Roundup: Lisa Wilkinson apologises, PVO replacement?, Boy Swallows Universe

lisa wilkinson

Screen Australia, Tucker Carlson,, The Age, The Idol, The White Lotus, Melbourne Cup

Business of Media

Wilkinson, Network 10 apologise to Jacinta Nampijinpa Price over leaked recording

Lisa Wilkinson and Network 10 have apologised to Opposition Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Jacinta Nampijinpa Price after leaked audio revealed Wilkinson struggling to pronounce the senator’s name in a manner she claimed was racist, reports The Australian’s Joanna Panagopoulos.

But Wilkinson also defended the “tenor” of the conversation, which Senator Price claimed was “derogatory”, as about how many female Liberal pre-selections “were in unwinnable positions”.

“I sincerely apologise to Senator Price for any offence I may have caused. The conversation was private and not intended to appear as it has out of context and in the public arena,” she said in a statement released by Network 10.

The controversial comments were leaked from a recording of a pre-interview with Wilkinson, Brittany Higgins and her boyfriend David Sharaz in the days before Network 10’s The Project revealed Higgins’ allegations of rape by a Liberal staffer.

Wilkinson said: “(The Liberal Party) preselected over 20 new and wonderfully diverse and strong female candidates like, what’s her name, Nam … Nampinjumba? (sic). She’s an Indigenous woman.”

In response, Sharaz laughed and said: “She clearly got in. Clearly it was a safe seat.”

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Wilkinson won’t be stripped of Logie for Higgins interview

There have been calls for Lisa Wilkinson to hand back the Silver Logie for the Most Outstanding News Coverage or Public Affairs Report that she claimed at the ­annual ceremony almost exactly a year ago for her Brittany Higgins interview, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

The calls come after The Australian obtained leaked pre-interview audio conversations that revealed Wilkinson helped Higgins on everything from framing her story to suggesting angles, and offering unflattering judgments on Higgins’ former boss, ex-defence minister Linda Reynolds.

The pre-interview chats also caught Wilkinson and others present apparently mocking the Liberal Party’s preselection of Indigenous candidates like Jacinta Nampijinpa Price – prompting Wilkinson to issue an apology to Price over the weekend.

But despite this, Diary hears the chances of Wilkinson being forced to hand back the Logie are Buckley’s or none.

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Screen Australia criticised for funding foreign broadcasters against own rules

Screen Australia has been accused of indirectly funding foreign-owned broadcasters NBC and the BBC, in direct contradiction of its own rules, reports Nine Publishing’s Karl Quinn.

The agency, which is the key public funding body for film and TV projects in Australia for has also been warned that unless it amends its rules Netflix may soon be able to slip through a loophole and apply for taxpayer-funded assistance in the development and production of its Australian content too.

The accusations have been made by Nick Murray, co-founder and managing director of CJZ, the independent production company behind the Gruen programs, Bondi Rescue, Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery and scripted series including House of Bond, My Life is Murder and BlackJack.

The matter of foreign-owned broadcasters potentially accessing Screen Australia funding was first raised when BBC Studios launched in Australia in a May 2018 letter signed by more than 40 of Australia’s top independent producers. Oscar winners Emile Sherman and Eva Orner, Kath & Kim producer Rick McKenna and the Chaser’s Julian Morrow were among them.

In a fresh submission made to the country’s top screen agency in April this year, Murray wrote: “There is only one eligibility restriction in the Screen Australia terms of trade concerning production financing … Australian broadcasters are not permitted to apply.”

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ABC reporter tipped for PVO’s old 10 job

As 10 prepares to duke it out in court with its former political editor Peter van Onselen over the terms of his departure deed, the network is believed to be on the verge of filling his vacated job, reports The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff.

There was talk around 10’s Pyrmont bunker in Sydney on Friday that the network would announce PVO’s replacement as early as next week, after a long search that even included a Seek ad.

The hot tip was that Ten had turned yet again to the ABC – perhaps its favourite external source of talent, with the likes of The Project’s Hamish Macdonald and Taskmaster’s Tom Gleeson – now featuring prominently on the network – for its latest hire.

Diary heard strong mail on the long weekend that Ashleigh Raper, the ABC’s NSW state political reporter, was set to be announced to fill the role shortly. Raper played a prominent role on the panel for the ABC’s NSW election coverage in March, anchored by David Speers and Sarah Ferguson, and performed well.

10 has been offering a strict “no comment” on who’ll get the role. But if Diary’s late mail is right, it would entail Raper moving from Sydney to Canberra full-time.

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See Also: Peter Van Onselen sued by Network 10 for alleged breach of contract

Tucker Carlson ‘will not be silenced’ as Fox News seeks to ban Twitter show

Tucker Carlson’s lawyer says he “will not be silenced by anyone” after it was reported that Fox News had sent the primetime host it fired a letter demanding he cease and desist presenting a new show on Twitter, reports The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly.

“Doubling down on the most catastrophic programming decision in the history of the cable news industry, Fox is now demanding that Tucker Carlson be silent until after the 2024 election,” lawyer Harmeet Dhillon told Axios, which first reported the Fox letter.

“Tucker will not be silenced by anyone … He is a singularly important voice on matters of public interest in our country, and will remain so.”

Dhillon is a prominent Republican attorney who recently failed in an attempt to lead the GOP national committee.

Fox fired Carlson in April, shortly after reaching a $787.5m settlement in a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems over the broadcast of Donald Trump’s lies about electoral fraud in his 2020 defeat by Joe Biden.

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Staff owed thousands as failed media start-up appoints liquidator

The company behind the ambitious, failed media organisation has gone into liquidation, giving staff little hope of recouping hundreds of thousands in missing wages, reports Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan.

Liquidators were appointed to the company, which has formerly trading as Sydney News or Global News and Sport, on May 23 and last month the liquidator notified staff their contracts were terminated, directing them towards the government’s fair entitlements scheme.

“Trading operations have ceased. Accordingly I will not be liable for any wages, supplies or other trading expenses during this administration,” liquidator Nick Combis of Vincents told former employees on May 23. was initially led by Tony Gillies, the former editor-in-chief of newswire service AAP. The start-up aimed to launch a network of 1800 websites associated with its domain name in 2022, intending to hire at least 170 staff in its first few months.

The company had as many as 37 employees in August 2022 before it ceased operating on October 21, 2022, amid disputes with staff over its failure to pay wages and superannuation, and with suppliers over payments.

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News Brands

The Age sacks columnist Julie Szego amid gender furore

The editor of The Age has sacked one of the masthead’s star columnists, Julie Szego, after she took aim at the publication over its ­refusal to run an article on youth gender transition, reports The Australian’s James Madden.

Last week, Szego posted on ­social media that while she had been commissioned to write a feature-length story about the contentious issue by the newspaper’s former editor Gay Alcorn, The Age’s current boss Patrick Elligett refused to run it.

Szego, a freelancer who has written for The Age on and off for more than two decades, subsequently chose to self-publish the 5000-word piece on her own Substack page, telling her social media followers about her new blog: “I’ll be writing about gender identity politics … without the copy being rendered unreadable by a committee of woke journalists redacting words they deem incendiary, such as ‘male’.”

Szego told The Australian that the post about her colleagues at The Age was “a vague and cheeky comment that was not intended to put anyone down”, but it had been cited by Elligett as a reason to sack her as a columnist.

“I love my former comrades at The Age,” Szego said.

“I have no bitterness whatsoever, but this issue of gender identity politics is causing tensions in newsrooms around the world and The Age is no different.”

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Netflix’s eagerly awaited Boy Swallows Universe series is coming to your streaming queue in 2023

Already in 2023, the various streaming services available in Australia have delivered must-see game-to-TV adaptations like The Last of Us, blasts from the pasts multiple times over such as That ’90s Show and glorious cult-comedy revivals with Party Down. From there, the list goes on. But if you’ve read Trent Dalton‘s Boy Swallows Universe, the Netflix series based on it is likely at the top of your must-see list — and it’ll hit before the year is out, reports Concrete Playground’s Sarah Ward and Samantha Teague.

The streaming platform hasn’t revealed exactly when Boy Swallows Universe will arrive, but it is locked in for a 2023 release. Also, it just finished production in Brisbane. Smartly, the Brissie-set tale has been filmed in the Sunshine State capital for its jump to TV — after it also became one of 2021’s stage hits in Brisbane, too.

Boy Swallows Universe spins a story about a young boy, his prophetic brother and his jailbreaking best friend as they navigate the heroin-filled underworld of 80s Queensland. Netflix’s adaptation was first announced in 2022, and will span eight episodes, running as a self-contained limited series.

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The Idol’s US ratings slip with episode two

The second episode of The Idol drew a smaller first-night audience than its series premiere, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Rick Porter

HBO says 800,000 people watched the music-industry drama’s second outing Sunday night across all platforms. That’s down about 12 percent from the 913,000 people who watched the June 4 series premiere on its first night. Per HBO, streaming on Max was about even with the premiere, while viewing on HBO’s cable channel declined some.

The Tony Awards on CBS were the biggest draw on linear TV Sunday night, although with an audience of 4.31 million, the Broadway honors didn’t bring in nearly as many viewers as the June 4 NBA Finals game (11.91 million) the previous week.

HBO also notes that the premiere of The Idol has grown to 3.6 million viewers over its first week, a roughly fourfold increase over its opening night. That puts it a little ahead of the series premieres of Euphoria (3.3 million viewers) in 2019 and The White Lotus (3 million) in 2021. (Euphoria creator Sam Levinson is also a co-creator of The Idol, along with Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and Reza Fahim.)

It’s worth noting, however, that linear ratings for Euphoria held steady and improved for The White Lotus in their second episodes. Euphoria also premiered before the launch of (HBO) Max, when the premium cabler’s streaming options were the less widely used HBO Now and HBO Go.

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Could The White Lotus season four be set in Australia?

Australia could be in the mix as the location for a fourth season of breakout hit The White Lotus, reports Variety Australia’s Vivienne Kelly.

Speculation has been mounting about what other locations the HBO show could go to next, and show creator Mike White was put on the spot during a Vivid Sydney media call this morning about whether Australia could play host to the iconic fictional resort.

“My dream would be to like hit every continent,” White said when asked about filming in Australia. “This is like, it’s own continent, basically. We kind of have to come to Australia if we keep going. It would be so fun. Obviously there’s a huge wealth of talent here and the beauty is inarguable, so, yea, it feels like it checks all the boxes.”

Jennifer Coolidge who starred in Season 1 and Season 2 of The White Lotus, said Sydney “really is like a fairytale” when looking out the window onto Sydney Harbour and the Opera House, and noted that if she had any say in a prequel location for the series “Australia gets my vote”.

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Sports Media

What’s left for Network 10 if the horses bolt?

Network 10 has again found itself in headlines, as negotiations around the broadcast rights to horse racing’s most lucrative week, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, could force the US-owned network to rethink its commercial strategy should the rights leave its own stable, reports Nine Publishing’s Calum Jaspan.

Tabcorp has asked Seven, Nine and 10 for expressions of interest to purchase the Victorian Racing Club’s Melbourne Cup Carnival media rights, as it looks to tie up a domestic deal with the Victorian Racing Club beyond 2023.

10 has held the rights since 2019, with previous holder Seven Network broadcasting racing throughout the year. Network executives have appeared dismayed at the potential of sublicensing from the wagering company, with any potential bid not expected to reach the price paid four years ago.

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