Eddie McGuire completed his great backdown in the saga of Collingwood’s ill-fated attempt to ban Channel Seven yesterday, and this was duly noted at the end of Today Tonight last night.

Today Tonight executive producer Neil Mooney milked it for all the publicity it was worth, doing five radio interviews. Channel Ten in Melbourne even ran the story as its third lead in Melbourne last night, although Nine and Seven left it alone.

While the original program was watched by a healthy one million-plus on Friday night, all Eddie achieved with his 24-hour ban was to draw further attention to the embarrassing Today Tonight story, which can be read in full on our site here.

Collingwood is now also talking about reaching a quick resolution with the City of Yarra over the $10.7 million clean up bill for Victoria Park, but when you read the comments by mayor Kay Meadows, this also looks like a climb down as she told Today Tonight the Magpies had walked out, paid no money and were refusing to communicate with the council.

While the whole saga was a clear PR win for Seven, Today Tonight is not looking so clever over Naomi Robson’s spoof interview with Mooney last Friday in which he claimed to be “Martin Surley” (geddit?) from Nine and admitted to copying stories, paying criminals and other such tabloid television offences.

As Amanda Meade correctly pointed out in her Diary column in today’s Australian, Mooney is no saint when it comes to grubby tactics. Who can forget the $100,000 Seven paid to security guard Karen Brown, as the man formerly known as Terry Television explained in this package from the Crikey archive.

Peter Fray

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