The one time Alan Jones has nothing to say

For 18 years Alan Jones has ruled the talkback airwaves, but with five months until his contract at 2GB is due to expire, the man with so much to say every morning has been uncharacteristically coy when it comes to what his own future holds.

Just what might Alan Jones do next?Credit:Marina Neil

Amid much media speculation and conjecture about Jones, the multimillionaire broadcaster was keeping his cards close when PS approached this week.

"Andrew, as you would know through all of this I have had nothing to say and I would like to retain that position. As you know, the speculation will continue. But it’s best that no one has any idea what I’m thinking or what I’m planning," he informed PS, somewhat tellingly.

Jones' station 2GB is owned by Macquarie Media, which is majority-owned by Nine, publisher of the Herald.

Macquarie chief executive officer Adam Lang told PS negotiations with Jones had only commenced this week, and despite rumours to the contrary, it was "not unusual" to have not signed a new contract with his star broadcaster five months out from his existing contract coming to an end.

"Alan has returned to work and as planned we look forward to commencing negotiations," Lang said, adding that despite all the media reports on the matter, PS was the first reporter to actually ask him about Jones' future at the radio station.

In recent years Jones has been signed on two-year contracts, shorter than his previous deals which had been negotiated by late media titans Harry M Miller and Sam Chisholm.

Jones remains at the top of his game, and is one of the most profitable broadcasters in the country having topped more than 100 radio surveys consecutively.

But there are other, less flattering issues to be confronted in the negotiations, not least the multimillion-dollar defamation loss to Queensland's wealthy Wagner family which successfully sued Jones and 2GB.

Last September Jones and his team were ordered to pay a record $3.7 million in compensation for defaming the Wagners by claiming they were responsible for 12 deaths in the 2011 Lockyer Valley floods.

Happier times: John Singleton, Alan Jones and Ray Hadley in 2002.Credit:Rick Stevens

In November the broadcaster was ordered to pay the Wagner's legal costs, which along with Jones' were estimated to be well into the millions.

Last year Jones also apologised to Sydney Opera House boss Louise Herron after he was accused of misogyny and bullying following his aggressive on-air questioning over her decision to block the Everest horse race from being advertised on the building's sails, a decision later overturned by Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

In August Jones offered another apology after using a racist term on air while discussing the Liberal party leadership. Jones told his listeners: ""The n—– in the woodpile here, if one can use that expression – and I'm not going to yield to people who tell us that certain words in the language are forbidden."

Constant health issues continue to plague Jones, who turns 78 in April.  Illness has kept him off air for extended periods.

His colleague Ray Hadley's mornings show was extended to cover Jones' timeslot.

"The ratings pretty much held up, management saw that and it certainly looks like Ray is being positioned to replace Alan," a radio insider told PS on the grounds of anonymity.

After majority shareholder Nine, Macquarie Media's other largest shareholder is John Singleton, who for years has forged a close relationship with both Jones and Hadley, his two star broadcasters. Observers say that while Singleton remains close with both men, the relationship between Singleton's right-hand man, Macquarie's non executive chairman Russell Tate, and Jones, has cooled in recent times, though Tate has previously rubbished unsourced reports that 2GB management wanted Jones gone.

While Jones is earning an annual base salary of more than $4 million, his company Hadiac Pty Limited holds some 2,166,668 shares in Macquarie Media, about 1.2 per cent of the company which are worth well over $4 million.

Singleton's company John Singleton Promotions Pty Limited owns 32.37 per cent of Macquarie Media which is worth more than $104 million.

Nine has expressed a desire to own all of Macquarie Media, and its directors, namely chairman Peter Costello, have publicly endorsed Jones as one of the country's best broadcasters.

"Singo is playing good cop, Russell is bad cop … they know Nine wants to buy the rest of Macquarie, Alan still has a minority shareholding which could be the poison pill in all of this, it's about much more than simply renewing Alan's radio gig," the insider said.

MURDOCH TEENS SET FOR MASSIVE WINDFALL

Grace and Chloe Murdoch look like a couple of ordinary teens, though their respective Instagram feeds reveal a few clues indicating their lives are hardly anything like most other youngsters.

Grace and Chloe Murdoch.Credit:Instagram

There's the holidays in the Carribean, lounging on superyachts, private jets and luxury Manhattan penthouses, not to mention celebrity photo bombs from godparents including Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

But by June, the youngest of Rupert Murdochs children, now aged 17 and 15, are set to become two of the wealthiest teenagers in the world, their combined fortunes worth more than $6 billion.

Well, on paper at least.

June is the timeframe entertainment giant Disney says it will have completed its acquisition of Murdoch’s Fox entertainment business, a huge deal worth nearly $100 billion.

One of the major beneficiaries of the deal will be the Murdoch Family Trust, originally set up as an inheritance mechanism for Murdoch's four adult children Prudence, Elisabeth, Lachlan and James following his divorce from his second wife Anna Murdoch.

As young girls, Grace and Chloe Murdoch.Credit:Instagram

After Murdoch married Wendi Deng in 1999 he changed the trust to include his youngest daughters Grace and Chloe, sparking years of well-documented family disputes.

Reportedly the adult children had no objection to Grace and Chloe receiving an equal economic share in the trusts (at the time diluting the adult children's stakes by a total of $US3.9 billion), but they insisted Grace and Chloe could not be granted voting rights, lest they fall in control of their mother as their guardian.

As part of the peace agreement finally carved out in 2006, each child received News Corp stock worth $US100 million and cash payments of at least $US50 million each raised from share sales – a total payout of $US900 million.

Today the teenagers' stakes in the family trust are managed by trustees appointed by Murdoch and their mother. Ivanka Trump was a trustee for the girls but stepped down shortly after her father, Donald, was elected US president in 2016.

And it could be some time before the girls can get their hands on their money too, with the trust controlled by a majority vote of the adult siblings, meaning three of them must agree, while the Murdoch tradition is that no inheritance is payable until the age of 30.

Last week indications emerged that changes could soon be afoot for the trust, with James Murdoch, head of 21st Century Fox, setting up his own family office in New York with a staff of about 10.

PORN KING UNDER FIRE

Sydney's troubled porn king Damien Costas, the owner of Penthouse magazine and promoter of controversial tours by the likes of Milo Yiannopolos and Nigel Farage, admits he has been through a "challenging period" but denies the "wagons are circling".

Damien Costas, publisher of Australian Penthouse, is in the middle of a court dispute with Sydney publicist Max Markson. Credit: Nic Walker, Ellis Pander

Last year he fended off corporate watchdog the Australian Securities and Investments Commission after it questioned him on his eligibility to be a company director given he had been associated with multiple failed companies that wound up owing considerable sums.

Now one of his most recent business associates, flamboyant promoter Max Markson, says he will not quit until Costas is out of business for good.

Costas is facing two separate legal challenges to have his company wound up, a magazine that's having trouble making it to the newsstands, a former business partner in prison after being convicted of one of the biggest drug hauls ever and an ever growing list of creditors demanding money.

Indeed one of his claimed creditors was recently accused of assaulting Costas at a Sydney Cafe, though Dean Tate denies assaulting Costas, whom he claims owes his company Ticket Socket $60,000 from the Yiannopolos tour. The matter is due in court on February 4.

"It has been a very difficult period, but Max Markson has cost me $300,000, and if wasn't for that we would not be in the situation we are in," Costas claimed, promising a brighter future, especially when he finally opens the doors on his long-awaited bar in Surry Hills, he intends to name Guccione's, in honour of the Penthouse founder, Bob Guccione.

ALBO'S SON MAKES A SPLASH

The federal member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese was underwhelmed by PS' line of questions about his son Nathan's recent 18th birthday party.

PS was informed the party even had its own Project X moment, inspired by the film about an out of hand teenager's house party which features a scene of – ahem – highly spirited lads jumped into the pool from a rooftop. Except in the Albanese version, the boys appeared a little worse for wear when they got out of the pool, with bruises and a few drops of blood.

BANANADRAMA OVER MISSING SINGER

PS is not the only child of the '80s looking forward to the Australian tour by British pop group Bananarama, but somehow the trio we knew from 30-odd years ago has morphed into a duo, and not everyone is happy about it.

Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward and Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama back in the ’80s.

Bananarama was formed in London in 1981 by friends Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward, but strangely Fahey, who went on to become one half of Shakespeare's Sister but rejoined her old sisters and was playing with them just last year, is missing from the line up coming to Sydney. One of Fahey's pals informed PS: "She's been air-brushed out completely, but I don't think she really cares, she's got her own new music to focus on."

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Felicity Jones Knows Why ‘On The Basis Of Sex’ Is Making Women Cry

"It’s so nice that you say that," Felicity Jones says when I tell her that she made me cry. In On the Basis of Sex, Jones plays Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and moments like the one where she simply says the Supreme Court justice’s name in confident way ("Ruth. Bader. Ginsburg.") are — unexpectedly — enough to get the tears brewing.

On the Basis of Sex tells the story of Ginsburg and her husband, Martin Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), from the time when they were both students at Harvard Law until the 1970s, when they argued their only case together, Moritz v Commissioner of Internal Revenue. It was then that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was put on the map as a pioneer for gender equality, as she began her work with the ACLU.

I suspect getting choked up while watching this all go down might be a gut reaction caused by being a woman who’s watching a powerful woman achieve things on-screen. (It’s a thing.)

"I think a lot of women probably empathize with how complex it is navigating a job in what can be quite a macho industry," Jones explains when we speak over the phone, adding that she can relate to the position a young Ginsburg finds herself in. "Definitely I have had the feelings of being an outsider that Ruth has. Often, in the past, I have been in the minority on set. I have been one of a handful of women in the same way that Ruth was."

On this set, there was more representation than Jones experienced on other projects. On the Basis of Sex is directed by Mimi Leder (Deep Impact, The Leftovers), and the actor believes that having a woman in that position made a difference.

"I think it was important to have someone who empathized with the story on a personal level," Jones says. "And I know Mimi definitely has gone through a lot of what Ruth has went through. But, more than that, it was about having someone who’s brilliant, and she is an exquisite director."

Still, portraying Ginsburg was intimidating at first for Jones. "It was actually quite hard in some ways playing someone who I also have such huge affection for and really admire and really look up to," the 35-year-old actor says. "Playing one of your heroines is quite complex in a way because I also had to find all the idiosyncrasies and I had to find the edges and I had to find the humanity."

It helped that she actually got to talk with Ginsburg in person. "What was lovely when we first went in to meet her — and we were all really nervous, we’d gone to Washington to see her — and then she couldn’t take her eyes off Armie Hammer [who plays her husband, Martin] when we walked in," Jones says. "It was lovely just to see those non-verbal moments where I could start to piece together and really understand who Ruth was on a very human, instinctive level."

What struck Jones most once she did get into the role was playing "someone who’s so principled." Jones explains, "Particularly, I think, in times that it feels like there’s a lot of people who aren’t principled who are in power." She continues, "That’s why Ruth’s had this enormous swell of popularity in the last few years, because she actually has been motivated by acting for the good of her country, for the good of equality, and not for money and fame."

While, at times, On the Basis of Sex, which was written by Ginsburg’s nephew, Daniel Stiepleman, can feel a little heavy-handed about how Ginsburg’s fight in the ’70s relates to the world we live in today, overall, it’s affecting. It helps if you aren’t overly familiar with Ginsburg’s early career, but also the connection is there: The fight for women’s rights is ongoing, and Ginsburg is still a part of it.

Jones believes the film is important today because it encourages people to stand up for what they believe in and know that they can be heard. "Ruth came from not a particularly privileged background, and look at the effect that she’s been able to have on the world," she says.

She also notes that the film has the ability to change "perception about how men and women are supposed to behave." In the movie, Martin is the one who cooks dinner for the family, and it still stands out today, even though the film takes places over 40 years ago.

"I feel like there’s still this old-fashioned attitude, this to-do about men looking after children and that needs to completely be eradicated," Jones says. "That’s what will also help women to get into higher positions of power when society doesn’t expect men and women to have certain roles."

Jones hopes that, when audiences leave the theater, they "have a bounce in their step. I hope they feel a sense of hope from this." After all, that’s the effect Ginsburg has had on her.

"Whenever I go, ‘Oh, I’m not going to be able to do that’ or ‘I’m not going to be good enough at that’ or ‘Why am I doing this?’ I think of Ruth, and I think just how much she persisted and how much she fought and how she did it on her own terms and how important it is to have a voice and to stand up for your beliefs," Jones says. "It’s a great privilege to be able to do that and not to shy away from it. So, she’s with me all the time. I think of her often." And, soon, even more people will get to feel the same way.

On the Basis of Sex hits theaters nationwide Jan. 11 and is in select theaters now.

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Who is Neil Jones? Strictly Come Dancing 2018 professional and Katya's husband

In 2013 he married fellow dancer Katya Jones who's partnered with Seann Walsh.

Who is Neil Jones? What's his background?

Neil Jones, 35, is a professional ballroom dancer who works on Strictly Come Dancing for the BBC.

He's British but was born in Munster, Germany, and started dancing at a local ballet school at the age of three.

Neil has represented Finland, Holland and the UK during the course of his competitive career.

He also holds many titles including UK, British, Dutch, European and World Latin Champion.

On signing up to BBC's Strictly in 2016, he said: “As a British dancer I have grown up watching this amazing show, it is a massive honour…

"I am feeling pumped and excited to be part of the Strictly family.”

Neil has never been paired up with a celebrity but is a stand-by and performs in all the group numbers and the Strictly spin-off show It Takes Two.

Who is Neil Jones' wife Katya?

Neil joined Strictly in 2016 with his dancer wife Katya Jones, who was then paired with Ed Balls.

Katya and Neil first dated in 2008 after a chance meeting in Blackpool and they have been dancing together ever since.

The pair, who married in 2013, won the 2015 World Professional Latin Showdance Championship.

They are also four times undefeated British National Professional Champions.

When did Neil Jones' wife Katya kiss Seann Walsh?

Katya and Neil were hit by the "Strictly Curse" when Katya was pictured kissing her dance partner Seann Walsh in the street outside a pub.

Hours before the story broke, the married couple danced together on the show as part of a routine with other pro dancers.

An insider said: “It’s going to cause real ructions backstage not least because Katya and Neil have to work alongside each other week in, week out.

“It will be unbelievably awkward especially if Seann goes through to next week’s show.”

But Neil appeared to shrug off the controversy by posting a picture of his wife with Seann on Twitter.

He captioned it: “Wow last nights @bbcstrictly movie week was really epic and I’m really proud of @mrs_katjones and @seannwalsh Paso Doble. Great shapes and of course like always the choreography was on point.”

When is Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One?

The show is on every Saturday at 6.45pm on BBC One.

The results go out the following day on Sunday evening at 7.45pm.

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones shoots down report of pursuing Jason Witten reunion

ARLINGTON, Texas – Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin posted a career-best 56 yards and seven catches on seven targets.

Cowboys rookie tight end Dalton Schultz, too, had the best game of his young career, catching all three targets from Dak Prescott for 37 yards.

And Jason Witten?

No, the Cowboys will not bring back their former tight end, owner Jerry Jones said after Dallas’ 29-23 overtime win vs. Philadelphia. ESPN reported Sunday that Cowboys coach Jason Garrett had tried to lure Witten back on multiple occasions.

“That’s not correct,” Jones said. “That’s just not correct, period.

“Jason is not and he’s got his head down focused and his hands in the dirt, as he said, up there with 'Monday Night Football.' That’s where that is.”

Witten retired in May to become the station’s "Monday Night Football" color analyst after 15 years with Dallas. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo assumed CBS’ lead analyst role one season prior.

Witten has shouldered criticism for his broadcasts, from bungled words to rocky transitions with a four-person team (ESPN has Booger McFarland on the call in addition to two booth men and a sideline reporter). In his call of the Eagles-Redskins game last week, Witten slammed Washington for what he called “horrendous” judgment in the franchise's decision to claim linebacker Reuben Foster amid domestic violence allegations. Witten, who grew up with an abusive father, didn’t speak out in 2015 against the Cowboys signing defensive end Greg Hardy in a similar predicament. On Monday night, Witten was criticized for not clarifying the discrepancy. He later did in a tweet.

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Katya and Neil Jones announce new dance show after being axed from Strictly Come Dancing's official tour

Neil, 35, revealed that he and his wife had been snubbed – a week after it was confirmed that comic Seann Walsh had also been banned from the live tour following his and 29-year-old Katya's cheat scandal in October.

Taking to Instagram earlier today, Neil shared a poster for their new production Somnium: A Dancer's Dream.

Captioning the image, which sees him embracing the Russian beauty, Neil told his followers: "And here is the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

"Myself and @mrskatjones are excited to announce that #SOMNIUM: A Dancer's Dream, the explosive dance show, is coming to @Sadlers_Wells London 20-22 June 2019.

"Tickets are on sale now so follow the link in my bio to book your seat.

"P.S. It will make a fantastic Christmas gift."

The show has been choreographed by Neil and tells the familiar-sounding story of "a boy from Britain and a girl from Russia who met, fell in love and overcame the odds to become dance stars."

It will combine Latin and ballroom choreography, with the press release seemingly referencing the cheat scandal as it teases that the "path of love doesn't always run smoothly".

In an official statement, Neil and Katya admitted that "love is not perfect", sharing: "We all know that life and love is not perfect and as much we would like to say our journey together has been, you will be able to see first hand the real struggles of our life together on the road to becoming World Champions."

Katya and Neil's relationship came under scrutiny following Katya's shock snog with her celebrity Strictly partner at the start of this year's series of the show.

Following their sexy snog, Katya and Seann issued a grovelling apology before continuing like normal on the show.

They were eventually kicked off three weeks later – after insiders told The Sun Online that the atmosphere backstage had turned toxic.

However, Katya continually insisted that her marriage to Neil was not affected by the kiss and even admitted that she wanted to start a family with him.

Neil hasn't publicly commented on the scandal, although he did confess that he has had to "deal with a lot of s***" in a poignant Instagram post last month.


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Katya and Neil Jones snubbed from Strictly tour after Seann Walsh cheating scandal – one week after he's banned

Neil took to Instagram to share the news with fans, posting a photo of himself and his wife as he teased another "big announcement".

Sharing a snap of Katya, 29, pulling a funny face while he poses as normal, the 35-year-old hunk wrote: "Hi guys, so we won't be joining @strictlycomedancinglive but we will be joining the new Strictly pro tour in May and on top of that we have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!! coming tomorrow, I can't wait for you all to find out."

The married couple's snub comes just one week after it was revealed that BBC bosses banned love rat Seann from Strictly's live tour in order to protect the show's family-friendly image.

The 32-year-old contestant was caught snogging his professional dance partner Katya after a boozy night out in October.

A show insider told The Sun: "The Strictly tour is a really wholesome, family-friendly event.


"It’s all about good, clean fun and we don’t think that a man who snogs married women in the street fits that image."

The incident also prompted a toxic atmosphere backstage at Strictly, but show bosses hoped that the ban will put that to bed.

A BBC source said: "Strictly has always been proud of its family-friendly image.

"Seann brought the show into disrepute with his behaviour."


Neil and Katya's announcement comes after fellow pro dancer Karen Clifton confirmed that she had signed up – after being axed from ex-husband Kevin Clifton's show following their split last year.

Karen said that she was "super excited" to be going on the tour, also revealing that she'll be partnered with former cricketer Graeme Swann.

The news is no doubt an additional blow to Karen's celebrity partner Charles Venn, who expressed his disappointment at not joining the tour earlier today.

The pair were eliminated from the competition at the weekend – only just missing out on a place in this Saturday's semi-final.

After a fan tweeted that the tour wouldn't be the same without him, Charles replied with a sad emoji face, a prayer emoji and a black heart.

It is not currently know why Charles will not be on the tour, or whether he'd been asked to join by producers.

As well as Graeme, the celebs taking part in the 2019 production are Dr Ranj Singh, Lauren Steadman, Stacey Dooley, Joe Sugg, Ashley Roberts, and Faye Tozer.

Meanwhile, Alijaz Skorjanec, Pasha Kovalev, Janette Manrara, AJ Pritchard, Dianne Buswell, and Giovanni Pernice will be joining Karen as the professional dancers.


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