Shaun Brown is the new chief executive of
SBS. Brown has been acting head of SBS since Nigel Milan stepped down
in August and he’s also head of SBS TV, which means that SBS joins the ABC
in searching for a talented person to run its TV business. Paul
Cutler, the head of SBS News and Current Affairs, a Brown recruit, is a
candidate to replace him.
has been something of a divisive person at SBS. Programming director
Rod Webb left after a disagreement, and some people objected to the
“commercial” approach Brown brought from New Zealand’s TVNZ.
The hosts of The Movie Show,
David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz, were the most high profile on air
people to leave when they bolted to the ABC. Here’s what Pomeranz told
the Media Report on ABC Radio National late last year:
I think that the current management has a much more
commercial bent than any previous management. They seem to be after the
young female demographic, and I worry about this, because this is a
demographic already catered to in excess on the commercial television
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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.
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.