Sunday, June 24, 2012

Girlfriend Rimmel Model Search; Johnny Ruffo at Parramatta Westfield, Sydney - 23rd June 2012

Johnny Ruffo at Parramatta Westfield, Sydney, Australia

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Today the Girlfriend Rimmel Model Search was held at Westfield, Parramatta, with celebs such as Johnny Ruffo and 'Young Men Society' thrown into the mix.

Sydney is the third stop in a national tour of the country, offering teen Australians a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at international stardom. The Girlfriend Rimmel Model Search stands as Australia's most esteemed modelling initiative, launching the career of some of Australia's most celebrated modelling faces including Catherine McNeil, Alyssa Sutherland, Abbey Lee, Pania Rose, Samantha Harris and Ruby Rose.

As Australia's favourite teen magazine searches the nation to uncover fresh modelling talent, all teenage girls aged 13 years and over are encouraged to attend the roadshow at Westfield Parramatta today.

The overall winner of the 2012 Girlfriend Rimmel Model Search will receive a two-year contract with Chic Management and an opportunity to meet Next Model Management in New York; an all-expenses paid trip to Sydney for the finalists' fashion shoot; an appearance in two fashion shoots for Girlfriend magazine and a one-year supply of Rimmel London products.

The 22nd annual Girlfriend Rimmel Model Search for 2012 arrives in Sydney this morning, searching for the freshest modelling talent.

News Backgrounder...

Maddison Coluccio in Girlfriend magazine model search...


Maddison Coluccio is chasing a career on the catwalk under the watchful eyes of her big sisters.

The Ashcroft teenager has been shortlisted in the Girlfriend Rimmel Model Search.

Now in its 22nd year, the competition was instrumental in the careers of internationally recognised models such as Samantha Harris, Catherine McNeil and Abbey Lee Kershaw.

While Maddison said it would be "really cool" to win, she was most looking forward to the competition process.

"I really like all of it. It's exciting going through the costume changes and hair and make-up," she said. "It can be competitive but mostly just fun. If I get upset my big sisters Elyce and Lauren are usually there to cheer me up."

The teen advised her family is supportive and keeps her grounded.

"I know the whole cliche of real beauty coming from within and I totally agree," Maddison said.

"My family and friends are always there for me."

The competition arrives in Sydney this Saturday from 9am at Westfield Parramatta - the third stop in a national tour.

The overall winner will receive a two-year contract with Chic Management and an opportunity to meet Next Model Management in New York, an all-expenses-paid trip to Sydney for the finalists' fashion shoot, an appearance in two fashion shoots for Girlfriend magazine and a one-year supply of Rimmel London products.

Websites

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Media, Entertainment, Gaming, Casino and Hollywood News Report: Marvel Entertainment, WWE, Movies, James Bond...

Media, Entertainment, Gaming, Casino and Hollywood News Report: Marvel Entertainment, WWE, Movies, James Bond...

Promotion: PartyCasino.com Marvel Slots - New players get up to $3000 sign up bonus



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Packer likely to pour money into gaming...

James Packer may use money from selling his pay TV interests to make a takeover play for casinos operator Echo Entertainment Group or other plans in the gaming sector.

Media giant News Ltd on Wednesday made a $1.97 billion takeover bid for Mr Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings, which owns 25 per cent of pay TV service Foxtel and 50 per cent of Fox Sports.

Mr Packer is executive chairman of Cons Media's largest shareholder, Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), which holds a stake in Cons Media of just over 50 per cent.

The multi-billionaire, who is also chairman of casinos operator Crown Ltd, has been steadily dumping his media interests to focus on gaming.

But if Mr Packer pursues Echo, he will have to overcome regulatory limits on the amount of shares in Echo that any one shareholder is allowed to hold.

That limit is currently 10 per cent, which Packer's rival casino outfit Crown already holds.

Mr Packer said CPH considered News Ltd's offer price of $3.50 per Cons Media share to be fair and would support the proposal, which was subject to regulatory approvals, in the absence of a superior cash offer.

Fat Prophets analyst Greg Fraser said it appeared Mr Packer was looking to build up funds to make a bid for Echo.

"It does increase the speculation that once CPH is out of Cons Media that it is indeed building some sort of war chest," he said.

"Does that signal that he (Mr Packer) is confident that he will get that 10 per cent shareholder limit lifted?"

Mr Fraser said it was still to be made clear where another major shareholder in Echo, Asian gaming giant Genting, stood.

It appeared the two were aligned but that could not been taken for granted, he said.

City Index chief market analyst Peter Esho said the News Ltd offer for Cons Media had come at a convenient time when Mr Packer was looking at recycling capital into higher-growth areas such as the casinos business, which were capital intensive.

Mr Stokes' Seven Group Holdings owns 24.4 per cent of Cons Media.

Seven said it would review the News Ltd proposal and was considering its options.

However, Mr Esho said he did not think Mr Packer would necessarily move to take over Echo.

He said that between them, Crown and Genting already held just under 20 per cent of Echo, which was enough to block a takeover by anybody else and still influence the Echo board.

It also gave them "skin in the game" to benefit from any business that Echo takes away from their own respective operations.

"And they don't have to pay any (takeover) premium, deal with regulators - go through all the headaches," Mr Esho said.

"Together, Genting and Crown have got what they want, so far out of Echo.

"So I think any cash will be recycled elsewhere, but that's just purely speculation."

Shares in Echo were four cents higher at $4.29 at 1500 AEST on Wednesday. (AAP)


Investors welcome shake-up of media companies...

Investors and analysts have welcomed moves by Australia's two largest print media companies to restructure in response to declining newspaper revenues, warning the industry's outlook would remain uncertain for years.

Staff at Fairfax Media and News Limited have been left reeling by the announcements, which are expected to result in substantial job losses at both companies, but investors believe that neither was left with much choice. (The Australian)


Australian TV...

Top Rating Shows Tuesday 19th June 2012


1. The Block (Nine) - 1.408 million
2. Packed To The Rafters (Seven) - 1.371 million
3. Seven News (Seven) - 1.329 million
4. Nine News (Nine) - 1.254 million
5. Today Tonight (Seven) - 1.184 million
6. The Big Bang Theory (Nine) - 1.165 million
7. A Current Affair (Nine) 1.129 million
8. MasterChef (Ten) - 1.036 million
9. Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms (Ten) - 1.026 million
10. Home And Away (Seven) - 922,000
11. The Big Bang Theory (Nine) - 875,000
12. Once Upon A Time (Seven) - 869,000
13. ABC News (ABC) - 827,000
14. Being Lara Bingle (Ten) - 782,000
15. Pictures of You (Seven) - 746,000
Source: OzTam Ratings


Crown bouncers did not tell police of 'shut down' death...

It was four hours after Anthony Dunning was taken to hospital after being crash-tackled by a Crown casino bouncer when security staff sat down to review the closed circuit television footage of the incident, a court heard today.

Crown security guard Noel Griffiths told the Melbourne Magistrates Court the debrief was held at 3am and a second review at 7am.

The court has been told no casino staff informed police about what had happened to Dunning because casino protocol is not to report any incident unless a patron has died.

Dunning, 40, died four days later.

Six security guards - Matthew Lawson, 27, Quoc Tran, 34, Benjamin Vigo, 24, Cameron Sanderson, 40, Nicholas Levchenko, 26, and Jacques Fucile, 30 - have been charged after Dunning's death.
Lawson has been charged with manslaughter while the other five face assault charges.

Mr Griffiths told the committal hearing today he had seen Dunning lying face down on the gaming room floor being restrained by Sanderson and Vigo just before 11pm on Sunday 3 July last year.
Dunning's friend, Olivia Ferguson, was upset and crying.

Ms Ferguson and Mathew Anderson had gone to the casino after a day at the football.
Dunning, 40, had been asked to leave the casino because he was drunk and his friends had followed him.

Prosecutor Andrew Tinney, SC, had earlier told the court that as Dunning was moving towards the exit, Tran can be seen on the CCTV footage saying something to Lawson.

Ms Ferguson believed it was something insulting towards Dunning, so she slapped him.

"He immediately grabbed her around the neck and slung her violently to the ground," Mr Tinney said.

Mr Griffiths told the court today he was not a fan of "putting females to the floor".

Asked if what happened to Ms Ferguson was in accordance with casino security training procedures, he said: "In a perfect world, no."

Mr Anderson was also thrown to the floor and allegedly held by the throat before Lawson tackled Dunning around the legs and waist.

Lawson then got on top of Dunning, straddling him, and placed his arms around Dunning's head and neck.

Another Crown security guard, Amy Tobiasz, said the usual procedure to put someone on the ground was to grab them by the arms, push them down on to their knees and then lower them on to the floor.

Dunning was later taken by ambulance to The Alfred hospital. He died in the intensive care unit four days later.

The hearing continues.


James Packer gives the nod to News's $2bn bid for Consolidated Media Holdings...

News Limited looks well positioned to push ahead with a $2 billion bid for James Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings, after the competition regulator indicated it had an open mind on the deal and shareholders in Kerry Stokes's Seven Group questioned whether it had the balance sheet capacity to pull off a rival offer.

ConsMedia revealed yesterday that News had proposed to pay $3.50 a share in cash for the pay-TV holding company, which owns 50 per cent of Fox Sports Australia and 25 per cent of Foxtel, in a conditional, non-binding deal.


News Corp in $2 billion Australia pay-TV bid...

Packer cashes up

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp made a $2 billion takeover offer for Australia's Consolidated Media Holdings on Wednesday, boosting top shareholder and billionaire James Packer's warchest as he abandons media in favor of casinos.

Packer, who has built stakes in casinos in Australia, London, Macau and Las Vegas, indicated he would accept the offer in the absence of a higher bid for the pay-TV stakeholder, in which he holds 50.1 percent.


Comics film gives legend respect...

Many people put Marvel creator Stan Lee in the same ranks as Walt Disney and Jim Henson. This is exactly the reason William Lawrence Hess and Nikki Frakes decided to make a documentary about the comic book legend.

“When I met Stan, I began to realize how big the things he created and stories he told were,” Hess says during a recent phone interview. “I’m into history and with Stan, there’s a rich history in what he’s done. You can tell he’s one of the 20th-century creators that people look up to.”

The duo’s result was the documentary “With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story.” The film will screen at 9 tonight at the KiMo Theatre, 420 W. Central.

Lee will introduce the film and then sign autographs during the Albuquerque Comic Expo, which runs today through Sunday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

The documentary took nearly four years to complete. Hess says production began at Comic Con in San Diego in July 2006.

“We shot about 40 hours of footage right before that,” he explains. “When the project was over, we had 480 hours of footage that we managed to fit into an hour and a half documentary.”

Hess says the editing was tiring, but what softened the blow of cutting so much content out was the ability to make bonus footage.

“Nikki worked really close with the editor in carving it down,” he says. “It was a big process to go through, but it worked out in our favor.”

Frakes says it was important to show the man behind the mask.

“He invited us into his house and we got to see what he’s like with his wife,” she says. “It was important that we captured that and tell the story of how he came to be this icon in the comic industry.”

The duo led a team that searched archives and interviewed people associated with Lee. One of the prized interviews was with “Captain America” co-creator Joe Simon, who died in December 2011.

“Joe was basically Stan’s boss six decades ago,” he says. “We wanted to get inside the inner workings of the comic book industry. There were plenty of heavy hitters that came along in the ’40s. This was a huge interview for us.”

Yet for both filmmakers, comics weren’t the first thing they read. Frakes didn’t read them, but says when she learned more about Lee’s story, she wanted to help tell it.

“A lot of people think that he’s an overnight success,” she says. “He’s overcome a lot in his life and managed to become this cultural icon. He’s worked hard to get to his status.”

Hess, who grew up in New Orleans, was introduced to “X-Men” comics and later the Saturday morning comics that Lee participated in.

“I can still hear him saying ‘Stay Tuned Because We’ll be Knee Deep in Danger’ before the commercial break,” he says. “I appreciate that he’s been able to make an impact like that on me.”


'Black Panther' movie rumour: Marvel Studios...

Entertainment Weekly’s inside sources at Marvel Studios advise the news report is no true, however studio representatives declined to comment on the hot rumour.

A news report from the movie website Latino Review by writer El Mayimbe stated Marvel Studios has committed to making one of its next projects a picture based on Black Panther, the leader of the fictional African nation and the character widely regarded as the first major black superhero.

Marvel Studios and its parent company Disney did not immediately comment on the rumor, which has circulated far and wide, causing a buz among comic book movie fans. But now inside sources at Marvel have told EW that it’s simply not true that Black Panther will be one of their next films.

Black Panther is not just a cool codename, it’s the title bestowed on the Wakandan king. In the comics, T’Challa, a Wakandan prince and warrior, passed the trials necessary to ascend to his nation’s throne, thus earning the mantle of Black Panther. Coincidentally, he also fell in love with Ororo Munroe, a.k.a. the weather-controlling Storm from X-Men, during his journeys, but don’t expect her to show up in any Marvel Studios film about him. She remains a part of X-Men mythology still owned by 20th Century Fox.

Black Panther first appeared in a 1966 issue of Fantastic Four, and the name only coincidentally mirrors that of the militant civil rights political party, created that same year. (He also fought as part of The Avengers, which could factor into any sequel for that blockbuster.)

If the look of the character recalls DC Comics’ Batman, the two characters actually have similarities beyond the costume. T’Challa’s superhuman powers are his acute senses of perception and strength, but he is also a brilliant scientist, and as heir to the throne of Wakanda he is every bit as wealthy as Bruce Wayne.

Wakanda was the site of an ancient meteor crash which scattered the element vibranium throughout the land. That fictional element, of course, is one of the rarest and strongest minerals on earth, and is used in the creation of Captain America’s shield. Black Panther’s prime nemesis is Ulysses Klaw, a physicist who murders T’Challa’s father to gain access to the precious vibranium deposits, which he uses to craft a weapon that can create solid objects out of sound waves.

Being the first mainstream black superhero, there were also political elements to Black Panther’s story. In the mid-1970s, comic book story arcs sent him to the American South, where he clashed with the Ku Klux Klan. Black Panther also ventured into an Apartheid-ruled South Africa depicted in the guise of a Marvel nation called Rudyarda.

The Black Panther script was revealed last January, with documentarian Mark Bailey (The Fence, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, and Pandemic: Facing AIDS) crafting the story — an unusual choice, but not if Marvel would like to add a dose of social commentary to the action hero’s story.

If Latino Review’s report proves to be true, the next big questions are who would star and who would direct.

In breaking the scoop, Mayimbe proposed Nate Parker, who got high marks from critics for Red Tails (even if the movie itself did not) and garnered lots of praise at Sundance for a powerful turn opposite Richard Gere in the Wall Street thriller Arbitrage.

Parker’s a solid choice, but The Wire‘s Idris Elba would also supply endless intensity for the character. Chiwetel Ejiofor has the kick-ass-professor vibe down, and Anthony Mackie, although a little slim physically, could build some muscle for the role. If we’re talking pure star power and charisma, Jamie Foxx could be a good choice, and will be riding high after Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained debuts this year.

Marvel Entertainment movie fans.. if the rumour turns out to be true it sure will be excelsior!


Chris Hemsworth talks ‘Thor 2,’ fighting Hulk, working with Anthony Hopkins...

From “Thor” to “Avengers” and back to “Thor 2,” Chris Hemsworth has made his mark on comic book movies. The Australian actor can now reflect on the projects and getting ready for the next chapter.

During an interview with Flicks and Bits, published on Monday, the “Snow White and the Huntsman” star recalled how director Kenneth Branagh made Thor and Asgard so related to the audience.

“He doesn’t earn his powers through the film, or begin as a normal man. Thor, he’s already a God. It’s quite the opposite, we have to break him down, build him back up. Kenneth Branagh just kept saying to me, “Lets make it truthful, lets make it real. It’s you talking to your brother or it’s you talking to your father, don’t try to play a God.“ The costumes, the sets, everything else around us did that for us. For us it was about simplifying it and humanizing it.”

Hemsworth confesses he hasn’t read the script for “Thor 2,” but offered his insight into what fans can expect.

“A lot of real locations, as opposed to green screen, a lot of great sets. I know that is certainly something they want to do with the sequel, ‘Thor 2.’ Make Asgard more liveable and more tangible.”

One of the highlights of “The Avengers” was the battle between Thor and Hulk. Hemsworth described the challenge of ‘pretending’ with the CGI Hulk.

“…they were like, “Throw yourself on the ground.” I was like, “I’m not doing too well in this fight!” (Laughs) It was rather painful, but then we have the nice big uppercut which I was thankful for. With that fight, a lot of the time it was me having to pretend….it was like being a kid in the backyard swinging a stick around.”

He added that he loved Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner and Hulk.

“I loved what Mark Ruffallo did with The Hulk, he’s one of my favourite characters, watching what he did – and especially those sequences of Thor and Hulk fighting. Hulk backhanding Thor through the wall. Reading that, and on the page it said, “And Hulk smashes Thor and his big Norse face.” (Laughs).”

Anthony Hopkins will also return for “Thor 2” and the “Cabin in the Woods” star praised the legendary actor.

“He’s always been a big hero to me. With people like that you can’t help but absorb and learn from. There’s absolutely no ego with him, with him being someone everyone on set kind of wants to bow to (laughs). There was always advice if needed and there’s such appreciation for the business even how many films later, he’s been in the industry for this long, but he still loves making films. That’s infectious to be around.”

“Thor 2” will be second film in the new set of Marvel projects beginning next year. Hemsworth, Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba all return to lead the ensemble cast.

“Thor 2” opens on November 8, 2013.


Hugh Jackman to host free short film fest in NYC...

NEW YORK (AP) — Hugh Jackman wants anyone with a cell phone to get a chance to break in to show business.

The actor is hosting New York's first installment of Tropfest, billed as the world's largest short film festival. It's free and open to the public.

"Forget it, (if) you've got a mobile phone you can make a film, you can enter," Jackman said.

"It's a great way for me to support the arts and anybody who wants to can get involved."

A panel of celebrity judges including Rose Byrne, Judah Friedlander and Jennifer Westfeldt will pick best film, actor and actress on Saturday in Bryant Park.

The films showcased at Tropfest may be short (they must all be under seven minutes) but they've led to some impressive success stories. The idea for the FX series "Wilfred" starring Elijah Wood came from Tropfest. Sam Worthington of "Avatar" won Best Actor in 2000.

Jackman recently received a special Tony for his "contributions to the Broadway community" and "personal generosity of spirit." With Tropfest, he's reaching out to filmmakers.

"The movies are not judged on technical merit because that's one way to make film very elitist. It's not so much about that or the quality of the lens but more the strength of the idea and the concept," he said. "Previously it's people who may have been excluded or may not have the money but they have the talent and here they can show it."

The entries have been narrowed down to eight finalists — each required to have a Tropfest Signature Item. (The required item for New York's first Tropfest? A bagel.)

Tropfest, the brainchild of director John Polson, started 20 years ago in Australia and now draws more than 150,000 attendees each year. The winner for best film gets $20,000 from The Motion Picture Association and a week of meetings with studio execs, agents and managers.
Jackman says it's a no brainer for someone who wants to break into showbiz.

"When I first graduated from drama school I knew the statistics that 98 percent of actors were unemployed. I vowed to myself that every day I would do something for my career. I wasn't going to sit back. I was going to actively get out there and participate," he said. "Here is a way that anyone can contribute. There's no whining, 'But I'm a filmmaker it's so difficult, I can't get an agent.'" http://tropfest.com/ny/events/tropfest-ny


Another Hemsworth heads to Hollywood...

LOOK out world, the "other" Hemsworth is headed to Tinseltown.

Fresh from his turn as Shadow in Ten's Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms, the third (and oldest) Hemsworth brother, Luke, is preparing to give the acting business a serious tilt, telling Confidential he is about to head to Los Angeles where younger brothers Liam and Chris are currently dominating the film world.

But the 32-year-old father-of-three - who got his start on the kids series Saddle Club almost 10 years ago - is realistic about forging his own path.

"Do I have an unfair advantage? Uh, yes, no," he said with a laugh.

"We've all worked really, really hard.

"It does help. . . having two brothers in the industry already, to a degree. But you're still doing the same things. You're still learning lines and doing the same thing every day. Going to the same auditions as everyone else - you still have to get over the line yourself."

Even brother Chris admits it was Luke who entered the business first, with he and Liam following in his acting footsteps as Luke and wife Sam started a family.

"Luke was actually acting before both Liam and I," the Thor megastar told us on the red carpet of Tuesday night's premiere of his new flick Snow White and the Huntsman. "Then he went and did other things. But he's getting back into acting now - and it's great."

Luke has already signed with the same management as his brothers - ROAR in the US - and said that he was currently planning his trip across the pond.

"We will go there eventually," he said.

"But at the moment it's about the kids and family."


The Amazing Spider-Man Reviews Are In: Critics Praise Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone...

Relationship between the two is praised by experts...


The first reviews are in for 'The Amazing Spider-Man'... and they're mostly positive.

Critics have been complementary of the film's focus on the relationship between Andrew Garfield's titular lead and Emma Stone's female lead Gwen.

Leading British film mag Empire said: "Graced with great performances from Garfield and Stone, 'The Amazing Spider-Man' is a rare comic-book flick that is better at examining relationships than superheroism."

Total Film praised English actor Garfield, saying: "A young buck made testy by grief, a rebel without a comb, Garfield nails all bases here, star DNA aglow. Starey eyes melting, he's winningly earnest; lithe of physique, he delivers in the dust-ups; blithely gatecrashing Gwen Stacy's bedroom, he gives good dreamboat."

The Daily Telegraph had nice words for Stone, too. They wrote: "On paper Gwen might be the love interest, but in many ways she's the main character, giving us a human perspective on the superhuman drama."

The Evening Standard were less impress, but did not pin the blame on the leading man. "[Webb] dispenses with much of the character and sass that always made this character fun," they claimed.

"It's not Garfield's fault: he is a convincingly troubled, inarticulate Peter Parker, a springily athletic Spider-Man, and has awesome hair. His greatest enemy is the script. That, and the rather wearisome 3D."

'The Amazing Spider-Man' is released later this month and premiered in London last night.


Pro Wrestling News...

Wrestling companies square off in Nashville, USA court...

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Lawyers for World Wrestling Entertainment have told a Nashville judge the company has not and will not use confidential information from rival Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

The pledge came during a hearing last week over a lawsuit TNA filed last month against pro wrestling giant - WWE, claiming WWE had obtained secret contract details in an attempt to poach TNA's wrestlers.

Attorneys for WWE told Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle that the company has not contacted any of TNA's contracted personnel. The attorneys also said WWE has returned the only copies of the confidential information to TNA.

Lyle dissolved a May 24 temporary restraining order against WWE that had prohibited it from using the information to solicit TNA wrestlers, but she made no ruling on the merits of the case. Another hearing will be July 12.

TNA, based in Nashville, claimed in the suit that WWE apparently had already tried to hire away veteran wrestler Ric Flair. According to the court record, WWE lawyers said the company "has no intention of doing so."

TNA alleged that one of its former employees, Brian Wittenstein, went to work for WWE and provided his new employer with contract details. WWE said he was fired when he gave them the information.

A TNA suit against Wittenstein is still pending.

Jerry McDevitt, an attorney for Connecticut-based WWE, said Tuesday the company will file clarifying details with the court. He said the latest order "speaks for itself."

Dixie Carter, president of TNA, said in a statement Tuesday that the company "will vigorously protect TNA and its brand from damage at the hands of any and all sources, no matter who is involved." TNA was founded by wrestler Jeff Jarrett.


WWE Legal Letter To TNA Legal Counsel...

WWE Attorney Jerry McDevitt recently sent a letter to TNA legal counsel Erika Blonquist. The letter was filed with the court last week and can be read below:

First, and as I advised you orally on the phone during our recent conference call, WWE has not solicited Ric Flair to leave TNA and enter into a contract with WWE. WWE has made no offer to Flair and has no intention of doing so.

Second, as I also advised you, WWE has not solicited any other current TNA talent to repudiate their contracts and enter into a contract with WWE. WWE has no interest in current TNA talent.


The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. UK To Air On FX...

TUF: Australia vs. UK broadcasts on FX in Australia this fall

"The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. U.K." will air on FX in Australia in the fall as the latest installment of the reality series from the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

UFC officials announced the news yesterday.

Tryouts for the upcoming season of "TUF" are currently underway, featuring fighters from both Australia and England. The coaches for the season have not yet been named, though an official announcement is expected soon.

"We're excited to be part of the FX family in Australia," UFC managing director for international development Marshall Zelaznik stated. "When the first series of 'The Ulimate Fighter' debuted in the United States seven years ago, it brought in millions of new fans who tuned in each and every week to watch their favorite fighters. I have no doubt that 'The Smashes' will do the same in Australia."

"The Smashes" is the title given to this season, referencing a cricket rivalry ("The Ashes") between the two countries.

While the season will air in Australia, no plans have been announced for those hoping to view in the U.S. Fans could watch "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil" online earlier this year as it was taping in Brazil, but the season did not broadcast on national television until FUEL TV began airing episodes just recently.

Are you ready? Are you ready? Let's get it on!


JR's Blog...

Wednesday Blog..Heyman..Lesnar..HHH..Grilling Perfect Burger..Kane..JR'S @ wweshop.com..FIRST TAKE
Wed, 06/20/2012 - 11:06am — J.R.


Happy that you stopped by our site and encourage you to tell friends about it. Our Twitter account is growing rapidly and we are at over 450,000 followers @JRsBBQ and I personally invite you to join us. WWEShop has restocked their JR's inventory at this link http://www.wweshop.com/Category/JimRoss. Random thoughts about to be served....

The Monday Night Raw from Nassau Coliseum was a hit in the TV ratings. The HHH/Heyman business along with the Cena/Big Johnny content at the end of the night were big winners.

As a fan, I thought the segment involving 'The Game' and Paul Heyman was the most compelling thing on Raw.

Heyman is a natural born antagonist and when he speaks he isn't 'acting' but simply being himself. I've personally been in too many non televised arguments with Paul to know of what I speak. Heyman has 'it' and always has plus it's obvious that the native New Yorker hasn't lost a step in his self imposed, long sabbatical from the biz over the past several years.

Paul Heyman is the best, antagonist, promo talent in WWE hands down.

A few weeks ago when HHH had his physical encounter with Brock Lesnar, I 'felt' that any bout between the two would be special. Specifically after the 'Cerebral Assassin' (Great handle...wonder where that came from?) fired up on Lesnar for a brief but impactful interlude of hammering right hands. That exchange struck a chord with me and flipped the switch for my motor to engage.

IF Lesnar vs. HHH happens at Summerslam, and I hope that it will, it will be a stellar attraction that will be fresh and not too likely to ever happen again. The bell to bell of this potential main event really has my interest and I'm intrigued to see how this matter plays out between now and August 19.

I'm hoping that WWE uses some of the classic moments of Money in the Bank to help promote the PPV that will be held in July in Phoenix. There are so many great moments in MITB that can be utilized to help sell the PPV. MITB has been a solid concept and really has been a star launcher to a large sense over the years.

Love how some in main stream sports love to knock the genre of sports entertainment yet shows like ESPN's 'First Take' is nothing more than an elongated, promo segment between a villain manager, Skip Bayless, and his 'arch rival,' Stephen A Smith. The role of Mean Gene is played by Jay Crawford. Don't take this as a diss of the show as I'm a regular viewer but main stream sports entities generally do all they can to distance themselves from 'pro wrestling' even though they use regularly elements from the business in this programming.

When I got the Atlanta Falcons gig in 1992 the local media had an outcry especially some columnists in the newspaper. How could a major, sports franchise hire, of all people, a WRESTLING GUY to be a part of their broadcast team?

Another prime example of prejudicial, elitist horse manure from those that look down upon my profession because of what? That it's show business with an athletic backdrop?

I'm a broadcaster and feel supremely confident, perhaps defiant, that I can broadcast any sport with ample time to prepare so that the specifics of the sport become second nature and I can allow my instincts and 'feel of the game' influence how I handle the presentation.

Back to RAW, it was another stellar night for the veteran Kane who has seemingly been reborn over the past several weeks with his physical involvement with WWE Champion CM Punk and Daniel Bryan notwithstanding the big Red Machine's soap opera entanglement with the controversial Diva A.J.

Kane's physical performances have been outstanding as it appears that Punk and Bryan bring out the best in the big man who has recently demonstrated amazing athleticism for a 300+ pounder.

Kane's on going relationship with A.J. has been an intriguing element on Raw that has my interest.

I'm still of the mindset that A.J. has developed a main event level persona in one of WWE's better creative presentations in quite some time.

Obviously, steps are being taken to make the tag team scene in WWE more meaningful but that still won't be good enough for some keyboard warriors who will continue to squeal ala Ned Beatty in 'Deliverance' or the proverbial pig stuck under a gate. It will take time to rebuild something with little, current equity but I'm of the mindset that it can and will be done but that it will not happen over night.

Before I forget, I made some guy food a few nights ago ala beans akin to what was consumed around the camp fire on the cult, film classic 'Blazing Saddles.' I promised the recipe so here it is:

1 can of pork 'n beans drained..put drained beans in a sauce pan on low heat...add JR's All Purpose Seasoning to taste..add chopped sweet or purple onion to taste..add squirt of honey..add JR's Original BBQ Sauce and Chipotle Ketchup as in a drizzle of each..add chopped bell pepper of your choice equal to the amount of onion that you use. Allow to simmer until done but it's better if there is still a little 'crunch' to the onion and bell peppers. It's a quick, easy, inexpensive and healthy dish that's a great tag team partner with grilled main eventers.

Great to hear the feedback from many fans who have never heard the late, Gordon Solie's work to any extent and who have heard him on the WWE Home video release 'Best of Clash of the Champions.' Working with my broadcasting idol on the Flair-Funk I Quit Match was a bucket list thing for me but discerning fans need to remember that it was during the later stages of Gordon's career and that he was doing color and not play by play which does make a difference as it relates to timing, etc. As good as Gordon Solie was that infamous night, his earlier work was that of legend and established that a pro wrestling announcer didn't have to be an over the top baffoon to get the job done. Gordon took his work seriously and treated the business as were a legit sport even though the genre has always been about entertainment featuring amazing athletes.

Mike Tyson being a playable character in WWE13 is a significant development for THQ and WWE. Iron Mike's involvement in the video game should be an outstanding, new, unique feature as the Attitude Era is represented strongly on this upcoming game that I assume will be released this fall perhaps in October.

Just asking but could the new RAW/Smackdown GM be announced at the premier of the weekly three hour Monday Night Raws, episode 1000, in St. Louis on July 23? This isn't a 'spoiler' even though some knuckleheads will think it's such but merely a question. Doesn't seem like a bad idea.

Antonio Cromartie, professional NFL player w/ the New York Jets and reproducer extraordinaire, has many children (12??) and baby mama. Many as in he could be consider the 'Father of our Country' many. Soucrces say that Cro has so many kids that it takes him three days to celebrate Dad's Day. Funniest segment on a past HBO 'Hard Knocks' one of my favorite TV shows, was when Cromartie was naming his children and their ages.

My @okctunder are gravely ill in their quest to win a NBA Title this year as they are down 3 games to 1 against the nWo like Miami Heat. I'd love for OKC to get one win in Miami to bring the series back to Oklahoma for the final two games to add some drama to the NBA Championship and give the local favorites a chance to make Sooner State history. I know the odds are long but as long as there is time on the clock, so to speak, I'm not abandoning my team.

Our potential business relationship with @americansoda in the UK is evolving and we may have some positive news on that matter soon as it relates to them distributing JR's products in that part of the world. Stay tuned over the next 4-6 weeks.

Burger tips for the grill or kitchen...an 80/20 blend of ground beef generally works best as it relates to the meat but that 's your call. I never buy hamburger patties pre made. I always buy bulk meat and make my own patties. Season to taste with JR's All Purpose Seasoning, add a little JR's BBQ Sauce, a few drops of your favorite liquid smoke (I generally use hickory or mesquite) and you can even add finely chopped onion if you choose to blend together to comprise a great burger pattie. If you can, let them sit in the 'fridge, covered, overnight or for as long as you are able IE make the burgers in the morning and grill them in the afternoon. Allowing the burgers to sit and marinate before grilling makes a HUGE difference. Grill over medium heat as to not overcook or cause flames. Sometimes I also add little pieces of cheese to the patties to cook inside them. Grilling is a great hobby and don't be afraid to experiment but always pay attention to what you're doing and don't constantly open your grill or flip your burgers numerous times. I generally turn mine once or twice at the very most.

JR's products are NOT available in any stores except Norman, Oklahoma Homeland stores and unfortunately we do not expect to be in retail stores any time soon. WWEShop has many packages featuring our products, some with personally signed swag, available online at http://www.wwweshop.com/Category/JimRoss.

Sad that some fans feel that any wrestling TV show can essentially solve all their ills simply by going to a TV14 rating and bringing back "blood." If these are young fans thinking this asinine theory, it makes one sort of wonder about the future.

Be Well everyone and come back to see us soon.

Boomer Sooner!

J.R.


James Bond turns 50...

James Bond turns 50 this year but you'd never know it by looking at him. Despite hundreds of skirmishes with the world's scariest villains, not to mention a diet heavy on shaken-not-stirred martinis, the man in the Aston Martin still cuts a dashing figure.

In October, it will have been five decades since 007 -- in the form of Sean Connery -- first sauntered onto movie screens in "Dr. No." And he's still going strong. The Bond movies are not only the longest continuously running series in cinema history but also the most successful, with more than $5 billion in box-office receipts. Take that, George Lucas.

Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to play the world-saving spy, will step into Bond's shoes once again on Oct. 26 with "Skyfall," the 23rd film in the series. Also this October, MGM will celebrate 007's birthday with a 22-disc Blu-ray set that finally makes all of the movies available in high definition.

The movies, which will be presented in 35 mm prints, include "Goldfinger" (June 17), "GoldenEye" (June 26), "The Spy Who Loved Me" (July 2), "Dr. No" (July 10), "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (July 16), "Live and Let Die" (July 24) and "From Russia With Love" (July 30).

The Bond film franchise began in 1962 with "Dr. No." It was not only a worldwide smash but also turned out to be a big influence on popular culture. Think "The Man From U.N.C.L.E," "Our Man Flint," "Get Smart" and "Mission: Impossible."

So where did the idea come from? Ian Fleming, of course. A former journalist and British Naval intelligence officer, he conceived of the book series in 1952 while vacationing in Jamaica in a holiday home he called Goldeneye.

James Bond made his first appearance in "Casino Royale," which was published in 1953. Thirteen more Bond books by Fleming followed.

Since the release of "Dr. No," we have never gone more than five or six years without a new Bond flick. Connery played him five times 1962-1967 and then again in 1971 and 1983. In between, there was a one-off appearance by George Lazenby. In 1973, Roger Moore took over for seven outings.

Next came Timothy Dalton for two films beginning in 1987. Pierce Brosnan got the job in 1995 for four features. The latest Bond is Craig, who has played him in series re-boot "Casino Royale," "Quantum of Solace" and the upcoming "Skyfall."

Did we mention that Bond also enjoys a good game of poker and baccarat and often the stakes have been life or death. Would you like to play with Bond? That's what we thought.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth attend 'Snow White and the Huntsman' movie premiere - Bondi Junction, Sydney - 19th June 2012

Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth attend 'Snow White and the Huntsman' movie premiere - Bondi Junction, Sydney

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Movies Hollywood Snow White and The Huntsman Chris Hemsworth Universal Pictures Entertainment Sydney Australia



Kristen Stewart, Australia's own Chris Hemsworth and a swag of other celebrities attended the Sydney premiere of 'Snow White' at Bondi Junction in Sydney earlier this evening.

Hundreds of fans and dozens of news media covered the event for the movie which is tipped to be a big money winner and a favorite with critics.

Well done to everyone involved in the success of this hot new Hollywood movie.

News Update...

Australian star Chris Hemsworth has been enjoying some time off back home with his family, ahead of the Australian premiere of Snow White And The Huntsman.

Hemsworth was photographed earlier today enjoying some free time in Sydney.

On a rare day-off the former Home And Away star took the opportunity to go for a surf, despite the cold weather.

He was also photographed with his shirt off taking a dip in the pool at the Park Hyatt.

Hemsworth's acting career has taken off in Hollywood with recent appearances in super-hero blockbusters Thor and The Avengers.

He credits much of his success to his parents, who always supported his career. "When most people said it (acting) is crazy ... they said, "The couch will always be your spare bedroom ..." Hemsworth told the Seven Network's Sunrise program on Tuesday.

The new father also said he gained a lot of experience with children from babysitting his manager's kids and his older brother's three children.

"We were around kids a lot," Hemsworth said.

Hemsworth walked the red carpet with co-star Kristen Stewart at the film premiere at Bondi Junction's Event Cinemas tonight.

In his next project, Hemsworth plays racing-car driver James Hunt in Ron Howard's Formula One film Rush.

A release date for the film hasn't been set but we understand it will be in time for the 2013 Oscars.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Packer's stake in the Sydney pie - 17th June 2012

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Crown Limited Crown Casino Echo Entertainment The Star Australian Casinos Casinos James Packer

They are the so-called whales, fabulously rich gamblers jetted into town to be pampered by their eager hosts. Often demanding, sometimes quirky and superstitious, they attract the very best and attentive service, and enjoy the trappings of the high life, often gratis: six-star luxury accommodation, fine dining, live shows, top-brand shopping.

They can win or drop millions of dollars at gaming tables on a single visit. Wagers of several hundred thousand dollars are not uncommon. Occasionally, as much as $1 million is bet on a hand of cards. Baccarat is a favourite game.

Predominantly ethnic Chinese, their money also buys discretion and exclusivity. Little is ever revealed by casino operators about their identity or their gambling habits, but in a single year, at Melbourne's Crown casino alone, these VIP punters turn over an extraordinary $30 billion - around $600 million a week.

''It's simply another world,'' says an insider, still agog after a decade's involvement in the industry.

It's a world, too, that is fast expanding, as China's exploding wealth and the rising prosperity of nations such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, spawn a new and vast generation of high rollers.

That reality, and the intensifying competition for their business, lies at the centre of a stoush over control of the Star casino, one that has several elements, commercial and political, and which is flavoured by a hint of hoary Melbourne-Sydney rivalry. At its core is James Packer's ambition to retain his dominance over VIP gambling in Australia by having a key say in Sydney's newly rejuvenated casino business.

The Packer-controlled Crown group enjoys 75 per cent of the nearly $1 billion of annual casino revenue generated by high rollers in Australia through its internationally acclaimed Yarra River complex and its Burswood casino, in Perth.

But the once dowdy northern cousin, the Star, tarted up with a $900 million facelift, is aiming more aggressively at the same VIP market, a threat magnified by Sydney's standing as Australia's gateway for international tourism.

Packer's response has been fierce and multi-pronged, with Crown taking a 10 per cent stake in the Star's owner, Echo Entertainment, and applying to the regulator to be allowed to move to the takeover threshold of 20 per cent.

Simultaneously, the Packer camp has waged a public relations war against Echo over the latter's lacklustre recent performance to the point of forcing out its chairman, John Story, while pushing for its own boardroom appointee, the former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett.

Packer's pitch has been for a united Australian front in the quest to wrest bigger numbers of the region's high rollers, and he has wowed tourism chiefs, and the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, with a proposal for a 35-storey luxury hotel at Barangaroo.

Apart from a potential public backlash, the snag is that Packer wants the hotel to include exclusive gaming salons for high rollers. But the Star holds the state's only casino licence and would need to agree to a hybrid arrangement that split its facilities between its current site and Barangaroo.

O'Farrell, unimpressed by the recent sexual harassment scandal at the Star, has appeared to revel a little in the Star's discomfort by publicly praising Packer as a ''shrewd and successful businessman'', while acknowledging that the Crown push ''is starting to look like a political campaign''. While Packer's ultimate objective is clear - gaining the Star's licence - he faces stern resistance from an Echo board that accuses him of seeking control of the company on the cheap, by denying a premium to its shareholders.

They appear to be daring him to launch a full takeover bid, something that could be in the offing once Packer offloads his remaining media interests. The sale of those, which indirectly include a 25 per cent stake in Foxtel, could raise close to $1 billion.

The longer game plan could be his positioning for Crown's own casino licence in NSW when the Star's exclusivity expires in 2019.

''Everyone concedes that Crown has been the key venue for high rollers in Australia,'' says a close Echo observer. ''They've worked hard and put a lot of effort into that market.

''But the upside for Star is enormous. Sure, you could tackle that market through some joint venture or tie-up with Crown, so in that sense Packer is absolutely right. But Star doesn't need Packer to do that.''

As for Packer's push for new blood in the Echo boardroom, he adds: ''Why on earth would you agree to put a competitor on your board?''

Echo is confident that it can offer a similarly impressive high roller experience as Crown's by coupling the Star with Echo's Queensland casinos, the soon-to-be upgraded Jupiter sites on the Gold Coast and in Townsville, as well as the Treasury in Brisbane.

''The truth is,'' suggests one stockmarket analyst, ''Packer might need Star more than Star needs Packer.''

But that's if the Star gets it right. There are plenty who see Crown's management expertise as vital in finally raising the Star to the high roller firmament. And they offer as evidence the Star's recent admission that the collapse of a Macau-based junket operator (businesses that scoop up high rollers and deliver them to casinos throughout Asia) had cost it $7 million in forward commissions and potentially another $23 million in unrecoverable high roller debts.

Echo, which has portrayed the losses as teething problems, unveiled on Friday details of a $450 million capital raising that will be used to strengthen its balance sheet and lend weight to its high roller push. But the announcement was accompanied by a downgrade in its profit outlook, further fodder for its critics.

The Packer camp argues that its agitation is on behalf of all Echo shareholders, who now include the Singapore casino group Genting, which has built a 4.9 per cent stake, along with Macquarie Bank, whose similarly sized holding on behalf of various investment funds would appear to be a punt on profitable future resolution. Standing steadfast, too, has been Perpetual Investments, with 8 per cent, which has backed Echo's board in rebuffing the Packer demands.

No one would dare suggest that the prevailing obstacles are insurmountable for the Packer camp, which has assembled an impressive roll call of political heavyweights. They include the former federal government minister Mark Arbib and former ALP national secretary Karl Bittar, as well as the former Liberal senator and federal communications minister Helen Coonan, a Crown director. Networking is also the name of the high roller game across Asia, and Packer's interests in Macau in partnership with Hong Kong-based tycoon Lawrence Ho provides a handy conduit for introducing more high rollers to his plush Australian salons. Their business is becoming increasingly vital as growth in the domestic gaming market tails off. While local punters contribute more in terms of profits, the high roller market (despite its skinny margins and greater risk) is growing more strongly, demonstrated by Crown's figures. In the latest corporate reporting period, revenues from local gaming in Melbourne grew by 5 per cent while those from its VIP program were 34 per cent stronger, albeit from a lower base.

Tourism chiefs recognise the potential should this trend be replicated in Sydney, drawing ever greater numbers of big spenders willingly pumping money into the local economy. The boss of the Tourism & Transport Forum, John Lee, sees the Bangararoo development as upping the ante in Sydney's claim for higher tourist numbers, just as Singapore's so-called ''integrated resorts'' have pulled a flood of new visitors to the city-state. He says the Packer plan has merit and would add to the harbour precinct's ''tourism offering''. But intensifying competition for VIP punters has not just triggered a casino ''arms race'' in Australia, but one that is region-wide.

At its epicentre is Macau, the only city in a country of more than 1 billion people permitted to run casinos and the site of several billion-dollar developments.

Having already eclipsed Las Vegas, the territory's 30 casinos are expected to rake in revenues of more than $US40 billion in 2012 (about 10 times the gaming revenues of Australia's 13 casinos), of which high rollers can be expected to account for 70 per cent.

Singapore is fast establishing itself, too, as a key high-roller destination. The 31 VIP salons of the $5 billion Marina Bay Sands, for example, already draw 60 per cent of that complex's gaming revenues.

The widespread assumption is that - notwithstanding the Chinese economy's recent slowing - the premium gambling pie has years of expansion ahead, and the chairman of Marina Bay's Las Vegas parent company, the US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, identifies a growing new class of gambler.

''We are constantly surprised at who they are, the number of people, how they come out of the woodwork and how many there are in the world,'' he recently told Singapore's Straits Times. ''There was a time, 10, 15 years ago, that people thought that in the entire world, there were as few as 150 VIP players. We sometimes get that in a few days, a week or two weeks. So the word plateau, in terms of Asia, is not in our vocabulary.''

But the breadth of competition is likely to demand more creative ways for luring gamblers farther south than Singapore, a fact that could affect the sort of inducements offered to ''whales'' by local operators, such as the extent of ''loss rebates'', where casinos cover a portion of a high roller's losses.

Packer's remedy of a united front also calls for better support from governments to maintain tax and other advantages, which could be extended to faster visa and customs clearances for high rollers to match the efficiency of Singapore.

The Star's ''fate'', meanwhile, may not be determined for some time, with no guarantee that a takeover bid will materialise to unlock the stalemate.

But some ponder a deal that would see some of Crown's interests in Macau passed to Genting, providing Packer with the financial muscle to swallow Echo. At the moment, its link to the Ho Group demands exclusivity in Asia and, as one analyst noted: ''Who would want to rock that boat?''

But another gaming expert based overseas thinks otherwise, wondering if Packer might, in fact, prefer to be the big fish in the smaller pond. "If I was Packer, and if I had the option of cornering the Australian market or keeping a 30 per cent stake in one of six operators in Macau, I'd probably corner the Australian market. It's as simple as that." (Fairfax Media)

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gambling on advertising billboards in Sydney NSW; Packer and Singleton: You Bet, by Greg Tingle

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Advertising James Packer John Singleton Crown Limited Politics Sydney Australia



With the 'Mad Men' TV series all the rage in Australia, Hollywood and all points in between, we thought the timing was excellent to bring you up to speed on some roadside advertising news in Sydney, Australia.

A mega cashed up company part-owned by media tycoons James Packer and John Singleton has started to cash in on major Sydney motorways, headed up by the M2 motorway.

Construction work on advertising billboards owned by Packer and Singleton's firm first started about 12 months ago and some campaigns are already up and running beautifully.

The firm is not disclosing its full client or campaign list, as you would expect - not that anyone else could likely give them much of a run for their money.

These are not any average billboards... they cost about $500,000 each all told, "Packer and Singo" are looking for strong return on investment and are looking to stand out from the pack.

The concession to erect billboards over the M2 was purchased by Manboom, a company owned by JP, Singo and Robert Whyte, from the M2's owner, Transurban, back in 1998. Talk about forward planning.

For more than a decade Manboom was unable to erect signs over the road because of road blocks from local councils! The M2 passes through three council areas and only one, Hornsby, would permit advertising billboards.

But in 2007 the then planning minister, Frank Sartor, amended legislation that stripped away councils of the right to determine policies for signs over motorways. The Department of Planning became the sole consent authority for motorway advertising.

The Media Man agency strongly suspects that a strained economy (and diluting council coffers) lessened council opposition to the advertising proposal put forward. You know... "Money talks and BS walks", whispered a Media Man insider.

It is not clear how much income Manboom makes from the concession to advertise over the congested M2. The firm has in place an annual payment deal with Hornsby Council, the Hills Shire and the City of Ryde in return for its signage rights.

It also pays for public benefit works commissioned by Roads and Maritime Services.

Transurban's spokesman said months ago: "The installation of advertising signage will fund improvements to the aesthetics and operation of bridges on the motorway, including new bridge facade cladding.

"The project will deliver safety improvements to the motorway and a designated source of ongoing funding for safety enhancements to the motorway," he said.

"The use of advertising signage provides an important alternative source of funding for infrastructure improvements and enhancements."

The M2 is in the middle of a two-year upgrade.

The former RTA last year opposed four of Manboom's 15 proposed signs on safety grounds. It cited a fear about "sign clutter" and a concern the angle of one billboard would distract motorists.

The Department of Planning upheld the RTA's concerns about the four signs.

Some studies say billboard advertising helps keep drivers alert, whilst others suggest they are a dangerous distraction. Readers - what do you think? A gamble with safety or a gamble on the investment?

Its a safe bet that Packer, Singleton and Whyte have done their sums.

In the meantime plenty of other Sydney councils are watching the project closely to see if they may be able to also benefit financially from extra advertising on their roads.

*the writer owns shares in Crown Limited, Network Ten and Virgin.

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