Silence of the Gerard. Some weeks ago we noted the enthusiasm with which Gerard Henderson was pursuing the shade of the late Tom Uren, who wrote a couple of positive things about the Cambodian revolution, at a time when reports on the horrors of the Khmer Rouge rule were few, and frequently disbelieved. The death of Malcolm Fraser had reminded many of the KR’s other friends — the Reagan, Thatcher and Fraser governments who had supported the KR in jungle exile, and at the UN, through the ’80s, materially adding to Cambodian suffering by a decade. We expected a stinging response, but came there none. And thereby hangs a tale. For though Henderson was a staffer in the Fraser government, he was not there for long after the decision to recognise the KR as the Cambodian government-in-exile. Indeed, some have claimed for him that his resignation was in part prompted by the decision. Noble, if true, so why the silence? Because, of course, the leading surviving figure of that government is John Howard, and his metaphorical donning of the black pajamas is a very inconvenient fact. Alas for that reason Henderson’s fatwa against Tom Uren had to be abandoned. We like this new silence thing, and expect it will continue when the Iraq War anniversary comes around — Guy Rundle
What’s coming to your TV. At last count American TV networks have killed off 29 comedies and dramas ahead of the start tonight of the upfronts in New York for the 2015-16 ratings season. And among the pick-ups (births, so to speak), medical dramas dominate (as we pointed out late last year) with at least four new programs joining Grey’s Anatomy and The Night Shift. Among the “deaths”, the best known here are Revenge (Seven here), Forever (Nine) and Resurrection. Ten has had a group of lower ranking programs killed off as well, such as The Millers, Stalker (Nine), and About A Boy (from the Nick Hornby novel).
Among the new programs are 15 comedies and at least 26 new dramas and soaps of all types. Of the new medi-dramas, NBC has two, Chicago Med (an offshoot of Chicago Fire) and Heartbreaker. CBS has Code Black (based on a documentary) and Fox has a series called Rosewood, which has a strong medical storyline. NBC has renewed The Night Shift for a third season. As well, super heroes get more contenders (Americans love them, Australians are not so sure — Green Arrow and Flash have come, faded and gone here, as has Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which did well for Seven for a season before fading as well). US networks have commissioned Supergirl (CBS), Legends of Tomorrow at CW (where Arrow and The Flash already lurk). Lucifer is a little devil of a series (ha!) and has been picked up by Fox (he comes back to LA to help fight crime. Yikes!), while Netflix has Daredevil, another superhero from Marvel Comics.
New comedies include Coach (yes it’s a sort of after thought of the original series years ago), Superstore, Crowded all on NBC; The Crazy Ex Girlfriend on CW, Life in Pieces, Angel from Hell on CBS, Dr Ken and The Muppets, (yes, The Muppets are back, did they ever go away?) and Uncle Buck (the movie remake to series) on ABC, Grandfathered, The Grinder and The Guide to Saving Life all on Fox. Soap dramas include the biggest hit of 2014-15, Empire, is back for Fox, and there’s an untitled idea picked up by ABC.
Seven got good news on Friday with Fox picking up Bones for another season, while ABC renewed Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Once Upon A Time and Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Scandal and How To get Away With Murder, which was unofficially renewed in February. ABC also renewed Secrets and Lies (Ten here), while Modern Family will be back on ABC. Fox has renewed The Simpsons for two more seasons. — Glenn Dyer
Tribune’s big purchase. Tribune Publishing, the US newspaper group spun off last year from Tribune Media, is buying a major paper in San Diego to go with the Los Angeles Times in perhaps the most assertive expansion move seen in the dead-tree industry for some time. Tribune Publishing is buying the U-T (The old Union Telegram in San Diego), eight community weeklies and related websites for US$85 million. The deal gives Tribune a dominating presence in southern California, which has 21 million people in the Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas. Tribune Publishing’s newly formed California News Group will oversee operations in the two markets. The two papers will remain standalone entities and share stories, but it looks like they will share back office and publishing assets and facilities. Tribune will run what is becoming known as a “clustering strategy”, and it will follow Californian rival in Digital First Media, which is based in Denver. Digital First owns a group of papers around San Francisco — the San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times and Santa Cruz Sentinel. But Digital First is looking at options for its business, including the sale of the entire company or clusters such as its Los Angeles News Group, whose publications include the Daily Breeze, the Los Angeles Daily News and other local publications. — Glenn Dyer
Video of the day. Tina Fey has been on Letterman 20 times, and now that Dave is retiring she says this is the last time she is going to wear a fancy dress on a late-night show and conform to gender norms …