Eddie McGuire has been an expensive failure: being paid $4 million a year under a contract that will continue for another five years. The 2006 PBL annual report said Eddie’s total pay was $4.7 million (with extras, such as a $250,000 moving allowance to come to Sydney).
And what did the Nine Network get for that? Lower profits (although others have to share in the blame, from James Packer, to John Alexander) and the narrowest ratings win in history – 0.1% in 2006 as it scrambled home over a resurgent and more profitable Seven.
But this year it has been a disaster, and Nine failed the most basic test of all: viewers didn’t want to watch.
By midnight this Saturday, Nine will have lost all 12 weeks of official ratings, and the two Easter ‘non-rating’ weeks as well in what is its worst ever performance (and Seven’s best for that matter). All on McGuire’s watch.
Nine has done badly. Its earnings have suffered, its ratings have suffered and there is no way out unless Seven tanks and hands the advantage back to Willoughby.
But that’s not likely to happen. Too many experienced Nine hands are at Seven, people forced out by the Packers and John Alexander, the real culprits in the network’s long decline.
So what will happen post Eddie? Nothing much will change and the Nine Network will be just as leaderless as it has been for the past three years, except there will be one person less in management who has a decent understanding of TV.