So why did Network Eddie launch the legal action in the first place to try and stop Mark Llewellyn from leaving for the Seven network?

Did Jeff “Buckets” Browne have anything to do with the abortive attempt late Thursday for an ex-parte injunction to stop Llewellyn’s move and then the farce in the NSW Supreme Court Friday as Nine lawyers claimed Llewellyn was cool with the new arrangement?

Browne is a lawyer and the second in charge to Eddie at Nine. His forte is legal contracts: after the Mark Llewellyn case I’d be getting a second opinion if I was Eddie.

It’s all well and good posturing and threatening to stop someone, it’s another thing to spend several thousand dollars trying to and then to abjectly drop the action several hours after appearing in court. But that’s what happened.

Saturday’s Weekend Australian reported that “The backdown came after Mark Llewellyn, who signed with Seven this week, filed an affidavit that is believed to have referred to private conversations with Mr McGuire. Sources indicated one conversation involved the potential sacking of Today show host Jessica Rowe.

“A source said that according to Llewellyn’s version of events, Mr McGuire said he was prepared to consider removing Rowe, despite being advised by Llewellyn that Rowe’s husband, 60 Minutes reporter Peter Overton, might also leave the network.

“Rowe’s future has been the subject of speculation as the Today show has struggled to put a dent in the audiences attracted to Seven’s Sunrise program.”

So, Nine was seeking an urgent injunction Thursday to prevent Llewellyn beginning work at Seven next week; in court Friday and then folding up its tent and walking Friday night.

Not only to Nine slide away from the case late Friday but it agreed to pay Seven’s costs and those of Llewellyn. That’s a sure sign of being a loser in these types of legal cases.

Meanwhile Llewellyn is understood to be but one of a number of Nine news and current affairs staff consulting lawyers over the increasing scrambled redundancy offers that Nine was supposed to have sorted by Friday.

Nine is looking for 100 job cuts and there are some sign that it will get around 80 offers from staff, meaning there might have to be up to 20 forced redundancies. That’s sure to further strain staff-management relations at Willoughby.

Further announcements are due today, along with Garry Linnell attending the Bulletin Magazine’s swish lunch at Machiavelli restaurant to reveal the winner of his magazine’s quest to find Australia’s 100 most influential people.

The quest has been sponsored by Nivea Cream for Men.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey