Theatre, not just for Dorothy’s friends. A Crikey reader writes: I was alerted to this beauty in The Arafura Times of May 21. The Arafura Times is the local paper from the bauxite mining town of Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory. The attached editorial discussed the merits of an upcoming live theatre show in town – a rare event for Nhulunbuy – and it was the following two lines that stood out: “The rough necks used to the hurly burly of construction site life might be surprised at what live theatre delivers” then “You don’t have to be the arty homos-xual type to enjoy live performances.” So who exactly has the rough neck??? I’m not trying to have a crack at the editor, more interested how this sort of language perhaps reflects a way of life in the more remote and regional parts of Australia. Here’s that extract:


Is The Australian stonehenged? Thanks to Crikey reader Andrew Hoff for pointing out this story on The Oz’s website this morning and the accompanying graphic. As Andrew says; “Look carefully. Do you think they realised they’d given a free ad to the History Channel?”

One Network’s gain is another’s loss. The Ten Network has been quiet on whether the Melbourne Working Dog production group would be making a fourth series of Thank God You’re Here for 2008. It was Ten’s best performing program in 2006 (two series) and last year (one series) and there has been speculation that Working Dog would not be doing a 4th series for this year for Ten because of other pre-occupations. Yesterday that thinking was confirmed when the ABC announced that Working Dog would be doing a six part half hour series for the broadcaster called The Hollowmen. “The series, produced by Working Dog, will be filmed in Melbourne and Canberra and will go into production in the next few weeks. It will soon be part of ABC1’s highly successful Wednesday night lineup and will be repeated on ABC2. The Hollowmen focuses on the workings of an internal think tank, set up by the Prime Minister, whose responsibility is long-term policy vision. The unit’s task is to stop worrying about tomorrow’s headlines, and to start worrying about next week’s.” Michael Hirsh, Working Dog’s Executive Producer said “We have been constantly talking to ABC TV over the years. The ABC has been very welcoming to our ideas and it’s exciting to be working together on The Hollowmen.” Working Dog did Frontline for the ABC, and in the media reports this morning, no mention of Thank God You’re Here. — Glenn Dyer

Multi-tasking, how not to 2UE’s Mike Carlton snapped yesterday when he realised the guest he was trying to interview was on another call. When Carlton patched Steve Riden from the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia through, Riden apologised and said he was in the middle of another radio interview. Carlton cracked it and hung up before the conversation started. “You can just piss off – how incredibly rude…are you sampling the product?… get stuffed,” he said. Listen here. Meanwhile, at Carlton’s sister station in Melbourne … 3AW’s Ross Stevenson found the mix up slightly more amusing… although he too suggested that Riden may be sozzled. Listen here

Michael Crichton knew what he was talking about His 1993 prediction of mass-media extinction now looks on target. In 1993, novelist Michael Crichton riled the news business with a Wired magazine essay titled Mediasaurus, in which he prophesized the death of the mass media — specifically the New York Times and the commercial networks. “Vanished, without a trace,” he wrote. The mediasaurs had about a decade to live, he wrote, before technological advances—”artificial intelligence agents roaming the databases, downloading stuff I am interested in, and assembling for me a front page”—swept them under. Shedding no tears, Crichton wrote that the shoddy mass media deserved its deadly fate. — Jack Shafer, Pressbox, Slate 

CRIKEY: Due to a technical glitch at the ratings factory, there will be no TV ratings today.