Roundup: Remembering Cal Wilson, Cheng Lei arrives home, C*A*U*G*H*T

Cal Wilson

Elon Musk, SAS Australia, Eurovision, Australian Idol

Business of Media

Australian journalist Cheng Lei arrives home after three years in a Chinese prison

Australian journalist Cheng Lei has been reunited with her two children in Melbourne, 1154 days after she was nabbed by Beijing’s security state and thrown into a Chinese penal nightmare, report The Australian’s Will Glasgow, Greg Brown, and Tricia Rivera.

Cheng, 48, arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday just before 3pm on-board an Air China plane, ending an ordeal that has been hugely damaging to the bilateral relationship.

“Tight hugs, teary screams, holding my kids in the spring sunshine. Trees shimmy from the breeze. I can see the entirety of the sky now! Thank you Aussies,” she said in a statement

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How Elon Musk could beat his latest defamation lawsuit

Arguments on social media can be freewheeling and nasty; comments and accusations are often light on facts. The defamation suit filed last week against Elon Musk might test the limits of that rough-and-tumble, reports Nine Publishing’s Stephen Carter.

The lawsuit revolves around events of last June, when two far-right groups, the Proud Boys and the Rose City Nationalists, planned to protest against Pride Night events in Portland, Oregon, but wound up brawling with each other instead. In the fighting, two members of Rose City were unmasked.

A Twitter user posted a photograph of one of them alongside a photograph of a college student named Ben Brody. “Very odd,” Musk wrote back. Brody is now suing Musk, according to the complaint, for amplifying the original tweet and harming his reputation.

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‘So tragic, heartbreaking’: Celebs’ shock after admired comedian Cal Wilson dies, aged 53

TV personalities and celebrities from all walks of life have paid tribute to beloved comedian Cal Wilson, following her shock death. A regular on the Australian comedy circuit, Wilson died aged 53 on Wednesday, reports News Corp’s Eli Green.

Comedian and Hollywood star Rebel Wilson said Wilson’s death was “so tragic”.

Leading Australian entertainers have been quick to honour the New Zealander, with Shaynna Blaze describing it as “heartbreaking”.

“I can’t even comprehend this right now. The most divine, radiant person who I have watched, admired and worked alongside,” she wrote on social media.

Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott described the news as “absolutely devastating”.

“A ray of sunshine. You will be so missed, Cal,” comedian Melanie Bracewell said.

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See Also: Comedian, writer, and actor Cal Wilson passes away aged 53


Australian TV show pulled from global release following Israel-Hamas conflict

The high-profile Stan hostage comedy C*A*U*G*H*T has been withdrawn from the world’s biggest television market in response to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant organisation Hamas, reports Nine Publishing’s Karl Quinn.

The satirical comedy about a group of Australian soldiers who are taken hostage while mounting a black-ops raid on the fictional small island nation of Behati-Prinsloo was due to be shopped around to international buyers at the annual International Co-Production and Entertainment Content Market – better known as MIPCOM – in Cannes, in the south of France, next week.

But Fremantle, which produced the series for Stan and has international sales rights, announced overnight that it was withdrawing the show from the market.

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Will SAS Australia prove too close to unfolding news events for viewers?

In the game of television programming sometimes forces beyond your control collude against you, reports TV Tonight.

How often have networks had to pull titles that are suddenly awkward timing with news events: plane crashes, shark attacks, disasters, true crime events. 10 was also forced to delay MasterChef following the tragic death of Jock Zonfrillo earlier this year.

It’s a parallel arguably now encircling Seven as events in the Middle East suddenly feel horribly similar to scenes in SAS Australia.

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Report: Israel to postpone Eurovision selection

In June, Israeli Eurovision broadcaster KAN announced that its 2024 entrant would be the winner of the popular reality series HaKokhav HaBa, better known as Rising Star in English, reports TV Tonight.

Filming of the qualifiers from the casting phase was set to begin this week, and was due to air on popular channel Keshet 12 in November. But tragic events of the past week appear to have impacted.

While no official announcement has been made by KAN, Israeli media outlet Mako reports:

“This season, Israel’s representative for Eurovision will be chosen in Rising Star, the filming of which was supposed to start this week – but was postponed according to the directives of the Home Front Command. We note that the Eurovision Song Contest will be held at the beginning of May in Malmö, Sweden, and Israel must notify the contest directors beforehand about a representative and a song that will represent it.”

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Australian Idol’s judging panel reshuffle sees return of familiar face

Australian Idol began filming for the 2024 season this week, and with that, a fresh look judging panel managed to leak before it was officially announced, reports News Corp’s Lexie Cartwright.

Veteran judge Marcia Hines is back in the hot seat, 20 years after she formed part of the original line-up when the show debuted in 2003, joining Kyle Sandilands and Amy Shark.

For the series reboot last year, which aired on Channel Seven, international musicians Meghan Trainor and Harry Connick Jr. were part of the fresh-look panel, but have not returned for the 2024 season.

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