Did Eddie McGuire quit as Nine’s CEO because he didn’t want to wear the odium for another round of cost and staff cuts?
From his comments last Friday, Eddie believes the Nine Network’s future is on the up and up. As he told Neil Mitchell on 3AW:
You know, from a financial point of view we had to hit some benchmarks, and we’ve been able to do them easily. So I’m, that’s why I’m happy to leave at this stage, because we’ve got everything in order as far as the finances are concerned at the network.
And I think there’ll be some more changes coming. And, you know, I think in the next few months more things will come apparent, and will make this decision even more sensible.
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The fact that it became far more about financial, not management, but almost mechanics in recent times, you know, isn’t exactly what I wanted to do as a focus, but that’s the nature of the beast, and that’s where television is going, and you know, you’ve got to be realistic about these things.
But Nine sources say the real story is that Nine has another round of restructurings, cost cuts and job losses coming as the end of the financial year approaches.
Ratings are falling, revenues are falling as a result and although costs are falling, the network isn’t performing as PBL Media CEO, Ian Law and his boss, PBL Media Executive chairman, John Alexander, wants it to perform. Ian Law is all about cutting Nine to fit whatever shape Alexander wants.
Not only are program budgets being sliced but programs are being assessed to see if it worth keeping them on air.
That would include the various news broadcasts during the day, Today Show, A Current Affair, Nightline, Sunday and a number of sports programs. Nine can’t get rid of Australian drama, its children’s programming or sport covered by the anti-siphoning rules.
Eddie didn’t want to be a part of this. He was badly scarred by the sacking of 85 people under his name in June 2006, which was announced in a press release which outlined how Nine’s News and Current Affairs were going to be revitalised by the appointment of Gary Linnell as head of News and Current Affairs, replacing Mark Llewellyn, who was demoted.
That was enough for Eddie. He wasn’t taking responsibility for another round of cuts.