Ok, Footy Show stars Eddie McGuire and Sam Newman have done their bit to promote early detection of prostate cancer (more info here). Kudos. And we wish Newman well in his recovery.

But their 60 Minutes matefest about Sam’s battle with cancer — interviewing and voiceover by Eddie — was OTT, even for Channel 9 (video at the 60 minutes site).

If that wasn’t enough, the Wednesday before, Channel Nine News had the 4-minute “exclusive” preview of the 60M story (YouTube here), the tag presumably indicating that somehow Channel Seven might have scooped them, or indeed wanted to.

Even insiders are apparently miffed at Eddie and Sam’s entry to hard news. The Daily Telegraph has the juicy allegations:

Claims 60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett shocked colleagues at a work function to farewell network legend Ray Martin were last night being investigated by Channel 9 management, reports media writer Fiona Connolly.

An angry Bartlett, attending Martin’s farewell at Crows Nest restaurant La Grillade, is said to have let loose on what he thought of the debut episode of the series’ return.

As the party drew to a close, Bartlett’s colleagues say he launched into an random attack on the return 60 Minutes episode, describing it as “sh-t” and cursing producers for allowing former Nine CEO Eddie McGuire to be a part of the show.

Still, Eddie was responsible for so much gold. In the heartfelt report, he talks about “the Sam Newman I know” (cue footage of antics and interviews with mates conducted … on a yacht).

He’s the “most controversial TV star of the last 20 years”. Right.

Highlighting the looming potential for tragedy, Eddie notes that “at 62, he’s an absolute specimen”; this is confirmed to viewers by a shot of Newman’s bum in Australian flag speedos. (Later in the program, in an unfortunate confluence of terms, “nice specimen” is used by the doctor to refer to the cancerous prostate.)

Viewers get to see the full surgery. The equipment for the operation is like “something out of Star Wars”, says Eddie. What, a clunky set piece from 1970s sci fi? 

When he heard about the cancer, says Eddie, “Sam only confided in a small group of family and friends…” And then all of Australia. Well perhaps in Channel Nine’s eyes, everyone’s a mate.

Yes, so Channel Nine, Wankley Award winner this week.

Peter Fray

Inoculate yourself against the spin

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today to get your first 12 weeks for $12 and get the journalism you need to navigate the spin.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey