The demise of the Nine Network’s disaster, The Catch-Up might have caused the “retirement” of Mia Freedman from PBL Media, but others should be taking the rap.

It’s the old, old story in TV, shove the blame down the food chain as low as possible to avoid the sh-t attaching to you.

At Nine there’s departing CEO Eddie McGuire; his mate Jeff Browne, who’s now “in charge of day to day operations at Nine”; Michael Healy, the Director of Programming and his production offsider, Andrew Backwell.

All were involved, along with Freedman, in giving the Catch-Up the green light, all are to blame for it (a), being on air in the first place and (b) allowing it to remain on air when it was apparent how bad it was.

Browne has special responsibility because of his decision not to renew the CBS contract, which lost Nine the most popular daytime show, Dr Phil. The Catch-Up might have had a chance to build and bounce with Dr Phil as a lead-in. Dropping the CBS contract was meant to be a cost saving, but The Catch-Up‘s failure has cost the best part of half a million dollars or more.

Healy and Backwell also shouldn’t escape unscathed because, unlike McGuire and Browne, they are the TV professionals. They would have known that without Dr Phil, The Catch-Up was a failure waiting to happen.

And finally we can’t go without mentioning the surprise member of The Catch-Up crew, Lisa Oldfield. It soon became clear she was the one worth watching with hideous fascination to see what would escape from her mouth each day: drugs, s-x, marriage, guns, you name it, she had an opinion, which made her ideal.

But she blames herself — as Ninemsn reports:

Lisa Oldfield has blamed herself for The Catch-Up‘s demise, issuing a public apology to say “I know I’m crap”.

“Describing herself as a “pompous” character with “no talent”, Oldfield said it was mostly her fault the Nine Network decided to axe the show.

The Catch-Up finale will air today at 12pm (AEST).

“My only regret about doing it is that I dragged down three brilliant performers,” she said of her co-hosts Libbi Gorr, Mary Moody and Zoe Sheridan. “I know I’m crap. I’m sorry that I’ve brought this upon them.

“I think Australia has had an absolute gutful of Lisa Oldfield — I know I’ve had an absolute gutful of Lisa Oldfield. I can’t imagine me darkening anybody’s TV screen again any time soon.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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