Roundup: Alan Jones steps down from government gig, Alex Jones’s X account, Fox League in Vegas

Alan Jones

Retail media, Shari Redstone, Jeff Zucker, CRA, Willie Mason, Cheng Lei returns, Cal Wilson, Made in Bondi

Business of Media

Alan Jones steps down from government talent program after allegations

Broadcaster Alan Jones will step down from his role as chairman of the NSW government-backed Talent Development Project, after allegations emerged that he indecently assaulted young men, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

On Friday afternoon, Jones confirmed he would be “standing aside” and had nothing further to say beyond what the TDP would say. TDP’s chief executive, Anne Fitzgerald, shared a statement from the organisation saying Jones would “step aside as Chair while he resolves his defamation action against the media”.

“This will allow the TDP to continue undistracted with its mission to expand and develop the creative talent of young Australian musicians,” she said.

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Major retailers threaten to siphon away $1.1b in advertising spend

The country’s largest media groups will lose $550 million by 2025 – and $1.1 billion by 2027 – in advertising spending to retailers such as Woolworths, Coles and Amazon as the retailers accelerate their growth in the lucrative sector, Morgan Stanley warns, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

The investment bank’s brokers have downgraded their valuation of the five largest ASX-listed media stocks – ARN Media, Southern Cross Media, Seven West Media, oOh!media and Nine Entertainment – as a result of the “not well understood” threat of retail media.

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Shari Redstone is said to be in talks to sell her stake in Media Empire

The media mogul Shari Redstone is in talks to sell a controlling stake in National Amusements, the parent company of the sprawling news and entertainment empire that includes the Paramount movie studio, CBS and MTV, according to three people familiar with the talks, reports The New York Times’ Benjamin Mullin.

In recent weeks, National Amusements has held talks with Skydance, the media and entertainment company founded by David Ellison, who is the son of the billionaire founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison. It’s unclear whether a deal will be reached, and the value the talks place on Ms. Redstone’s stake couldn’t be determined.

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Elon Musk says X will reinstate Alex Jones’s account after poll of users

The social media platform X will reinstate the account of the US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after a poll of the site’s users backed his return, its owner, Elon Musk, has said, reports Reuters.

“The people have spoken and so it shall be,” Musk posted in reply to a poll on Saturday on whether to reinstate the Jones account. Close to 2m votes were cast by the time the poll closed, with about 70% voting in favour of Jones’s return.

Reuters could not immediately verify whether the account was restored early on Sunday.

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Former CNN boss Jeff Zucker eyes unlikely next role: British media mogul

Jeff Zucker ran NBC’s Today show as a young executive producer and was CNN’s boss for nearly a decade. Now, the television veteran is angling for a very different assignment: turn conservative British news publications into global brands, report The Wall Street Journal’s Isabella Simonetti and Ben Dummett.

Zucker is heading an investment group that has become the top contender to buy the Telegraph and the Spectator, a newspaper and a magazine that are both more than 150 years old.

If Zucker ultimately gains control of the publications, he plans to turn the Telegraph into a global digital brand, which would involve hiring a team of reporters in the U.S. to cover American and global news, according to people familiar with his thinking.

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Radio industry makes desperate plea to keep fees to play music capped

Thousands of employees, executives and broadcasters from the nation’s biggest commercial radio companies – Nine Radio, Nova, ARN, SEN and ACE – have written to a Senate committee pleading for urgent action to be taken to ensure that fees for playing music on their stations are not increased, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth

A letter by the radio industry’s peak body, Commercial Radio & Audio, seen by The Australian, was sent last week to the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee. It includes thousands of names and some of the biggest broadcasters in the industry, notably 2GB mornings host Ray Hadley, urging that the commercial radio industry be protected from fee hikes.

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NRL great Willie Mason doesn’t ‘give a f**k’ what ‘anyone thinks’ of his top-rated podcast

NRL legend Willie Mason “doesn’t care what anyone thinks” of what he says on his top-rated Levels podcast, which he co-hosts with Justin Horo, reports News Corp’s Mikaela Wilkes.

“I don’t look at social media. I’ve been on social media about 20 weeks. I’m 43-years-old,” Mason told The Daily Telegraph.

“By the time Instagram came about I was in my 30s, I don’t get influenced by anyone, I’m not that sort of guy. I’m influenced by the people around me, my close friends.”

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‘Crazy’: Cheng Lei returns to TV, reclaiming her voice

Journalist Cheng Lei is returning to her role as a news presenter just two months after her release from a Chinese prison, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth

Chinese-born Cheng, 48, was released from detention in Beijing on October 11 after more than three years behind bars. This week she will begin work at Sky News Australia, as a TV presenter and columnist for the media outlet’s website.

“If you asked me two months ago (whether) I’d be making a redebut and getting back behind the desk in the studio and doing my old job again, I would have said you were crazy,” she told The Australian ahead of starting her new role.

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Late comedian Cal Wilson honoured ahead of 2024 AACTAs

Much-loved comedian Cal Wilson has been recognised with a posthumous nomination at the 2024 AACTA Awards, reports News Corp’s Lisa Woolford.

Wilson, who passed away after a short battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in October, has been nominated in the Best Comedy Performer award for her work on Foxtel Group’s The Great Australian Bake Off.

Other nominees include Hard Quiz’s Tom Gleeson; The 1% Club’s Jim Jefferies; Luke McGregor and Nina Oyama for Taskmaster Australia season 1, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under’s Rhys Nicholson and The Weekly’s Charlie Pickering.

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Made in Bondi producers draw up hit list for new TV show

Casting auditions have begun for reality TV show Made in Bondi — and Sunday Confidential can reveal who casting agents are keen on, reports News Corp’s Briana Domjen.

Model Montana Cox, designer Sophie Coote, suitcase company founder Aidan Walsh, pilates queen Bernadette Fahey, and Bondi’s hottest couple Andy El-Bayeh and Harriet Williams, who had a $2m wedding last year, are among those being pursued by producers of the Channel 7 program.

And judging by what Confidential knows about these personalities, there will be an endless amount of opulence, drama, private jets, lavish parties and fabulous outfits.

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Sports Media

NRL news: Fox League crew set for epic US tour ahead of Las Vegas spectacular

Fox League is sending their biggest guns to Las Vegas next week and the Americans better be ready for what’s coming, report News Corp’s David Riccio and Brent Read.

In the countdown to the NRL’s historic season kick-off in Sin City next year, Fox League’s Matty Johns, Bryan Fletcher, Gorden Tallis and Nathan Hindmarsh are about to embark on a nine-day promotional tour that includes attending NFL tailgate parties, casino pool parties and Michael Jordan’s cigar lounge.

Hindmarsh has also been chosen to take part in Australia’s most famous male dance act, Thunder from Down Under.

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