Roundup: FitzSimons seeking costs from Lehrmann, Ronna McDaniel axed by NBC, Martin Scorsese’s new docuseries

Peter FitzSimons

S&P Global, Challenges for online publishers in 2024, ABC, Getting all your shows in 1080 HD, Michelle Bridges, Devon Werkheiser

Business of Media

Journalist Peter FitzSimons seeking costs from Bruce Lehrmann over defamation case

Journalist Peter FitzSimons is seeking costs from former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann over material he was made to produce for Lehrmann’s defamation case, reports The ABC’s Elizabeth Byrne.

FitzSimons’ wife Lisa Wilkinson has already won a case against Network Ten over her costs for the case. FitzSimons is now seeking costs from Lehrmann for “reasonable loss or expenses incurred in complying with the subpoena addressed to him”.

The application was lodged earlier this month, but has only just been released.

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S&P Global cuts Paramount credit rating into junk territory

S&P Global cut its credit rating on Paramount Global to BB-plus from BBB-minus Wednesday, or what is considered junk territory, citing continuing cord cutting and elevated investments required to support the buildout of streaming services, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Will Feuer.

“Paramount will need to execute its plan to substantially improve streaming losses over the next two years to mitigate further downside ratings pressure,” S&P said, adding that Paramount’s credit metrics are weak even for the BB-plus rating.

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What news publishers should do now to avoid extinction in 2025

Media consultant Matthew Scott Goldstein prompted a much-discussed New Yorker feature when he wrote in January about AI-driven search being a potential extinction-level event for publishers. Here he writes for Press Gazette that other challenges are piling up for online publishers in 2024 and sets out a blueprint for tackling them.

I think I have a plan for the digital publishing landscape over the next two years.

Most of the information I encountered during Q1 2024 conveyed a negative and discouraging tone, indicating a need for urgency and action in the publishing world.

While publishers continued focusing on diversifying revenue streams beyond ad sales – such as generative AI, e-commerce, subscriptions, community, newsletters, acquisitions, editorial shifts, podcasts, content licensing to LLMs, and lawsuits – it may not be enough.

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News Brands

ABC issues clarification, reaches settlement over Kellie-Jay Keen portrayal

The ABC has been forced to publish a clarification, conceding that viewers of a 7.30 interview with Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto “may have understood the interview to suggest” that UK gender critical feminist Kellie-Jay Keen “has associations with neo-Nazis”, reports The Australian’s Rachel Baxendale

In a turn of events which is likely to have implications for Federal Court defamation cases being pursued against Pesutto by Keen, expelled Liberal MP Moira Deeming, and fellow activist Angela Jones, the public broadcaster has reached a confidential out of court settlement with Keen.

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Former RNC chair Ronna McDaniel axed by NBC after intense backlash

The former Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel is on her way out of NBC less than a week after joining the network, NBC announced in a memo from the NBCUniversal News Group chair, Cesar Conde, reports The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly.

Conde said he had listened to “the legitimate concerns” of many network employees. “No organization, particularly a newsroom, can succeed unless it is cohesive and aligned,” he wrote. “Over the last few days, it has become clear that this appointment undermines that goal.”

Conde also apologized to employees “who felt we let them down” and said he took “full responsibility” for the hiring.

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Are 7Plus, 9Now, 10Play, ABC iview and SBS on Demand all in HD?

If you ditch a TV aerial and stream Free to Air television are they you getting all your shows in 1080 HD, asks TV Tonight?

The results vary from network to network -and even from channel to channel. Those points are worth keeping in mind before you cut the cord and when purchasing new devices.

TV Tonight asked each network to confirm the video and audio content of their Free to Air apps.

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Michelle Bridges feels plagued by brutal Biggest Loser portrayal

It was one of the most popular Australian reality shows of the mid-2000s, reports News Corp’s Lexie Cartwright.

But The Biggest Loser hasn’t been viewed as favourably in recent years, with the defunct Channel 10 series not ageing well due to the brutal training methods and emphasis on body image and rapid weight loss.

One of the show’s key trainers was Michelle Bridges, who became notorious among its more than 1 million viewers for her tough-as-nails approach with contestants.

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Nickelodeon and Disney stars find a second act on podcasts

For three years starting when he was just 12 years old, Devon Werkheiser dispensed advice for bearing the indignities of middle school as the title character in the Nickelodeon series Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. Two decades later, he said, people still recognize him as Ned Bigby, reports The New York Times’ Rebecca Carballo.

“There was a time when I wanted to transcend ‘Ned’s,’” Werkheiser said, “but maybe it’s the answer in getting me where I want to go.”

Now 33, he’s made peace with his past and is still giving tips to his peers, only he is using a more modern medium. In Ned’s Declassified Podcast Survival Guide, he and his former “Ned’s” castmates Lindsey Shaw and Daniel Curtis Lee dish about the show, which aired from 2004 to 2007, and open up about past personal and career struggles.

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Martin Scorsese to host and produce religious docuseries for Fox News

The Oscar-winning film-maker Martin Scorsese is teaming up with Fox News for a new docuseries, reports The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee.

The director, who recently scored his 16th Oscar nomination for Killers of the Flower Moon, is set to host and produce a series for the conservative channel’s streaming service Fox Nation.

Martin Scorsese Presents: The Saints will look at the life of a different saint each episode including Joan of Arc, John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene.

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