Rupert Murdoch On Future Of Newspapers
Rupert Murdoch restated his faith in the long-term future of newspapers in a weekend address at the annual News Awards in Sydney. Murdoch said that splitting News Corp into separate entertainment and publishing companies next year would see both strive to “dominate against our competitors by providing and distributing the most informative and entertaining content in the world”. He added, “Print will be with us for many, many years”, but we must also provide our readers with the greatest news experience possible on other platforms”. The address was intended as a morale booster for News Ltd.’s journalists after a sweeping restructure by chief executive Kim Williams, which resulted in an estimated 300 layoffs. – Don Groves

‘Strong Medicine’ To Get Reality Treatment In Holland
Dutch broadcaster SBS has commissioned a local reality version of Lifetime drama Strong Medicine. Stories From The Hospital will be produced by Sony Pictures Television’s Dutch venture Tuvalu Media and will use the self-contained storylines from Strong Medicine’s drama scripts as played out by participants whose real life experiences mirror those of the original’s characters. The original followed the lives of staff in the women’s health clinic of a fictitious Philadelphia hospital and was created by Tammy Ader who exec produced with Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Messina Stanley, Jim Stanley and John Flynn. The producer on the Dutch transfer is Vincent ter Voert. The Dutch series will air in primetime on SBS’ female-skewing web NET5. SPT’s international production and distribution teams will also launch the new format to international buyers at Mipcom in October.

Ex-Soccer Star Mario Melchiot To Debut In Mora’s ‘Absolutely Modern’
Dutch-born Mario Melchiot played soccer for England’s Chelsea and the Netherlands. Now he’s set to make his big screen debut in Absolutely Modern (formerly When We Were Modern). The film looks at the birth of modernism through the prism of a ménage a trois involving Australian painter Sidney Nolan, his wife and his mistress Sunday Reed. Filmmaker Philippe Mora tells Deadline he heard of Melchiot’s acting ambitions from a Los Angeles drama teacher and discovered he has a “natural charisma.” Mora directs and stars along with Tequila Mockingbird, the curator of LA’s The Punk Museum, Clayton Watson (The Matrix Reloaded, 33 Postcards) and Rena Riffel. Further casting is underway. The film is a hybrid of animation, puppetry and live action, including archival footage of the 1906 Australian bushranger film The Story Of The Kelly Gang. – Don Groves