Roundup: Trump Defamation Suit, Piers Morgan, Sam Armytage’s last Sunrise + more

piers morgan

• Plus New Zealand’s media watchdog, Samantha Armytage’s replacement, ‘kidult’ shows in prime time

Business of Media

‘New era’: New Zealand media watchdog to disregard complaints about use of te reo Māori

A decision by New Zealand’s broadcasting watchdog to no longer engage with complaints about the use of Māori language has been celebrated as cementing “a new era of broadcasting in Aotearoa”, reports Guardian Australia‘s Elle Hunt.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) said on Wednesday it had “drawn a line” under the use of te reo in broadcasts after receiving a fivefold increase in inquiries since June last year. Two from 27 had resulted in formal complaints.

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News Brands

Court Dismisses Trump Campaign’s Defamation Suit Against New York Times

A New York State court has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by the re-election campaign of Donald J. Trump against The New York Times Company, ruling that an opinion essay that argued there had been a “quid pro quo” between the candidate and Russian officials before the 2016 presidential election was protected speech, reports New York Times’ Marc Tracy.

The Times published the Op-Ed, written by Max Frankel, a former executive editor of The Times who was not named as a defendant in the suit, in March 2019 under the headline “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo.” Frankel made the case that in “an overarching deal” before the 2016 election, Russian officials would help Mr. Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in exchange for his taking U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Russia direction.

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Morgan ‘quit rather than apologise’

British television host Piers Morgan reportedly quit his top rated morning show in the UK after he refused to apologise on air over a heated on-air row about remarks he made about Meghan Markle, reports News Corp’s Anne Barrowclough.

Morgan, 55-year-old host of ITV’s Good Morning Britain, stormed off the set after co-host Alex Beresford accused him of “trashing” Meghan over her and Prince Harry’s explosive revelations about the royal family. Morgan had told viewers he “didn’t believe a word” of the couple’s explosive claims, including that Meghan was depressed and suicidal.

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Piers Morgan breaks silence after quitting U.K. morning show, stands by Meghan Markle comments

Piers Morgan has broken his silence after a dramatic Tuesday that saw him storming off Good Morning Britain after being rebuked live on air by a colleague and then quitting the U.K. morning show following a wave of criticism over his continued attacks against Meghan Markle, reports The Hollywood Reporter‘s Abid Rahman.

In his first full statement directly referencing his GMB exit, Morgan tweeted, “On Monday, I said I didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview. I’ve had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t. If you did, OK. Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on.”

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Samantha Armytage presents Sunrise for the last time

Days after quitting live on air, Samantha Armytage is co-hosting Sunrise for the last time today, reports News Corp’s Andrew Bucklow.

At the start of this morning’s show, co-host David ‘Kochie’ Koch said: “For the past eight years she’s been a much-loved part of the Sunrise family but the time has come for her to focus on her family. Goodbyes are never easy, there will probably be some tears, but this morning we’re going to celebrate an incredible journey with some very special guests and a lot of surprises.”

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Channel 7 will announce Samantha Armytage’s replacement next week

Channel 7 won’t reveal who is replacing Sam Armytage this week, reports News Corp’s Andrew Bucklow.

Media reports suggested Armytage’s replacement would be announced this week, but understands that won’t be the case.

A Channel 7 spokesperson told “An announcement will be made soon. This week is all about farewelling Sam and celebrating her best on-air moments over the past eight years.”

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Disney+ streaming service reaches more than 100 million subscribers

Walt Disney Co’s flagship streaming service, Disney+, has surpassed 100 million subscribers, the company said, a symbolic win that emphasises how the company has been the most successful of the new entrants trying to chip away at Netflix Inc.’s direct-to-consumer dominance, reports News Corp’s Erich Schwartzel.

Powered by fan favourites like The Mandalorian and WandaVision, the service is on track to meet the company’s projection of 260 million subscribers by 2024. The company last reported 94.9 million subscribers as of Jan. 2.

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It’s a Knockout, anyone? How ‘Kidult’ shows became a prime-time craze

If the free TV commercial networks have their way, it’s going to be a year of fun and games. Perhaps they’re mindful of the fact that viewers are seeking light relief and that, following habits established during lockdowns, parents want programs they can watch with their kids. They’ll certainly be aware that novelty shows such as The Masked Singer, LEGO Masters, and Australian Ninja Warrior have attracted healthy audiences, reports SMH’s Debi Enker.

So we’re being treated to family-friendly fare: Holey Moley and Ultimate Tag on Seven and The Cube on Ten. The trio fall into the growing group nicknamed “kidult”, which, depending on your chosen definition, either means shows designed to appeal to kids and adults, or those that appeal to adults with childish tastes.

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Music icon Michael Gudinski farewelled at private funeral

Michael Gudinski’s status as the Godfather of Australian music has been cemented at a funeral that resembled an ARIA Awards night, reports News Corp’s Andrew Bucklow.

The industry icon was farewelled in Melbourne at a private funeral for family and friends, with his State Memorial to be held at Rod Laver Arena on March 24.

The private funeral ended with a moving tribute from the Australian live music industry he helped to create.

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