Roundup: Stan Grant’s Q+A drama, Boy Swallows Universe, and Neighbours

Stan Grant

• Paul Fletcher, Hearts & Science, Howatson + Company, Nine lawsuit, WIN, and ARN

Business of Media

Government demands tech giants pull Russian state media

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has told some of the world’s most powerful technology companies to immediately remove Russian state media organisations from their platforms in Australia over concerns they are facilitating the spread of disinformation and promoting violence over the invasion of Ukraine, reports SMH‘s Nick Bonyhady and Zoe Samios.

Fletcher issued a warning to the social media platforms in comments to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age earlier this week, urging the sites to remove posts from the Russian state-owned news outlets. He has now sent letters to platforms including TikTok; Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram; and Google requesting the immediate removal of the content.

Apple and Snapchat were also told to remove RT, formerly known as Russia Today, and Sputnik, the successor to Voice of Russia.

[Read More]


Jane Stanley steps up as CEO of Hearts & Science

Hearts & Science has promoted Jane Stanley to CEO of Australia and New Zealand.

Stanley, who has been with the Omnicom Media Group agency since its launch in New Zealand in 2019, takes over the role from outgoing CEO in Australia, Jeremy Bolt who is stepping down.

Jane Stanley

The promotion sees her role expanded to include Australia, having previously only been CEO of Hearts & Science New Zealand.

Stanley will continue being based in New Zealand, as her expanded duties are effective immediately.

Bolt will remain with the agency to support the transition part-time, focusing on Old Bull Health, a start-up focused on male longevity.

Dom Hickey appointed chief strategy officer of Howatson + Company

Howatson + Company have announced the appointment of Dom Hickey as chief strategy officer.

Hickey was previously head of planning at DDB, working across Westpac, J&J, Coles, Unilever and Domain.

She led the strategy on Westpac’s life moments, the award-winning Matriarchs campaign for Carefree and the Australian launch of Tylenol, and has worked across every dimension of marketing, from brand transformation to brand experience.

Dom Hickey

Hickey also previously worked at CX Lavender as planning director and at Wunderman as head of planning.

She contributes regularly to the industry, judging at AMEs, Award and Effies. She also teaches strategy at Ad School and was the strategy instructor at the Miami Ad School.

Hickey also co-founded and is the co-host of The Junior Mafia, a podcast that gives a voice to young talent in creative industries.

Her work has been recognised at all major award shows including the Effies, Cannes, AWARD, Spikes and Caples.

Chris Howatson, founder and CEO, said of the appointment: “We searched globally, but as is so often the case, the very best person is living right next door. We’ve known each other for many years, but now have the pleasure of being teammates.

News Brands

‘Please leave’: Stan Grant ejects audience member in sensational Q&A blow up over Russia

ABC host Stan Grant has ejected a Q&A audience member in a sensational blow up over the Ukraine conflict, reports News Corp’s Duncan Murray.

The extraordinary moment was triggered by widely discredited pro-Russian claims about killings in Ukraine.

After taking an inflammatory question from Russian-Australian man Sasha Gillies Leakakis that appeared to advocate retaliatory violence, the show moved on, but its host could not.

Almost 20 minutes after the question was uncomfortably deflected, Grant decided to take action, booting the questioner in emotional scenes.

“Something has been bothering me … people here have been talking about family who are suffering and people who are dying. Can I just say – I’m just not comfortable with you being here. Could you please leave?,” Grant said.

The questioner tried to argue his case but Grant was having none of it.

[Read More]

Former US Assistant State Attorney sues Nine over celebrity dog ‘kidnapping’

Former US Assistant State Attorney sues Nine over celebrity dog ‘kidnapping’

A former US Assistant State Attorney for the state of Florida is suing Nine’s A Current Affair over a series of segments involving the alleged kidnapping of a celebrity dog, reports News Corp’s Liam Mendes.

Gina Edwards, who is now a NSW commercial litigation barrister, is suing the program claiming it implied she stole and exploited “Oscar the cavoodle” – who had almost 10,000 followers in Instagram.

In May last year, Channel Nine aired a segment showcasing the bitter custody battle between original owner Mark Gillespie, who says he purchased and trained Oscar, and Edwards and her husband Kenneth Flavell who at the time claimed they were the rightful owners.

The unwanted media attention came after Flavell and Edwards brought two claims of defamation against Gillespie, and sued him for custody of Oscar in the NSW District Court in early 2020.

Now Edwards is claiming Channel Nine and its journalist have defamed her and is seeking general and aggravated damages.

[Read More]

WIN appoints Queensland News Director

WIN News has appointed Christian Jantzen as Queensland news director, succeeding Corinne May who departed last month after 13 years.

Jantzen has more than 25 years’ experience in the media as a presenter, reporter and producer for all major Australian TV networks, in addition to FOX Sports News and SKY News Australia.

He was previously National Weekend Sports Editor for 10 News First and News Presenter for 2GB, but the role marks a return to journalism after two years in Real Estate.

[Read More]


ARN extends media partnership with the City of Sydney

ARN has announced it has extended its exclusive media partnership with the City of Sydney for an additional three years.

The partnership will see ARN’s KIIS 1065, WSFM 101.7 and iHeartRadio brands featured in three major Sydney events each year, including Sydney Christmas, Sydney Lunar Festival and Sydney New Year’s Eve.

KIIS 1065 was thrilled to once again partner with the City of Sydney as the exclusive radio broadcast partner for Sydney New Year’s Eve. The partnership included the epic KIIS 1065 harbourside New Year’s Eve party for 160 listeners and special guests.

All attendees received exclusive access to premium catering, live music and breathtaking 270-degree views of the Harbour for unbeatable views of the 9 pm and midnight fireworks.

KIIS 1065 broadcast all the action, including the official NYE Fireworks soundtracks curated by Australian duo The Presets, to Sydney and the world via iHeartRadio.

Last month, WSFM 101.7 hit the streets of Sydney to add some vitality to the Sydney Lunar Festival celebrations. Over two days, the WSFM Street Team ran a special tiger themed WSFM’s Lucky Dip. 

Hundreds of visitors were encouraged to choose a red envelope to be in with a chance of winning prizes, including Taronga Zoo tickets, Event Cinemas passes, merchandise, and mini plush tiger toys.


Boy Swallows Universe Netflix series announced

Be still the beating hearts of Boy Swallows Universe fans because we have big news with Netflix announcing that the screen version is in the works, reports News Corp’s Phil Brown.

And we can probably expect to see Boy Swallows Universe the series – eight one-hour episodes – on the small screen sometime in 2023.

Brisbane writer Trent Dalton’s much-loved coming of age (with a twist) novel about growing up in Brisbane has been a huge best seller.

Last year it was made into a hit stage production by Queensland Theatre starring hot young actor Joe Klocek in the lead as Eli Bell.The play was a sellout success during last year’s Brisbane Festival.

In 2019 Australian director Joel Edgerton signed on to co-produce a screen version with Dalton and now Edgerton has been joined by executive producers Troy Lum (Mao’s Last Dancer), Andrew Mason (The Matrix), Sophie Gardiner, and Kerry Roberts with Master and Commander writer John Collee adapting the book for the screenplay. It will be produced by Brouhaha Entertainment Australia for Netflix.

[Read More]


“Ramsay Street is eternal… I would never, ever blow it up”

With the sad confirmation that Neighbours will cease production in June, TV Tonight posed a range of questions to Jason Herbison, executive producer.

When did you first hear the news the show would end and how are you personally feeling about it?
JH: We had some advance notice last year that it could be a possibility, which we shared with the cast and crew. We only had it confirmed this year slightly ahead of the news breaking. Naturally I’m very sad, but I’m also incredibly proud of the show and everything it has achieved. 37 years is an amazing innings. I’m also very grateful to our broadcasters, 10 and 5. They have always encouraged our ambition for the show, which I think reached great heights in recent years. We are going out on a high, which in many ways is a wonderful way to end.

Is ‘rested’ the same as ‘axed?’ Are cast released from contracts?
JH: Neighbours remains a beloved brand and the response from the viewers has only affirmed that. We’re open to all possibilities for the future which is why we are considering the show rested. But for the immediate future, the show is ending in June and cast will be free to move on to other projects.

In terms of storylines, how does a soap face its conclusion when by definition it is an endless neighbourhood? Do you blow it up, move to Queensland or switch off the lights and go to bed ready for another day?
JH: Ramsay Street is eternal and I like to think it will live on in the hearts and minds of the viewers, long after the final scene. I would never, ever blow it up. The ending will be a celebration of the past and the present, with the door very much left open for a future.

Have writers plotted the ending? How much is set in stone already?
JH: I have a vision for the finale. It came to me a while back and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. It isn’t plotted and it may evolve between now and June, but I feel like I know what I want to do.

[Read More]

To Top