news.com.au is reporting:

Kyle Sandilands has been dumped as a judge on Network Ten’s music talent show, Australian Idol, the network announced today.

“Obviously culminating with events of last week, we have made the decision that Kyle will no longer be a judge on Australian Idol,” Ten programming boss David Mott said on the station’s 5pm news.

Australian Idol is very much a family program and its appeal is very much right across the board and we’d like to think that all families can enjoy the program in front of the TV.”

Ten released a statement saying the decision had come after “significant discussions and consideration”.

“We thank Kyle for his contribution to Australian Idol over the last four years,” the statement said.

In Crikey’s earlier report:

This is the story that keeps on giving. Since Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O’s seedy on air stunt with a 14-year-old girl a week ago, the media has been busily beating up the Austereo network with mock disdain.

And today, just as you’d think the yarn had been picked apart, along comes another thread for the media to unravel, with news that the pair are in recess pending some kind of inquiry into the station’s standards.

Last night Austereo issued a curious press release announcing that both Sandilands and Jackie O would be replaced today by another presenter. Understandably this was quickly interpreted as a suspension but apparently that is not the case.

The first line of the statement, issued by Austereo’s Sydney General Manager, Jenny Parkes, suggests it was Sandilands and not Austereo which initiated what the station is now describing as a “recess”.

Kyle Sandilands’ management has advised that he is unable to perform his duties on-air at this time. Further, following a great deal of consideration and having consulted Jackie O and all stakeholders, Austereo has formed the view that in the interest of all parties, for the Kyle and Jackie O Show to go into recess until we have completed an across-the-networks review of the principals (sic) and protocols of our interaction with our audience. This review commenced last Wednesday 29 July 2009.

Sandilands’ manager, Andrew Hawkins, could not be reached this morning and Austereo’s chairman, Peter Harvie, told Crikey that the statement was the only explanation Austereo would be giving. When asked whether the statement meant that Sandilands had effectively rebuffed the network, he said no comment”.

The statement could be read as a mutual declaration of “stuff you”, with Sandilands furious that he’s been dropped in it by a network that thrives on stupid pranks and the network furious that Sandilands has had the gall to refuse to turn up to work.

As all of this unfolds, the marketing team at Austereo must be wondering about the truth of the maxim that even negative publicity is good for them. Austereo is undoubtedly hooked on this sort of controversy but it’s now getting out of hand. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to feel used when you call their marketing people in pursuit of the story.

A very slick PR team take your number and your email details when you phone and promise to keep you posted on any developments. You feel as if you’ve suddenly been recruited to the network’s marketing effort.

Paul Cashmere, writing this morning in Undercover.com.au, put it more succinctly, accusing the network of prostituting itself to a quick headline. “Austereo are sluts to a headline. This is a company that cannot bend over quick enough if it means higher ratings. That is why a puppet show like Kyle Sandilands is so important to them. Kyle Sandilands is their perfect call-girl.”

Peter Harvie wouldn’t respond to that criticism either, nor undercover’s assertion that suspending Sandilands is not the answer because the problem is “the immaturity that now controls the Austereo boardroom.”

Peter Fray

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