As the cost-cutting and job losses continue
at Nine, one decision will test interim CEO Sam Chisholm’s commitment
to cost control. D-time looms at 60 Minutes and within the next two months the axe will fall on a number of individuals.

The
trigger is likely to be Chisholm’s decision on the contract of John
Westacott, the senior EP at Nine who’s nominally in charge of 60 Minutes.

A number of people are said to be under threat, including a couple of senior producers. 60 Minutes
has six on-air reporters, more than a dozen producers and around four
or five producers at head office. When it started under Chisholm back
in the late 70s it had three on-air reporters, five producers, two
assistant producers and two head office producers.

The program has done very well this year; audiences are up and there’s little opposition from other programs.

Other programs have been encouraged to lose staff positions: The Sunday program lost casual producer Christopher Zinn and A Current Affair lost Melbourne reporter Scott Bevan in early July, and a producer late last week.

But
whatever Sam does, he will be putting his mark on Nine’s current
affairs culture just as he asserted control over the news by removing
Max Uechtritz as News boss in Sydney.

Peter Fray

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