A new home for Clarke and Dawe. Satirical duo John Clarke and Bryan Dawe will appear in a new, earlier timeslot this year after being dropped by the ABC’s 7.30 program. The ABC announced today that the much-loved mock interview segment will now appear at “6.56pm” Thursdays as a lead-in to the 7pm news.

Crikey revealed in October that the segment faced the axe from 7.30 as some in Aunty’s current affairs department believed it had passed its used-by-date. The Chaser’s Chas Licciardello was approached by 7.30 late last year to host a weekly comedy spot but the plan did not eventuate. Clarke and Dawe joined the 7.30 Report in 2000 following eight years at A Current Affair and previous stints on 3AW and ABC Radio. Their segment will also be broadcast on ABC Radio and ABC 24. — Matthew Knott

Mitchell to his hacks: grow up. The Australian‘s rambunctious editor has returned for his summer holidays in fine form. This morning his esteemed organ published some advice to other editors on election coverage. Take it away, Chris:

“We will not be treating it like an eight-month campaign. We treated it like the stunt it was on Thursday morning. It was our page one picture story, rather than the splash …

“I thought the coverage in some of the other papers was a joke. We will launch our election coverage when the PM goes to the Governor-General, as we always do. I suggest some of the nation’s other editors need to grow up.”

But what about his own reporters? Let’s hope the memo has gone out: The Australian‘s political hacks have been leading the charge in declaring we’ve entered an election campaign. Dennis Shanahan declared on Friday we had entered “Australia’s longest election campaign”; Christian Kerr described it on Saturday as “the longest election campaign in the nation’s history”; Troy Bramston today called it “a marathon 227-day campaign”.

For the record, his former protégée turned Daily Telegraph editor Paul Whittaker has vowed he won’t “subject readers to eight months of mindless campaign stunts dressed up as business as usual by either side”. Nice to know they both have readers’ interests at heart. — Matthew Knott

Today Tonight: dead or alive? Try and follow this. On January 30, Fairfax first reported:

Today Tonight will be rolled into a one-hour news bulletin from February 10, a source has told Fairfax Media. The Seven Network is yet to decide whether to scrap its Today Tonight brand or include it in the new program.”

Then on Friday a rather amazing 180-degree switch:

“The Seven Network has scrapped its plan to axe Today Tonight as a stand-alone show, Fairfax Media has been told. Instead, an overhauled version of the program will return on Monday, February 11 with Helen Kapalos as host of the Sydney and Melbourne editions. It will be less sensationalist in tone and will have a new set and a segment called ‘You be the judge’, hosted by Derryn Hinch.”

But wait, there’s more. In today’s Sydney Morning Herald TV liftout, columnist Michael Idato had TT dead and buried. Under the heading “Today Tonight benighted”, he wrote:

“Today Tonight could be rolled into a one-hour news bulletin as early as Sunday. Speculation has dogged the show for some time, and Seven, facing stiff competition in news and current affairs, is said to be considering either scrapping the Today Tonight brand or including it in the new program.”

No, not happening. The early deadline of The Guide apparently led him to punt on the situation earlier in the week continuing, so he dropped a small para into the bottom of his column, probably on Thursday, but when the situation changed there was no way of removing it. Bad luck.

The following quote in Friday’s story shows someone at Seven read Crikey‘s take on the so-called plan on Thursday where it was pointed out how the ratings had been skewed by events and the tennis: “‘I think management got a bit too excited looking at the high ratings over the past couple of weeks,’ a source said, referring to the extended news bulletins that have beaten Nine’s A Current Affair most nights, except in Melbourne.” — Glenn Dyer

No Aussies for News Corp roles. News Limited’s senior executives have missed out on the top two senior executive roles reporting to CEO Robert Thomson in the new News Corporation, the publishing (and pay TV in Australia) arm to be split from the group later this year. News revealed late on Friday night that Thomson has recruited two executives from his days in London, not Australia, to fill two of the most important roles on the journalism and publishing side.

One of the appointments though won’t go down well at News International in London: William Lewis is the journalist/manager who oversaw the controversial investigation of millions of emails relating to the phone and computer hacking and bribery investigations that has seen more than 120 people arrested and charged in London (including journalists from The Sun, News of The World and The Times). Lewis will be chief creative officer, while Anoushka Healy has been appointed chief strategy officer. Thomson, Lewis and Healy worked at the Financial Times in the 1990s.

It means the likes of Kim Williams, head of News Ltd in Australia, will effectively report to Thomson, Lewis and Healy, as will the head of News International in London, the New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. Rupert Murdoch will be chairman of the new News Corp, but Thomson will be the effective day-to-day overseer. It means a real UK journalism focus at the top of the new company, even though Australia will house the majority of the assets and earnings power of the new group in the shape of News Ltd, Fox Sports and 50% of Foxtel. — Glenn Dyer

Want to know if she loves you so? It’s in her tweets. When new users sign up for an account on Twitter, the standard process goes something like this: follow people. People follow you back. Learn the syntax. Tweet. Build an audience. But when celebrities join the social media behemoth, they are immediately guaranteed a large following irrespective of whether their tweets are literate, semi-literate, insightful, funny or completely incomprehensible.

The more than 1.2 million followers of Academy, Grammy and Emmy Award winning singer/actor Cher do not expect from her deft use of the English language. On Friday evening, hit by a flood of Cher-penned crimes against grammar, I tweeted “If I could turn back time, if I could find a way…I’d rethink following @Cher.” You could imagine my surprise when, less than a minute later, the 66-year-old superstar shot back:

But the veteran performer isn’t quite as crazy as she sounds — “Buckmaster” is the name of a popular brand of American rifle scopes. — Luke Buckmaster