Mt Burgess speaks. I know that Phil Burgess is not a small guy, but this is ridiculous!
— Crikey reader Tim Ashdown.
Would you hire this man? Morris Iemma’s key star recruit Adam Walters says the former premier’s office was “a circus full of clowns” and he was looking for another job from the first day he joined…Mr Walters, a former Channel Nine reporter who, together with fellow “strategist” John Choueifate, was brought in to try to boost Mr Iemma’s public image, was in fact consorting with his enemies as he was being toppled. His new lover Ms Meagher, the former health minister, was a key player in Mr Iemma’s downfall and he spent the morning of the Premier’s demise at her side…Mr Walters said he was supposed to replace Iemma communications director Glenn Byres – who was to be installed as Eric Roozendaal’s chief of staff – but found out after he quit his Channel Nine job that Mr Byres would be staying on. “I ran away to the circus but there was no ringmaster,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “They were all clowns. When they did unravel I wasn’t in the least bit surprised.” Others have dismissed Mr Walters as a would-be playboy more interested in squiring Ms Meagher than saving the Premier. Mr Walters plans to write a book. He is still looking for another job. — The Daily Telegraph
ITV/Virgin tango: Activity in London has stepped up around the struggling commercial TV broadcaster, ITV after Charles Allen, its former CEO and an adviser to Goldman Sachs Private Equity and a director of Endermol, suddenly appeared on the board of Virgin media this week. Sir Richard Branson is still the largest (but a minority) shareholder in Virgin Media, which tried to merge with ITV nearly two years ago. It was blocked when Rupert Murdoch and John James raided ITV through the 38% owned associate, BSKYB, after Mr Allen left ITV.
Sky ended up with 17.9%, which has plunged in value (the losses are huge, a billion dollars or more) and UK regulators want Murdoch and Sky to get rid of the stake. That’s a recommendation to the UK Labour Government (which is rapidly losing friends in the media), and a decision is expected in the next month or so. BSkyB is appealing the regulator’s decision. Goldman Sachs also tried to buy ITV, so Mr Allen’s appearance on the seen has got the media geese a hissing in London that another ‘big deal’ is in the offing.
Endermol, which is partly controlled by Goldman Sachs Private Equity (which also has a huge $US3 billion deal with CanWest Global) and partly by Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset of Italy, is interested — despite coy attempts to deny otherwise. Also interested is RTL, the TV arm of the Bertlesmann group of Germany which controls Channel Five in the UK. The UK Government will be under pressure to stop Berlusconi’s company becoming involved with commercial TV in the UK, according to London media analysts. Mr Berlusconi is the wrong political complexion and a person with a reputation of bending his media interests to suit himself and his political and business objectives.
Mediaset though has said it is looking at companies, including ITV.ITV shares closed up 3 at 48.8p, topping a month of small rises which have seen the stock bounce from a low of just over 41p. Goldman Sachs offered 130 p a share two years ago. In November 2006, BSkyB bought 696 million ITV shares 135p apiece, for a total value of 940 million pounds. That’s now worth around 340 million pounds. Another sound long term investment from the Murdochs. — Glenn Dyer
First they came for Mike Carlton…When I was growing up, Fairfax was the symbol of all that was good and noble in the world. Every morning my chums and I would wait eagerly outside the newsagent’s, waiting for it to open so we could get our hands on the day’s paper. The journalists were as gods to us; we hung on their every word, and obsessively collected our Fairfax trading cards; a Michelle Grattan was worth two Mike Carltons, but the real prize, of course, was a mint-condition Leunig. We threw slumber parties and talked long into the night of our hopes of someday becoming subeditors. They were heady days, when we thought anything was possible, and our dreams came in broadsheet format. — Ben Pobjie, New Matilda
Why Ramsay won’t rate here – according to the poms What is going on Down Under? First Sir Alan Sugar failed to set the Australian TV ratings alight and now Gordon Ramsay has proved a failure. Ramsay’s foul-mouthed antics were a hit earlier this year on Australia’s Channel Nine that the channel ran constant episodes of his programmes. But new episodes of Kitchen Nightmares flopped this week, attracting only a paltry 732,000 people across five capital cities, putting the show at 25 in the rankings. Could it be that the Aussies are pissed off at us Brits for winning more gold medals in Beijing? — Media Monkey blog, The Guardian
Obama camp endorsing Wiki vandalism? Stephen Ewen is a sometime critic of both Wikipedia and Sarah Palin, as of recently an active opponent of the governor on Wikipedia and, as of today at least, an activist using tools provided by the Obama campaign to suggest that fellow supporters make life difficult for the dozens of editors doing real work to improve the article. One can’t hold the Obama campaign responsible for Mr. Ewen’s actions, but one hopes they agree that his advice should not be followed. — Blog, p.i