Roundup: Paul Barry calls time on Media Watch, Paramount-Skydance merger, Neighbours finale

Media Watch

Evan Gershkovich, Chanticleer’s 50th, Paul Higgins, House of the Dragon

Business of Media

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, falsely accused of espionage, is indicted in Russia

Russian prosecutors said they have approved an indictment of Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter held in Russia for over a year, falsely accusing him of espionage and referring his case to a trial court, where he could face a series of secret, closed-door hearings, reports Dow Jones’ Ann M. Simmons.

The 32-year-old reporter, whom the U.S. government deems wrongfully detained, has been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison since March 29 last year, on an allegation that he, the Journal and the U.S. government vehemently deny. At the time of his detention, Gershkovich, who is a U.S. citizen, was accredited to work in Russia.

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The chaotic unraveling of the Paramount-Skydance merger

In a short call Tuesday morning, negotiators for Paramount Global and Skydance Media worked to complete what they hoped would be a groundbreaking media merger, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Jessica Toonkel.

Blair Effron, a partner at Centerview Partners, the bank advising Paramount’s side, ended the call declaring, “We have a deal,” people familiar with the conversation said.

The biggest remaining hurdle was for Paramount’s controlling shareholder — National Amusements boss Shari Redstone — to sign off. Despite grueling talks over the preceding 72 hours, there was optimism in Skydance’s camp and within Paramount’s boardroom.

But Redstone had a big surprise in store.

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The leak that got away: Chanticleer on Foxtel’s $2b losses

The leak of years of sensitive financial forecasts for what was then a relatively new pay TV media company, Foxtel, was the story that got away for former Chanticleer columnist Ivor Ries, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

Ries, who helmed The Australian Financial Review’s daily business column between 1991 and 1999, said he “accidentally” got his hands on a full, 10-year financial forecast for the company, which began in 1995 as a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Telstra.

He was reminiscing on a panel to mark the 50th anniversary of the Financial Review’s Chanticleer column. Former writers Robert Gottliebsen, Alan Kohler, Malcolm Maiden, John Durie, Alan Jury and Tony Boyd discussed the spills and thrills of their tenure.

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Paul Barry calls time on Media Watch

The ABC is on the hunt for a new host of its Media Watch program, after presenter Paul Barry announced he was pulling the pin after an 11-year stint as the show’s frontman, reports The Australian’s James Madden.

The 72-year-old, who has hosted the Monday night program since July 2013, will continue as the show’s presenter until December. Barry will leave the show with the distinction of being the longest-serving host of the program, which first aired on the ABC in 1989.

“It’s a great privilege to host Media Watch and I’ve enjoyed it enormously,” Barry said in a statement on Thursday.

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“I feel so privileged”: Paul Higgins signs off ABC News

Veteran ABC presenter Paul Higgins signed off for the last time, wrapping nearly 40 years in television, reports TV Tonight.

He has been weather presenter at ABC News Victoria for 21 years.

But he joined ABC in 1986 becoming presenter and producer on Behind the News.

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HBO could use a hit. Enter the dragons.

The dragons are back. And not a moment too soon, reports The New York Times’ John Koblin.

On Sunday, House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel series, will return to HBO for its second season. The show became a bona fide hit in its first season, in 2022, and helped kick off a torrid winning streak for the network that included the beloved sophomore season of The White Lotus; the premiere of a new hit, The Last of Us; and the decorated final season of Succession.

But over the past year, HBO has encountered a fallow stretch — unusual for America’s pre-eminent premium television network.

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Neighbours fans experienced similar grief traits to a relationship ending after the finale, new study finds

Losing a friend or partner of almost 40 years would undoubtedly result in feelings of grief and loss, and a new study says a TV show ending can have the same effect, reports the ABC.

In 2022, there was an outpouring of emotion as Neighbours disappeared from our TV screens after 37 years.

And with super fans not aware that the show would reappear, emotions ran high as the for-sale signs were erected around Ramsay Street.

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