Roundup: Bert Newton’s state funeral, Nine AGM, Caroline Overington + more


• Senate probe into ABC and SBS, Disney+, Reality TV, and Adele

Bert Newton

Bert Newton to be farewell at state funeral, service televised across Australia

Performing icon Bert Newton will feature on Australian screens one last time as millions of people across the country prepare to tune in to a live stream of the 83-year-old’s state funeral service on Friday, reports News Corp’s Anthony Piovesan.

The showbiz-king will be farewelled at 10am at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral. The service will be attended by fully vaccinated family, friends and colleagues.

See More: State Funeral Service for Bert Newton to air Friday, November 12

While Covid-19 restrictions have limited those in attendance to 500 people, many more will be tuning into the live stream.

Newton died on October 30 from complications after having his leg amputated.

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Eddie McGuire to give Bert Newton eulogy

Eddie McGuire said he was deeply honoured to perform the eulogy at the state funeral of television and radio legend Bert Newton.

“It comes to me as a kid who used to beg mum and dad to stay up late to watch Bert’s Wheel (on the 1970s variety program The Don Lane Show),” broadcaster McGuire said.

“I’m deeply honoured that Patti asked me to speak on her behalf, and that Bert was keen for me to do it.

“I hope in the short time frame I’ve been allowed by the office of protocol, I do it justice for Bert’s family and friends.”

McGuire said Newton should be remembered as a broadcasting and entertainment giant who transcended media.

“He was the boy from Fitzroy who became our first Moomba king who was also on the TV, radio and stage,” McGuire said.

“He imbued Melbourne and at the same time, he drove it, culturally, and with a sense of humour.”

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Business of Media

Senate probe into ABC, SBS complaints process

Australia’s taxpayer-funded broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, will be subject to a Senate inquiry into their respective complaints handling processes, following widespread concerns over the existing method of self-assessment of editorial content, report News Corp’s James Madden and Sophie Elsworth.

On Thursday, the Senate environment and communications legislation committee announced it would conduct an inquiry into the “complaints handling arrangements” of the two public broadcasters, with the committee to submit its report by the end of February.

“In particular, the committee will examine the adequacy of the existing arrangements to provide a framework that is accessible, responsive, efficient, accountable and fit-for-purpose,” read a statement posted to the Australian parliament’s website.

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Disney reports slowing Disney+ subscriber growth

Walt Disney Co.’s streaming honeymoon is over, report News Corp’s Erich Schwartzel and Kimberly Chun.

The world’s largest entertainment company posted a significant slowdown in subscriber sign-ups at its flagship streaming service in the most recent quarter, ending two years of strong growth that had helped the company survive Covid-19 and expand its media dominance into the home.

Disney+ added just over two million subscribers in the fourth quarter ending Oct. 2, the company said, bringing its total to 118.1 million. Analysts had expected this quarter’s total to come to 125.3 million. During the previous quarter, Disney+ had added more than 12 million new subscribers.

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Nine shareholder questions Chairman over “sex scenes, nudity & profane language.”

Yesterday at Nine’s Annual General Meeting, one shareholder Liam pressed Nine Entertainment Co. Chairman Peter Costello on racy content available on 9Now, reports TV Tonight.

See also: Nine gives trading update at 2021 Annual General Meeting

The complaint centred around “sex scenes, nudity and profane language,” but Costello was ready with an appropriate reply that would have made the regulator proud.

“Nine takes its responsibility as a broadcaster, seriously,” he replied.

“There is a Classification system, which requires Nine to actually classify its programs and to give warnings in relation to content that people might find inappropriate. And of course, we’re regulated by ACMA, which prevents things that don’t meet community standards absolutely from being broadcast at all. So we do all of that and we do take that seriously.”

He even gave Liam advice of due process in case he still had an issue.

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News Brands

A modern-day whodunnit on Caroline Overington’s rinsed Wikipedia page

When she was US correspondent for this newspaper, prize-winning journalist and author Caroline Overington shared a Walkley award for exposing a literary hoax involving author Norma Khouri, reports SMH’s Samantha Hutchinson and Stephen Brook.

That much we know from Wikipedia, which faithfully lists 13 books and numerous awards on its entry for Overington, who is now The Australian’s literary editor.

Of more interest is what the page doesn’t reveal. Specifically, several paragraphs have mysteriously gone walkabout amid signs the webpage has been “rinsed” of some unflattering content.

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Networks “very concerned” over too many Celebrity shows

2021 may go down as the year with the most Celebrity TV casts on record, but their time may be up, reports TV Tonight.

Networks faced challenges in getting productions made, bringing Australians across borders, at the same time as stars were available without work. So it resulted in a flurry of Celebrity shows.

But ratings for some are sliding as a result while shows with ‘unknowns’ have defied the odds: The Voice, Farmer Wants a Wife, Lego Masters, Australian Survivor were largely without celebrities and did good business.

Big Brother: VIP producers acknowledged they cast the show to attract headlines, which Gogglebox this week described as “a content farm for the internet.”

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Adele TV specials spark new war between Seven and Nine

It’s Adele everywhere in the countdown to the release of 30, the comeback record from the world’s biggest pop star, reports News Corp’s Kathy McCabe.

But the wait to see her new TV specials isn’t going to be easy on her Australian fans.

While Seven have been flogging promos for the Oprah special Adele: One Night Only, which airs on CBS in the US this weekend, it is believed it won’t be on Australian screens for up to a week later.

And it will likely be after the album is released on November 19.

Meanwhile, the rival ITV special, An Audience With Adele, which was filmed in London last weekend and will air in the UK on November 21, has yet to find a broadcast home in Australia.

Nine is being cheeky and has dusted off the Live In London performance and chat with Graham Norton which was recorded in 2015 to promote the release of her 25 album.

Of course they failed to mention it was six years old when spruiking its broadcast on November 17, two days before the album drops.

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