Ray Hadley dismisses Dutton slip-up, a serial killer wins review, The Big Bang Theory finally, finally ends, and other media tidbits of the day.

Ray Hadley’s storm in a teacup. A slip of the tongue by Sydney broadcaster Ray Hadley has political observers wondering just who his sources are. A strong supporter of Peter Dutton, Hadley was yesterday reading out a text message on air that he said was from a “Liberal MP”. Hadley quoted the text message: “[Scott Morrison] told those he’s lobbying he won’t serve as my — as the deputy to Peter Dutton.” The version of the segment posted online was edited to remove what he says is a mistake.

Hadley, who’s been well-briefed on rumblings within the party and a harsh critic of Malcolm Turnbull along with his 2GB colleague Alan Jones, denies that the text message was from Dutton. He told Fairfax: “I was ad-libbing as I do for most of my three hours, stumbled on a word, without my knowledge, digital staff, as they often do, tidied up my stumble to make me sound better. For the record the contact I had within the Liberal Party was not Peter Dutton. Seems to be a storm in a teacup. If you listen to the rest of the program there’s 50 other stumbles the digital team would have edited.”

This morning on Today, Nine’s Chris Uhlmann criticised Hadley, Jones, and Sky News’ rotation of evening commentators for crossing a line to become players in the political scene, rather than observers.

Nine lifts profit. Nine Entertainment lifted its net full year profit 27% — its last profit as a standalone TV business ahead of the agreed takeover of Fairfax Media. Net profit before significant items rose to $156.7 million in the year to June 30, up from $123.6 million in 2016-17. Group earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) were up 25% to $257.2 million, on a 6% rise in revenue to $1.32 billion.

Nine sees group earnings rising to the range of $280-300 million range in 2018-19, with 1% growth in the metro free-to-air television ad market. Rival Seven earlier this week said that it is looking for a 5% to 10% rise in its operating earnings this financial year. Nine had nothing to say on the planned merger in this morning’s statement except to note its announcement of the deal. — Glenn Dyer

Serial killer wins case review following Australian Story. Australia’s worst female serial killer, Kathleen Folbigg, has won a review of her case, 15 years into her 30-year prison sentence. Folbigg was found guilty of murdering her four baby children, and conversations with her from prison made part of last week’s Australian Story episode on the ABC. In the program, former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery said there had been an inordinate delay in assessing Folbigg’s petition, submitted to the NSW government more than three years ago to have her case reviewed. Attorney-General Mark Speakman yesterday announced that a review into her convictions would be held by former District Court chief judge Reginald Blanch, QC.

Photo of the day. While the Australian news media has been sidetracked by one big news story, the US news media has been focussed on another (or two) — the guilty verdicts in cases against two men who’d been in President Donald Trump’s inner circle, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. The best picture out of it has to be this of NBC News intern Cassie Semyon, who was captured sprinting out of the courthouse (and on video here) after the Manafort verdict to deliver the news to her crew (no phones were allowed in the hearing).

Big Bang Theory finally ends. The Big Bang Theory , one of the longest running series in American TV history, will end next May after an announcement overnight. It will end with the 279th episode in the last week of the 2018-19 ratings season. Producing studio Warner Brothers TV and executive producer Chuck Lorre made the announcement, which came as a surprise given that executives from CBS had recently been talking publicly about negotiating more series.

Big Bang has proved to be a high-rating performer — in in 2017-18 it averaged 18.9 million viewers, second only to the brief revival of Roseanne. Big Bang debuted in the US in 2007 and has aired on the Nine Network in Australia since. Back eps are now also broadcast on Seven, who picked it up in a resynidcation deal that continues to generate tens of millions of dollars a year in income for the producers and cast. — Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer’s TV Ratings. Nine’s night, thanks to The Block (1.269 million) nationally as it finished third, behind Seven’s 6pm (1.580 million) and 6.30pm News (1.431 million). End of night. Oh, The Bachelor did well for a second Wednesday with 1.077 million. In regional areas Seven’s 6pm News was on top with 577,000, with Seven News/Today Tonight next with 467,000, followed by Home and Away with 387,000, then Highway Patrol (also Seven), 379,000 and Motorbike Cops (Seven), 369,000. Pay TV was full of the political claptrap from the flock of talking heads — four of the five top programs on Foxtel last night were talking heads on Sky News, topped by Paul Murray Live with 107,000 people. Meanwhile 7.30 had 930,000. Read the rest on the Crikey website.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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