The ones that got away. The list is growing of TV could-of-hads or nearly-gots, or hads-but-slipped-away. Rove, I have been reminded, originally appeared on Nine with a show similar to the one on Ten. Nine didn’t persist (a story so very Nine these days) and the rest is history. Nine is now getting very rich on the success of Rove, plus other programs, such as 5th Grader (Maybe not the 7pm Project, quite yet). Then there’s Dancing With The Stars: some in TV have claimed that Kerry Packer wanted Nine to get the rights and was upset when Seven bought them.
But I’m told it’s not like that: Seven acquired the rights to a program format from the BBC called Strictly Come Dancing, which had inspired the ABC program Strictly Dancing, hosted by Paul McDermott on Friday nights. That was real dancing, no celebs, just talented ballroom dancers.
Seven in Australia renamed it Dancing With The Stars, and the rest is history. ABC in the US followed Australia and decided to use the Seven name. The name helps sell the program. Strictly Come Dancing doesn’t, even if there’s a hint of the Australian hit film, Strictly Ballroom.
Kerry Packer might have been upset, but Seven started it in late 2004 and Kerry Packer wasn’t much of a judge in those days as his health declined and got grumpier and grouchier. He tended to think Nine should have had all the hit shows other networks had and that his executives didn’t know what they were doing. That might have been true in some cases, but not in all. Seven passed on MasterChef and The Biggest Loser, but that’s explainable: it was looking at them as possible replacements if Dancing faded. It hasn’t and is now in series nine. — Glenn Dyer
Abbott scores a model? Sarah Murdoch, wife of Lachlan, Bonds ambassador, ANTM host and all round popular Aussie babe, launched Tony Abbott’s new book Battlelines. Really? Sarah must be exactly what the Liberals are hoping for, an attractive woman who most people would not expect to be conservative. Abbott was even kind enough to thank Sarah’s husband for letting her out of the kitchen launch his book which was met by splutters from publicist Louise Adler, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. He also praised her “beauty, grace and character”. All critical traits of a book launcher. Sarah was even nice enough to tweet about him: SarahAMurdoch — Had the honour of launching Tony Abbott’s book Battlelines. It is truly a great read. Great ideas. Common sense. Check it out. Crikey wonders what his celibacy adviser would have said about the Sarah Murdoch pick. — Amber Jamieson
Student journos off to war zone. The journalism department at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks will soon have more reporters in Iraq than many major American newspapers. Three undergraduate students and a professor leave this week for Diyala Province in Iraq, where they will spend nearly a month embedded with U.S. troops. They plan to eat, sleep, and travel alongside members of an Alaska-based Army Stryker Brigade Combat Team, while filing daily articles for news organizations and for their student newspaper, The Sun Star. — The Chronicle of Higher Education You can check out the embedded students’ blog here.
News Limited say online paid content can work — if it’s good. Imagine a high-definition full colour e-reader, containing all your favourite newspapers and magazines from around the world, not only managing your subscriptions, but also making recommendations for other content you might be interested in. It will deliver high definition ads. Which, when touched, will run a video, give detailed product information, download a brochure, or run a price comparison across local retailers. An exciting proposition, I’m sure you’ll agree — Richard Freudenstein, CEO of News Digital Media, speaking at Sydney’s Advertising & Marketing Summit, mUmBRELLA
Does this LA Times photo look fake to you? Apparently it does if you live in LA. This inquiry is one of a growing number of questions that come in about the authenticity of published photos. Other images questioned this year include one of actress Anne Hathaway (someone thought she was too unrealistically ugly) and a picture of a member of the Taliban (readers thought he looked too nice). One particularly adamant questioning of another photograph published earlier this year came from an online reader who said she teaches Photoshop at a continuing education department of a university in another state. Even after being assured by editors who investigated the original digital files, the reader was unconvinced that the image hadn’t been manipulated. — Readers’ Respresentative Journal, LA Times
Ira Glass of NPR proposes the Crikey dream show. “Glass threw the journalists in the room an idea for future survival based on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. Glass imagined a future for journalism “where you would have the tone of The Daily Show — talking in normal language, but they would be real reporters.” – Dallas Observer
Music magazines are basically dead. Late last month, Vibe magazine announced that it was ceasing publication. The next day, word arrived that Spin was laying off a half-dozen staffers. In late March, Blender folded outright, and a few months before that, Rolling Stone trimmed its masthead. (Blender hired me out of college in 2002, and I worked there until its demise.) For this strange moment, at least, many onetime professional music nerds share a common experience with many onetime investment bankers: whiplash. — Slate
Mark Scott calls for an end to media censorship. The managing director of the ABC Mark Scott has used a speech in Vanuatu today to call for the end of media censorship in Fiji. Mr Scott said he supported local journalists in Fiji who faced daily threats and intimidation from the State and he wanted to let them know the ABC was behind their struggle for an independent media. “With the Public Emergency Regulations having now been extended several times in Fiji, and the temporary suspension of democracy now in its third year, media censorship has continued,” Mr Scott told the 2009 Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) biennial convention. “The experience around the world is that a free and independent media is a cornerstone in a society which demonstrates good governance in the interests of all its people. — The Australian
Old school publishers breaking new ground. In a sign of the growing importance of e-books, HarperCollins Publishers has created what appears to be the first “editor in chief”-style role for the digital category at a major publishing house. Margot Schupf, an associate publisher at HarperCollins and a former editorial director at Rodale, has been named to the new position of editorial director, digital publishing, for the Morrow/Avon/Eos group. The three imprints include hardcover fiction and nonfiction publisher William Morrow, women’s romance paperback house Avon and science fiction imprint Eos. — Crains New York
AP: enemy of freedom or just misunderstood? On Thursday last week, the Associated Press (AP) announced its intention to protect its news content from being “misappropriated” online by attaching an electronic “beacon” to articles, photos and videos to track where and how they’re being used – or misused … Entirely predictably, the internet exploded in a storm of indignation. — Ruth Brown, Crikey