Saturday, July 01, 2006

More media woes.

This is why Crikey is along my sidebar. Leaks such as this affadavit on how the media really works, surface from time to time. This was available to subscribers as of last Monday.

The use of the term "team player" when the powers-that-be at Network Nine are shafting Llewellyn and "how much they like him" is true corporate-speak gold.

About an hour ago we got a call from our lawyers to say Channel Nine had dropped its legal action to stop us – and the rest of the media – republishing this affidavit which we sent out to Crikey subscribers on Monday. So if you haven't seen it yet, here's what all the fuss is about:

NEWS Corp. were slow to pick up on this one, printing it in today's Daily Telegraph. Here's a snip which isn't available via crikey due to it being in graphic form. Note, Llewellyn was on $750,000 before the meeting on May 31st.

May 31. New Nine CEO Eddie McGuire summons Llewellyn to his office. Also there is Nine executive director Jeffrey Browne:After some initial conversation about general news and current affairs topics a conversation took place as follows:

Mr McGuire said: "What are we gonna do about Jessica? When should we bone (sack) her? I reckon it should be next week."

By Jessica, McGuire was referring to Jessica Rowe, the presenter of the Today program.

I said: "Are you sure you want to get rid of her?"

Mr Browne said: "She's a laughing stock and if we keep her on air we will be the laughing stock."

I said: "Have you thought through what may happen if she goes? We went to all of that trouble to get her from Ten and they copped the bad publicity and now we'll cop it. Secondly, (Rowe's husband and 60 Minutes reporter) Peter Overton will be really upset and we run the risk of losing him from the network. That might be a real problem, because he might end up at Channel 7."

Mr McGuire said: "Well, maybe we have to take that risk."

McGuire cuts to the chase:

Mr McGuire said: "Now let's talk about you."

Mr Browne said: "This is not going to be a pleasant conversation but you've got to know that you're a gun, a real talent."

Mr McGuire said: "Absolutely."

Mr Browne said: "We've got big plans for you at the network and Eddie and I think you are one of the real talents at Nine. This is therefore a difficult chat, because there is a shit sandwich you're going to be asked to swallow. We want to cut your pay to $400,000 and we want you to consider taking on one of two new positions."

I said: "That's some sh*t sandwich."

McGuire then puts the knife in:

Mr McGuire said: "I want someone else to come in and oversee Nine news."

I said: "Who's that?"

Mr McGuire said: "Garry Linnell, the editor of The Bulletin. I want the two of you to work hand in glove and together you can turn the network around. The excellent work you've done on Beaconsfield and the Packer Special shows me that you are one of the people I need on my team."

Mr Browne said: "You've got to realise Mark that Eddie and I not only like you enormously but we think you are an absolute talent."

Llewellyn is still told to be loyal:

Mr McGuire said: "Look me in the eye because I'm going to give it to you straight. I don't know whether Linnell will be better or worse but I think you are being played out of position. I regard you as a mate and hopefully a friend and I want you to be part of my team. I want you to be making television."

Mr Browne said: "Those who stay loyal even if they got a pay cut, will be rewarded when the good economic times come back to Nine. I can't give you an absolute promise, but I will do my best to make sure you will be looked after and regarded when the good times return. You know what type of man I am and you should trust me on this."

Mr McGuire said: "There might be a bit more in the kick regarding the $400,000, but not much more."


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