Why delay? Sales asks pollies. Malcolm Turnbull is on 7.30 tonight — his first interview with the prime-time ABC show since emerging victorious from last week’s leadership spill.

On the latest Chat 10 Looks 3 podcast, a side project of 7.30 host Leigh Sales and fellow ABC journo Annabel Crabb, Sales ponders why it is that political leaders don’t go on her program when their victory is still warm.

“It’s always best to go out on a position of strength,” she said. “On the first day, no one will expect a detailed economic plan. You can get in on a sweeping, inspiring message.”

“Remember when [Simon] Crean tried to get [former PM Julia] Gillard rolled? Gillard acted in bold manner — she put up a spill. I, of course, rang the PM’s office and asked if she was available for that night. They said no. I was stunned. I said, ‘she’s just seen off a challenge, she’s in a position of strength, I’m mystified as to why you don’t want to put her up on prime time television tonight’.

“That was on a Thursday. The first thing she did was Kyle and Jackie O the next morning. That’s not a very good thing to look prime ministerial. Then [the PMO] rang and wanted to put her on Monday night — which they did.  By then, half a dozen cabinet ministers had held press conferences to resign, had given all these reasons why they thought Gillard was hopeless. I had all that material to put to her on the Monday. If she’d come on on the first day, she could have said, ‘if you don’t like it, you can resign,’ and then she’d have been on the front foot.”

After the Liberal leadership spill in February, Tony Abbott came straight on, Sales says. “I thought that was sensible. It was a bad day … but I think you get brownie points for turning up to a difficult interview. It neutralised it.”

Of course, Sales acknowledged, she had a different objective to political leaders — she wants people to come on her show whenever she asks. But she couldn’t fathom why it didn’t help politicians to get an interview with a flagship like 7.30 out of the way when they were riding high.

It’s a big night of politics on the ABC tonight. As well as Sales’ interview with Turnbull, Four Corners has teamed up with The Australian‘s John Lyons to examine last week’s leadership spill. Later, Q&A will feature a single panellist — Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. — Myriam Robin

Half his material. Perhaps the most damaging bit of media commentary for Labor leader Bill Shorten has been Shaun Micallef’s Shorten Zingers segments, which aired on the ABC’s Mad as Hell. The segments, first thought up by Mad as Hell writer Gary McCaffrie, spoofed the Opposition Leader’s strange cadences, which had him deliver lines like he was delivering a joke, only … what he said was never really a joke.

David Marr’s Quarterly Essay on Shorten, released today, reveals the lengths Shorten went to to play along along with the joke. At a Christmas drinks do last year with the Press Gallery, Shorten declared 2014 the Year of the Zinger. “Which is pleasing, because all of us put a lot of work into them, whether it’s writing them, delivering them, or explaining them afterwards.” And come the Logies in March this year, Shorten recorded an acceptance speech for Mad as Hell, which was nominated for Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program. Shorten’s script:

“Thank you. I’m going to keep this for myself. I don’t see why I should give it to Shaun Micallef. After all, I’ve been writing half his material.”

The video would be ended with the trademark lion’s roar and the flashing “ZINGER” graphic.

Alas, The Voice ended up taking the gong, so the Shorten video was never aired. More’s the pity. — Myriam Robin

Scroll down for yarns. The top story on The Courier-Mail’s homepage for several hours this morning was a piece of sponsored content, written in much the same style as a regular news article, extolling the new Queens Wharf development. “It’s the state’s hottest job generator and work hasn’t even started,” begins the article and multimedia package, paid for by casino company Echo Entertainment and written by “Staff Writers”. It doesn’t appear in the print edition.

It’s far from the first Australian paper to run such content marketing, but it is unusual for a masthead to give such content pride of place in quite this manner. As digital ad rates continue to plummet, due both to rising competition and, increasingly, the wealthiest and savviest readers choosing to use ad-blockers instead of viewing ads at all, such content is one of the few remaining ways to ensure targeted demographics actually see the ad.

Mind you, for much of their history, newspapers used to run ads on the front page and the articles further back. Perhaps we’ll get used to it. — Myriam Robin

Offspring redux. By now the entire Earth should know that Offspring and Nina will be back on Ten for season six, but it won’t be the same with two key figures missing: Debra Oswald, the creator of the series, and writer, Michael Lucas. Producers John Edwards and Imogen Banks are believed to be overseeing the new series.

But the real story can be seen in Sunday’s statement from Ten head programmer Bev McGarvey:

“There are so many more chapters left in Nina’s life…We paused her story just as she had bravely navigated motherhood as a single parent rediscovering the joy and romance of life, while dealing with her fabulously messy family as they went about their unpredictable daily lives.”

That tells us Ten is desperate for the new series for two reasons: the strong female-skewing storyline, and the star Asher Keddie. Ten also needs local drama (running repeats of older dramas, such as Wonderland, eventually drives viewers away, no matter how cost-effective they are for the local content rules).

Ten, though, has another problem with Offspring; the same problem Nine found with its Underbelly series and other dramas. Once they reach their 65th episode, the program is no longer eligible for the producer rebates from the federal government, which will increase the cost of the show by 20%. — Glenn Dyer

Shares stabilise. Seven West Media seems to have succeeded in stabilising its sinking share price around the 76-cent level after announcing the $75 million 12 month buyback last week (the shares only fell half a cent in the big 2%, 100 point sell-off in the first hour of trading this morning). In a little-noticed substantial shareholding notice filed with the ASX last Tuesday (hours after the buyback was announced), the identity of the biggest seller of Seven shares had been masked. It is the Nikko Securities group, which is part of the giant Japanese Sumitomo Trust. Its stake in Seven West was cut from 6.25% in June or more than 94.6 million shares, to 5.02% this month, or 75.47 million shares. — Glenn Dyer

Sentences we never thought we’d write. ABC Classic FM is making listicles with gifs on Tumblr. Truly.

Video of the day. Tony Abbott “was like taking heroin”. John Oliver’s words, not ours …

Front page of the day. Corbyn cops a break …

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW