Seven has won a comprehensive PR victory at a time when the competition is limping, poaching Nine’s Michael Usher to widespread coverage at a time when the 60 Minutes flagship is struggling.

But maybe its briefings have been a little too successful. Over at The Daily Telegraph, Annette Sharp writes that Usher comes with “excellent news reading credentials”:

“He was once one of three candidates vying to replace the Network’s retiring news legend Brian Henderson. Mark Ferguson, then at Nine, eventually wedged out Peter Overton for Henderson’s weeknight chair but after jumping ship to Seven, Overton prevailed in the battle of two.”

And that, a tipster says, is highly, highly unlikely. For one thing, Sharp is wrong to say the gig went to Ferguson; it first went to Jim Waley for three years, before Ferguson took over in 2005. Overton didn’t take over until 2009. In fact, the way a tipster recalls it, it was a three-way race for the gig between Ferguson, Overton and Ian “Roscoe” Ross (Ross would defect to Seven a year after missing out on the gig).

“That 2002 decision watershed moment with momentous implications,” our tipster said. “So for Seven or even Usher himself to sleight of hand and mind try to suggest (via Sharp) that Usher was a contender for the Nine crown 14 years ago is … well, call in the hyperbole drug testers!”

By the by, Usher was Nine’s US correspondent in 2002.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey