You might not be aware of this, but the country has been going through a bit of a heatwave lately. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know - everyone’s been pretty quiet about it. I didn’t even realise myself until I opened a window the other day and felt a burst of unusually warm air. “Why has nobody mentioned this?’’ I thought.
Obviously, I’m joking. For the past week you haven’t been able to turn on a TV or radio without hearing about how it’s hot, it’s really hot, it’s probably going to get hotter and then it’s going to keep being hot for a while. And also that it’s hot.
It’s a talking point, I agree. Nothing stimulates conversation between strangers like a string of days over 35, particularly when those strangers are stuck on an overheating bus. A heatwave brings us all together (which is a bit unfortunate because everyone is sweaty and sticky and we should probably be getting as far apart as possible, and then having cold showers), and a ``mega heatwave’‘, like the one the nation is currently experiencing, is even more unifying.
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Ant Sharwood says: Karl strikes the right chord
Mornings are busy at my place. Brekky, early Punch work with the laptop, school lunches to make, whingey kids, the double dropoff, you name it. As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of time for brekky telly. In fact, it’s banned.
So obviously, I’m hardly the best person to judge Karl Stefanovic. I don’t think I’ve ever actually watched more than five minutes of Today. But just as most people judge politicians on fleeting impressions, Karl has always impressed me when he’s flickered across my radar.
I like Karl. He’s homey without being dumb. He’s intelligent without being a know-it-all. Tough balance to strike, that.
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It’ll be Moet & Chandon all round at AFL House tonight. In a deal which consolidates its position as Australia’s premier winter sporting code, the AFL has just announced a $1.253 billion dollar TV rights deal from 2012 to 2016. It’s far and away the largest sport rights deal in Australian history.
The five year deal will see Channel Seven televise four games per week. Seven will also retain exclusive rights to the AFL grand final, and pre-season Cup grand final, while Fox Sports will screen all eight weekly games live, including the games shown on Seven.
This is a major return to AFL for the pay TV broadcaster, which has also grabbed the high-rating Brownlow medal night coverage from Seven. Fox will also revive a dedicated AFL channel. Its last such channel, the Fox Footy Channel, turned its toes up after the 2006 grand final.
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As Season 5 of Mad Men approaches with the promise of more excoriating social commentary, it’s fitting to reflect on the media, gender roles and misogyny. Especially when we have Sky Sports (UK) commentators making sexist gaffes about female referees. But good thing those mad men, Andy Gray and Richard Keys did, or else we wouldn’t know we were still living in the decade of Don Drapers.
If you’re unfamiliar, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is the central character of Mad Men – a series about Madison Avenue’s elite 1960s admen. Draper, creative director of fictional Ad agency Sterling Cooper, is a figure of philandering, pinstriped machismo. In short, he is at the heart of the Mad Men phenomenon.
The title of a recent op-ed by magazine jezebel.com said it all: ‘The Don Draper Effect: Why Do Feminists Still Love Assholes?’ The operative word, some might argue, is still.
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Well it looks like Katy Perry – pop chanteuse, novelty wig wearer, man-tamer and controversy stoker – has done it again.
Entertainment news site TMZ reported yesterday that Sesame Street producers had pulled her recently filmed duet with Elmo. The charge? It’s too boobtastic.
In March, Perry filmed an ostensibly kid-friendly version of her hit song “Hot N Cold” with Elmo for the show’s upcoming season, to teach young viewers about opposites. Namely, up/down, fast/slow, stop/go, yes/no, human/muppet.
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If alien life tuned into Australian news and TV broadcasts, they may wonder why immigration is an issue for any Australian political leader. They would certainly wonder where all these immigrants are, such is the gap in Australian television between the nation we live in day by day and the Australia broadcast on our allegedly diverse TV channels.
TV news audiences are steadily falling and audiences are moving towards online news providers. Against this trend it seems our news networks’ idea of competition (regarding selection of news presenters) is to retreat into a view of Australia as it was circa 1980. Amongst the 25 National News anchors across the 5 major networks, SBS accounts for 4 out of 6 prominent multicultural presenters, the others being ABC’s Jeremy Fernandez and Juanita Philips.
The three commercial free-to-air networks – Seven, Nine and Ten – account for almost 70% of the national news viewers, according to Throng Media. While there are a few reporters (including Nine’s Tracy Vo) on the front line, most living in major cities would largely agree that the face of Australian news doesn’t map the diversity we encounter at our offices, cafés and restaurants, parks and cultural events.
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US cable network HBO has never been one to shy away from the profane; dramas like Rome and True Blood have featured almost-weekly screenings of sex and nudity throughout their respective seasons; but with Hung, HBO might well have jumped the shark.
Sex and nudity on TV is all well and good but do we really need a show that revolves around the size of a character’s member? The premise behind Showtime’s Californication is flimsy enough – a sex addict has sex with lots of women – but Hung takes lowbrow television to an all-time low.
What I wouldn’t give to have been a fly on the wall when Hung’s creators, Dmitry Lipkin and Colette Burson, met with HBO to pitch the show;
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In The Wizard of Oz, the Great and Mighty Wizard is exposed as a fraud when Dorothy and Toto discover him hiding behind a curtain frantically manipulating levers and pulleys. That moment reminds me of making television. What viewers see on the screen is only a fraction of what’s really happening behind the scenes.
A few times, I’ve considered using this blog as a way of being more transparent about my own TV reporting. A recent Lateline interview with the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has given me a good place to start: the compromises involved with celebrity interviewing.
Major stars usually only grant interviews when they have something to spruik, such as a new book or project. But often what they want to sell has little to do with what the interviewer would really like to ask about. Both sides have to make compromises, although on air, it’s meant to look like a spontaneous conversation that’s engaging both parties.
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Forget Hank Williams singing Move It On Over in 1947. And that ground- breaking 1939 boogie tune, Rockin’ Rollin’ Mama by Buddy Jones doesn’t get a look in. We can also forget Ohio disc jockey Alan Freed who is credited with first talking about rock and roll music in 1951.
A controversial take on just when rock music was born is the basis of an equally controversial BBC program being shown on ABC television, The Seven Ages of Rock.
The series producer William Naylor reckons the program has finally nailed the previously unspoken truth that rock was born when Jimi Hendrix first performed in London on September 24, 1966.
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Only the other night gazing out at the opera house from Quay restaurant in Sydney I had the good fortune to sit at dinner with the new, improved, much, much larger than life Matt Preston. Not only was I subject to his advice on all things Myf Warhurst, his pony skin R.M. Williams boots and dressing-up box chic but his stagey sexy looks.
The look that stuck in my mind is when his sultry eyes gaze towards what should be a camera and while he sucked A-list chocolate off his index finger. What I can only imagine is a lot of practice in the mirror had paid off. Although I can’t say the earth moved for me, Matt later may have retired for a cigarette.
And it made me realise how we got to this point that food isn’t food on TV without some sort of sexual imagery. Two decades (and more) ago food writing and TV was left to the stuffy, recipe writers and cookbook authors, dry enough to pucker the mouth up like a plain Carrs Water biscuit.
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MasterChef has a lot to answer for, and not just because my work colleagues have been spending their weekends at home teaching their 10-year-olds how to make croquembouche.
And it’s not over yet. The MasterChef season two cattle-call is closing this week, so it’s only a matter of time before it all starts again.
Now, while I missed out on watching the first season of MasterChef (it’s a long story) what I did watch was the rest of Australia watching MasterChef. And you all went a little crazy.
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JUST because she bragged about having sex with a lot of rugby players doesn’t mean, under it all, she wasn’t traumatised.
Sure, it kicks on the story a bit by playing to a view which doubtless many believe - that the woman enjoyed the whole sordid incident.
Nine tracked down someone in New Zealand to have a go at the woman who told her heart-wrenching story to Four Corners. It ran on the 6pm news last night and this morning was the lead story on Australia’s biggest news website, ninemsn.
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