Management Revamp Sends Nine Network Ceo Back On-Camera

19 January 2007

SYDNEY: Eddie McGuire, former gameshow host-turned-ceo of Australia's Nine Network, appears to have been deprived of his key to the executive washroom. His consolation prize? A return to TV hosting for 1 vs 100 - a Dutch originated trivia-fest that pits one person against one hundred others for a chance to win much moolah.

For thirty years Australia's highest-earning TV operation, Nine is now is feeling the hot breath of rival Channel Seven on its neck. Had it not been for its rights to the Commonwealth Games in 2006, Nine's long TV ad revenue reign would be history.

Unsurprising, then, that changes in the broadcaster's management regime have been afoot.

The appointment in February 2006 of McGuire as ceo (his previous role at Nine was presenting top rated gameshow Who Wants to be a Millionaire) was greeted by a flurry of northbound industry eyebrows.

Eight months later the network's controlling shareholder, James Packer, sold 50% of Publishing & Broadcasting's media assets - among them Nine - to private equity group CVC in an A$4.5 billion $3.54bn; €2.73bn; £1.79bn) deal.

CVC then formed a new joint venture company, PBL Media, from whose board McGuire was pointedly excluded, while his magazine publishing counterpart - Ian Law - was installed over his head as ceo of the new entity.

McGuire's reaction to the situation is unknown, although some say he has always preferred to face the cameras rather than boardroom backstabbing.

A Nine spokesperson, meantime, dismisses reports that McGuire will forsake his management role and return to gameshow hosting as "purely speculative''.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff