12th Man enters new dimension
No chance to say good-bye ... Billy Birmingham. Photo: Adam Hollingworth
Sports satirist Billy Birmingham, best known as The 12th Man, has resigned from the Fox Sports show The Back Page. The move comes a week after host Mike Gibson stepped down from the show. According to his Twitter feed, Birmingham was unhappy with a decision by producers to demote him from his regular gig as co-host to ''part-time panellist''. ''Unlike Gibbo, I was denied the chance to say goodbye to viewers after 15 years,'' he said. Birmingham also seemed to confirm what The Guide floated last week: that journalist Tony Squires would replace Gibson. Birmingham said Matt Shirvington would be the show's new co-host. ''Many thanks to everyone for their kind words,'' he added.
ABC's new direction
The ABC's director of television, Kim Dalton, has announced he will step down from his post in February 2013. He has been in the job for seven years, and during that time overseen one of the largest cultural and technological shifts in the national broadcaster's history. He has also overseen the launch of the ABC's suite of digital channels, including ABC2, ABC3 and ABC News 24. Dalton has attracted some criticism, notably for cuts to internal production and outsourcing of programs, but the ABC has also reinvented its drama slate on his watch. ABC's managing director, Mark Scott, said a search for a replacement would begin in the new year.
Teamwork at its finest
It is not often Australia's competitive networks collaborate, but SBS, Fox Sports and the Nine Network have announced a joint program to train a cadet sports journalist from the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities. The successful applicant will work with SBS from January to April in 2013, shift to Fox Sports from May to August and then work at Nine from September to December. The sports cadet will be mentored throughout the program by NITV's executive producer for sports, former rugby player Mark Ella. Applications for the position closed on December 21, with the cadet announced early next year.
The Queen in 3D
The Queen will cap off her Jubilee year by taping her annual Christmas message in 3D. The 3D version of the broadcast will be made available to broadcasters around the world as well as the normal 2D version. To watch it, it would need to be viewed on a 3D-capable television screen, and with 3D glasses. Australians may have to overcome one additional hurdle: while it will be screened in Britain, no Australian broadcaster has yet confirmed it will take or broadcast the 3D version. Nine and the ABC are expected to air the regular 2D version of the broadcast.
Nine goes for early start
Channel Nine is planning to launch a one-hour news bulletin in the 3pm timeslot from January 7, according to a report published in The Age newspaper. Amelia Adams and Wendy Kingston have been tipped as frontrunners for the double-header hosting gigs. It would be followed by the US entertainment show Extra before another hour of news from 4.30pm. Under changes to the commercial code of practice, Nine would move its children's programming obligations off the main channel and onto a digital channel. The report said Nine was the ''first mover'' in what would become an intense fight over news audiences and competition between Channel Seven and Nine heats up in the new year.