Tuesday, February 08, 2011

But Now I See With My Own Two Eyes The Problem Was All Right Down To You

Keith Lemon will guest edit the Valentine's Day edition of ITV's daytime show This Morning, it has been announced. The character, played by Leigh Francis, will take over the duties from current editor Adam Vandermark. The role will see Lemon choosing guests, news items and taking charge of the show's running order for the 14 February edition. 'Keith was hugely popular with viewers when we gave him his agony uncle slot and has become a firm part of the This Morning family,' Vandermark said. 'I thought it would be a fun idea to go one step further and give him the whole show! Keith has what you could say is an interesting take on life, so who knows what guests he will choose, or how the fashion or cookery will be produced. Expect the unexpected. I'll be around only to make sure we stay on air!' Meanwhile, someone described as 'a show insider' reportedly commented: 'Keith is full of ideas of what he wants to do that day and is keen to get some of his favourite celebrity guests on that he can banter with. The studio crew are preparing themselves for his guidance and even Phil and Holly are currently wondering what he'll dress them in let alone what he'll get them doing. It'll certainly be a show you wouldn't want to miss.'

Sunday's Super Bowl broke the record for the biggest US television audience for a single broadcast. The Green Bay Packers' victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers was watched by one hundred and eleven million viewers topping, if you will, the 2010 figures by nearly five million. Broadcaster FOX said that it was also the most-watched night on any network in at least twenty years. An episode of Glee which was broadcast immediately after the game drew 26.8 million viewers- a figure was more than double the popular teen drama's usual audience.

Sky is making 'excessive profits' from its Sky Movies service, the UK's competition regulator has said, hinting at potential forthcoming reform of the pay-TV films market. In a working paper published on the Competition Commission website, the watchdog reported early evidence that Sky 'appears consistently to have earned profits in aggregate in excess of its cost of capital ["excess profits"] in the recent past and over a long period.' In August last year, Ofcom asked the commission to investigate concerns about Sky's sale and distribution of subscription premium pay-TV movies. The media regulator was particularly concerned that Sky's near exclusive control over first-run movies from the six major Hollywood studios has given the firm an 'incentive and ability to distort competition.' The Competition Commission's early findings, published in a document entitled Profitability of Sky, are part of a wider regulatory review of the pay-TV market. Should the commission uphold these initial findings in its final report, Sky could be forced to reduce the wholesale price of its ten film channels to other broadcasters, as well as change the way it makes subscription video on-demand rights available. Ofcom's stance on Sky's movie rights came to light after its move last March to cut the wholesale price of Sky Sports1 and Sky Sports2 to other digital TV providers. Ofcom opted to refer the film rights investigation to the Competition Commission because it was outside of its powers. Using data from consultants Oxera, the commission found that 'Sky's profitability is not declining and the evidence we have seen suggest that its profits in the near future will increase.' The regulator added: 'Some elements of Sky's excess profits may be due to successful innovation or the weakness of its competitors. However, we would not expect such profits to persist for a significant period of time. Although Sky has taken significant risks in the past, its most risky investments were many years ago and achieved short payback periods. Therefore it appears to us that Sky's excess profits can no longer be explained by the risk of its earlier investments.' In response to the commission's initial ruling, a Sky spokesperson said: 'We stand by our record in bringing choice and innovation to UK consumers. We believe that Sky's profitability today reflects its past investments and its success in delivering highly valued products to customers. The CC's movies investigation is at a preliminary stage and we will respond to its working papers as the process continues.' A possible solution to the pay-TV movies situation would be preventing Sky from signing exclusive deals with the major studios, meaning companies like the Amazon-owned LoveFilm could benefit from getting greater access to subscription movies. However, Sky's financial muscle means the firm can pay significantly more than most other providers can afford - the firm paid three hundred and forty three million pounds to the Hollywood studios in 2008, falling to two hundred and seventy two million last year. Speaking last summer, LoveFilm group digital officer Lesley Mackenzie said that LoveFilm would be eager to secure deals with all the studios, but 'we also know that we can't afford to pay the studios what Sky is paying them.'

The lack of culture secretary, the vile and odious Hunt, is keen to interview the candidates for BBC Trust chair before making his recommendation for a replacement for Sir Michael Lyons. It is understood that two names are set to be put forward by the independent selection panel that has carried out the initial interviews, which includes former BP chief Lord Browne and ex-ITN chief executive professor Stewart Purvis. Political insiders say that the vile and odious Hunt is expecting the panel to return its verdict on which of the five-strong shortlist should be considered for the one hundred and ten thousand pounds-per-year job by the middle of the month at the very latest. It is thought he will receive the names of the recommended candidates imminently. The favoured candidates are believed to be Lord Patten, the former Conservative party cabinet member and chairman, and outgoing director general of the CBI and former Financial Times editor Sir Richard Lambert. The vile and odious Hunt has the right to interview all those 'deemed appointable' and he is expected to do so, although officially the Department for Culture, Media and Sport says that no final decision has yet been made on whether this will happen. However, the vile and odious Hunt is not expected to use his right to introduce a 'wild card' candidate into the process – there had been rumours floating around the industry of a 'candidate X' who might be introduced into the process by the lack of culture secretary. 'There has been no suggestion in the process of a desire for a radical shakeup of the trust model, it looks like a "BBC Trust-Plus" is going to emerge which means there is no particular need for using a wild card to introduce another candidate,' one 'source with knowledge of the process' told the Gruniad Morning Star. The Commons culture select committee, chaired by Tory MP John Whittingdale, will interview the candidate put forward by the vile and odious Hunt on 10 March. Whittingdale has openly said that of the two favourites he prefers Lambert and that he will give Patten, for whom he once worked, 'a hard time' if he appears before the committee. While Whittingdale cannot stop the appointment of the next BBC chair, one source warned that the vile and odious Hunt needed to move swiftly to make sure his preferred candidate is up to speed with the complexities of the corporation and the politics of the BBC before the select committee grilling. 'Although the committee doesn't have the power to block it has the power to extract promises or concessions [from the recommended candidate] if they are not on the ball,' said one source. 'Look at a complex issue such as the BBC and the regions. A wrong step and they could walk in on day one and find they have four votes against them before they even start.' The status of the hunt for a new vice chair for the BBC Trust is unclear. The DCMS interviewed candidates last year but then delayed the process when Lyons announced he would not seek a second term as chairman. It is understood that existing BBC trustee Patricia Hodgson, who is in the running for the position of chairman, was one of the leading candidates for the role at that time. One source said it seemed inconceivable that the DCMS would look to 'impose' a vice-chair on the as-yet-unnamed chairman who would undoubtedly want a say in the appointment. Assuming this is the case, the appointment of a vice-chair is likely to occur once the new chairman is in place.

Channel Four News leads the field at the 2011 Royal Television Society journalism awards, including nominations in thirteen different categories. The broadcaster's coverage of the Chilean miners rescue is shortlisted, while Dispatches investigation, Politicians For Hire, is up for 'Scoop of the Year.' Jon Snow, the Channel Four News anchor, is in the running for 'Presenter of the Year.' Speaking to journalism.co.uk, Channel Four's head of news and current affairs Dorothy Byrne said: 'It's hugely gratifying for our news and current affairs coverage to be recognised with an unprecedented number of nominations. The range and depth of our original reporting is reflected in these nominations - we're delighted to have picked up two of the three in the international reporting category, as well as 'Scoop of The Year' for Politicians for Hire.' ITN, which produces news content for Channel Four and ITV News, is up for nineteen categories in total, while the BBC and ITV have eleven nominations each. The BBC News Channel, Sky News and al-Jazeera English will all compete for the prestigious 'News Channel of the Year' award. ITV News, Five News and Channel Four News are up for 'News Programme of the Year.' Sky News has eight nominations in total, including Alex Crawford up for 'Television Journalist of the Year' for the second year running. Mark Kleinman, the Sky News business editor, is shortlisted in the specialist journalist category, but he will face competition from ITV News political editor Tom Bradby and the Channel Four News political editor, Gary Gibbon. The World Cup Twitter buzz visualisation created by US broadcaster CNN is up for the news innovation award, alongside ITV's Instant Polling service during last year's general election and the BBC News' Live page.

Sky Sports has been criticised by Ofcom for giving video games publisher Electronic Arts 'undue prominence' during a Premier League game. On 11 September last year, Sky Sports2 broadcast live coverage of Everton's clash with Manchester United, during which EA branding featured fourteen times, such as around match statistics. A complainant objected that the on-screen credits were 'irrelevant, unnecessary and blatant.' In response, Sky said that EA was an Official Sports Technology Partner to the Premier League and so the broadcaster felt that this relationship included sponsorship of all matches. Sky stressed, though, that it had no contractual deal with EA in respect to the on-screen credits. Sky said that it always retains editorial independence and merely included reference to EA any time it used technical services supplied by the Premier League. Ofcom noted that there was sometimes 'sufficient editorial justification' for broadcasters to show brief and limited credits for companies that provide statistics for sporting events, such as around lap times for athletics. However, the watchdog ruled that in this case EA was not a technical supplier of data to Sky, but instead a technology partner to the Premier League. Ofcom also judged that the fourteen appearances of the EA logo gave 'undue prominence' to the company. 'In light of the fact that EA was not a technology or technical provider of the statistical data in question, Ofcom did not accept that there was any editorial justification for Sky to elect to add the EA logo to its coverage,' said the regulator. 'Ofcom was of the view that the inclusion of the EA logo arose solely from the relevant contractual arrangements that were in place between the PL and EA and between the PL and Sky. Ofcom therefore concluded that, in the absence of any editorial justification, and in view of the inclusion of the logo arising from these contractual arrangements, the only purpose it could serve was to promote EA's name and trademark.' In October 2009, Ofcom criticised Sky Sports for breaking sponsorship rules by permitting Specsavers branding to appear on the Hawk-Eye segments in its Ashes cricket coverage.

David Hasselhoff has said that reality shows have 'ruined television.' The Britain's Got Talent and America's Got Talent judge attended a Q&A session at Oxford University on Tuesday, the Mirra reports. When asked about the direction that programming had taken since the appearance of public involvement and talent shows, Hasselhoff said that it had moved the media into an exploitative position. He explained: 'Reality television has ruined television. It is exploitation of youth.' Other subjects that were covered during the session included Hasselhoff's involvement in the fall of the Berlin Wall, which prompted the Baywatch actor to dismiss reports that he has taken credit for the historical unification of the German city as 'complete rubbish.'

Charlotte Church was 'nearly killed' after a boiler at her home began to leak, it has been reported. The singer told friends that she and her children are 'lucky to be alive' after discovering that the boiler in her £1.3 million mansion was releasing carbon monoxide into the house, claims the Sun. Church was apparently struck down with headaches for some weeks before she fitted a CO detector at the suggestion of her grandfather and soon realised the problem. 'Charlotte was terrified when she found out what had been happening,' a 'source' allegedly said. 'Charlotte is probably lucky that the house is so big and airy.' Church has two children - three-year-old Ruby and two-year-old Dexter - who are also said to have been at risk from the faulty boiler.

An adult channel in Hong Kong has revealed plans to feature a female chef cooking naked except for a transparent apron. According to AFP, host Flora Cheung will start off each thirty-minute show fully clothed in the local markets before stripping off back in her kitchen. Cheung told the China Morning Post: 'I have always liked cooking and I thought I should share [the] enjoyment with more people. Most men don't like to cook, but I want to get them interested. From shopping to cooking - it's the whole shebang.' Of the custom-made see-through apron, she added: 'It covers pretty much everything but hides nothing.' The show's producer Jesse Au said: 'This could be an endless series if it proves popular.' Hopefully, nobody will suggest that Jamie Oliver does something similar because, frankly, that just doesn't bear thinking about.

Material that is published on Twitter should be considered public and can be published, the Press Complaints Commission has ruled. The decision follows a complaint by a Department of Transport official that the use of her tweets by newspapers constituted an invasion of privacy. Sarah Baskerville complained to the PCC about articles in the Daily Scum Mail and Independent on Sunday. The messages included remarks about being hungover at work. She complained that this information was private and was only meant to be seen by her seven hundred followers. Baskerville said she had a clear disclaimer that the views expressed by her on Twitter were personal and not representative of her employer. The disclaimer currently reads: 'Scottish & Sober-ish. Civil Servant. This is my personal account, personal views. Nothing to do with my employers. What I retweet I may or may not agree with.' Baskerville complained to the press regulator, arguing that she could have 'a reasonable expectation' of privacy and that the reporting was misleading. But the PCC said the potential audience for Baskerville's tweets was much wider than her followers, because each message could be forwarded by others, known as retweeting. It also agreed with the newspapers' argument that Twitter was publicly accessible and that the complainant had not taken steps to restrict access to her messages and was not publishing material anonymously. As a result, the commission ruled that the articles did not constitute a breach of privacy. 'This is an important ruling by the commission,' said PCC director Stephen Abell. 'As more and more people make use of such social media to publish material related to their lives, the commission is increasingly being asked to make judgements about what can legitimately be described as private information. In this case, the commission decided that republication of material by national newspapers, even though it was originally intended for a smaller audience, did not constitute a privacy intrusion.'

Filming of the two Hobbit movies will finally begin in New Zealand next month, director Peter Jackson has said. 'Despite some delays we are fully back on track and very excited to get started,' he said. Problems faced by the movies included a threat by their makers to move filming after a row over actors' wages. The films, the first of which is due out in December 2012, were further delayed when Jackson was hospitalised last month because of stomach pains. Jackson, whose Lord Of The Rings trilogy was also filmed in his homeland of New Zealand, underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer and was discharged on Thursday. Warner Bros and New Line had previously considered taking the production away from New Zealand after acting unions threatened to boycott the films in protest over payments to actors. The studios agreed to film the movies in New Zealand after the government granted them tax breaks worth millions of dollars and changed employment laws. The films, which will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, were earlier stalled by problems including rows over distribution rights and the exit of original director Guillermo del Toro.

Following the last two Keith Telly Topping's 45(s) of the Day, it is necessary - for the sake of 'having the full set' if nothing else - that we complete our 'what became of the Crucial Three?' segment with a bit of The Mighty Wah! Beginning deep in The Maverick Years with two of yer man Wylie's most stunning songs, performed on Whistle Test with a trio of singing nuns on backing vocals. 'I Know There Was Something' and 'Remember'. Breathtaking. Shambeko! And then, like his former oppos Copie and Mac, Pete actually had a hit! A bloody big hit an'all. And a great one at that. Tragically, the follow up - which was even better - flopped. 'Hope' remains one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite records by anyone. 'Until you tried to tell me, it's not easy/Why didn't you make it look hard?'