In a series of conflicting statements, Alan Jones was given the shove yesterday with the news that he’ll warble his last sermon for Nine’s Today Show on June 15.

Some PBL Media sources said the move had nothing to do with cost cutting or with changes planned at Today, but Nine’s News and Current Affairs head, Gary Linnell, said that the Jones decision was linked to changes coming up at Today in the next couple of weeks.

Could Jones, whose image hasn’t improved since the publication of Chris Masters’ book Jonestown, be on the way out? His departure from Nine won’t be missed and is part of an emerging trend in Sydney of him being ignored or treated less deferentially by politicians and others.

Meanwhile a Nine staffer says that rather than $350,000 a year for Sydney newsreader, Mark Ferguson, try $800,000 a year.

And, Mike Munro, the former A Current Affair host and reluctant traveller, gets $500,000 because he refused to work five days a week. He reads weekend news and the odd 60 Minutes story.

Tracy Grimshaw’s salary would also be closer to $600,000 a year than $350,000. Her salary went up, but the ratings for A Current Affair have gone down.

Nine’s Sydney News director, John Choueifate, is earning around $400,000 a year and there are two reporters in the Sydney newsroom who were getting $300K a year, although there was a bit of slashing of reporters salaries last year.

Sunday co-host Ellen Fanning is a cost saving in her own right. She asked and got $300K a year to host Nightline (indifferently) before being asked to host Sunday. Did she get more for that gig?

Her Sunday co-host, Ross Greenwood, another cost-saving, is on more than $300,000 a year, thanks to a deal with PBL CEO, John Alexander. Sunday is losing money and ratings.

A comparison between salaries at Seven and Nine still has Nine well ahead. Seven are now miserly compared to what they were paying newsroom staff a few years ago.

Take Mark Llewellyn, who’s paid around $400,000 to $450,000 at Seven but he was on $750,000 at Nine in his brief time at the head of the network’s news and current affairs pile.

And how much is Gary Linnell on as network news and current affairs boss? You can bet a lot more than the Sydney News Director. And John Lyons, the EP of Sunday.

At least 60 Minutes executive producer John Westacott is being paid more than $400K a year to oversee a very successful program. Nine’s other news and current affairs shows are failures: Sunday, ACA and the news.

Know of an overfed TV porker? Got details of their pay slip? Send us what you know to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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