Former
Today show host, Steve Liebmann certainly
got a good run commenting on the fortunes of his old
program under new hosts Karl Stefanovic and Jessica
Rowe.

Basically Liebmann told Nine to stop making Today like a
clone of Seven’s successful Sunrise and to chase its own identity and hold
the line.

It’s
not the first time such a comment has been made, but the
Network seems intent on trying to make Today more light and bright and move it
away from the news grounding it had under Liebmann and
his various co-hosts, who included Sue Kellaway, Liz
Hayes and Tracy Grimshaw.

But
what then are we to make of a recent “rev-up” Eddie gave the on-air and
production staff of Today at Nine? Apparently he wasn’t complementary about the quality of
the program or its content, calling it “cr*p” and saying it completely lacked any kind of
spontaneity and would never get anywhere unless they “started to look like they
were enjoying themselves and having fun”. Eddie also told the
main players to “stop reading the autocue” and “start
ad-libbing”. All in all his commentary left the talent and
producers a bit dazed and confused.

Eddie seems to be saying the same sort of
things to his staff that Steve Liebmann told AAP and yet The Australianreports:

Liebmann’s
comments were dismissed last night by Nine chief
executive Eddie McGuire, who said the Today hosts were new and needed time. “Anyone who knows breakfast television
knows it takes a while to settle in,” he said. “My advice to Karl and Jessica
has been to ignore the critics and enjoy it.” Liebmann’s
comments were disappointing, McGuire said – “but tell Steve we’ve read the
fridge magnet and we’re alert but not alarmed”.

No wonder they are a confused lot at
Today.

The
AAP coverage on Liebmann’s comments was on the Ninemsn website yesterday (half-owned by
Nine’s parent, PBL) but this morning it doesn’t exist – not an unexpected decision given the increasing
sensitivity at Nine to criticism.

Peter Fray

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