So what has Big Brother , the Ten Network and Goldman Sachs have in common? All are linked by ownership. Goldman Sachs is a big investor and funder of Endemol, the owners of Big Brother and the Ten network is 56% owned by CanWest Global of Canada, where Goldman Sachs is a big investor in CanWest’s purchase of the Alliance Atlantis Pay TV and TV production business. Endemol is sniffing round Southern Star, its partner in Big Brother in Australia, but now looks unlikely to buy unless it can find a local partner. The Ironbridge private equity group is said to be interested, but so is the Southern Star management.

Now Goldman Sachs has made a very interesting appointment in London. It has named Charles Allen, a former chief executive of ITV in Britain, as a senior adviser to the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs and will take a seat on the board of its main media investment, the European television producer Endemol. Goldman Sachs Private Equity is a partner in Endemol, with former founder, John de Mol. Goldman Sachs Private Equity is also the financier and major shareholder in the $3 billion joint venture with CanWest Global that bought the Alliance Atlantis Pay TV and production business.

Goldman Sachs says Mr Allen will advise Goldman Sachs Capital Partners on a range of media issues, which these days could be anything, involving perhaps an interest in Southern Star, small as it is.

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With no local TV Networks interested in Big Brother Endemol now has to decide whether to take the format back and withdraw it from Australia (it is still producing or helping produce Deal Or No Deal for Seven and Wipeout for Nine).

A management buy-out, with backing from the likes or Ironbridge, would be acceptable to Endemol, but not the mooted interest from Fremantlemedia, an arm of the biggest international rival to Endemol. There’s talk that the Australian arm of Fremantle is sniffing around Southern Star. Fremantlemedia is controlled by RTL, which in turn is controlled by the Bertelsmann group of Germany. Bertelsmann is said to be considering the possible sale of equity in RTL so it can move on ITV in Britain. Endemol was supposed to be interested in ITV but Mr De Mol has ruled that out, and so have sources close to Goldman Sachs, according to UK media reports. — Glenn Dyer

Election smection. We hear that out West, an election still hangs in the balance, with a winner not yet declared. Try telling that to Sunday Times Perth Now readers — yesterday they preferred to read about Perth’s Hottest Bartenders: 


Random Anna Coren observation of the week.  For some inexplicable reason, Today Tonight host Anna Coren was forced to tag the end of a story on banning artificial colouring in children’s food with the awful, awful line : “It’s glib, but probably accurate, only the good dye their young.” Wha?

Forget rates, check out this stripper story The online edition of The Age continues its quest to redefine the notion of what constitutes quality internet publishing. This is the story its editors considered to be the most significant in the world yesterday afternoon.

The governor of the Reserve Bank – relegated to also-ran status in The Age ’s finely honed sense of news worthiness — clearly needs to work a little at his performance skills if he is to compete.

On bre-sts Now that Alex Bogusky has his diet book, I wondered what his peers would do to top that. (After all, there’s always Crispin envy out there.) It turns out some were already hard at work. Wieden + Kennedy London creative chief Tony Davidson is out with a book about “the minds of men” called One-Track Mind. From what I can tell, it’s about how men see breasts everywhere. In fact, Wieden London’s blog says Davidson “has spent many years taking photos of things that remind him of breasts.” Like sunnyside eggs and pancakes. And the guy doesn’t even work on the Wonderbra campaign. — AdFreak 

Soapies as social conscience Whilst soap powder companies had created the genre in the US as product placement opportunities featuring their whiter-than-white products for stay-at-home housewives, we did things differently over here. In fact, the first and most durable and unchanging of British soaps essentially began life as a tool of government. — The Guardian  

Olbermann demoted Keith Olbermann is MSNBC’s hottest property. His ratings eclipse those of the rest of the lineup. So clearly he is a significant draw for an audience that MSNBC has been struggling to expand and they would reward him commensurate to his contribution.  Think again: “MSNBC is removing Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as the anchors of live political events, bowing to growing criticism that they are too opinionated to be seen as neutral in the heat of the presidential campaign.” — News Corpse

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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