Two more names have been added to the list of contenders for the top
job at ABC TV. The first disclosed was Denise Eriksen and now Shaun
Brown, head of Television at SBS, and the head of the ABC’s Asia
Pacific Service, Ian Carroll, have emerged as contenders.

Ian
Carroll has worked for both the ABC and the Nine Network (at the Today show in
the mid 80s) and he’s married to Geraldine Doogue, an
influential broadcaster at the ABC on both TV and radio. His
decision comes as the tender for the Asia Pacific Service, which is paid for by DFAT, closed Friday. The
$18.5 million a year contract is being chased by the ABC and Sky News (owned by News Ltd, the Seven Network and the Nine
Network).

Besides
wanting to be a genuine contender, it also looks as if Carroll is signalling that he’s not
expecting the ABC to retain the Asia Pacific Service contract.

Meanwhile Shaun Brown, SBS’s
New Zealand-born head of TV, is considered to be something of an inside
runner. At the
moment he’s acting Managing Director of SBS in the wake of Nigel Milan’s departure but perhaps
he believes he won’t be chosen to run the SBS or wants to move on to a bigger playpen.

The ABC
is thought unlikely to go for another senior female executive after Levy. Not
because of any bad experience, but because there’s now a preponderance of women
executives in the senior ranks of the ABC. But should Brown get the gig, there’ll be one unhappy
camper: Margaret Pomeranz, the well-respected former SBS film reviewer
who jumped to the ABC with her reviewing partner, David Stratton.

Here’s
some comments from an ABC radio Media Report which
was aired late last year:

POMERANZ: I think
that the current management talks the talk but they don’t walk the walk. I think
they talk about cutting edge, and I don’t really think they know the meaning of
it…

I
think Shaun Brown, Glenys, Matt all believe they’re doing the right thing. I cannot
agree with them. I think Shaun lived in New Zealand, and really had no
concept of what SBS was all about. When I
first met him, he told me that he’d been stuck in a hotel for three days,
looking at SBS while he was waiting for his second interview, and he was
absolutely bored to tears by what he saw, until The Movie Show came on, and it
happened to be that year’s IF Awards, and he was entertained. Well a cold shiver
went up my back, because we’ve got some pretty fine documentaries that were
responding to in increasing numbers. I don’t think it’s Shaun’s sort of
television station, to tell you the truth.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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