Stoned again

Fox has commissioned another Romancing The Stone film. Somehow I think Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner won't be returning in the lead roles.

Unfortunate error

That's the only way you could describe this photo and caption from the Daily Mail website.

Alive and kicking

Patrick Swayze is rightly annoyed about media reports concerning his health. Here's what he says:

"They're reporting that I'm on my last legs and saying goodbye to my tearful family! ... It's upsetting that the shoddy and reckless reporting from these publications cast a negative shadow on the positive and good fight I'm fighting."

The big question is: Even if the reporters and editors involved believed it to be true that he was dying imminently, should they have published it?

Roy and HG join Triple M

I thought they'd never do it, but Greig Pickhaver and John Doyle (aka HG Nelson and Rampaging Roy Slaven) have moved to commercial radio! The Triple J stalwarts will host the Triple M east coast 4-7pm drive shift on Mondays and Fridays only from January 12. Austereo content director Guy Dobson says in a media release:

"Roy and HG are Aussie icons and we've been trying to get them on board at Triple M for years. Finally, over a slap up Chinese lunch they agreed! Drive has become increasingly competitive and it is important for Triple M to stand out from the rest next year so we've created a line up that is different to everything else. The details of our Tuesday to Thursday Drive shift and the completed Triple M line up will be announced in coming days. Triple M is set for a great year."

Ratings: Dick's revenge?

4BC's breakfast show has surged 3.8 percentage points to take second place in the eight and final 2008 radio ratings survey - a fitting finale for veteran early morning man Peter Dick (pictured), who will retreat to the afternoon shift to make way for Jamie Dunn next year. In fact, BC made good gains across the board - arguably in part due to the publicity it received in the aftermath of the Dunn appointment. (Maybe long-term listeners remembered to mark it in their survey diaries this time around.) Nova 106.9 still leads overall and in breakfast, where it is followed by BC, 612 ABC Triple M, B105, 97.3FM (just a non-significant whisker behind) and then daylight before 4BH and 4KQ. B105's overall result was helped by Hamish and Andy's massive 22.7 share in the drive session (which help-ed lift the station's average). Overall, the leader board goes: Nova, B105, Triple M, 97.3FM (again only 0.1 point behind), 4BC, 612ABC, 4BH and 4KQ (which had a shocker). In Sydney, 2GB, 702ABC, 2Day and Nova are at the top; Mix 106.5 made a small gains, but Triple M's now-disbanded Shebang breakfast team tanked even further in its dying days. In Melbourne, 3AW, 774ABC and Fox FM are fighting it out. Stay tuned for an analysis of the year in radio, and some bold/foolish predictions for 2009.
PS: See disclosures.

Give Nicole a go

I happen to think that Nicole Kidman is overrated. But then, just about everybody in Hollywood is. I haven't seen Baz Luhrmann's Australia, but some friends have, and their verdict is that it's not as bad as many of the critics are saying. That's the problem with some critics: a film (or play or other work of art) that doesn't push their buttons suddenly descends from being average to awful, and the tale gets worse in the writing of the review. It's more fun to do a demolition job than to be fair and balanced. Enter the voice of reason, the Courier-Mail's Des Partridge, who diagnoses a case of Tall Poppy Syndrome and writes, in part:

You don't have to love her, but you don't have to hate her, either. And it's not compulsory to buy a ticket to Australia. But you'll be missing a very entertaining movie if you decide not to go.

I don't think I will be going to see it - the 2 hour 45 minute running time's a big turn off for me. But if I do go and I don't like the film, I won't be making a personal attack on Kidman.

Successful series

British TV series The Thick of It is getting good reviews in Australia (e.g. here). The good news for fans is that there will be a film version, and another series, but without Chris Langham, who spent some time in jail after the original series was filmed for possessing child p-rnography. It all came a shock to me, because Langham was the first celebrity I ever interviewed - way back when I was a uni student and he was a star of Not the Nine O'Clock News, a writer for The Muppet Show and one of the giggling guards in Monty Python's Life of Brian.

Another Extra helping

Confirmation that Extra will be returning to Brisbane TV screens in 2009 is contained in a Channel 9 media release that also announces that the station won the year in south-east Queensland. It quote station managing director Les Hart as saying:

"In 2009 we will be working to consolidate these results through the production of local programs Extra and Gold Coast News ..."

According to the release, Nine won SEQ in its 25-54 target demographic, as well as in the 18-29 demographic, and among all people. Nationally, it is also doing well among the "advertiser preferred" 25-54 age group.
PS: Seven still won the overall ratings nationally. There's a good summation of it all here.

Australia no earth-shaker

On July 26, I wrote on this blog:

... as I've said before, I doubt Australia, for all its hype, will be a global smash. It's bound to do well in Australia, but it would need significant international success to make back its budget and then some.

Now comes the news that the film has failed to set the US box office on fire. It made just US$3.4 million on its first day. It could still rally, but that's not a good sign.
PS: At the time of writing, Box Office Mojo says Australia has made US$10,935,000. The Reese Witherspoon film Four Christmases, released on the same day, is at US$28,230,000.

Media movements

Karl Stefanovic and Leila McKinnon have reportedly recorded a pilot for a new 5.30pm show for the Nine network. If it goes ahead, will it be screened at 5pm in Brisbane, or is Extra finally in for the chop? Meanwhile, Emily Jade O'Keeffe is said (by her colleagues at couriermail.com.au, where O'Keeffe has a blog) to be one of 10 women in the running for Sami Lukis's job at Brisbane's Triple M. As I've said before, Triple M will want to choose carefully because breakfast radio will be a whole new ballgame next year. It would be a shame for the station to squander the ratings gains it has made in recent surveys by choosing the wrong person.
Update: The Sunday reports that Heather Foord may host Extra next year. Interestingly, Nine news boss Lee Anderson doesn't commit to anything in the story. In fact, he doesn't even say that Extra will be returning next year.

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