So where are the cost constraints at Nine? There’s been a lot written and spoken by Eddie and his PBL bosses that profits are in and ratings are out.

Certainly cost was why Nine management wouldn’t authorise the sending to north Queensland on Sunday of SNG (Satellite News Gathering) gear (a plane would have had to be hired for it) when it was first suggested.

Nine eventually sent one Monday afternoon – the poor weather had prevented one from being sent earlier which would have positioned the network to match the pictures Seven showed Monday morning on Sunrise and in its morning news.

Nine was forced to rely on the generosity of the ABC to use one of their SNG units at Mission beach with a pooling of vision and costs. Newsrooms in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, A Current Affair, Today and other programs were all hurt by this act of penny pinching.

Nine’s Queensland regional affiliate, WIN has moved to a complex server-based news gathering and editing system (internet based) that has seen video playout points in north Queensland closed by Telstra because they are not being used.

So it’s no wonder Nine staff have greeted with amazement news that more changes are underway on the third floor of the Nine Network’s Willoughby HQ.

The much talked about move by publicity from the second to the third floor (which is executive row) is off. This idea was pushed through by former CEO, Sam Chisholm. It is another one of his ideas that has bitten the dust at Nine. Work has seen the space cleared and prepared, but it has now stopped.

The plot was that publicity would be next to programming and provide better liaison for the teams lead by executives, head programmer, Michael Healy and Publicity Director, Jamie Campbell.

But no longer: the explanation is that newish CEO, Eddie McGuire (AM) wants the space for new executives he plans to hire.

One new executive is his manager, AFL executive and lawyer, Jeff Browne, who helped negotiate Eddie’s package for the top job at the Network. News of Browne’s appointment seeped out of the AFL late Thursday.

The other is Cos Cardone, head of Nine’s AFL coverage and the AFL Footy Show and someone who is close to Eddie McGuire as a result.m Cardone is coming to Sydney as director of Light Entertainment for the network.

The previous director of Light Entertainment, sacked last year by Sam Chisholm, was Glenn Pallister. He’s now at TWI and involved in the coverage of the Commonwealth Games. Pallister moved to the third floor from running the NRL Footy Show.

Staff wonder if the news of the new executive hires are linked to the fact Sandra Levy has left Nine for good and that the story of her remaining a “consultant” was a convenient “cover story”. Eddie has now left one female senior executive go and hired two males, both mates. Says something about the way Nine and PBL is run.

Peter Fray

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