Roundup: Ninja Warrior host steps down, Squid Game, MKR judges + more

Ben Fordham

• Angie Kent, News Corp, Foxtel’s Flash, The Bachelorette, Erik Thomson, Kamahl, SAS Australia, New Gold Mountain

Business of Media

Reality star charged with drink driving

Reality star Angie Kent has been charged with a mid-range drink-driving offence, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

The 31-year-old former Bachelorette has apologised after being caught while driving to a picnic in Sydney earlier this month.

“I was pulled over on my way to a picnic in early October,” Kent told The Daily Telegraph. “I had two drinks on an empty stomach while getting ready. I was shocked but totally in the wrong and I take full responsibility. I am deeply regretful and sorry.”

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News Brands

News Corp’s Herald Sun runs climate change ‘furphy’ ad on third day of net zero campaign

News Corp’s Melbourne tabloid the Herald Sun has run an advertisement describing climate change as a “furphy” on the third day of a company-wide editorial series that explores the benefits of a carbon-neutral economy, reports SMH’s Zoe Samios.

The advertisement was paid for by The Climate Study Group, which is led by two former directors of the Institute of Public Affairs, Tom Quirk and Bob Officer. Quirk was previously director of the Australian Environment Foundation, the IPA-founded think tank chaired by Tom Bostock which features climate sceptic Peter Ridd among its ranks.

The half-page advertisement, which appeared in Wednesday’s newspaper edition on page 19, attempts to disprove research and climate predictions that have been made in decades prior.

It tries to cast doubt over climate predictions formed using computer models, claiming they were incorrect and had misdirected energy policy. It also urges the government to stop subsidising renewables and allow technologies to compete on their merit. News Corp’s editorial series focused on reducing carbon emissions – “Mission Zero” – appears after the ad and runs across four-pages.

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Foxtel flags more streaming services as it unveils news-based Flash

News Corp-controlled pay TV and streaming company Foxtel is assessing whether it should develop topic-based streaming products in the future after it launched its third streaming service, 24-hour news focused Flash, reports SMH’s Zoe Samios.

The chief executive of news-based streaming service Flash, Julian Ogrin, said the company is anticipating a strong return on investment for its latest product, which features coverage from global outlets such as CNN, CNBC and Fox News and local entities such as Sky News. Flash, which launches on Thursday, will cost subscribers $8 per month, making it the cheapest in the Foxtel stable of brands including Kayo Sports and Binge.

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Ninja Warrior host Ben Fordham steps down to focus on radio show

After five seasons, host Ben Fordham is hanging up his Ninja Warrior microphone, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

The radio and television personality has decided to pull stumps on the reality show to focus primarily in his top ­rating breakfast radio show on 2GB.

“I am not going to be hosting Australian Ninja Warrior going forward because I found that it placed so much pressure on my family and on the breakfast show,” Fordham told Confidential. “I’ve decided that it would be better for me just to focus on the main game, which is breakfast radio. For the sake of my mental fitness and also my family, I think it is better to call it a day on Ninja Warrior and focus on radio.”

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Squid Game is officially Netflix’s most-watched original series

Squid Game is officially Netflix’s most-watched original series, overtaking Bridgerton by a considerable margin, reports News Corp’s Wenlei Ma.

Netflix today revealed that the South Korean dystopian drama has been watched by 111 million account holders in the 17 days since it was released on September 17.

Expect that number to go even higher as it nears 28 days of release, which is traditionally the period for which Netflix reveals viewership for some titles. For comparison, Bridgerton, previously Netflix’s most-watched original series, was streamed by 82 million accounts in its first 28 days.

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Brooke Blurton is the first; will a bisexual Bachelor be close behind?

Whether or not Australians tune in to Brooke Blurton in The Bachelorette, the world will be watching – or at any rate, that part of the world with a vested interest in the ongoing viability of one of the most successful reality franchises ever created, reports SMH’s Karl Quinn.

Since The Bachelor debuted in the US in 2002, it has produced 25 seasons, five spin-off series (including The Bachelorette, The Bachelor in Paradise and its snow-bound cousin, The Bachelor: Winter Games), a bunch of talk shows and a handful of one-off specials.

But while its contestants may be overwhelmingly young, the format itself is starting to look a little grey around the temples. It’s not just that the heavily stage-managed dates, the rose ceremonies and the never-ending supply of champagne are all a bit too familiar, it’s that the relentlessly heterosexual Mills and Boon version of romance at its core looks increasingly dated – and the declining ratings (this season’s finale of The Bachelor was the least-watched in its nine Australian seasons) suggests something needs to change.

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Erik Thomson: “Drama was in their DNA”

Actor Erik Thomson took to social media following Seven’s Upfronts to lament the state of Australian drama, noting that just one new local drama has been commissioned for 2022: the 2 x 2hr Claremont, reports TV Tonight.

On social media he wrote, “So the Seven Network has only one new first play drama for 2022: a four part True Crime series about the Claremont killer in WA. Fortunately, they have Home and Away for their drama points.

“But it really is remarkable how quickly their drama slate has declined. In my time there over 14 years and three series, I heard the various CEOs say that ‘Drama was in their DNA’. It seems that is no longer the case. Nine and 10 will fare similarly with only the ABC producing numerous high quality drama and comedy series. But the ABC as an entity is under constant threat.”

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Kamahl pens open letter to Daryl Somers: ‘One unanswered question’

Hey, Hey It’s Saturday was a ratings smash once more this week, with the show’s 50th anniversary reunion special easily winning the night’s ratings on Sunday, reports

But amid the plaudits, one veteran entertainer still feels hurt about his treatment on the show many years ago.

In an open letter to Daryl Somers released exclusively to, Kamahl reveals he still has “one unanswered question” for the TV host.

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Truth behind Dan Ewing’s awkward SAS interrogation in finale episode

Dan Ewing didn’t manage to complete the SAS course on Tuesday night’s finale after a seemingly botched hostage interrogation, reports News Corp’s Lexie Cartwright.

Viewers were led to believe the former Home And Away actor concocted a random story to tell the captors during one of the final challenges, as opposed to his fellow contestants who all spoke honestly.

However, his co-recruit Jana Pittman, who just missed out on passing the course, has told 2DayFM’s The Morning Crew with Hughesy, Ed and Erin that they were all told to recite Ewing’s fabricated story – but only Ewing’s made it to air.

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The famous faces in line to be new MKR judges

The speculation is sure to heat up over who will get the plum gigs as judges on the revamped My Kitchen Rules, reports News Corp’s Jackie Epstein.

The cooking show is due to air in the second half of 2022 with fresh faces already flagged by network bosses, who confirmed Manu Feildel and Pete Evans won’t be returning.

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“These actors are out there, if you just look a bit harder”

When director Corrie Chen embarked on a very ambitious plan to cast a bilingual period drama for SBS, she wasn’t sure if it was too big a challenge, reports TV Tonight.

New Gold Mountain, which portrays the Chinese experience during the 1850s Gold Rush of Victoria, entailed 65 speaking roles spanning 3 languages, Cantonese, Hakka & English.

“A very large part of the cast needed to speak Cantonese, which was something that we had to consider in the casting process. But it was quite surprising that it wasn’t really an issue in terms of the quality or the number of screen tests that we looked at. It just reminded me these actors are out there, if you just look a bit harder,” she tells TV Tonight.

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