Essential Media Group (EMG) has announced the launch of Essential Scripted, a new international arm focused on producing premium international scripted content for the small and big screen.
Headquartered in Sydney and Los Angeles, its announcement signals a return to the scripted market for Essential Media following the sale of its drama catalogue to FremantleMedia in September 2017 and the merger with Quail Entertainment in April 2018.
Essential Media previously produced internationally acclaimed series such as Rake (ABC), Doctor Doctor (Nine Network), The Principal (SBS), Jack Irish (ABC) and the Disney movie Saving Mr Banks starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
Quail Entertainment’s previous scripted productions include the ABC Australia comedies At Home with Julia, Wednesday Night Fever and Timothy.
The move follows the recent announcement of the acquisition of the EMG by Canada-based Kew Media Group.
Essential Scripted will be led by CEO Chris Hilton and Chief Content Officer Greg Quail. The company has appointed Emmy Award-winning producer Michelle Hardy (#7DaysLater) as vice president of scripted, Australia, while Simonne Overend will continue in her role as vice president of scripted, US.
Essential Media has also signed a first look deal with Hardy White Pictures, a joint venture between Michelle Hardy and director, Erin White (Sando).
Chris Hilton said, “We’re relishing the prospect of our return to drama production in Australia and the USA at a time when the opportunities have never been greater. We have an exciting new slate and with the support of our new partners at Kew we’re looking forward to bringing more premium scripted content to audiences around the world.”
The Essential Media Group (EMG) is the newly formed international content company from the merger of two leading independent production companies and joint venture partners – Essential Media and Entertainment and Quail Entertainment. Headed by CEO and executive producer Chris Hilton and CCO and executive producer Greg Quail.
Essential Media Group has production offices in Sydney, Los Angeles and Dallas Fort Worth.
The second season of Australian Ninja Warrior will see major brands KFC and Berocca returning to harness the power of the worldwide Ninja Warrior phenomenon, while new sponsors include Mazda.
“Australian Ninja Warrior was the breakout television hit of 2017 and it will once again be a powerhouse franchise for Nine in 2018,” said Michael Stephenson, chief sales officer at Nine.
“We are thrilled that not only are KFC and Berocca returning, we now have the likes of Mazda also wanting to be part of what has become a television sensation here and around the world.”
As part of its sponsorship, KFC will have on-ground branding over the course, in particular the Ninja Support Crew area on Ninja Island.
Berocca will also have on-ground branding as well as an integrated consumer promotion, and for a second year will have ownership of the “performance of the night” replay in the show and online. Mazda is the other sponsor to take out on-ground branding and will also have Ninjas featuring in integrated TVCs specifically made for the show.
All sponsors have key spots around the show. This year Australian Ninja Warrior also has key local sponsorships, with the University of Adelaide sponsoring in Adelaide and Alinta Energy sponsoring in Perth and Brisbane.
This year Australian Ninja Warrior will see 300 ordinary mums and dads, doctors, tradies, athletes and celebrities competing in the quest for one goal: to claim the crown of Australia’s first Ninja Warrior.
The show features a diverse range of competitors who will line up to take their shot at the most difficult obstacle course in the world, with Rebecca Maddern, Ben Fordham and Freddie Flintoff calling their every move on Ninja Island.
The second season of Australian Ninja Warrior debuts this Sunday July 8 at 7pm on Nine and 9Now.
Having launched two streaming services in the last five years, James Bridges has become somewhat of an expert on the subject.
By Kruti Joshi
He was one of the first people to work on Foxtel’s streaming service Presto in 2014. Bridges was also one of the first two people to work on iflix, an SVOD service that caters for the Southeast Asian markets. The other person was co-founder Mark Britt.
While Presto fell victim to the streaming wars and ceased operations in January 2017, iflix has grown from strength to strength since it was founded in 2014. The service has 12 million users and is in 28 markets globally. “iflix was something that we lost a lot of sleep over,” Bridges told Mediaweek from France. “It was hard but it is something I am super proud of.”
Bridges has partnered with his brother Mark Bridges and former iflix colleague Andreas von Maltzahn to launch a new streaming platform, iwonder. It focuses on documentary and current affairs programming.
“After having cut my teeth on working on an SVOD service for the emerging markets, I wanted to see what I could do globally,” he said.
Award-winning electronic act The Presets hit Melbourne last night, headlining Chapel Street’s Provocaré Festival of the Arts as part of the 2018 iHeartRadio LIVE series.
The exclusive event saw old and new hits from the Sydney duo, including from their recently released album Hi Viz.
Noteworthy names among the 300-strong crowd included Married At Fight Sight’s Carly Bowyer, Troy Delmege, Nick Furphy and Sean Thomsen, Masterchef’s Khanh Ong and Love Island’s Jaxon Human and Francoise Draschler.
The Presets at The Emerson was presented by Chapel Street Precinct and iHeartRadio, and supported by KIIS 101.1.
• SCG AFL upset a win for Geelong and a win for Seven
• MasterChef upset sees Brendan Pang leave the top 10
• Final night of 9GO!’s Love Island Australia a multichannel hit
• Penultimate episode of The Handmaid’s Tale screens on SBS
By James Manning
Seven’s best in primetime was the AFL match between Sydney and Geelong with the visitors causing something of an upset on the Swans’ home ground. The audience was 516,000 with 276,000 in Melbourne.
The Storm v Dragons was Nine’s Thursday night football. The national cume reach was 1.76m while the national metro average was 409,000.
The final episode of Love Island Australia was the #1 multichannel program (metro and national) with people 25-54 and 16-39.
The 9GO! national peak audience was 405,000 – metro 270,000 and regional 135,000.
The 9GO! national average audience was 261,000 – metro 197,000 and regional 64,000.
Nine has advised that as of 9am this morning, the VPM for last night’s episode is sitting at 54,000.
MasterChef again pulled the biggest crowd of the evening after 7pm with 738,000 farewelling Perth social worker Brendan Pang. Sashi faced a big decision as he still had one of his coveted immunity pins. He knew it was a tough call to lose it so close to the end, but desperate not to be sent home he played the pin and opted out of the cook.
Todd Sampson’s Bodyhack 2.0 then did 362,000.
The channel’s best after News and 7.30 was Grand Designs Australia on 403,000.
The Foxtel acquisition is working much better on Thursday nights than multi-award winning Wentworth, which was moved out of the schedule after a few weeks.
Ahead of what promises to be some intriguing match-ups at the FIFA World Cup this weekend, the channel’s best was again Great British Railway Journeys on 256,000.
The penultimate episode of The Handmaid’s Tale then did 215,000.
|ABC ME||0.6%||7mate||4.3%||GEM||2.4%||ELEVEN||2.4%||Food Net||1.1%|
|ABC||Seven Affiliates||Nine Affiliates||Ten Affiliates||SBS|
|ABC ME||1.1%||7mate||4.0%||GEM||4.4%||ELEVEN||2.1%||Food Net||1.1%|
|THURSDAY METRO ALL TV|
16-39 Top 5
18-49 Top 5
25-54 Top 5
Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM
Google has officially opened its new office in Melbourne’s CBD, providing more than 100 desks for local engineers, sales and marketing staff as well as a space for the web giant to host its Victoria-based partners, reports Fairfax Media’s Tim Biggs.
Site lead Sean McDonell, who also manages Google Australia’s relationships with retail groups and utilities providers, said that Sydney will remain the company’s headquarters, despite the difficulty it has had finding a suitable second site in NSW.
Google previously decided against a move to a power station in Sydney’s Bays district, and was blocked by the state government from building a new site at Carriageworks. It was most recently eyeing office towers at Central Station in Sydney’s CBD.
ABC management has warned staff not to enter the political debate over the future of the national broadcaster, reports The Australian’s Stephen Brook.
Ahead of a series of nationwide rallies organised by ABC Friends, starting this Sunday, to protest the government’s $84 million ABC budget cuts, news executive Gaven Morris told staff they could support the ABC, but not enter a partisan political debate.
“Ultimately we’re journalists and production professionals,” Morris, director of news, analysis and investigations, told staff in a memo. “Our personal views should always be very separate to the work we do on behalf of all Australians.”
Morris banned staff from using ABC platforms or their personal social media to “engage in any campaigning or partisan commentary about the current ABC debate”. But he did not ban staff from attending rallies and some presenters, including Phillip Adams and Jon Faine, have been given permission to speak.
There are many tributes to promoter and agent Harry M Miller today.
DD McNicoll in The Australian:
Harry Maurice Miller spent his 84 years turning tall tales into piles of money and fame.
During his career he called himself an agent and a promoter, but his real claim to fame was charming the socks off everyone he came across – be they a penniless punk rocker, a disaster survivor or British royalty.
When he arrived in Sydney from his native Auckland in the early 1960s he found Sydney already had a well known Harry Miller, a boxing promoter, so he adopted the style Harry M Miller.
In time Miller became so well known in the Harbour City that he was universally referred to simply as Harry M.
Andrew Hornery in The Sydney Morning Herald:
Showbiz impresario, media fixer, lovable rogue and friend and foe of the rich and famous, Harry M. Miller was many things to many people.
His orbit was filled with bold print names: Kerry and Clyde Packer, Ita Buttrose, Deborah Hutton, Maggie Tabberer, Marcia Hines, Stuart Diver, Lindy Chamberlain, Gai Waterhouse and Judy Moran.
Charismatic, sharp-witted and just a little devious, he set up Pan Pacific Productions in the 1960s and brought the likes of Garland, Sammy Davis Jr, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Chubby Checker, Louis Armstrong, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and The Rolling Stones to Australia.
He also brought the rock arena spectacular to Australia. It was Miller who “discovered” a 16-year-old and six months pregnant African American girl from Boston named Marcia Hines, whom he would transform into a bona fide Australian showbiz star with the musical Hair.
Natalie Whiting has been appointed as the ABC’s new Papua New Guinea correspondent.
She will take over the key posting from Eric Tlozek, who after three years in the role has been appointed one of the ABC’s Middle East correspondents, based in Jerusalem.
Whiting currently reports for 7.30 and ABC News in Tasmania, based in Hobart. She has extensively covered regional and outback Australia, from Orange and Broken Hill, to Ceduna, Wilcannia, Maralinga and the APY Lands.
Whiting said she was excited about moving to Port Moresby and working with the ABC’s local team there.
“Papua New Guinea is Australia’s nearest neighbour and our two countries have a long history and close ties,” she said.
“It’s such an important country to be reporting on and for, and I look forward to taking on that responsibility.
“Mostly, I’m excited to meet people and to tell their stories – and to be back living in an area where rugby league is the sport of choice.”
ABC News has operated a bureau in Papua New Guinea for more than four decades and is now the only foreign news organisation with a permanent office there.
As the Australian face leading the fight in the #MeToo movement, Tracey Spicer has secured position #10 in the Manly Daily 20 Most Influential list.
The former newsreader turned best-selling author, who was a recipient of an Order of Australia in 2018 for her journalistic and charitable services, was listed for her efforts in campaigning to change media misogyny and gender imbalance in workplaces.
Spicer’s collections of stories of sexism and abuse from “more than 1,000 women” after issuing a Twitter plea for Australian women to speak up triggered a national debate on protecting women in the workplace.
“The highlights of my career have been the documentaries I’ve produced and presented for not-for-profit organisations in the developing world,” the Curl Curl resident said.
In her 30-year career, Spicer has reported and presented for programs on ABC TV, Network Ten, Channel 9 and Sky News. She has also written for Traveller Magazine’s Sunday edition, was a columnist with Wendy Harmer’s The Hoopla and travel writer and ambassador for Holiday with Kids magazine.
The Manly Daily will publish the top 5 people tomorrow.
Fairfax Media’s Good Food Guide Awards will take place in Melbourne for the first time this year, after launching in Sydney last year.
The 2019 Good Food Guide Awards presented by Vittoria and Citi will reveal the best restaurants, bars and chefs from across Australia when they take place on Monday October 8, 2018.
Meanwhile, The Good Food Guide 2019 will be published by lifestyle publishers Simon & Schuster Australia, marking the start of a three-year publishing partnership with Fairfax.
Simon & Schuster Australia MD Dan Ruffino said, “We are delighted to reunite Australia’s leading food book publisher, Julie Gibbs, with the Good Food Guide team to produce Australia’s most loved and indispensable book of the best places to eat and drink across Australia.
“Julie will act as publisher of the Guide for Simon & Schuster Australia, bringing with her five years’ experience publishing The Good Food Guide for both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. It’s a publication she greatly respects and she is excited to once again be helping to bring it to life.”
The national Good Food Guide, launched last year, independently reviews restaurants, cafés, bars and cheap eats across every Australia state and territory, making it the most trusted source of information about where to find the best – and hatted – venues in every capital city and beyond.
Last year’s national rollout of the Good Food Guide Awards was supported by a gala launch event in Sydney which was attended by more than 750 of the restaurant industry’s luminaries.
Good Food Guide editor, Myffy Rigby, said: “This is the second year that The Good Food Guide has encompassed all of Australia, and I couldn’t be prouder to shine a light on outstanding hatted restaurants nationwide – from exceptional restaurants in rural South Australia, through to beachside dining in Western Australia, and hidden gems in the backstreets of Tasmania.
“Every year, we go in hungry and leave more excited than ever to share these restaurants and dining destinations with our readers.”
Love Island Australia is now being hailed as the future of TV, reports News Corp’s Alison Stephenson.
Industry experts and TV executives say that the reality dating show’s multiplatform, digital-first format will change the game for commercial networks, with almost as many people tuning in on digital devices as watching live in their lounge room.
Filled with contestants flaunting fake tans, plucked eyebrows and perfect hair (and that was just the boys), Love Island Australia was a perve-fest of six-packs, bikinis and boob jobs.
With the first season now wrapped up and the king and queen of Love Island Australia crowned last night, Nine is already championing the multiplatform success of the show as “unprecedented in the Australian TV landscape”.
Nine programming chief Hamish Turner said that the show’s performance has been unlike anything ever seen on free-to-air TV.
“The results have been fantastic and have provided us with a bit of a blueprint for what the future has in store,” he said.
“The performance of Love Island is unprecedented in the Australian TV landscape and that’s because it is a fully integrated, cross-platform venture and I don’t think anyone has done it properly before.”
Turner said that Love Island has been credited with redefining the measure of TV success in a multiplatform world.
“Editorially, we are really happy with the show – creatively it delivered in spades and digitally it outperformed where our projections were.”
More than 200,000 people also downloaded the Love Island Australia app to be able to vote on the show.
Turner said Nine was already talking about season two.
After getting off to a rocky start, Tayla Damir and Grant Crapp have been crowned the inaugural winners of Love Island Australia, reports news.com.au’s Hannah Paine.
The surprise verdict left favourites to win Eden Dally and Erin Barnett visibly shocked, with the runners-up left standing awkwardly on the stage while Tayla and Grant hugged each other.
Eden and Erin, who have been accused of staging their relationship to win the show, couldn’t hide their disappointment as they missed out on $50,000.
The finale also capped off a tense few days between the winning couple and Erin and Eden, with the two male contestants coming to blows on more than one occasion.
Love Island winners Tayla Damir and Grant Crapp are now looking to move in together – before most likely planning a wedding, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.
After being crowned season one winners of the controversial reality dating show, the couple say that they will move from Perth and Canberra respectively to set up a home together in Sydney.
“We’ve spoken about it (marriage) and obviously we would never have gotten into the relationship if we didn’t think that it was possible,” Damir said.
The couple beat out rival couples Eden Dally and Erin Barnett and Josh Moss and Amelia Marni to secure the $50,000 prize money – but said they weren’t driven by the cash.
Discovery Channel’s long-running, Australian-produced science show MythBusters is returning this month with new hosts taking over from Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage.
Brian Louden and Jon Lung will separate fact from fiction in spectacular style when the new series premieres in Australia on Tuesday July 31 at 8.30pm.
Brian and Jon earned the title of MythBusters by displaying killer build skills and science smarts in MythBusters: The Search. The series saw 10 talented hopefuls compete for the chance to continue the explosive legacy left behind after Jamie and Adam hung up their lab coats in 2016.
MythBusters is produced by Beyond Productions for Discovery.
England’s Channel 4 has commissioned a new late-night entertainment show with drag superstar and reality sensation Courtney Act.
Dubbed the world’s first Dragazine show, where “everyone is welcome”, the hour-long The Courtney Act Show will see the glamorous and fabulous pop culture icon author her own show featuring an array of celebrity guests, studio items and music numbers.
The channel is claiming Courtney’s skill and sass will redefine late night television entertainment.
In a release, Courtney Act said, “This is my show and I say come on in, all you heroic misfits, those of you who are a bit chipped around the edges… I want to welcome you all. You bring the open minds and I’ll bring the open bar and we’ll meet in the middle for a gay old time!”
The Courtney Act Show was commissioned for Channel 4 by Sarah Lazenby, commissioning editor for Entertainment, and Steve Handley, commissioning editor for entertainment.
It is a Monkey Kingdom production and the executive producers are Ollie Brack and David Granger.
The Seven Network has signed Australian cricketing great Glenn McGrath as part of its new commentary first eleven.
McGrath, the world’s highest Test wicket taker among fast bowlers with 564, was renowned for his impeccable line, length and bounce that regularly knocked over some of the best batsman of all time.
Glenn McGrath commented: “I am excited to join the Channel 7 team and represent the fast bowlers’ brigade in the commentary box. It’s going to be a great summer of cricket and I am proud to join Ricky, Flem and Slats in this new era for the game.”
Channel 7 head of cricket Dave Barham said: “Glenn is one of this country’s greatest ever sportsmen and we are rapt he is joining Seven. He will provide commentary across all our Test Matches this summer, four matches against India and two against Sri Lanka. No one speaks with more authority about fast bowling than Glenn and fans will be treated to his unique insights and vast knowledge all summer on Seven.”
The McGrath signing follows the recent announcement that Australia’s highest ever run-scorer and former captain, Ricky Ponting, will call Test matches and BBL on Seven, alongside Damien Fleming and Michael Slater.
Seven’s six-year agreement with Cricket Australia runs from 2018 through to 2024, includes domestic free-to-air broadcast rights to all the Test Matches as well as 43 of the 59 BBL matches each season.
The broadcaster detailed its Round Of 16 ratings in a release, which reads in part:
The first match was the most-watched fixture from the Round with 468,000 Australians (Avg TTL Ppl – 411,000 Metro + 57,000 Regional) tuning in on SBS as the 2018 tournament’s youngest squad France were victorious over Argentina and their superstar Lionel Messi.
France v Argentina reached a total of 733,829 (Metro + Reg Reach) Australians across the country and achieved a Metro FTA share of 52.7% with Ppl 25-54. The peak minute was as half time begun with scores level (1-1) and 573,611 (Metro + Reg) watching, before the second half delivered an impressive five goals in 45 minutes, two from Les Bleus’ young gun Kylian Mbappé.
On the final morning of Round Of 16, England defeated Colombia, breaking their World Cup shoot-out curse, with 417,016 Australians (Metro + Reg Peak Minute) watching at 6.48am as Eric Dier sealed the win for the Three Lions.
To date, SBS’s coverage of Russia 2018, including 49 live matches, 19 match replays, pre- and post-match analysis and daily highlights program, FIFA World Cup Today, has reached 8.4 million Australians (Metro + Reg).
SBS’s coverage of the Premier League kicks off on August 11.
Top photo: Colombia’s Carlos Bacca in action during Round Of 16 Colombia v England, 2018 FIFA World Cup (credit: Marco Iacobucci EPP / Shutterstock)
The laughter at Barry Hall’s vulgar comments about a pregnancy procedure on Triple M was not “haha laughter”, sports reporter Damian Barrett claims, reports News Corp’s Stephen Drill.
Barrett, who was in the commentary box when Hall made the comments about Leigh Montagna’s wife, has explained his role in the saga.
There was general laughter after the comment, which cost Hall his job at Triple M and a clothing sponsor this week.
“It wasn’t joke laughter, it wasn’t haha laughter… it was not humorous laughter, it was stupid laughter, it was spontaneous laughter, it was an awkward laughter, it was a nervous laughter, but it was not, as I’ve heard it described, uproarious laughter,” Barrett said on his Sounding Board podcast with Crocmedia owner Craig Hutchison today.
Hutchison responded that a “lot of people would find that a bit hard to believe what you’ve just said”.
Barrett said he took responsibility for his part in the conversation but rejected claims that Triple M had a problem with its behaviour following previous gaffes.
“It may sound really hollow in saying it, I would say, but we have fixed ourselves up – we had until the madness of that conversation going off the cliff last Friday night,” he said.
The Sounding Board podcast criticised Herald Sun reporter Stephen Drill who also covered the Barry Hall incident earlier this week.