By Glenn Dyer

Who will run Nine (under Sam Chisholm of
course)? The punters’ favourite is Chris Taylor, CEO of Prime New
Zealand and 50% controlled by PBL. He’s a long-time Packer executive
who recently returned to the fold.

Taylor was a Nine ad sales
executive who rose to the rank of group sales manager by the age of 27.
In that slot you oversee $80-100 million of ad revenue a year. David
Leckie had this sort of background, as did Sam Chisholm.

Then there’s David Butorac, chief operating officer of Astro Television,
a satellite subscription, radio and distribution group in Malaysia who
previously had 14 years with BSykB, and is close to Chisholm. His name
was mentioned a few months ago as a replacement for when the wagons on
the third floor at Willoughby ran off the tracks.

Meanwhile, the pecking order has changed at Nine. John Lyons, EP of Sunday and Business Sunday,
will now have to be very nice to Jana Wendt. Lyons and Wendt haven’t
been seeing eye to eye. Jana and Sam are close: Sam parachuted her into
Sunday, and John Lyons knows that. Lyons is a John Alexander mate, but
Sam and Jana are closer. John Westacott would be resting a little
easier after the failure at ACA. His 60 Minutes had been rating gangbusters, but needs big cost cuts.

Ray
Martin would also be feeling a little happier. Chisholm and Alexander
are the reasons he was brought back to replace Mike Munro. But would
Ray want all the angst of fronting a show that’s being done like a
dinner? Midday to return? Surely not while Mornings With Kerri-Anne
is going so well. Brent Cubis is the CFO of Nine and a Packer insider,
but can he and Ian Audsley, Mick Morris’s replacement as the main
operating officer of the Nine Network, cut the costs the way Alexander
and Chisholm will demand?

David Gardiner is chief financial
officer of ACP and trusted by Packer, even though Alexander runs ACP.
I’d watch Gardiner closely. He’s not without ambition and ability at
cost control and cutting. Chisholm of course will also be overseeing
the 25% interest in Foxtel, the 33% of Sky News, where he’s chairman,
the half interest in Prime New Zealand and the 50% of Premier Media
group (Fox Sports). There’s a bloke at Premier called David Malone.
He’s a former Nine sales executive who has considerable experience in
the Pay TV business and is a trusted executive. He’s another to watch.
So four candidates, folks.

Or maybe even five. Eddie, anyone?

Peter Fray

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