Tomorrow night at the Docklands Film Studios in Melbourne, there’ll be a gathering of a few selected journalists, 101 contestants, a huge set and one host — Nine CEO Eddie McGuire.

It will be the first of a number of recordings over the next couple of weeks as Nine tapes all the episodes it requires for a new game show, 1 vs. 100, which has emerged as one of the two new programs the struggling network is banking on to lift its audience numbers this year (the other is the very expensive Sea Patrol drama).

The mass taping of the new program will be completed before ratings start on February 11 and this will then allow Eddie to continue in his current role of CEO of Nine. If the program doesn’t rate well (considered unlikely at this stage by TV industry people) Eddie will have to “bone” himself.

At the moment the show is slated to slot into Monday nights at 8.30pm. Eddie knows that slot very well and could find his way to it blindfolded, after hosting Who Wants To be A Millionaire. The fact that he is returning to hosting raises the question of why Nine didn’t reactivate Millionaire. It would’ve been a cheaper option and that’s what PBL Media and James Packer is all about: cheap, profitable TV.

The new program is expensive, demands high costs for the format and a huge set which is so large that Nine couldn’t record the program at GTV 9. Instead they rented the Docklands Film Studios: another cost.

Yesterday was Eddie McGuire’s first day back on the job after a short break and he was greeted by a string of reports that he would be up for the hosting of 1 vs. 100

And today the Daily Telegraph‘s Sydney Confidential reported that Foxtel’s senior executive Brian Walsh told the paper he’d rejected an offer to join the Nine management team. Nine spinners were rejecting the reports that an offer had been made to Walsh but there he goes and confirms it!

Walsh said he was committed to Foxtel and he was recovering from a serious knee injury. But being a TV industry veteran Walsh would also know the lack of power executives such as Eddie McGuire have in the day to day running of Nine. The salary offered to Walsh was reported at around $1.2 million a year for a job which would’ve effectively made him the head of Nine but with no power.

Eddie reports to Ian Law, the CEO of PBL Media, Chris Anderson, the deputy chairman of PBL and board member of PBL Media and John Alexander, the CEO of PBL and the executive chairman of PBL Media.

Anderson is a quiet tip to move across to Nine should Eddie opt for the quiet life in front of the camera: if that happens watch the reporting lines change.

Peter Fray

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