Lisa Wilkinson leaves Today Show to join The Project

Updated October 16, 2017 21:41:32

Lisa Wilkinson’s 10-year run on Channel Nine’s Today Show has come to an abrupt halt, with the host moving to the rival Ten Network to co-host The Project.

Wilkinson announced her resignation in a tweet, saying this morning was her final appearance on the breakfast television show.

Wilkinson linked to a statement from Channel Nine saying the network was “unable to meet the expectations of Lisa Wilkinson and her manager on a contract renewal”.

In a statement, Ten said Wilkinson would join Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar on its current affairs show.

“I’m sad to say that today was my last day on the Today Show,” Wilkinson tweeted, before adding she was “absolutely thrilled” about her move.

Wilkinson thanked Nine for the “privilege” of hosting the show for a decade and made special mention of co-host Karl Stefanovic and the rest of the cast and crew, who she said were behind the “incredible success” of the program.

Nine chief executive Hugh Marks said the partnership between Wilkinson and Stefanovic “has taken the show to the success it is today”.

Despite the praise, the breakdown in negotiations reportedly came after Nine refused to pay Ms Wilkinson the same as Mr Stefanovic.

Mr Stefanovic earns $2 million each year while Ms Wilkinson only received $1.1 million, News Corp Australia reported.

While Nine reportedly offered Ms Wilkinson $1.8 million, it did not stop her departure.

Wilkinson will also host The Sunday Project, with the program having recently expanded to six nights a week.

Ten chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said Wilkinson was one of the “most-respected journalists and television presenters in Australia”.

“In a career that has spanned magazines, radio, television and digital media, Lisa has established herself as a leading figure in the Australian media industry,” she said.

A start date has not been confirmed by Ten.


Topics: television, media, journalism, australia

First posted October 16, 2017 21:05:03

The Simpsons just went off the air. Did you notice?

Posted October 12, 2017 13:47:10

One of television’s most enduring families has disappeared from Australian free-to-air television screens for the first time in 25 years — and you might not even have noticed.

The Simpsons has been pulled from Network Ten’s schedule after negotiations with 21st Century Fox, who produce the show, broke down.

“Fox content is not playing on Ten at the moment,” a spokesperson for the network told the ABC.

The show’s 29th season is currently airing in the US, but won’t be shown as planned this month on the free-to-air channel.

One key question, though, is: will anyone care?

The Simpsons first aired in Australia in 1991, at a time when Ten was struggling to find an audience.

It was controversial from its earliest seasons — former First Lady Barbara Bush was quoted as saying it was “the dumbest thing she had ever seen” — but went on to build an enormous following, and gain a swag of awards, in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Now, however, some consider the show past its prime, said Dr Travis Holland from Charles Sturt University.

“The weight of legacy makes it harder for the show to find new and innovative takes on old topics,” he said.

Writing in NME recently, Alex Flood said The Simpsons peaked during its first 10 seasons — that is, more than 10 years ago.

“Much better to stop now while it’s not too painful,” he said.

Ten focusing on local content

The show may yet return to free-to-air television — on Ten, if the issue is resolved, or elsewhere.

The Nine Network told News Corp it may look to steal away some Fox content. The ABC has contacted Nine for comment.

Fusion Strategy analyst Steve Allen said it would be unlikely Nine would be interested, given the success of its local content.

While Ten has lost Fox content — The Simpsons but also Modern Family and the newer series This Is Us — the breakdown of the deal is expected to actually save the struggling local network some cash.

What’s more, the show is no longer a major drawcard for Ten, which is also focusing on local content, like the successful Bachelor franchise.

“The content is not that important,” Mr Allen said of Fox’s offering.

“It isn’t the be-all and end-all that it might have been 10 years ago.”

Recent series of The Simpsons have been airing on Ten’s sister channel Eleven.

Topics: television, arts-and-entertainment, television-broadcasting, australia

Trump threatens NBC’s licence over nuclear story he says was ‘pure fiction’

Updated October 12, 2017 09:32:29

United States President Donald Trump has threatened NBC’s broadcast licences because he is not happy with how its news division has covered him.

But experts say his threats are not likely to lead to any action.

The NBC network itself does not need a licence to operate, but individual stations do.

NBC owns several stations in major cities.

Stations owned by other companies such as Tribune and Cox carry NBC’s news shows and other programs elsewhere.

Licences come from the Federal Communications Commission, an independent government agency whose chairman is a Trump appointee.

Mr Trump said NBC “made up” a story about the President’s plans for the country’s nuclear arsenal.

He tweeted that the broadcaster “made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our US nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean. NBC = CNN!”

NBC spokeswoman Hilary Smith had no comment.

The FCC did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Licences are rarely stripped

These days, licence renewals are fairly routine.

A station could be deemed unfit and have its licence stripped if it were telling lies and spreading fake news, as Mr Trump claims.

But Harold Feld of the consumer group Public Knowledge said that was tough to prove.

“The reality is it is just about impossible to make that showing,” he said.

“All this stuff is opinion.”

As long as someone can demonstrate a reason to believe something is true, it is not a character issue, he said.

Mr Feld said he could recall just two instances in the past 20 years when there had been a renewal challenge.

One involved an owner of radio stations who was convicted of child molestation, and the other when someone died as part of a radio station’s contest. Both lost their licences.

Although yanking a licence is rare, just the threat could put pressure on NBC’s news coverage.

“The words ‘licence renewal’ are ones which have had a chilling effect in the past on broadcasters,” said lawyer Floyd Abrams, an expert on the First Amendment, citing Richard Nixon’s attempts to sway news coverage as president.

“The threat, however unlikely, is one that broadcasters will have to take seriously.”

The National Association of Broadcasters, a trade group, said it was contrary to First Amendment principles “for any government official to threaten the revocation of an FCC licence simply because of a disagreement with the reporting of a journalist”.

Following his tweet, Mr Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write and people should look into it”.

The President has long railed against mainstream media organisations, deriding them as “fake news”.

Political appointees can overturn judge’s decision

FCC chairman Ajit Pai is a Trump appointee, but experts say he cannot pull a licence just because he feels like it.

Renewals come up every eight years, and challenges are heard by an administrative law judge.

The judge’s decision can be overruled by political appointees at the FCC, however.

And the agency could start a special proceeding to revoke a licence, said Erwin Krasnow, former general counsel of the National Association of Broadcasters.

Even so, Mr Krasnow said a challenge was unlikely because of the First Amendment and because the Communications Act governing the FCC does not allow for censorship.

Mr Pai’s past statements also suggest he would not use the agency’s powers to regulate news coverage.

In a September speech, Mr Pai noted that while people want the FCC to take action against cable news channels like Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN because they disagree with the coverage, “these demands are fundamentally at odds with our legal and cultural traditions”.

Mr Feld, who is a frequent critic of Mr Pai, said the chairman is a fan of deregulation and “the last person in the world who would want to revive the licence challenge process”.

“NBC can sleep easy knowing Ajit Pai is chair,” he said.


Topics: donald-trump, world-politics, television, censorship, radio-broadcasting, broadcasting, information-and-communication, united-states

First posted October 12, 2017 09:13:39

There was a reference to Harvey Weinstein in 30 Rock that we all missed

Posted October 11, 2017 17:52:43

Five years ago there was a line in an episode of 30 Rock that alluded to Harvey Weinstein having a reputation for asking actresses for sexual favours.

It was a quick jab, buried in a wider plot line about show business, but is now being used as an example of how Weinstein’s alleged behaviour has been an “open secret” in Hollywood for years.

“I’m not afraid of anyone in show business,” says actress Jenna Maroney, played by Jane Krakowski.

“I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions … out of five.”

And it’s not the only reference to Weinstein’s alleged behaviour that’s been laughed off in the past.

Take this joke made by comedian Seth McFarlane after announcing the 2012 Oscar nominees for best supporting actress:

“Congratulations. You five ladies no longer have to pretend you’re attracted to Harvey Weinstein,” he said.

And then there was the intimidating and aggressive “Harvey Weingard” played by Maury Chaykin in HBO’s Entourage, a character widely believed to have been inspired by Weinstein.

“Do you know who I am? You’re gonna beg to get back into the pizza business,” Weingard yells in one scene.

‘Maybe we have all been naive’

Today actresses Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow joined a growing list of women making accusations against the film mogul, and dozens of other celebrities that he has worked with have now spoken publicly about the case, condemning his alleged actions.

But even Judi Dench, who has had a running joke with Weinstein for years that she has a tattoo of his name on her bottom, says she was “completely unaware” of the alleged offences.

“Whilst there is no doubt that Harvey Weinstein has helped and championed my film career for the past 20 years, I was completely unaware of these offences which are, of course, horrifying and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered, and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out,” she said in a statement provided to Entertainment Weekly.

But Kate Winslet, who won an Oscar for The Weinstein Company’s The Reader, appeared to confirm in her statement that there had been rumours about Weinstein for some time.

“I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made-up rumours, maybe we have all been naïve,” she wrote.

Weinstein has apologised for causing “a lot of pain” with his behaviour in the past, but his spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister says he denies “any allegations of non-consensual sex”.

Topics: arts-and-entertainment, television, film-movies, sexual-offences, law-crime-and-justice, crime, united-states

Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Terry Crews reveals Hollywood sexual assault

Posted October 11, 2017 11:25:13

Actor and former NFL player Terry Crews has revealed his own story of being sexually assaulted by a Hollywood heavyweight in the wake of allegations against powerful executive producer Harvey Weinstein.

In a series of tweets, Crews, who plays the iron-pumping, yoghurt-loving Detective Sergeant Terry Jeffords on sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine and appeared in The Expendables and Bridesmaids, recounts being groped by a “high-level Hollywood executive” but not retaliating or speaking out for fear of losing work or being ostracised in the entertainment industry.

People were quick to reply to Crews’ story, congratulating him for speaking out.

“Thank you. If someone like you can feel intimidated by a person in power it really shows how a young woman just starting out would feel,” Kathy Radigan said.

Another user, Falcon Resists, tweeted: “If Terry Crews can be assaulted in front of his wife by a predator with power, it’s no wonder women feel powerless in similar situations.”

A spotlight is being shone on sexual harassment in Hollywood after it was revealed in the past week that film mogul Weinstein is the subject of decades of allegations by numerous actresses, including Angelina Jolie and Gwenyth Paltrow.

Topics: television, film-movies, sexual-offences, united-states

Celebrities share awkward teen photos to raise funds for hurricane relief

Posted September 30, 2017 16:36:06

Celebrities have shared photos of their awkward teenage stage on social media to raise thousands of dollars for Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief efforts.

On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, US actor Nick Kroll put out the call for throwback photos.

Host Colbert said he then decided “right on the spur of the moment” to donate money from his Americone Dream Fund to the One America Appeal for every celebrity post using #PuberMe and #PuertoRicoRelief.

He asked Kroll how much he should donate per post. Kroll suggested $1,000, and, after checking the fund’s account, Colbert agreed.

“I want to see bowl-cuts, I want to see brace-faces, a constellation of acne across your T-zone,” he said.

But who counts as a celebrity? Colbert said: “I get to determine.”

So far, photos of varying awkwardness have been shared by celebrities including Reese Witherspoon, Mike Bloomberg, Jimmy Fallon, Debbie Harry, Al Yankovic, John Oliver, Sarah Michelle Gellar and the Backstreet Boys.

Topics: storm-disaster, disasters-and-accidents, television, social-media, actor, arts-and-entertainment, united-states, puerto-rico

Julia Louis-Dreyfus reveals she has breast cancer

Updated September 29, 2017 05:39:56

Emmy-winning comedic actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus has announced that she was battling breast cancer and highlighted the case for universal healthcare.

Louis-Dreyfus, 56, who plays foul-mouthed fictitious US president Selina Meyer on HBO’s Veep, said “1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I’m the one,” in a short post on her social media platforms.

“The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union.

“The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality,” the actress wrote.

She did not give any further details of her health status.

Louis-Dreyfus won a record sixth Emmy award for comedy actress for her role as Meyer earlier this month.

She became famous in the early 1990s for her role of Elaine on Seinfeld, which won her several awards.


Topics: television, arts-and-entertainment, breast-cancer, diseases-and-disorders, health, united-states

First posted September 29, 2017 05:16:12