Roundup: Post Op Group for sale, Nine extends rugby deal, Rupert Murdoch

wallabies rugby

Bruce Lehrmann, ABC board, Netflix sued, Love Me

Business of Media

Judge may force Rupert Murdoch to testify in $2.4b Fox case

Rupert Murdoch might be compelled to take the stand in a $US1.6 billion ($2.4 billion) defamation lawsuit against Fox News, a judge said on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT), despite Fox’s protests that it would cause the 92-year-old chairman “hardship”, reports Washington Post’s Jeremy Barr.

Murdoch “holds a special role at Fox Corp,” Judge Eric M. Davis said, and therefore he “may be able to be compelled to be here,” for a trial involving Dominion Voting Systems, although he cautioned that he has not yet made a ruling. Although he expressed a preference for “live testimony,” he also suggested that Zoom could be used.

On Monday, a Fox lawyer submitted a letter to the judge requesting Murdoch, along with his son, Lachlan Murdoch, Fox chief legal and policy officer Viet D. Dinh, and former House speaker Paul Ryan, a board member, not be compelled to testify at the trial, which is scheduled to begin on April 17.

“The court should decline to compel their appearance at trial due to the hardships on those witnesses, and the undue burden given their limited knowledge of pertinent facts,” the lawyer argued.

But on Wednesday, a Dominion lawyer argued that the elder Murdoch is extremely relevant to its case that Fox defamed the company by airing baseless allegations that its voting machines helped steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump.

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Post Op Group which does post production on the nation’s leading TV shows, is up for sale

Post Op Group, one of Australia’s pre-eminent post production houses which is currently working on shows including Australian Idol and The Masked Singer, has been placed in voluntary administration with debts of more than $10m, reports the Australian’s Cameron England.

Antony Resnick and Mark Robinson of dVT Group have been appointed administrators of Post Op and associated companies FATS Media and Amoda Media, and are currently fielding offers to buy Post Op Group from a number of buyers both local and international.

Resnick said while the company, which employed about 40 staff, had run into problems, it had “great prospects of a revival’’.

Post Op Group, which was founded in 2008, was “a leading provider of post production services to major producers of TV and film projects” and also provided content services to owners of historic film and video such as the National Archives and Victoria Racing, Resnick said.

“Up until Covid it was a highly profitable business,’’ Resnick said.

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‘I won’t be going to prison’, Bruce Lehrmann texted after The Project

A little after midnight on the night The Project aired an interview with Brittany Higgins accusing an unidentified colleague of raping her, former federal Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann texted a friend to say “I won’t be going to prison”, the Federal Court heard on Thursday, reports Nine Publishing’s Sam Buckingham-Jones.

But that message, as well as a flurry of others sent to his former girlfriend saying “criminal is off the cards completely” and he was “up for millions in defamation” were either invented or direct advice from his criminal lawyer, Warwick Korn, a Sydney hearing was told.

Lehrmann is attempting to sue 10, former 10 employee Lisa Wilkinson, News Corp, and journalist Samantha Maiden for defamation. On February 15, 2021, Maiden published a story and The Project aired an interview with Higgins in which she alleged she was raped in a minister’s office in parliament in 2019.

Lehrmann, who denies the allegation, was not named in the reporting but has argued the interviews have damaged his personal and professional reputation.

Defamation cases in NSW must be filed within a year of the publication, and Lehrmann’s barristers are arguing for an extension. The media outlets and journalists’ barristers disagree, and Justice Michael Lee heard arguments from both sides on Thursday.

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News Brands

ABC staff make final pitch for board role

ABC staff have just one week left to lodge their votes for a staff-elected seat on the board of the public broadcaster and candidates have been peppering staff with emails to give their final pitches, reports the Australian’s Sophie Elsworth

Among those vying for a position includes political journalist Laura Tingle, presenter Indira Naidoo, business reporter and MEAA-backed candidate Dan Ziffer, Middle East correspondent Tom Joyner, host of The Drum and voice referendum correspondent Dan Bourchier, rights clearance and research co-ordinator Alison Wall and head of Indigenous, diversity and inclusion Kelly Williams.

Candidates have been given permission to send only two emails each to staff with a pitch for the board position and on Thursday Naidoo made her last attempt at winning votes.

“I’ve travelled along the eastern seaboard and country NSW, meeting so many of you in Brisbane, Sydney, Bega and Melbourne in between my daily on-air radio and television commitments,” she wrote in an email.

“You’ve told me you want the same things – wage fairness, career progression, a review of the Ultimo/Parramatta relocation and better resourcing for divisions outside Sydney.”

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Netflix sued by author claiming ‘Outer Banks’ copied his novel

An author has filed a copyright claim against Netflix over its hit series, Outer Banks, reports News Corp’s Raven Brunner.

According to TMZ, Jeff Wilson, author of Queen Anne’s Revenge and Oklahoma Ghost Dance, is suing the streaming giant for similarities between his debut novel and the popular teen series.

Wilson’s Queen Anne’s Revenge was released in 2013 and follows four friends as they embark on a hunt for lost treasure on the coast of North Carolina after archaeologists located artefacts from a crashed pirate ship.

The author alleges that the core cast and their character arcs, plot points, and various settings in Outer Banks have an uncanny resemblance to his novel.

Wilson states that his book was promoted by Discovery and History Channel and cited that Outer Banks co-creators, Josh Pate, Jonas Pate, and Daniel Burk, were inspired by books to write the series.

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Stars of Binge series Love Me hit Sydney red carpet for season two premiere

Popular Australian drama series Love Me has hosted its season two premiere in Sydney, reports

The Binge original, which will hit streaming with all six episodes on April 6, first premiered in late 2021, starring blockbuster veteran Hugo Weaving alongside acclaimed Aussie actress Bojana Novakovic. It was a critical and commercial success, and was the most nominated drama at the 2022 Logies with seven nods.

It’s been a long time coming for new episodes, and guests were finally treated to a sneak peek at the next instalment on Thursday night, with cast members William Lodder and Logie winner Heather Mitchell in attendance at the premiere.

Mitchell, 65, said on the red carpet that Love Me, which is directed Bonnie Moir this season, was the “happiest show” she’d ever worked on.

“The people … From the actors, to crew, the director, everything about this show is full of love,” she said.

“I hope it translates into the series.”

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Sports Media

Nine extends rugby deal as RA plots next chapter

Nine Entertainment Co will hold exclusive talks with Rugby Australia to extend its rights to broadcast Wallabies Tests and Super Rugby beyond 2025 after taking up a two-year extension on its current deal, reports Nine Publishing’s Georgina Robinson.

Nine last week told Rugby Australia it would take up an option in its favour to broadcast rugby until the end of 2025 in an extension of the current, $30 million-per-year deal struck in 2020.

The network has also kicked off a 12-month period of exclusive negotiations with RA on a new deal beyond that, with Australia preparing to host the world’s third-largest sporting event, the Rugby World Cup, in 2027 and the women’s tournament in 2029.

Sources close to both camps, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the commercial nature of the talks, said it was a sign both parties were happy with the relationship and wanted to make it a long-term partnership.

Media observers also read Nine’s desire to start early on a potential new deal as a move to pre-empt any competitive tension for rugby that could put upward pressure on price. The network has spent big on sport in the past four months, picking up the rights to the next three Olympics and signing a new multi-year deal with Tennis Australia worth more than $85 million a year. It is also in the second year of a five-year, $115 million-a-year deal with the NRL.

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