It’s either all happening inside PBL after the death of Kerry Packer or
nothing is happening, depending on who you believe. The one
certainty we do know is that the poor public communications and intense
privacy which typifies Packer family dealings is simply adding to all
the speculation.

Crikey was informed by a normally reliable Packer observer yesterday
that Graham Richardson had been sent packing with a $2 million payout
and John Lyons had also been punted from Channel Nine by Sam Chisholm.

The Richo rumour was contested by one of his close mates and you could
still leave a message for his secretary at the ConsPress Park Street
office this morning. He was definitely still on the payroll when he
took off on holiday with his wife just before Christmas, although
ASIC’s crucial court win yesterday to secure 12 folders of Swiss bank account records certainly won’t improve Richo’s appeal to James Packer.

However, it does appear that John Lyons was indeed removed as executive
producer of Sunday and Business Sunday yesterday. It was
Mark Llewellyn who fired the bullet with the blessing of Sam Chisholm,
although the longstanding close relationship between PBL CEO John
Alexander and John Lyons means he’ll probably be looked after within the broader empire.

The well-respected Peter Hiscock is the new man in charge of Sunday and Business Sunday and his appointment has been widely welcomed.

The media is all over the question of a new CEO for Channel Nine, with
Eddie McGuire’s candidacy just adding to the feverish speculation. The Herald Sun got some grabs
from Eddie after the funeral of Sophie Heathcote yesterday but even he was
loath to offer any meaningful comment. Those who think Sam Chisholm is
on the outer would have been interested to hear Eddie say that “any
comment on these things must come from James Packer or John Alexander.”

Apart from US-based nephew Francis Packer’s comments to The Australian
on January 6, no individual member of the Packer family has yet spoken
publicly about Kerry’s death although we’re promised some reflection
from wife Ros and daughter Gretel in February’s Women’s Weekly.

So is there a sense of paralysis or is it business as usual inside PBL?
One thing’s for certain, the PBL webmaster is still asleep because
despite Crikey mentioning this a week ago, the PBL website still lists Kerry Packer as executive deputy chairman.

Similarly, Hugo Kelly broke the news of David Broadbent’s departure from Nine News
in Melbourne more than a month ago but the popular political veteran
still finds himself profiled on the NineMSN website as he starts to spend his redundancy money.

Peter Fray

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