There’s a tantalising rumour doing the rounds of the Sydney TV industry today — that David Gyngell is returning to run the embattled Nine Network.

Gyngell was back in Sydney from the US last week for a special dinner for Eastern Suburbs Roosters Rugby League Club, where he received a life membership. He has been an enthusiastic supporter and fundraiser for the club for years.

During his time back here he reportedly had dinner with close friend James Packer, executive chairman of PBL Media, a dinner at which the Nine job was discussed.

According to the stories, the CEO’s role was offered and Gyngell accepted, with current CEO Eddie McGuire stepping down, with his CEO’s contract converted back to his old show/star contract with its $4 million a year payment.

This would allow Eddie to continue fronting 1 vs 100 and return to the AFL Footy Show in Melbourne.

The important thing is that the transition isn’t to look like Eddie being ”boned”.

According to the reports, Gyngell is putting together a ”dream team” with Mark Fennessy, formerly of Crackerjack and now running Fremantle in Australia. The pair was spotted lunching in Sydney earlier this week.

Fennessy is very well regarded in the TV world. Australian Idol , Neighbours and Australia’s Got Talent are some of his major programs, along with the Australia’s Brainiest series.

Rory Callaghan, a former Nine Network director of light entertainment and recently at Southern Star (and before that at Granada, where he developed Dancing With The Stars for Seven) is another who has been mentioned as being on Gyngell’s Dream team.

More importantly Gyngell, who walked out of Nine almost two years ago over the constant second guessing by PBL CEO, John Alexander, has reportedly won an agreement from James Packer that he reports directly to Packer.

Gyngell has been running the US operations of Granada for more than a year, and had close dealings with Nine last year over the average Dancing On Ice .

James Packer was in Sydney today at a Pay TV conference but according to this report , said nothing. 

McGuire said this monring he had a practice of not commenting on stories of this type, as always and wasn’t about to change his policy. Fennessy was unavailable for comment.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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