Journos’ union to join public servants? Amalgamation talks are proceeding nicely between the country’s main public service union, the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), and the media union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Talks began between the MEAA, the CPSU and some other unions last year — which may hint at the state of the MEAA’s membership (about 18,000 on latest estimates) and financial resources. Crikey understands the tie-up was discussed at the August meeting of the MEAA’s national executive and will be broached at a meeting of the CPSU’s governing body later this month.
Apparently, the MEAA has been impressed with the CPSU’s industrial and legal work which may not come as a surprise to some MEAA members who have been badly bruised by GFC redundancies and other cost cutting. The CPSU already has many members at the ABC and at SBS in non-journo and technical roles. But MEAA members may be uncomfortable about amalgamating with a mega public sector union that covers career public servants in major government departments and is affiliated with the ALP in every state except Western Australia and Tasmania.
However, MEAA National Secretary Chris Warren told Crikey that under the terms of the proposed deal, journos’ membership dues would be quarantined from Labor and the CPSU’s extra members wouldn’t be counted on the floor of ALP state conferences, echoing an existing arrangement with CPSU foot soldiers inside the national broadcaster. The merger will need to be sanctioned by a vote of the MEAA’s members, but if that fails the CPSU reckons it will still be able to pursue a close working relationship with their media bruvvas. Stay tuned. — Andrew Crook
News will make or break Ten. The Ten Network launched its 2011 line up today (with a glitzy Sydney dinner tomorrow night) and the network is either being modest, or is not mentioning that it has killed off a string of big and not so big favourites from the past few years. While the new US and local programs for 2011 got mentions, and mega-hit MasterChef was gushed over, the likes of Australian drama Rush wasn’t mentioned in the dispatch from Ten programming central, nor were Australian Idol (rested this year because of the Commonwealth Games) and So You Think You Can Dance Australia.
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Dance Australia is dead, replaced by new UK-born talent quest Don’t Stop Believing, The Biggest Loser is coming back with a families approach (and judging by the way it faded this year, it’s on its last warning), while Idol remains up in the air. If Believing doesn’t work the safe bet is Ten will rediscover its enthusiasm for Idol. But it has to work — there’s just not enough room in this market for a slew of talent programs, nor room in the Ten budget, especially when its spending $20 million expanding its news and current affairs coverage.
Notable new programs for 2011 include: Hawaii Five-O (yes it’s back, featuring Australian Alex O’Loughlin), Blue Bloods (a cop drama from the writers of The Sopranos), The Defenders (Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell as Las Vegas lawyers), drama Raising Hope and comedy Mixed Signals. New local shows include The Renovators (a cross between The Block and MasterChef) and Class Of, a factual series on good teachers and bad students.
And of course Neighbours moves to Eleven, Ten’s third digital network, where it will get a PG classification with more naughty bits. The Simpsons moves across to Eleven as well. In its place news and current affairs, at a cost of $20 million. And this is the real story for Ten next year: forget all these new programs and the successes like MasterChef, if this huge switch in programming doesn’t work Ten’s year will flop and it will be expensive in terms of cost and management. There are bad signs already: as one former TV executive described it to me, it’s Nine’s old Live At Five disaster advanced to 6pm. — Glenn Dyer
Wake up to a poor joke. Kochie was apologetic on Twitter this morning: “My bad… Sincerely apologise for joke of the day. No excuse. Poor judgement.” The breakfast TV king’s 5698 followers would have been none the wise after Koch quickly erased his tasteless joke from the Twitterverse. But plenty of Twits captured it for posterity:
Joke of the morning: why did they call it PMS? Because mad cow disease was already taken
The backlash was fierce: “insulting to all women”; “inappropriate”; “s0 1980s”; Kochie is a “sexist jerk” and an “utter tool”. No word on what ‘Mel’ (co-host Melissa Doyle) thought of it. — Jason Whittaker
‘Fannycures’ for Julia. The final victory of La Gillardine may have left many underwhelmed, but not Kathy Lette, queen of the London kangarati. Speaking at the launch of The Real Me is Thin, a new volume of memoirs by Arabella Weir, a sort of, well, Rachel Berger with added neuroses probably gets it, Lette got into a brief stoush with Crikey about the first place to have votes for women (Crikey plumping for Wyoming territory, Lette for New Zealand), before revealing her plans to celebrate the election of Australia’s first female prime minister.
She mused: “Me and my girlfriends plan to have a dye-in to go redhead.” Redhead only? “Oh no darling carpets and drapes, collars and muffs. We call it a fannycure.” Who says feminism’s in trouble, when there’s such fire in the hole? — Guy Rundle
The rise and rise of Jon Stewart
“The Obama presidency was supposed to spell doom — or at least irrelevance — for Bush-satirizing comics like Stewart and his protégé Stephen Colbert. But a funny thing happened and is continuing to happen.” — New York Magazine
Behind the BP Twitter parody
“On May 19, @BPGlobalPR started sending out messages about the Gulf oil spill to Twitter. The parody account took on the persona of an inept and insensitive public relations pro working at BP — and it viciously skewered BP’s messaging attempts from behind a veil of anonymity. Within a week, it ate Twitter.” — The AWL
The face of Facebook: Zuckerberg in profile
“Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook in his college dorm room six years ago. Five hundred million people have joined since, and eight hundred and seventy-nine of them are his friends.” — The New Yorker
Front-page news: the Post puts an ad on it
“Washington Post readers in the D.C.-metro area probably noticed a Capital One-sponsored advertisement wrapped around Sunday’s paper. The removable wrap, which covered half the front page and all of the back page, was an advertising first for the newspaper.” — Yahoo! News