A+E Networks UK Orders British Version Of ‘Dance Moms’
The UK is getting the first format adaptation of Lifetime’s U.S. reality series Dance Moms. A+E Networks UK has ordered a British version the show, to be titled Dance Mums. Shiver, part of ITV Studios, will produce eight hourlong episodes of the show, which will be fronted by actress and dance Jennifer Ellison, whose Liverpool dance school Fame Academy provides the setting. Dance Mums is due to air this year.
Network Ten Bringing Fake Prince Harry Reality Show To Australia
Network Ten has acquired Shine International’s upcoming reality series I Wanna Marry ‘Harry’ for Australia. Co-produced by Zig Zag Productions and Ryan Seacrest Productions, the eight-episode series features 12 women competing for their chance to marry “Prince Harry”, while living at an English estate. But there is a catch: It’s not actually Prince Harry but imposter Matthew Hicks. Marry ‘Harry’, executive produced by Danny Fenton, Kevin Utton, Matt Gould, Ryan Seacrest, Adam Sher, Heather Schuster, David Tibballs and Rebecca Eisen, will have its global premiere May 27 on Fox. Read More »
UK, Australia Won’t Wait Long For Season 3 Of ‘Homeland’
The UK’s Channel 4 has set an October 6 start for Season 3 of Homeland. The show airs at 9 PM and will get to Britain one week after its U.S. debut on Showtime on September 29. Meanwhile, folks in Australia will get to stream the first episode online while it’s airing in the States. Oz newspaper The Age says that Network Ten is using the stunt to launch its new streaming platform, tenplay. Ten will stream the episode from 2.15 PM Sydney time on Monday, September 30, to any internet user in Australia. That’s 9:15 PM Sunday night in LA, so the show will be on a 15-minute delay. So far the experiment only covers the first episode with the broadcaster waiting to gauge response before making plans for further first-run streaming. The regular season is planned for 8:30 PM Mondays.
Travel Channel Orders ‘Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Express’
Travel Channel has commissioned new six-part series, Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Express. The cooking show will follow Phang as he journeys on some of the world’s most iconic trains, including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Eastern & Orient Express, for a series of culinary adventures. Each episode will feature stops along the route to explore different foods and cultures. The series premieres in February and rolls out on Food Network in various markets later in the year. Transparent Television produces. Read More »
Phone-Hacking Allegations Hit Mirror Newspapers
Until yesterday, phone-hacking claims had been limited to papers owned by News Corp.’s UK press arm. Now, Britain’s Mirror Group Newspapers may be brought into the scandal as four individuals line up cases against its titles. Among those seeking damages are former manager of the English soccer team, Sven Goran Eriksson; a former nanny to David Beckham’s children and a TV soap actress. Eriksson’s claims against the Daily Mirror are believed to stem from a period when CNN host Piers Morgan was editor. Morgan gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into UK media ethics late last year at which time he said he had no knowledge or reason to believe there was any phone hacking at the paper during his tenure. The claims against Mirror papers allege “breach of confidence and misuse of private information,” in relation to the “interception and/or misuse of mobile phone voicemail messages and/or the interception of telephone accounts.” The attorney for the claimants, Mark Lewis, said no particulars had been filed, but that relevant dates relating to alleged activity were submitted to the court, The Guardian reports. A spokesman for MGN parent, Trinity Mirror, said: “We have no comment. We are unaware action has been taken at the High Court.”
Downton Abbey Hits New Season High In UK Overnights, Debuts In NZ
Downton Abbey was up again Sunday night on the UK’s ITV. The sixth episode of Season 3 hit an overnight ratings high of 9.69M viewers during the 9pm hour. That score, a 36.6% share, beat the season’s previous top performer which drew 9.66M viewers in the overnights on Oct. 1. Factoring in Sunday’s delayed viewings, Downton drew just over 10M viewers. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, season 3 of the show kicked off this weekend on free-to-air web Prime drawing top ratings with just over 350K viewers. Read More »
New Top Programmer At Australia’s Ten
Beverley McGarvey starts tomorrow in perhaps the most challenging job in Australian commercial broadcasting: chief programming officer at Network Ten, the network languishing in third place in the ratings behind Seven and Nine. A six-year Ten veteran, McGarvey had been acting in that role since August 24 following the ousting of the respected and long-serving David Mott. Last week Ten reported a net loss of $A12.9 million ($13.3 million) in the year to August 31 and embarked on another round of cost-cutting, with plans to shed more than 100 jobs in the news and production departments. Before joining Ten as network head of programming in 2006, McGarvey served as director of programming for New Zealand’s TV3. Previously she was head of program scheduling and promotions at Ireland’s TV3. –Don Groves
With an eye toward boosting overall subscription revenue Sky Deutschland is betting that its growing customer base will accept higher rates and fewer discounts. The German pay-TV provider half owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp this month raised premium packages by €1 ($1.31) monthly for the first time in nearly 2 years. CFO Steven Tomsic said he eventually hopes the market will accept further increases in the current €32 ($41.92) average monthly bill of as much as €5 to €10 ($6.55 to $13.10). Unlike European peers such as British Sky Broadcasting Group, also partly owned by News Corp, Sky Deutschland hasn’t raised prices regularly. Tomsic believes subscribers will be attached enough to the service to accept the increases. Bloomberg noted that Sky Deutschland stock is up 133% this year. CEO Brian Sullivan hopes the company will be able to reach its target for operating profit in 2013, which would be its first since News Corp began investing 5 years ago.
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UK Phone-Hacking Could Haunt Murdochs For Three More Years
Rupert Murdoch could be 84 years old before the British police complete multiple investigations into The News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers, who’s in charge of three overlapping probes into alleged criminal wrongdoing by journalists, said the task may continue through 2015, according to the Guardian. Akers, who is retiring in October, told a Commons home affairs select committee that “resources have been factored in for the next three years.” She said the force had identified more than 4,700 potential phone-hacking victims and found 1,069 were likely to have had their voicemail messages intercepted. So far 79 people have been arrested including former News International legal adviser Tom Crone, former chief executive Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charlie and Prime Minister David Cameron’s former spin doctor Andy Coulson. Akers said the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service would consider the likelihood of further criminal prosecutions, adding, “We are now prioritising getting cases through court.” Scotland Yard still has 185 officers working on the investigations.
Network Ten Shares Slide To Record Low
Australia’s Network Ten board members Lachlan Murdoch (chairman), Gina Rinehart and Jack Cowin seem powerless to stop a steep slide in the company’s fortunes. The share price hit a record low of 37.5 cents today, down from 80 cents in March, and broker Commonwealth Bank Global Markets Research forecasts it will sink as as low as 30 cents. Ten’sratings have taken a hit from the failures of three Australian shows launched after the London Olympics, Everybody Dance Now, I Will Survive and Don’t Tell the Bride, which resulted in the exit of chief programmer David Mott. The only new show that has any traction is Puberty Blues, a drama inspired by Bruce Beresford’s 1981 feature. The ratings of Ten’s main channel have declined by 5% this year while Nine is up by 5.3% and Seven is off by 0.3%. The broker said Ten is “working hard to reposition itself and build out a new programming lineup, however we see continued ratings/revenue share risk given the large number of hours that need to be replaced and expect the TV ad market to remain challenging.” - Don Groves
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Network Ten Cancels ‘Everybody Dance Now’
Australia’s Network Ten has axed Everybody Dance Now, a reality dance show hosted by Sarah Murdoch, the wife of Ten chairman Lachlan Murdoch. The network pulled the plug on the show produced by FremantleMedia after airing just three episodes. The premiere, which featured U.S. “dance masters” Kelly Rowland and Jason Derulo, garnered just 598,000 viewers, which plummeted to 304,000 for the second episode. The winning team was to have received $A250,000 ($262,000). “We are trying new formats … Unfortunately, we didn’t get the Everybody Dance Now format right,” said Ten CEO James Warburton. - Don Groves
Viacom’s Bakori Davis Named A+E Networks UK VP Commercial Ops
A+E Networks UK, a joint venture between A+E Networks and BSkyB, has appointed Bakori Davis as VP of commercial operations. Davis is a Viacom Media Networks veteran who will be responsible for all linear and non-linear channel distribution within the UK, Ireland, Central and Eastern Europe, the Nordic region, Benelux, Iceland, Greece, Africa and the Middle East. He will focus on driving growth in A+E Networks UK’s channel portfolio including History, Crime & Investigation Network, Bio and Military History.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
If Lachlan Murdoch harbors hopes of a return to a senior executive role at News Corp, his stewardship of Australia’s Network Ten may not be helping his cause. The half-year ratings released Monday show the combined audience shares for Ten’s three networks — flagship Ten and digital channels One and Eleven — fell to 19.9%, down from 21.9% in first-half 2011 and deeper into third place in the market behind leader Seven (30.4%) and Nine (27.9%). Since Rupert Murdoch‘s scion took the reins of the network in late 2010 (initially as interim chief executive, then as executive chairman), the value of his 9% stake acquired for $A128 million has plummeted by 47%. And that was before he coughed up a further $35.7 million in June when Ten raised $200 million by issuing new shares.
Related: It’s “Highly Unlikely” Lachlan Murdoch Will Run News Corp Publishing, Rupert Says
When News Corp splits into separate entertainment and publishing companies next year, one Australian media analyst expects Lachlan to take a seat on the board of the publishing unit, which will include News’ stakes in dominant Australian pay-TV platform Foxtel, Fox Sports and realestate.com.au. The analyst, who asked not to be identified, said, “I think Rupert will want Lachlan to be his eyes and ears on the ground here. Lachlan is a director of News Corp but apart from his time as acting CEO of Ten he has operated more at board level.” Another analyst also doubts Lachlan plans to return to the News Corp executive fold, suggesting his first priority is to “rejuvenate” Ten. Given his investments in Ten, the DMG Australia radio network and Funtastic Australia (a distributor of toys, sporting and confectionery products), it’s difficult to see how he could juggle that and an operational role at News. Also, Lachlan, who is 40, and his family are happily ensconced in Sydney, which probably rules out any move to New York for the foreseeable future.
Related: News Corp Scandal One Year Later: Where Does The Publishing Arm Go From Here? Read More »
Freelance journalist Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
In a sign of the malaise affecting the Australian free-to-air TV broadcasters, Network Ten is raising $A200 million in a share offer to invest in new Australian programming and strengthen its balance sheet. The company headed by executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch has been hit by a sharp downturn in ratings and advertising revenue. That’s due in part to the soaring popularity of rival Nine Network’s local version of The Voice, and amid a sluggish economy and consumers’ fears about the impact of the European financial crisis. Ten said TV revenue for the nine months ending in May was down 12% year-over-year and advertising markets “continue to be soft with very little near-term visibility on revenue for July and August.” Murdoch, who with James Packer, former Paramount International TV president Bruce Gordon and mining tycoon Gina Rinehart own 43% of Ten’s shares, said the network is due to repay $US125 million in debt in March 2013. Revenue for Australia’s free-to-air broadcasters fell by 4.4% to $2.06 billion in the last half of 2011, and analysts say the overall market is down by 2%-3% so far this year.