Good feud guide. The Australian‘s food writer John Lethlean has bitten back at celebrity chef Manu Feildel, who over the weekend told the News Corp tabloids that it was a review from Lethlean that destroyed his restaurant, Le Grande Cirque, in 2014.
“I was angry, angry, angry after I read (Lethlean’s) review and then, when my business partner turned around and said we have to close the restaurant, I was gobsmacked,” he said, while also promoting a new critic role at Delicious, another News Corp title. But Lethlean has responded today in the Oz, calling Feildel’s comments “comic genius”, and reprinting the review in full:
Well, here’s the truth, Manu. Le Grand Cirque did not get one good review, from any mainstream critic. Not one. And when the restaurant closed in June 2014 due, perhaps, to the public’s massive disinterest in an ordinary product for extraordinary money, The Australian pulled down the review from its website so as not to confuse readers with ‘live’ reviews of dead restaurants.
Stepping up. Fairfax has announced Sydney Morning Herald and The Age‘s national editor James Chessell will become group executive editor of the metro publishing division, which includes The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, Brisbane Times, WA Today and Life Media. Fairfax is now recruiting to fill his vacated role, to which he was appointed in February last year.
The revolving door. A big change at Vice Media is on the way with Nancy Dubuc, the departing CEO of A&E Networks, (a Vice shareholder) rumoured to be replacing Shane Smith as CEO. According to The Wall Street Journal, the change could happen any day now. Vice is in a joint venture in Australia with SBS in SBS/Viceland (the old SBS 2).
The speculation about the change followed A+E Networks’ parent companies, Walt Disney and Hearst Corp, announcing on Monday that Dubuc will step down from her role on April 16, and that Abbe Raven (the chairman emeritus and a former CEO of A+E Networks) will come back to run the company until it finds a replacement.
Vice is still struggling in the wake of the closing of its main Canadian cable channel (with Canadian cable group Rogers) and a New York Times report last December detailing sexual harassment claims against some senior staff from lower level employees. The company issued an apology over these reports, which followed news that the company missed its revenue target last year. — Glenn Dyer
Apple News expansion plans. Two announcements from Apple overnight Monday in the US suggest the company is starting to move towards expanding Apple News on a serious basis as Facebook chops and changes. Apple has now revealed plans to buy magazine company Texture for an undisclosed amount.
Texture is backed by six publishers including Condé Nast, Hearst and News Corp. Formerly known as Next Issue, the company had raised US$130 million from the publishers and private equity group KKR. Another owner is Meredith/Time (both were owners before the merger) and Rogers, the big Canadian telco and media group.
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The second bit of news from Apple on Monday was an interesting stat — Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services (and the man who oversaw the Texture deal) revealed at the South by Southwest festival in Austin that Apple Music now has 38 million paid subscribers, up from 36 million in February. That’s just over half the 71 million premium subscribers Spotify claims, but more than Amazon Music’s 16 million and Pandora’s 5.8 million. Google does not release subscriber numbers. By way of comparison, Netflix, the leading streaming video service has 124 million subscribers around the world, including just over 56 million inside the US. — Glenn Dyer
Our racist past. National Geographic took on a historian to investigate its coverage of people of colour both within and outside the US over its history, as part of a special race edition, and published what was found:
It hurts to share the appalling stories from the magazine’s past. But when we decided to devote our April magazine to the topic of race, we thought we should examine our own history before turning our reportorial gaze to others.
Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Ten’s I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here now has a new name — I’m A Celebrity, Viewers Don’t Care. The finale was beaten by the ABC. The show winner announcement managed 1.11 million viewers, and the lead-up to it managed 967,000. A program average of 1.03 million is hardly inspiring and was nowhere near enough to push Ten into third. The network managed an overall metro rating of 17.7% to the ABC’s 18.2% and a main channel figure of 13.2% to the ABC’s 14.2%.
Nine won easily with Married averaging 1.74 million, number one nationally and in the metros. MKR on Seven ended up fourth nationally with 1.40 million, which is fewer than each of Seven News’ 6pm and 6.30pm halves (1.55 million and 1.43 million respectively). How the mighty have fallen. Assuredly, it is what awaits Married on Nine in the next year or two.
In regional areas, Seven News was tops with 575,000, followed by Seven News/TT with 492,000, then Married with 489,000. MKR was fourth with 482,000 and then Home and Away in fifth spot with 442,000. — Read the rest on the Crikey website