BBC Probe: “Unacceptable” Journalistic/Management Failures
More senior BBC staff could leave the corporation as an internal report into the Newsnight fiasco that cost former director general George Entwistle his post draws damning conclusions. The investigation by BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie concluded that “unacceptable” journalistic and management failures caused the broadcast of false claims against a senior political figure. Newsnight aired the allegations of child sexual abuse in its November 2 program, but didn’t name the man, later revealed to be Lord McAlpine. As a result, it didn’t offer the retired adviser to Margaret Thatcher a right of reply as BBC editorial guidelines mandated, and it was subsequently revealed that the victim had mistaken the identity of his attacker. “Basic editorial checks were not completed,” the report said. Newsnight’s acting editor Liz Gibbons and its supervising executive Adrian Van Klaveran are expected to face disciplinary action, according to The Guardian. Ironically, both were in their positions as a result of the earlier Newsnight scandal involving Jimmy Savile. Gibbons had taken over from suspended editor Peter Rippon, having previously served as his deputy. And Van Klaveran had been seconded from running BBC Radio 5 Live as “defacto editor” of coverage pertaining to the Savile affair. The BBC’s internal magazine, Ariel, says Gibbons has already been replaced as acting editor by Karen O’Connor, a former deputy editor of the program. – Joe Utichi

Australia’s Quickflix Calls A Trading Halt
Directors of Quickflix, Australia’s only combined online DVD rental and subscription streaming service, asked for an immediate halt in stock trading Tuesday local time, pending an announcement of a new strategic investor and capital raising. The shares are due to resume trading on Thursday. Earlier this year Quickflix flagged that it was discussing a potential merger or strategic partnership. The company, in which HBO bought a 15.7% stake for $A10M ($10.7M) in February, incurred an operating loss of $1.8M on revenues of $5.3M in the quarter ending September 30 as its cash reserves dwindled to $2.2M. On Monday Quickflix said its streaming service will launch this Wednesday on Xbox, giving it access to more than 1 million users.—Don Groves

Lachlan Murdoch Admits Network Ten’s Performance is “Unacceptable”
Ten Network chairman Lachlan Murdoch did not mince words when he reviewed the company’s performance in fiscal 2012 after it incurred a net loss of $A12.9M ($13.3M). Murdoch described the sharp drops in ratings and revenues as “unacceptable,” albeit in a weakened advertising market. TV revenues fell by 14.5% to $728M while the outdoor advertising division Eye Corp (since sold) declined by 7.6% to $137.2M. The TV unit’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization plunged by 46.5% to $82.4M. Murdoch said the company is taking “immediate action to address its ratings and financial performance” but insisted the ongoing strategic review, which includes more than 100 layoffs in TV news and production, would not affect its investment in programming. And he maintained a bullish outlook for the 2013 programming schedule which includes new U.S. series Elementary and Ripper Street, the return of American Idol, new seasons of The Good Wife, Glee, Modern Family and Homeland, and fresh Australian offerings Mr and Mrs Murder and Reef Doctors. – Don Groves

Screen Australia Funds New Local Pics
Emmanuelle Béart will play a French S&M mistress who tries to help a grieving teenager reconnect with life after his father’s suicide in My Mistress, an Australian drama that’s due to start shooting on the Gold Coast in January. Harrison Gilbertson (Beneath Hill 60, Conspiracy 365) will play the teen. The film marks the feature directing debut of Stephen Lance, with a script by Gerard Lee. LevelK is handling international sales, with Transmission releasing in Australia with executive producer Robyn Kershaw’s RKPix. Producer Leanne Tonkes tells Deadline the film is fully funded with investment from Screen Australia, Screen Queensland and Film Victoria.  Screen Australia also announced that it is co-funding Son of a Gun, writer-director Julius Avery’s debut film which stars Ewan McGregor. UTA helped raise the finance and is handling sales in North America, with Altitude Films repping the rest of the world.  Avery and casting director Nikki Barrett are in LA testing Aussie actors based there for the co-lead, and actresses to play a young woman also featured in the film, producer Timothy White tells Deadline. The plan is to start shooting in Perth and regional Western Australia next March. Screen Australia said it’s investing  nearly $A5.5M  in those two films plus the second series of Blackfella Films’ indigenous drama Redfern Now, which was created by Jimmy McGovern for Australia’s ABC-TV, generating more than $21M worth of production. – Don Groves