According to the CEO of the Nine Network, Sam Chisholm,
Mark Llewellyn, the new Network News and Current Affairs Director for the
Network is “an outstanding young
executive and accomplished news and current affairs producer.”

And “he
brings much-needed vigour and creativity to our news
and current affairs output,” Mr Chisholm said in this statement. That’s an interesting commentary on Nine’s current output of news and current
affairs during a time when Mark Llewellyn has been responsible for flagship program 60 Minutes.

Is
Mr Chisholm saying that this “much needed vigour” has been absent from 60 Minutes this year? Certainly
not so far as the ratings are concerned, but from
content? Nine
would argue it doesn’t matter with the ratings the best they’ve been for a year
or two, but some of the stories?

Likewise at A Current Affair.
Lacking in vigour? Perhaps.
Content? Well yes, but it is just as bad as Today
Tonight
. And, besides, Mark Llewellyn had his time at ACA and didn’t change things. In fact
ratings struggled. And then he moved to 60 Minutes.

Sunday program? Just last
Sunday it had two fine stories and a good interview. Business Sunday?
Nothing a change of personnel among the reporters wouldn’t fix. In both
cases the presenters are fine. Bigger budgets would help, not that that will
happen with Ian Audsley hacking and slashing in a way that makes his
time at the Seven Network look lightweight.

Today? Couldn’t agree more, but
there are bigger fish to fry at ACA before Today should be changed, although if
they are going to change hosts at Nine on Today, then it has to be done cleanly
and with some sense and purpose.

News lacking vigour? Sydney certainly. Melbourne, no, but needs to watch itself.
Brisbane? At the moment it’s Nine’s most successful news operation. Nightline? Well, the most “vigorous
or creative” thing Mark Llewellyn can do is to have a fight with the programmers
and Sam Chisholm about anchoring it to a fixed time to give the program and
presenter a chance to be seen and appreciated, or rejected.

Creativity? Well, 60 Minutes has
been quite fixed most of this year, a serious story, sometimes a second local
yarn a bit softer, and a flirt or lightweight star promotional interview
package, followed by some commentary and letters by Peter Harvey trying to turn
into an Andy Rooney type commentator.

Compared to the period 1978 to 1986 with producers like
Warren McStoker, Gerald Stone, Andrew Haughton, John
Little and talent like Ray Martin, George Negus, Jana Wendt, Jeff McMullen and
Ian Leslie, the current lot are pretty lacklustre and
dull. Not a creative spark among the lot of them!