Why does the disgraced Steve Vizard keep popping up on the Nine Network?
In May, Vizard reared his head at the Logies in the guise of Darryl, the campy steward from Fast Forward. More recently he appeared as a commentator on the Channel Nine’s 50 Years, 50 Stars (the network stopped short of including him in the top 50).
As a Crikey tip asked yesterday: “Is Eddie McGuire trying to help Steve Vizard restore his tarnished reputation?”
One thing’s certain, Kerry Packer would have never allowed it. In 1991, the year that Vizard won the Gold Logie at the Seven Network, he started confidential discussions with Kerry Packer to move to the Nine Network.
Vizard’s five-year contract with Seven, based on a $1 million a year retainer, had just ended. He negotiated a lucrative contract with the Big Fella (reportedly valued at $15 million), they shook hands on it, then Vizard took the contract back to Seven and used it to do the biggest TV deal of his life – and stay at Seven.
Packer was furious and banned Vizard from appearing on Nine again.
But since KP’s death in December last year, the resurrection of Vizard on Nine has begun under the stewardship of CEO Eddie McGuire – who once described Vizard as an “old mate” in his Herald Sun column. (In 2001, Crikey criticised Eddie the conflict king for plugging Vizard in The Hez).
Vizard was a partner of McGuire in failed online venture Sportsview.com.au. He was also a loud supporter of one of McGuire’s pet causes, the Australian Republican movement.
Kerry Packer’s death – and McGuire’s new position at Nine – was the start of Steve Vizard’s new life.