Roundup: Industry farewells Brian Walsh, Tracy Grimshaw awards, Nicholas Braun

Brian Walsh

Twitter legacy blue ticks, TikTok, Domenica Calarco, WWE and UFC to merge

Business of Media

Rich and famous converge to celebrate life of entertainment giant Brian Walsh

Throughout his half-century of showmanship, the late television, sport, showbiz and entertainment executive Brian Walsh aimed for one thing: a sold-out show, reports Nine Publishing’s Andrew Hornery.

On Monday morning, as hundreds of mourners walked past a coffin adorned in white lilies, orchids and delphiniums, which basked in the refracted light pouring through the stained-glass windows of St Mary’s Cathedral, he was granted a final full house.

As Father Tom Stevens invited the packed crowd to “pull up a pew”, the life of one of Australia’s most influential entertainment pioneers was celebrated in a moving requiem mass that saw the worlds of big business, politics, television, sport, radio, film and showbiz converge to honour the 67-year-old man who had influenced so many careers, from Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan as teenagers on Neighbours, to signing Tina Turner to sing for the NRL.

His relationships with those he worked with went well beyond the professional. Global corporate heavyweight Lachlan Murdoch and wife Sarah, the former supermodel who hosted Australia’s Next Top Model for Walsh’s Foxtel, were in the front of the cathedral to pay their respects. Walsh had become so close to the couple he was made godfather to their 12-year-old daughter Aerin.

From cast members of Beauty and the Beast including Prue MacSween and Maggie Tabberer, to the cast of The Real Housewives of Sydney, Wentworth and so many more, they came to farewell a man who had been a central player in so many high-profile careers, but as his sister Bernadette told the congregation, had never sought the limelight for himself.

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See Also: Remembering Brian Walsh: Icon of the Australian entertainment industry

Twitter legacy blue ticks remain despite Elon Musk’s subscription threat

Twitter has so far not followed through on an announcement that it would remove blue ticks from legacy verified users, meaning those users continue to display them alongside paying subscribers, reports The Guardian’s Josh Taylor.

Last month, Twitter’s billionaire owner, Elon Musk, announced that from 1 April, legacy verified users would have their blue ticks removed from the service unless they paid the US$8 a month subscription fee for Twitter Blue. For organisations, the fee is US$1,000 a month.

As April fool’s day came and passed, the blue ticks remained, despite much anticipation. As of Sunday, Musk appears to have only removed one blue tick: that for the account of the New York Times.

This appears to have been done in retaliation for the news outlet announcing it would not pay for the service, according to a reply from Musk.

The New York Times also reportedly told reporters that it would not reimburse their costs for subscribing to Twitter Blue, except where it may be needed for their reporting.

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Anthony Albanese signs off on TikTok ban on government devices after top security review

Anthony Albanese has signed off on a government-wide ban on the use of social media app TikTok following a review by the Department of Home Affairs into the security risks of the Chinese-owned platform, reports The Australian’s Simon Benson.

The ban will apply to all government and department-issued devices operated by politicians and public servants in the wake of security concerns that it poses an espionage risk.

It is understood state and territory governments were briefed on the ban by the Commonwealth on Monday, and are expected to follow suit with similar bans.

However, a broader ban on the app in the private domain – as is being considered in the US – would not be applied.

The Australian has confirmed that a final decision had been made to issue a ban on the app across all government-issued devices, in line with Australia’s Five Eyes intelligence network partners the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

The European parliament has issued a similar prohibition.

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Tracy Grimshaw rejects big media awards

Tracy Grimshaw has never been one to blow her own trumpet – so it’s probably no surprise to hear the modest ex-A Current Affair host has knocked back not one but two of the biggest gongs in journalism in recent weeks, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

Diary has learnt from Nine insiders that Grimshaw has been offered but rejected both the Melbourne Press Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the same gong at Sydney’s big awards night, the Kennedy Awards, which will be held in August.

Grimshaw departed ACA in November after 17 years at the helm of Nine’s nightly current affairs stalwart. But lifetime achievement awards are generally awarded to media personalities who have retired or near the end of their careers – and Grimshaw merely sees 2023 as a ‘‘gap year’’ in her career, rather than the start of her retirement.

It is understood that, far from planning to walk away from TV, Grimshaw remains a permanent employee at Nine and plans to make a return for special new projects come 2024 – possibly as the Australian network’s answer to US current affairs legend Barbara Walters.

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Succession star Nicholas Braun addresses abrupt Project interview axing

Succession star Nicholas Braun – known affectionately to legions of fans as cousin Greg – says he wishes he recieved “a few more minutes” to finish a story about director Quentin Tarantino before a live interview he was doing on Channel 10’s The Project was brutally cut short, reports News Corp’s Karlie Rutherford.

Braun, who plays Greg Hirsch on the hit Binge show, is in Australia to promote the final season of the award-winning series and made an appearance on the news program on Sunday.

Midway through telling a story about his meeting with Quentin Tarantino, host Sarah Harris cut the 34-year-old off, saying, “We’re running out of time” before then throwing to a commercial for I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here.

Braun, who was wearing earpiece during the interview, said it was “weird.”

“I had this guy yelling in my ear saying it was a minute left and all this stuff then they asked me to tell the story about Quentin Tarantino,” he said.

“I must have had only like 20 seconds left.

“I was set up to just yell the end.

“I think I managed to finish the story. I just wish I had a few more minutes or it was in person. Next time maybe I can do it on the desk or read some news.”

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‘I’m very competitive, so I’m going there to win’: MAFS star bound for the jungle in I’m A Celebrity

Decked out in Gucci and surrounded by a style team focused on making her look her very best, Domenica Calarco – a standout on season nine of Married At First Sight – admits that she’s experiencing deja vu, reports News Corp’s Siobhan Duck.

“It’s so cool because, back in my old life when I was a make-up artist, I was on the other side of the camera,” the reality television star says of her first Stellar fashion shoot.

“I was really nervous [about today]; I’m not going to lie.”

But nerves won’t get the better of the Sydney-based beauty influencer and Sit With Us podcast co-host.

As Calarco, 30, tells Stellar, she prides herself on seizing every opportunity no matter how far out of her comfort zone it takes her, which explains why she signed up to wed a complete stranger on MAFS the year after her first (real-life) marriage ended.

“Look, I’m not an idiot,” she says of the Nine Network series. “I’ve watched numerous seasons in the past and I know it doesn’t have a 100 per cent success rate.

“In fact, it has a ridiculously low success rate but I did it because, even if I didn’t find love, it is a social experiment where you’re filming a TV show and experiencing all kinds of weird and wonderful things. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

That eagerness to try new things has now taken Calarco to Africa to shoot the latest season of the Network 10 series I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

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Sports Media

WWE, Endeavor-owned UFC to merge into US$21 bln entertainment giant

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc will combine with Endeavor Group-owned mixed martial arts franchise UFC to form a new, publicly listed entertainment giant valued at about US$21 billion, the companies said on Monday, reports Reuters’ Tiyashi Datta, Dawn Chmielewski, and Milana Vinn.

The deal unites two of the biggest names in wrestling and entertainment and caps a months-long sale process for WWE, overseen by its co-founder and executive chairman Vince McMahon who returned to the company’s board in January.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring together two leading pure-play sports and entertainment companies,” Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said in an investor presentation, describing the deal as a “transformational step” for Endeavor.

Emanuel said he would capitalize on Endeavor’s expertise in securing media deals, sponsorships and new forms of distribution to fuel growth at the new company, which he will lead as chief executive officer while continuing in his role at Endeavor.

McMahon will retain his role in the new company, which will be majority-owned by Endeavor with a 51% stake, while WWE investors will own the rest.

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