New faces at Guardian Australia and the Oz, as well as other media tidbits of the day.
Viner and Johnston bed down their teams. It’s never a bad thing when your boss gets promoted, as several Guardian Australia journalists are finding out. The now US-based former Guardian Aus editor Kath Viner is pulling her star recruits stateside. Guardian Australia’s deputy editor Lee Glendinning announced this morning that she’ll soon join Guardian US as deputy editor. It’s an interesting development for the local operation — Glendinning, a local who started her career at the SMH before doing stints at The Guardian’s London mothership, was widely seen as the natural successor to founding editor Viner. It’s not clear who’ll replace Viner’s replacement Emily Wilson when she decides to leave.
Guardian Aus has been busily hiring while losing one key reporter to the US operation. Oliver Laughland, a Brit who quickly made an impression in the Australian media scene through his dogged investigation of the asylum seeker issue, is also off to America. But new additions include Brigid Delany, who joins as features editor, Ben Doherty, formerly Fairfax’s South Asia correspondent, and political reporter Shalailah Medhora.
Meanwhile, new Oz business editor Eric Johnston, poached from Fairfax, has also been adding to his team. He’s lured long-standing Fairfax retail business reporter Eli Greenblat to Holt Street, and appointed the Wall Street Journal’s Australian correspondent David Rogers as markets editor. — Myriam Robin
Correction: This brief previously said some key reporters were leaving the Guardian Aus - but Laughland is the only one to do so. The brief has been amended to reflect this.
Sixty-minute ad breaks. In a rare accident of stockmarket and accounting disclosure, the cost of a sponsorship of an Australian commercial TV prime time reality program has been revealed for all to see.
The 2013-14 financial accounts of would-be mortgage minnow Yellow Brick Road (YBR) gives us an insight into, of all things, just how expensive TV production can be, and a guide to the costs of the Ten Network’s new program Shark Tank. Yellow Brick Road sponsored three seasons of Celebrity Apprentice on Nine to the tune of $2.65 million, or $883,000 a year for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 financial years. The sponsorship of Celebrity Apprentice was part of a multimillion dollar complicated series of advertising contra, sponsorship and shareholding deals between Nine and YBR, chaired by Mark Bouris. Bouris was also the host of the three seasons of Celebrity Apprentice, after an unsuccessful first and only hosting of The Apprentice on Nine in 2009.
The fact that Celebrity Apprentice hasn’t appeared so far in the 2014 ratings year on Nine tells us that YBR’s sponsorship had a lot to do with the appearance of the program. When the money stopped, so did the production — the program was really a lengthy series of advertisements for Bouris and YBR. (It should be noted that Nine has a shareholding in YBR, as does Macquarie Bank.)
This should give us an insight into the prospects of Shark Tank succeeding on Ten. It’s clear these business-related reality programs have ended their lives on TV in many markets around the world. Shark Tank has been on air in the US on the ABC network since 2009. Its sixth season is due to start later this month.
And what has upset the independent TV industry is that Ten has commissioned Shine Australia to make this program, which is part of the Shine TV production group controlled by the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox. Fox co-chairman, Lachlan Murdoch owns 8.9% of Ten and, up to March this year, had been chair of the struggling network and the main reason why it is in diabolical trouble. It brings to mind a late, great US TV sitcom called All In The Family. — Glenn Dyer
Scott reassures staff. ABC managing director Mark Scott has sent his staff an email warning it could be some time before final ABC budget cuts are known.
“I would like to thank all staff at the ABC for their dedication and their focus during what I acknowledge is a testing period for us all,” he wrote. “An inevitable consequence of the Government’s approach to ABC funding – announcing a cut in May as a “down payment” on further reductions in our funding base to be decided later – is that there will be ever-increasing speculation about the impact on the organisation. The uncertainty may not be resolved until the final weeks of the year. Yet, as I made clear in my speech in Brisbane on August 15, the ABC also needs to act promptly to future-proof the organisation in the face of changes brought by digital technology.”
Scott says his executive team will keep managers informed. The email comes after several high-profile ABC journalists launched a campaign asking for the organisation to be more transparent in its plans. In a petition delivered to the ABC board, they asked for board minutes to be published, and a public consultation about the ABC’s role in society, as opposed to changes being foisted on the organisation’s staff when they’ve already been entirely decided upon. — Myriam Robin
Video of the day. Fairfax’s Peter Hartcher gets dunked.