Stand by for a flurry of media horse trading, as Chanel No 9 explains…

October is almost gone and it’s time for the media two step to begin. An ego there, a clause here, a dash of rejection and a hissy fit or three. It’s the great end of year media musical chairs, especially in television.

We have already seen the ABC kill off Rewind and all who sailed in her. And at Seven Today Tonight has got a new National Executive Producer in former Nine heavy, Neil Mooney.

So this morning in the Sunday papers we have Richard Carleton over on Nine’s 60 Minutes getting all snaky about Paul Barry joining the tick tick tickers next year.

Why now when it’s been known for months that Barry is coming on board? Well 60 Minutes started talking about next year’s schedule of stories. This year is already done with around five weeks of official ratings to go. There are contracts to re-sign or extend. There’s the usual jostling for precedence among the established egos.

Standby, there’s more to come, especially at Nine where they have to sort out the host of A Current Affair, Today and confirm Jim Waley in the 6pm Sydney news chair. Waley is reportedly not happy at the moment at the falling age profile of reporters in the Sydney news room, and among his producers.

At 60 Minutes, our Dickie of the East Timor Hamper fame, is all upset at Barry who readers will remember, accused Dickie of plagiarism in reporting a story from Bosnia years ago. That occurred when Barry was fronting the ABC’s Media Watch. He claimed Dickie and 60 Minutes had merely pinched the idea from a British feature on the same horrific massacre. A long, expensive and fruitless legal case followed. Dickie claims he won with a no plagiarism ruling from the judge, but Barry claims he won because the Carleton (and others)defamation action failed and Nine picked up the 6-figure costs.

Barry went to 60 Minutes after departing ACA by mutual agreement, but he had a clause allowing him to work at 60 Minutes.

Costs on Tick, Tick, Tick will rise when both come onboard. Or perhaps they won’t if Peter Overton moves to another program. News, ACurrent Affair or Today anyone?

Over at Seven, there’s a story in the Murdoch Sundays saying Georgie Parker, almost 40 and looking good, has decided not to renew for All Saints next year. Now that would be a blow for Seven and the program, which has been revitalised after undergoing a revamp earlier in the year.

But Parker will be in some episodes next year, which are already being shot, and will be back to shoot more. She also takes a break for a theatre outing.

If Parker leaves, then that is going to be a loss, but Seven would hope it is like Blue Heelers which has survived the loss of Lisa McCune to Coles and Forensic Investigators. All Saints, like Blue Heelers has been changed to place less emphasis on Parker.

But her loss would still hurt, unlike Dickie Carleton leaving 60 Minutes, which would, in many viewers’ minds, be a positive.

And cross town at Park Street where the ACP arm of PBL lurks, there’s news that Deborah Hutton will no longer be the face of the Australian Women’s Weekly after this week.

Talk is of an ACP announcement this week (aired today in the Fairfax media) that Hutton will be concentrating more on an editorial role. Editor At Large and all that! Special Projects anyone? Seems her Kmart range of named home wares upset the powers that be at ACP. Why? Afterall, her deal is sort of inhouse. Kmart is part of Coles Myer and ACP does publish the Coles supermarkets magazine, as well as the one for Woolies.

But perhaps a factor might have been a story a week ago in the same gossip column in the Fairfax Sun-Herald that outlined Hutton’s living arrangement and friendship with a former Australian women’s hockey player. A photograph of Hutton and her friend accompanied the story in what was a fairly pointed jibe.

Not helping Hutton is the Christian name she shares with the AWW editor, Deborah Thomas, and the confusion that causes about who is primus inter girlie at the magazine. Thomas is also a connected player at ACP.

And Nine’s version of Australian Idol and Popstars, called Shooting Stars may have Farnsie and our Livie fronting it, but then again it might not. It’s based on the pommie program Stars in the Eyes, and will be a ‘me-too’ to put Nine into the battleground of local TV next year. The weekly talent-based search for a star type of effort that has made Australian Idol and Seven’s Dancing with the Stars such big successes this year.

Nine certainly moves with all deliberate speed. Its program might make it to the screen just when the public’s appetite for such programs starts to wane or plateaus and the Network finds it tough to make head way. They really should have had the idea on air this year!