Strange news to come out of Willoughby today, with the announcement that Mark Calvert was resigning from Channel 9. It’s all great to be wanting to “spend more time with my family”, but that’s also usually TV code for “I had no choice, and it was this or be boned”. No question Calvert has worked hard to improve the Ch9 NewsCaff brand in his time at the top with successes with 9 News Sydney and Melbourne, though it would seem that with flagging ACA ratings and the overarching pressure of tighter budgets not translating to similar successes in other markets the Network felt they “had no other choice”. We’ll see if his successor, tipped to be Sydney News Director Darren Wick, can build on his success in SYD into BNE and influence change in ADL and PER (the latter two requiring necessary work, though not owned by Nine Entertainment Co).

UPDATE 18/02/12
A Ch9 insider today confirmed that Calvert’s resignation was of his own orchestration and that nothing should be read into the move. “He legitimately just wants to spend time with his wife and daughters,” said the source. “This is not a sacking by any means.”

From the press release:

Mark Calvert, Director of News and Current Affairs at the Nine Network has resigned his post after four years with the company.

“This is the best job in television, but it’s 24/7 and it has been for four years. It’s time to take a breath, and re-acquaint myself with my family. Any success I’ve had at Nine is all down to the best news and current affairs team in Australia. The future is in good hands with them.” said Calvert today.

Managing Director of the Nine Network Australia Jeffrey Browne said: “I want to thank Mark for his contribution to the Nine Network, in particular the great success we have had with our News and Current Affairs results. Mark’s contribution to the success of the Today Show has also been important and I wish him and his family well in the future.”

CEO of Nine Entertainment Company David Gyngell said: “Mark has worked with us to rebuild our news and current affairs over the past four years. His achievements and efforts are much appreciated by all at the Network and we wish him well in his future endeavours.”