The ABC really likes to keep things ‘in house’ so to speak, just like the privately owned and more commercial media groups look to outside friends and ‘mates,’ former employees especially, to help find senior executives and deals.

Take the search for a new head of ABC TV. The job was advertised for the first time in the media in Australia late last week and the search group is Braithwaite Steiner Pretty Executive Search. Sounds impressive and here’s the website.

Julie Steiner is given as the contact for anyone interested. She’s an old ABC executive, having run the ABC Enterprises business, as well as being involved in the failed Australian Information Media, its Pay TV News channel called The News Channel, that was killed off 10 years ago. Steiner then went on to run another Australian media business, the IMAX theatres business, that in the end was also unsuccessful.

Now she’s in the head hunting business and has already featured in a Senate Estimates Hearing on the ABC back in early 2001. Meanwhile, there are a couple of more names out and about for the job vacated earlier this month by Sandra Levy.

There’s Sue Masters, now at Ten (with her Mary Bryant drama extravaganza to come soon on that network). She’s a former ABC executive and is part of the fabled Masters family (the late Olga plus Roy, Deb and Chris).

The other name, amazingly, is Chris Noble, currently in charge of Southern Star Endemol, the producers of Big Brother and Deal or No Deal for Ten and Seven respectively.

One person who it won’t be is Andrew Brooke, the head of Grundy Television in Australia. He’s resigning early next year but will remain as a consultant to Grundy. (Neighbours, Temptation etc).

Most tantalising of all is the surprise move of former Nine executive Rory Callaghan from Granada to Southern Star Endemol as creative director.

That would make him a key decision maker for next year’s Big Brother. He would have been recruited by Chris Noble, an old workmate and boss at Nine under David Leckie.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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