After a year of self proclaimed abstinence, Peter Meakin, Seven Network’s head of News and Current Affairs, is back on the bottle – forking out a rumoured $300,000 for the rights to the Lincoln Hall story.

During the Nine Network’s winning assault to gain the Beaconsfield miners, Meakin was quoted as saying that Seven had “saved a million dollars” in the last year by not opening its chequebook. Three weeks later, Meakin has obviously located it, and made sure Seven beat Nine to a story that should equal that of the miners for endurance and drama.

Despite claims to the contrary, it seems the Seven Network’s Today Tonight will start showing pictures of the Australian climber atop of Mount Everest tonight.

Hall has been signed to Seven after discussions between Meakin and celebrity manager Harry M Miller, while some of Hall’s friends have been claiming there was no deal with Miller. The SMHreports: “Simon Balderstone today denied media reports Mr Miller was working on behalf of Mr Hall, who is currently in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, recovering from cerebral oedema and pulmonary oedema … According to a report today, Mr Miller brokered a $300,000 deal with the Seven Network for exclusive rights to broadcast footage taken during the ordeal. But Mr Balderstone, who travelled to Kathmandu with Mr Hall’s wife Barbara Scanlan, said his friend had appointed Ways and Means Consultancy.”

A Seven spokesman confirmed the network had the deal with Hall and that the first report was due to be shown on Today Tonight tonight. It will show Hall and other climbers atop of Mt Everest.