It is now easy to understand why Nine pulled the plug on
its attempt to stop former Nine News and Current Affairs Director,
Mark Llewellyn, from leaving for the Seven network. The affidavit sworn by Llewellyn in
the Seven v Nine case last Friday contains dynamite claims that will
embarrass Eddie McGuire, his deputy, Jeff Browne, CEO of PBL
John Alexander and the Packer company generally.

In it Llewellyn claims Alexander tried to get Llewellyn to do a story attacking Seven owner, Kerry Stokes, in response to a Today
story on Seven attacking James Packer, the chairman of
PBL. Llewellyn also details his difficult
and at times odd relationship with Eddie McGuire and Jeff Browne after they
demoted him and dropped his $750,000 a year salary to $400,000 to allow Bulletin editor, Gary Linnell, to take his

His claim makes clear that McGuire and Browne treat the management of
Nine like a football club. Another demonstration of the footy club
culture occurred when Llewellyn was present at a discussion during
which he alleges McGuire asked if it was time to “bone” Jessica Rowe:
the Today Show host who is struggling in her role.

Llewellyn claims that he was told by
Sam Chisholm, a Nine
lawyer and another person separately to keep notes of conversations he
had with McGuire, Alexander and others. He also details a warning by
Sam Chisholm, the man who made him News and Current Affairs chief, that
“Your life is going to be a nightmare. You are going to have to watch
your back. The truth is they will want to bump you off and stick [John]
Lyons [EP of Sunday] in”.

Llewellyn also gives details on his
attempt to remove John Lyons as EP of Sunday and says the decision was overruled
by John Alexander. All this and more helps explain not
only why Nine abandoned the action but also why they agreed to pay Seven’s costs and those
of Llewellyn.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey