Roundup: Hamish Macdonald, David Leckie passes away, Netflix, + more

Hamish Macdonald

• Plus Katie Hopkins, The Wiggles, Larry Emdur on The Chase, Mel McLaughlin on The Olympics

Vale: David Leckie

TV legend David Leckie dead at 70

Legendary television boss David Leckie has been remembered as never boring and sometimes boorish, but a true legend of the Australian media industry and one of the last rock star CEOs. The former Seven chief executive died on Tuesday, aged 70, reports AFR’s Miranda Ward.

“With immense sadness we advise the passing of our adored and much loved husband and father, David Leckie,” the family of the former Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment chief executive said in a statement.

He died, surrounded by his family, at his Mulberry Farm in Robertson, NSW, after a long illness.

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David Leckie was ‘almost born for TV’: Bruce McWilliam

David Leckie was a big man with a big personality. Almost born for TV. A contradiction in many ways – brash and keenly intelligent, yet shy and insecure. Naturally creative but preferring a more robust persona, he was driven to win and was a relentless competitor, writes Seven West Media’s commercial director Bruce McWilliam in The Sydney Morning Herald.

He went to Newington College where he never said he was dux, and then studied at Macquarie University where he said he relied on his natural blonde good looks and winning ways to get through. His famous saying to Kurt Burnette, Seven’s handsome and charismatic head of sales, was “I used to be good looking too”.

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David Leckie was the best communicator I have ever met: Graham Richardson

Australian free-to-air television is as good as any in the world and one of the reasons for that was the contribution of David Leckie who led both the Nine and Seven networks to the number one position in the television ratings, writes News Corp’s Graham Richardson.

Billionaires like Kerry Packer and Kerry Stokes paid handsomely for his services and he was worth every penny. He could be irascible, cranky, irritating and a royal pain in the bum. He was also fiercely loyal and absolutely brilliant in his chosen field. Humour was never his strong point but he was a master communicator.

Another of his qualities was courage, which he had in spades. Standing up to Kerry Packer was no easy task but Leckie did it regularly. He copped plenty of vivid criticism from Packer but was undaunted when it came to defending any member of his staff. No matter how much abuse was uttered in his direction, he would stand his ground. Packer would often speak of him in disparaging terms and in the world that Packer created around himself, that usually meant you got sacked. Kerry Packer may not have liked Leckie but he was too smart to let that get in the road of making a quid. Leckie was a true master at doing just that.

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Business of Media

10 made it a special project to poach Hamish Macdonald from ABC

Hamish Macdonald is to join 10’s The Project after the shock announcement of his departure from the ABC’s Q+A on Monday, reports News Corp’s Nick Tabakoff.

An announcement about Macdonald’s poaching by the 10 panel show is set to be made as early as this week, days after his ABC departure.

The Australian can reveal that as part of the deal, the Sydney-based Macdonald will join Lisa Wilkinson in co-hosting 10’s The Sunday Project as well as the program’s Friday night edition.

It is understood Macdonald will take on an extra role as a ­roving reporter for The Project, and conduct “special investigations” and documentaries.

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Why firing Katie Hopkins is a stroke of PR genius

Right-wing firebrand and racist nutter Katie Hopkins may have been deported from Australia but it is not enough, reports News Corp’s Joe Hildebrand.

Whoever made the decision to hire her to go on Channel Seven’s Big Brother VIP needs to get their just desserts.

They must be immediately identified, summoned to a high-level meeting with senior executives and be given the treatment they deserve.

This, if justice is truly to be served, would be an instant promotion, a $20,000 bonus and an all-expenses-paid trip to Port Douglas – because they just pulled off the PR coup of the decade.

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Netflix blames pandemic as it misses growth forecasts

Netflix missed its growth forecasts in the last quarter, blaming a post-lockdown decline in interest in the streaming service and a Covid-related slowdown in new productions, reports The Guardian’s Dominic Rushe.

The company added 1.54 million new subscribers, below the 1.75 million analysts had expected and a fraction of the 10 million it added in the second quarter a year earlier, when much of the world was in lockdown.

Covid had created some “lumpiness in our membership growth (higher growth in 2020, slower growth this year), which is working its way through”, the company said in a statement.

Covid-related production delays in 2020 also meant it had fewer new offerings in the first half of 2021 but its slate of new programming “will build through the course of the year”, the company said.

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The Wiggles extend partnership with ABC Commercial

ABC Commercial has finalised an exclusive global license agreement with The Wiggles, extending and celebrating an extraordinary partnership that has spanned 30 years, reports TV Tonight.

The agreement will give the commercial arm of the Australian public broadcaster worldwide distribution rights to the group’s catalogue of television, video productions and music.

The deal includes both future releases for the current lineup –Anthony Field, Emma Watkins, Lachlan Gillespie and Simon Pryce– plus their back-catalogue, to international broadcasters and streamers.

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Larry Emdur feels the heat after Andrew O’Keefe The Chase host takeover

Larry Emdur is feeling the heat ahead of taking over hosting duties of Seven’s high-rating TV game show, The Chase, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Emdur will be seen at the helm from Monday at 5.30pm after The Morning Show presenter took over from long-time host Andrew O’Keefe.

“I have lived in this space before for many years and that show leading in to the news is super important,” Emdur, who will continue on The Morning Show as well as hosting The Chase, told Confidential.

“I have lived with that stress and that pressure and know exactly what that is like. I didn’t take the decision lightly because we’ve got a beautiful thing happening on The Morning Show, top of the ratings for 14 years and I love working with (co-host) Kylie Gillies and the team.”

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Sports Media

Mel McLaughlin on women in sport and why the world needs the Olympics more than ever

Despite the delays, disruptions and debate over whether they should have even gone ahead, Mel McLaughlin believes that the Tokyo Olympic Games are exactly what the world needs right now, reports News Corp’s James Wigney.

The versatile Channel Seven presenter has headed to the Japanese capital fresh from a stint for Optus Sport covering the recent Euro2020 football championship, and says that the public reaction she saw from one of the first major tournaments to take place since the coronavirus pandemic, has made her believe even more strongly in the healing power of sport.

“When you look at the Euros, you see the absolute joy and euphoria and what it meant,” she says. “Nothing brings together people like sport – you laugh and you cry and whenever there is an Olympics montage on TV, I will get goosebumps or cry. Just put something in slow motion and that’s me gone.”

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