Roundup: Paramount Global cuts, Grover becomes a reporter, Muster Dogs winner


Volkswagen, Julian Assange, Sony Pictures, Kyle Sandilands, ABBA: Against The Odds, Sports-streaming venture

Business of Media

VW accused of hiding Nazi past in Super Bowl advert

The German car giant Volkswagen has been accused of glossing over its Nazi past in a multimillion-dollar advert for the Super Bowl, reports The Telegraph’s Matt Oliver.

In an advert televised alongside the biggest American football game of the year, the company recalled its 75 years of history in the US. It starts with the first VW Beetle arriving in New York by ship in 1949, with the vehicle then attracting attention from pedestrians in the streets as it drives past.

The ad, called An American Love Story, then shows other popular models, including the Type 2 campervans, the Rabbit, New Beetle and the latest electric-powered ID.4 SUV.

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Grover is now a reporter. Journalists aren’t optimistic

Grover, the furry blue Muppet from Sesame Street, is known for working lots of jobs over the years, including astronaut and dentist. Now he is apparently a journalist, reports The New York Times’ Yan Zhuang.

“As a news reporter, I always do my research before I break a story,” he wrote Monday on X. “I am confident to report that you are so special and amazing!”

Some fellow journalists welcomed him into the profession, albeit with some ribbing about the reliability of his reporting and his professionalism. “Who are your sources,” wrote Danielle Kurtzleben, a reporter with National Public Radio, which published a separate news story about Grover’s foray into journalism.

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I’m not trying to destroy art, says man planning to do just that if Assange dies in jail

He’s attracted global media attention and criticism after vowing to destroy some of the world’s most precious artwork if Julian Assange dies in prison, reports The Guardian’s Nadia Khomami.

But Andrei Molodkin, the Russian dissident artist, has said he does not believe the works by Picasso, Rembrandt, Andy Warhol and others, which he will lock away in a safe with a corrosive substance this Friday, will actually be destroyed.

“I’m not trying to destroy art, and I don’t believe I will have to,” Molodkin told the Guardian, adding that the project, called Dead Man’s Switch, was itself a collaborative artwork like any sculpture or portrait.

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Sony Pictures third-quarter profit hits $281M

Sony Pictures Entertainment saw its fiscal third-quarter profit hit $281 million, up from $179 million in the year-ago period and $204 million in the previous quarter. Revenue for the film and television unit reached $2.47 billion in the latest period, up from $2.35 billion in the year-ago quarter and down from $2.77 billion in the fiscal second quarter, reports The Hollywood Reporter’s Abid Rahman.

SPE comprises mainly motion pictures, television productions and media networks, and of those three segments only media networks saw revenues grow in Q3 2023 as the dual Hollywood strikes impacted film and television productions.

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News Brands

Network Ten staff to lose jobs after owner Paramount Global make cuts worldwide

Paramount Global — the owner of Network 10 — has announced that it will be axing Australian staff in a bid to cut costs, reports The Australian’s Sophie Elsworth.

On Wednesday, the international media company’s chief executive officer Bob Bakish sent an email to all staff notifying them of upcoming job losses, but stopped short of saying how many positions would be cut.

But The Australian understands the company will cut hundreds of jobs worldwide.

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Muster Dogs season 2 winner Zoe Miller ‘humbled’ by judges’ decision

Zoe Miller‘s beautiful black and white border collie is Buddy by name and by nature, reports the ABC’s Victoria Ellis.

“I’ve loved him from the very moment that I was handed him,” Zoe said, the winner of ABC TV’s second series of Muster Dogs. “He’s my best little buddy.”

“I’m really proud of Buddy, and very humbled that the judges chose us as a team [as the winner],” she said.

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Kyle Sandilands insults Australian Idol audience

Kyle Sandilands has been pretty well behaved on Australian Idol this year, getting teary at auditions, offering plenty of praise to some talented singers, keeping it real for those who should have never been let into the room, and even singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ to a tiny tot, reports TV Tonight.

But on Tuesday he didn’t take kindly to a heckler in the Australian Idol audience after he was critical of a singer.

While I don’t deny the right of a performer to respond to a heckler, I can’t imagine Chrissie Swan in The Masked Singer or Guy Sebastian taking the same approach on The Voice.

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New special, ABBA: Against The Odds, to mark 50th anniversary of Eurovision win

Multiple European broadcasters will mark the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s iconic victory at Eurovision with a new feature documentary ABBA: Against The Odds, reports TV Tonight.

The documentary will be produced by Rogan Productions (Freddie Mercury: The Final Act), and distributed worldwide by BBC Studios.

Telling the epic story of ABBA’s greatest period of musical achievement framed between the albums ‘Arrival’ (1976) and ‘Super Trooper’ (1980), this is the story of ABBA’s deeply personal and perilous journey through the band’s most transformative years and rise to global fame.

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Sports Media

Former Apple executive among CEO candidates for new sports-streaming venture

Disney’s ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery have begun reviewing potential CEO candidates to lead their new streaming venture, which will offer all their live-sports programming in one package, report The Wall Street Journal’s Jessica Toonkel and Isabella Simonetti.

Pete Distad, who was a top executive at Apple in charge of its video and sports businesses before leaving the tech giant last spring, is among the top candidates the companies are considering, according to people familiar with the situation. Distad earlier was a marketing and distribution executive for the streaming service Hulu.

The names of other candidates the companies are considering couldn’t be learned. They are expected to name a CEO in the coming weeks, and the as-yet-unnamed service itself is slated to launch later this year.

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