The <i>Game of Thrones</i>?  King Joffrey.

The Game of Thrones, King Joffrey.

 

Aunty gets a foot in the door in China

Rupert Murdoch couldn't do it, and neither could Google. But Australia's national broadcaster, the ABC, and its international television service, the Australia Network, have broken into the elusive but vast Chinese television market. The ABC has hammered out a deal with Shanghai Media Group which will allow it to launch an online portal in China for Australian content. The only other two Western broadcasters in China are Britain's BBC World Service and America's CNN International.

 

Fargo thrills in small-screen debut

The new US series Fargo launched this week, drawing about 4.1 million viewers across three plays on the US cable channel FX. Those numbers, particularly a strong showing in the 18-49-year-old demographic, are a good omen for Australia's SBS One, which is launching the series in the next few weeks. Fargo also draw almost universally positive reviews from US critics, and comparisons to HBO's recent dazzler, True Detective. Fargo stars Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman and Colin Hanks.

 

The View puts the band back together

It will either be a television event like no other, or a very, very awkward reunion, but the US network ABC is planning to assemble all of the past and present hosts of its daily talk show The View on May 15 to mark the departure of the show's iconic host and producer, US journalist Barbara Walters. That's everyone - including the ones Walters had sacked, or gently moved on. ABC says Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar, Debbie Matenopoulos, Lisa Ling, Rosie O'Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck will be among the attendees.

 

Jonah goes online before series launch

The ABC and BBC will offer every episode of the new Chris Lilley series, Jonah from Tonga, on their respective streaming platforms, iView and iPlayer, before the series launch next month. All six episodes will be available over the weekend of May 2 as part of a ''not to be missed iView binge'', the ABC says. ''Chris and I will always put the fan's experience first,'' producer Laura Waters said. ''We're so excited that people can choose their own way of getting involved.'' The series will launch on May 7, and screen weekly on Wednesday nights.

 

Hill gets NatGeo gig as Lyle departs

US-based Australian television executive David Hill has been named chairman of the Fox-owned National Geographic Channels. Hill will ''provide counsel to the executive and programming leadership team''. He arrives as another US-based Australian executive steps down, former Nine Network executive David Lyle, who has served as CEO of NatGeo since 2011. ''I am exhilarated but somewhat saddened also,'' Lyle said, noting his pride in ''introducing contemporary entertainment to the [channel's] proud 125-year tradition of authenticity''.

 

Purple wedding fever

The second episode of the new season of Game of Thrones - the so-called ''purple wedding'' episode - has set a new record for illegal downloads with more than 1.5 million people downloading the episode during its first 24 hours online. At one point 193,418 people were sharing the same file - an unprecedented number in the ''BitTorrent'' world, and analytics suggest that, perhaps for obvious reasons, the second episode generated more immediate demand than the series premiere a week earlier.