Ten cost-saving measures #451. Hire a senior network executive from the advertising industry with considerable media experience on ABC TV. Give him a big title, talk about how he’s No. 2 and based in Melbourne. A year later, appoint a chief operating officer based in Sydney, and talk about how he’s a vital cog and will keep his day job and report to the executive chairman. Then use the Melbourne-based important executive as a key bit of on-air talent on a TV program struggling to fill the third spot in a trio of judges.

Ten announced this morning that “Russel Howcroft will join the second season of Ten’s innovative series Recipe To Riches” (that’s the hour-long product placement program made for Woolworths that flopped in 2013). Howcroft — “an acclaimed marketing expert”, executive general manager of Ten and panellist on ABC TV’s The Gruen Transfer, Gruen Nation and Gruen Planet — will become the third expert on the show, alongside Carman’s Fine Foods owner Carolyn Creswell and chef Darren Robertson.

Did Howcroft volunteer to help out, or did he have some time on his hands after Network Ten announced the appointment of Paul Anderson as chief operating officer? Ten says Anderson will report to executive chairman and chief executive officer Hamish McLennan. Ten also says Anderson will continue as Network Ten’s chief financial officer in addition to his new responsibilities. But news of Howcroft’s new gig on Ten means the ABC has either dropped him from its Gruen programs, or the ABC has decided that Gruen (Planet, Transfer or Nation) won’t be appearing this year. — Glenn Dyer

Video of the Day. The royal visit is almost over — Will, Kate and baby George fly back to London tomorrow after 10 days on the Aussie taxpayer (Crikey estimates the cost at $2 million-plus — funny, given the age of entitlement is over). By way of farewell, here’s the monarchs-in-waiting scratching a few beats in the Adelaide ‘burbs yesterday (Jezebel has some amusing faux captions). With such little talent, these celebrities are as bad as the Kardashians …

Front page of the day. Joe Hockey does drone on. Looks like the Perth edition of The Australian Financial Review got tired of waiting for him to finish his speech last night and sent the front page to press before filling in the headlines …

And it seems some editions of the paper over east are missing a barcode on the back page, so some punters got to take the $3.50 paper for free. Oops. Is the Fin struggling with those early deadlines?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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