ARENA 32,000
  20. Blue Bloods TVH!TS 31,000

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

Publicis Media appoints Imogen Hewitt CEO of Spark Foundry

Publicis Media CEO Toby Barbour has announced the appointment of Imogen Hewitt (pictured) to the role of CEO of Spark Foundry.

Hewitt will join the agency in December, with Publicis Media ANZ chairman, John Preston, continuing to lead the agency in a caretaker role, working closely with the leadership team during the transition period. 

On the appointment, Barbour said: “In Imogen, we’ve found a strategically-minded leader who has worked at the nexus of media, creative, digital and data. She brings to the role an understanding of the need to be instinctively collaborative, and adaptive, while creating a culture of high performance and inclusivity – essential attributes we look for in our leaders at Publicis.”

Imogen Hewit

This year, Spark Foundry has enjoyed solid new business momentum, counting wins including paint giant PPG Industries (Taubmans), toy company MGA Entertainment, Australian Unity and Cancer Council NSW. 

“Lauded as a woman to watch in the industry, Imogen brings two decades of experience rooted in both the media and creative worlds to Spark Foundry, which will be an invaluable asset as we continue our strong growth in Australia,” said Chris Boothe, global brand president, Spark Foundry. “I’m thrilled to welcome Imogen to the Spark family and am confident that her proven strategic and leadership skills will help drive further success for the agency and its clients in the market.”

Barbour added: “Her appointment comes at an exciting period of growth at Spark Foundry, following the global strategic alignment of sister agency, Blue449, in March. In Australia, this has meant bringing together two successful businesses to deliver our people and clients greater scale, while staying true to Spark’s unique approach, combining the nimble spirit of a start-up with the soul and clout of a global powerhouse.”

Hewitt most recently served as group MD at Havas Media Group. She has held various roles at Havas, including simultaneously working as the chief strategy officer of Havas Media and joint strategy director at Havas Creative Group. 

She joined Naked Communications during its heyday in 2005, taking on roles including head of communications strategy and national commercial director; then in 2010, relocated to Singapore to take on the position of managing partner at Naked Communications South-East Asia. Early in her career, she also worked at Spark’s sister agency, Zenith.

Hewitt said: “I’m very excited to work alongside such talented people, leadership teams and client partners at an agency that thrives on diverse thinking, embraces collaboration and prioritises growth for both our clients and our people.  

“The opportunity to play a role in further strengthening the Spark business and brand is enormous. To do that with the backing of Publicis Media and the broader Publicis Groupe is a once in a life-time career gift.”

Phil Rankine joins list of creditors owed $20m by his own companies

Failed Adelaide concert promoter Phil Rankine claims one of his own companies – which was placed in liquidation today – owes him more than $800,000, reports News Corp’s Cameron England.

The debts across Rankine’s four concert promotion companies – which are all now in liquidation – have been estimated at $20 million.

Wexted Advisors, the administrators of the company Space Production, said in a creditors’ report that their preliminary investigations led them to believe the company had been trading insolvent since June 2017.

Wexted partner Andrew McCabe told The Advertiser that Rankine’s claim was for his share of the profits from concerts – a claim which would now need to be tested by the liquidator.

The promoter of concerts including the upcoming Elton John concerts in Adelaide, Florence and the Machine and Phil Collins, appears to have laid part of his woes at the feet of media coverage.

According to the report: The director has provided the following reasons for the company’s difficulties:

• the company, and related entities, experienced rapid growth with up to six major international shows at a time, and over 15 shows in the past two years
• the shows were of a significant scale costing between $2m to $4m to produce per show
• current media and other circumstances have meant the business ceased, restricting the company’s ability to announce up to four new shows and inhibiting funding.

Some of the investors who put money into Rankine’s group of companies include companies associated with the great-grandson of Sir Sidney Kidman, William Abel-Smith, which are owed $2 million, while former Crows player Mark Ricciuto is owed $250,000.

Ticketmaster is also owed $2 million, which was an advance on the money raised by selling tickets for December’s two Elton John concerts in Adelaide.

[Read the original]

Charles Wooley suffers in economy on Qantas flight to Darwin

It’s been 18 months since 60 Minutes reporter Charles Wooley copped absolute hell for his “relentlessly creepy” interview of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (“I’ve met a lot of prime ministers in my time, but … never one so attractive,” the tone-deaf old perv declared), writes Joe Aston in The AFR.

Well, his potty descent continues! The veteran broadcaster penned an article for Saturday’s Northern Territory News recounting the profound suffering he endured “third-world flying” for four hours in economy on a Qantas flight between Sydney and Darwin.

“I’m writing this from the most cramped aircraft seat in I [sic] have ever sat, anywhere in the world,” Wooley began, also fulminating that “if this was the case on even one-hour flights from Melbourne to Sydney or Sydney to Brisbane there would be outrage” and that “you people in and out of our most remote city surely deserve at least what the rest of us take for granted.”

[Read the original]

Television

A rumoured Packed to the Rafters reboot is planned for 2020

Popular Australian television series Packed to the Rafters is rumoured to be getting a reboot, reports News Corp’s Amy Price.

Confidential understands plans are underway to bring back the long-running family drama series, which was dropped by Channel 7 in 2013 after six seasons, with producers currently negotiating contracts to lock in key cast members.

A source close to the production told Confidential that lead actor Rebecca Gibney had agreed to return to the project while main cast members Hugh Sheridan, Michael Caton, Jessica Marais, Ryan Corr and Erik Thomson are also believed to be on board with the planned reboot.

It is understood if the cast are locked in, filming would commence in early 2020.

Packed to the Rafters, which won 13 TV Week Logie awards, was one of the most watched shows on Australian television from 2008 to 2013.

[Read the original]

Foxtel’s Mr Inbetween was therapeutic for its star Scott Ryan

Working on the second season of hit Foxtel drama Mr Inbetween was like attending therapy for writer and actor Scott Ryan, reports News Corp’s Angira Bharadwaj.

The series about hitman Ray Shoesmith touches on tough topics of crime, sickness, broken relationships and parental responsibility; and for Ryan, writing and acting in the show proved a cathartic experience, allowing him to tackle his own demons.

“I didn’t have a great year when I wrote season two. I took some of the stuff from my own life … I’m exploring some of my own issues,” Ryan told Confidential. “Season two will have a lot of the same things that people enjoyed (in season one) but it’s a bit more of a character study. It’s a lot darker.”

He didn’t reveal which aspects of the dark comedy were inspired by true events but the star said his character often felt like an alter ego.

“Ray in some respects represents the darker side of me. He gets to do the things that sometimes I would like to do with my own issues my own anger,” he explained. “We all have times when we want to punch someone and get revenge. Everybody’s got a dark side. Most of us deny that.”

[Read the original]

“We were wrong”: Mitch and Mark’s clash with Scott Cam finally over

The explosive two-episode stoush between The Block contestants Mark and Mitch and host Scott Cam finally came to an end last night reports Bella Fowler at news.com.au.

After kicking off on Sunday over Cam repeatedly calling their second living space a “party room”, Sydney couple Mark and Mitch apologised for the thinly-veiled homophobia accusation and source of fierce debate on Twitter since the weekend.

While Cam maintained he was merely delivering feedback by the judges, who had praised contestants El’ise and Matt for designing their bedroom away from the “noisy people” next door, Mitch and Mark interpreted the “party room” remark as a judgment on their lifestyle.

“By 2019 homophobic innuendos are f***ing not on,” a furious Mitch told Cairns couple Tess and Luke following the tense argument with Cam.

“F***ing done with comments from people like him, aimed at people like me. Go f**k yourself,” he fumed.

Cam approached the couple to explain he meant nothing of the sort by the comments, but following the boys’ reaction, left the discussion in a strop.

Last night, it was Mitch and Mark’s turn to explain themselves, taking the opportunity to rectify their actions from the previous day.

“The other day we had a chat, and we had spoken on you behind your back,” Mitch began.

“You caught us off guard, and I was a bit overwhelmed and I didn’t consider what our actions had been. I just want you to know that sincerely apologise if I offended you. And I’m upset that I might’ve offended you.” Here, Mark interjected, “And we were wrong.”

[Read the original]

Seven drama: Cast attend Secret Bridesmaids Business secret screening

Actors including Georgina Haig, Alexander England and Annie Jones attended the first cast, crew & media screening of Seven’s upcoming Secret Bridesmaids Business at the Kino Cinemas in Melbourne last night, reports TV Tonight.

The Seven Studios miniseries is based on a play by Elizabeth Coleman, filmed on the Mornington Peninsula and Melbourne CBD.

The dark and sometimes twisted drama also features Abbie Cornish and Katie McGrath.

Two episodes screened to the invite audience, and were enthusiastically received.

[Read the original]

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