By Glenn Dyer

Like David Gyngell, Don Burke hasn’t gone
quietly after being sacked by the former Nine CEO late last year.
Gyngell made more appearances in weekend newspapers, while Burke has
been sighted all over the TV industry. And tonight he pops up on Andrew
Denton’s Enough Rope on ABC TV. Gyngell decided late last year not to renew the contract for Burke’s Backyard, after 17 years on TV, a move Burke tonight claims cost Nine its ratings lead this year.

From
leaks of quotes from the interview, Burke has not extended the hand of
friendship to Gyngell. During the interview, which was recorded late
last week, Burke was asked how he felt about the departure of Gyngell.
He replied: “… it probably indicates there’s a chance of maybe
getting Burke’s Backyard back – I mean we’ve been hoping we’d get it back.”

While
Burke is hopeful of being restored to past glory, wags in the industry
say Nine should also be looking at returning old stalwarts like The Young Doctors, The Sullivans and Paul Hogan.
But Burke knows where to lob the butter with this quote: “Kerry Packer
offered me a friendship and I declined.” And this one: “Sam Chisholm is
God. He is the God of Television as far as I am concerned.” And: “James
Packer is a stunning human being … He genuinely cares about people.”

Talk about sucking up. Burke’s Backyard replacement, Our Place
has sunk in the ratings, down to 721,000, which is around 300,000 under
its opening audience. Don’s old show would certainly have done better.
When it was canned, its average audience was sitting at around 1.1
million. How many times a week would you like Burke’s Backyard to run, Don?