Tonight’s Footy Show appearance by Todd Russell and Brant Webb could be a double-edged sword to
their hopes of extracting the best possible deal for their story.

Nine Network chief Eddie McGuire cleverly out-manoeuvred his
rivals when he convinced the pair to appear in a special edition of
the Footy
tonight which will feature a benefit concert for workers at the Beaconsfield Gold
Mine. But it’s a moot point whether the appearance is in the best interests of the pair, who are yet to appoint managers.

According to Seven’s news and public affairs boss, Peter Meakin, the
appearance could erode the commercial value of any exclusive deal the
miners sign, a deal which some believe could be worth up to $6 million.

“I don’t believe the $6m figure. I also don’t
believe any deal has been done yet – not according to Eddie anyway”, Meakin told
Crikey. “The story is worth a lot but not as much as some of the published
stories suggest. Clearly, if the miners talk at any length on the
Footy Show any deal will be less attractive.”

The miners are going to have to walk a fine line to make the most of tonight’s appearance.
If they talk too much, the value of any exclusive is diminished. But if they
clam up and come across as “logs” (the TV industry term for people who lack charisma on-air) their value as
marketable on-air talent will also plummet.

Meanwhile, Australia’s middlemen were scrambling this morning for the miners’ signatures, despite claims in The Mercury that a local Tasmanian lawyer has been appointed to represent them.
Harry M Miller, Max
Markson and concert promoter Paul Dainty have been mentioned in reports
as possible suitors. Meakin had been aware that Miller was in
yesterday but had since left.

“Harry Miller is no longer in Tasmania and at this
stage I don’t believe the families have appointed an agent”, said Meakin this morning. “I don’t
know what Max and Paul are up to. I have heard Max’s name mentioned as a
possible agent.”