2012 – The year in TV

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we look back at the year in television.


James Warburton starts at Ten 10 months after he was appointed to the role.


The summer non-ratings period comes to an end in February kicking things off with the battle of the bulge as Nine and Ten go head-to-head with their weight-loss shows. Ten’s established format, The Biggest Loser, ultimately triumphs as Nine is forced to move their offering, Excess Baggage, to digital channel GO! after abysmal ratings.


The cast of Revenge

Seven wins the first week of ratings thanks to American drama Revenge, which was heavily promoted during Seven’s Summer of Tennis. It premieres with a whopping 2.06m viewers.


Brad Lyons and Angus Ross step up at Seven to take on the roles of head of production and head of programming respectively after Tim Worner was appointed CEO of the network at the end of 2012. Worner’s role is effectively split in two with Lyons and Ross focusing on their areas of speciality.


Kevin Rudd’s resignation as foreign minister prompts Ten to bring forward the debut of its new breakfast program, Breakfast. The premiere is watched by few and Oztam figures report that no-one tuned in at all in Melbourne during a 15-minute segment of the show. In just a couple of months, Breakfast loses its executive producer, one of its hosts and has gained a small number of viewers delivering 50,000 at best, a stark comparison to Today and Sunrise which generally battle it out around 300,000 to 400,000.


In March, a trailer for a TV series called The Shire leaks online. Ten confirms the dramality will air later in the year and negative press around the show means the premiere is hotly anticipated. Although it debuts with 941,000 viewers in July, it finishes the series with barely 200,000 viewers two months later.


Foxtel’s Brian Walsh

Foxtel’s director of television Brian Walsh tells Encore in March that the subscription network has commissioned a re-imagining of 1970s series Prisoner but it will not be until November that the cast is announced and production commences in Melbourne.


In April, Nine’s singing show The Voice makes its debut smashing ratings predictions with a peak audience of 2.9m viewers. The show continues to rate well above the 2m mark throughout the series guaranteeing a return in 2013 although a new line-up of judges is expected after the departure of Keith Urban to American Idol.


Nine finds itself in the middle of a media shit-storm over its Olympics coverage as viewers turn to Facebook to vent their frustrations as coverage focuses purely on events Australians are competing in with a schedule heavy on swimming.


Ten’s post Olympic line-up falls to pieces when their new ‘shiny floor’ format Everybody Dance Now is boned after failing to draw an audience in August. It is on the air for only two weeks.


After 16 years at Ten, chief programming officer David Mott leaves the network. Rumours abound as to his replacement. Beverley McGarvey steps in as acting chief programming officer before being permanently appointed to the role in October.


Big Brother returns to Australian television after a four year hiatus. The premiere draws an audience of 1.6m. The finale in November, when winner Benjamin Norris scores $250,000, manages to draw an audience of 1.47m viewers. It is expected to return to Nine in 2013.


In July, SBS announces its first drama commission in three years. Better Man, starring Bryan Brown, Claudia Karvan and David Wenham, tells the story of convicted drug trafficker Van Nguyen, who was executed in Singapore in 2005.


In October, a disappointing set of full financial year results for Ten sees them ask for voluntary redundancies while Nine narrowly avoids receivership when an 11th-hour deal is struck to save the debt-riddled company.


Nine’s Tom Malone

Tom Malone, executive producer of Nine’s Today show, moves to Sixty Minutes. He is replaced by outgoing editor of Sydney’s The Sunday Telegraph, Neil Breen.

Shine CEO Carl Fennessy returns to Australia after a stint at the company’s US headquarters. MD Matt Campbell is laid off to make way for his return.


Seven axes Australia’s Got Talent. Nine snaps up the format which it is expected to air in 2013.


In November, Ten axes Breakfast. The final episode airs on November 30.

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Australian Financial Review gives digital content away for free in summer subscription drive

Fairfax newspaper The Australian Financial Review has taken down its paywall to entice new digital subscribers in a summer promotion sponsored by Westpac.

Readers new to the Fin will get free access to afr.com and the Fin’s iPad app from 20 December through to 31 January. The offer excludes charges for the Financial Review company ASIC search.

The ‘Summer Financial Review’ promo comes about a year after the AFR cut the price of its online subscription. Read more »

AAMI unveils Rhonda and Ketut romance remix

Rhonda and Ketut in remixed video

The stars of the Rhonda safe driver campaign by insurer AAMI have appeared in a remixed version of its hugely popular commercials starring actress Mandy McElhinney and Melbourne forklift driver Kadek Mahardika.

A minute-and-a-half music video devoted to the Balinese romance between Rhonda and Ketut was uploaded to AAMI’s YouTube channel today. It will also run on AAMI’s Facebook page, but not on television. Read more »

Alan Jones boycott tops Change.org list of ten most signed petitions

Alan Jones

Online petition group Change.org has released a list of its ten most popular petitions this year – with a campaign to pressure advertisers to boycott the radio show of shock jock Alan Jones topping the lot.

Jones’ station 2GB came under fire after the controversial host said in a speech that the PM’s father had “died of shame”. The Macquarie Radio Network station pulled ads after public pressure from groups including Change.org.

Media-related petitions made up three of the top ten. Campaigns to stop Cleo Magazine airbrushing young girls and a Facebook page of racist Aboriginal memes also featured.

The list in full: Read more »

Top screening rooms

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we look at the top screening rooms around the country.

1. Sony Theatrette, Sydney

A discreet rear door at Sony’s Sydney theatrette allows for an easy escape during terrible films, but coming out of the dark room of the Market Street venue, the city skyline is the first thing to hit you. One film reviewer suggested the backdrop of ABC’s At The Movies is based on the view.

2. Mu-Meson Archives, Sydney

The property of Sydney cult film enthusiasts Jay Katz and Ms Dead, the Mu-Meson Archives are as much a film museum as a cinema with film canisters and paraphernalia piled high. Directors often choose to view their rushes here and the theatre is available for private screenings.

3. Adelaide Studios Screening Theatre

As part of the new Adelaide Studios complex, the screening room seats 96 and is fully equipped with Dolby surround sound. It’s available for both rushes screenings and smaller guest screenings.

4. Universal Pictures, The Rocks

Adelaide Studios Screening Room

The screening room at Universal Pictures in Millers Point is located in an old sandstone building. It’s ideal for private screenings with a bar and plenty of room to mingle just outside the theatre door. It’s also used by Sydney-based advertising agencies.

5. La Premiere, Sydney

Hoyts Show Business has various screening options with La Premiere perfect for private screenings or campaign launches.

6. The Tribal Theatre, George St, Brisbane

Available for hire, The Tribal Theatre has one cinema running 35mm, with another fully digital. The cinema was previously owned by Dendy and the decor is best described as ornate. The venue is also open to the public and specialises in arthouse, cult and Australian films.

7. Cinema Nova, Melbourne

Favoured for small event screenings and film festivals including the Melbourne International Film Festival, Cinema Nova is an important part of Melbourne’s film scene.

Read more »

Snowtown producers’ new film accepted to Sundance

The producers of Australian film Snowtown have had their next film accepted into Sundance Film Festival.

Produced by Warp Films Australia’s Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw, Shopping is written and directed by New Zealand film-makers Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland. Read more »

Global Mail restructures Australian team and axes overseas journalists

global mail logoPrivately-funded online news site The Global Mail has made its overseas correspondents redundant and axed staff in its Australian office, according to reports.

story in The Australian claims a source said the company had let four local staff go on Friday.

The overseas correspondents, based in New York, the Middle East and Latin America, were informed three weeks ago their roles would cease to exist according to the Middle East correspondent Jess Hill, who announced her redundancy on Twitter today. Read more »

The biggest TV flops of 2012

In this roundup from the Encore and Mumbrella Annual, we present the year’s biggest TV flops.

1. Everybody Dance Now

Rumoured to have cost in excess of $10m, Everybody Dance Now was the biggest flop of 2012. From host Sarah Murdoch’s stiff delivery to the flawed format, the show was a write off from episode one. Ten were keen to turn it around, shortening the episodes and rejigging the show’s structure, but not even Murdoch’s pleas on Twitter to get the public to give it another shot were enough to save this disaster.

2. Bikie Wars

From the producers of Underbelly, Bikie Wars should have delivered. Instead it gave us bad wigs, bad acting and was a poor man’s Sons of Anarchy. Read more »

Screen Australia’s drama fund runs dry

SA: “It is very unfortunate that we are in this position.”

Screen Australia will not fund another drama production until mid-2013 due to a lack of funds.

The national screen agency has announced it has spent its budget for both film and TV drama production for the financial year.

The agency said: Read more »

Quit Victoria targets smokers who disguise gory health warnings on new cigarette packets

Anti-smoking group Quit Victoria has launched a campaign to challenge smokers who cover up the graphic new health warnings on cigarette packets.

The ‘No more hiding’ campaign – which centres on the website NoMoreHiding.com.au – depicts the various ways smokers try to avoid looking at the gory images on the new plain packaged cigarette packets. These tricks were sourced from comments made by smokers in social media. Read more »

Nuns turn to advertising for ‘Heavenly care’ Monastique cosmetics range

An order of nuns in Melbourne has turned to advertising for the first time.

The Carmelite Monastery in Kew has launched a campaign for Monastique, a skincare and fragrance range made by the Sisters themselves.

The campaign, created by over-fifties specialist Evergreen pro bono, carries the line ‘Heavenly Care For Your Skin’. Read more »

Mosquitos waltz to their death in ad for Gecko

A cloud of mosquitos flies in harmony into an insect-killing device to the tune of Johann Strauss’s The Blue Danube in a new campaign for Mayo Hardware’s Gecko brand.

The agency behind the campaign was Rouse Hill-based Xavier Advertising.

Mayo marketing manger John Thomas said: “We were looking for an agency that could turn around cut through creative in a hurry, off a solid strategic base. Xavier filled the bill perfectly.”

Read more »

The Rocket and Satellite Boy accepted to Berlin International Film Festival

Satellite Boy accepted to Berlin film fest

Two Australian films – The Rocket and Satellite Boy – have been selected to the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival.

Having its world premiere and nominated for the festival’s Best First Feature Award, The Rocket is written and directed by Kim Mordaunt.

It follows the story of a Lao boy thought to bring bad luck, who must lead his family through his war-torn country to the dangerous Rocket Festival. Read more »

Melbourne designer wins Kevin Rudd election T-shirt contest

A designer from Melbourne has won a competition to create the official election t-shirt for Kevin Rudd.

Melbourne-based Shane Marchewka, who designs under the pseudonym Studio 71 won the $1000-prized contest.

The winning design carries the slogan ‘It’s Our Ruddy Future” and will be worn by the former PM and his supporters during Rudd’s re-election campaign for his local seat. Read more »

Henry & Aaron create branded short film for Rottofest

Comedic duo Henry Inglis and Aaron McCann have produced a branded entertainment piece promoting West Australian comedy, music and arts festival Rottofest.

The Perth-based pair behind February’s It’s A Snap! viral for Perth’s Central Institute of Technology produced the eight and half minute online video from this year’s festival, held on Rottnest Island. Read more »

News Limited revenues fall 11%

Media giant News Limited has posted a $476.7m loss for the financial year.

Revenue at the publisher of The Australian, Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph fell by 11% – down from $2.9bn to $2.6bn for the financial year ending June 30, according to accounts filed with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.

Staff numbers are also down, from 9,849 for the 2011 financial year to 9,543 this year – a drop of about 3% Read more »

Three Aussies – Paul and Ben China and Natasha Pincus – make Hollywood list of top unmade scripts

Two Australian-based brothers have had their script acknowledged on Hollywood’s Blacklist, an annual list of the top scripts circulating Hollywood.

The film, Sweet Virginia, written by twins Paul and Ben China, received 26 mentions on the list.

The Black List is compiled by film executive Franklin Leonard and made up of suggestions from over 290 film executives putting forward their top 10 films. Any film that received more than six mentions was included on the list. Read more »

ZO launches standardised Facebook reporting

Zenith Optimedia has launched a monthly report aiming to standardise Facebook metrics.

The report is pulled from a new platform built by the media agency globally in partnership with Facebook, and uses the social network’s own API. Zenith Optimedia is the only media agency to currently have access to Facebook’s API.

The repost classifies over 400 Australian Facebook pages, dividing them into 18 sectors. Read more »

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