It’s not unusual for changes to happen in the non-ratings season, but they are normally either small and insignificant or changes that are trying to be swept under the carpet (the axing of a failing show or the boning of a fading star). In the last 8 weeks however we’ve seen some dramatic changes, so if you’re just catching up with everything that happened over the Christmas break, here’s your cheat sheet (in no order of importance or timeline):
Denise Drysdale retires from The Circle
“Ding Dong” has been in and out of The Circle for most of the latter part of 2011, so it was no surprise when the show delivered it’s final episode for the year that they announced Drysdale was retiring. God bless her and all who sail in her.
Sonia Kruger moves to Ch9 for Big Brother AND Mornings/Kerri-Anne Kennerley gets the chop
In what became one of the worst kept secrets of the end of the year, Channel 9 signed Sonia Kruger to host both Big Brother AND a revamped program to follow on from the Today Show – Mornings – all the while not mentioning anything to incumbent mornings host Kerri-Anne Kennerley she was being replaced. Kennerley handled the situation with the grace and aplomb of a long-time network star and proved again she was entirely unworthy of the treatment offered.
Paul Henry announced as second Ch10 Breakfast host – still no female host announced
New Zealand shock jock and breakfast TV host Henry not only announced as the on-air partner for Andrew Rochford on Ch10’s new brekky program Breakfast, but also quickly added to anyone who’d listen he’d been hired for “one million New Zealand dollars” (so, reasonably, about $50,000 a year AUD). The more intriguing piece of this puzzle is there has still been no announcement of the female host to form the trio hosting the show, though reportedly it has been a revolving door for auditions. Though Carrie Bickmore is the rumoured favourite it’s unlikely the star of The Project will want to relocate to Sydney to be involved in the show with her young son with her family all still living in Melbourne.
Sarah Murdoch quits as Executive Producer and host of Australia’s Next Top Model
While no answer exists yet as to why Murdoch opted out of both the EP and hosting roles, rumours abound that it’s so the former model can take her place on a Channel 10 program starting this year – be it Breakfast, The Circle or back-filling Bickmore’s move out of The Project. This commentator’s suspicion is that husband Lachlan will take up a larger position within News Limited in the UK and he, Sarah and the family will move for that role.
Chrissie Swan quits The Circle and takes on a breakfast radio role
BOOM! The lady who won the Logie for Best New Talent and was a strong contender for the Gold Logie in 2011 all of a sudden announced she was quitting The Circle to be able to spend more time with her young family and to take on a role in the breakfast team on Mix FM in Melbourne. This leaves a gaping hole in The Circle with two positions to fill now. Still no announcement as to Swan’s replacement on the Ch10 morning show.
Dicko fires himself as Can Of Worms host
The executive producer has the ultimate say on the cast for their show. When the EP fires the host it’s usually a pretty strong signal the show is heading in another direction. When the EP IS the host… well, nothing makes a whole lotta sense. Unless you take into account Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson is apparently brushing up his radio chops again, and his management company looks after Chrissie Swan who has just left TV for radio, and that Chrissie and Dicko used to do breakfast radio before The Circle – then it just becomes all very neatly timed.
James Warburton starts as CEO at Channel 10 and makes waves immediately
Warburton started with a grand plan. The man that helped make Channel 7 the juggernaut it is intends to do the same on his terms this time, and on his first day back at work the interviews had already begun where he stated that Ch10’s job was to improve its ratings and past mistakes like Junior MasterChef and The Renovators will be moved on from. It’s gonna be a big year.
Kerri-Anne Kennerley moves to Channel 7 for Dancing With The Stars and more
Though on safari in Africa, reportedly Kerri-Anne still had time to negotiate what she’ll do when her Ch9 contract ends in February of 2012 – move to Ch7 and fill the gap left in Sonia Kruger moving to oust her. Allegedly Kennerley has a list of other projects offered her by Ch7 post the Dancing With The Stars commitments. This calls for another Pimms, I say.
David Campbell joins Sonia Kruger in Mornings on Channel 9
To further fuel rumours Ch9’s Mornings is out to get Ch7’s The Morning Show, Ch9 announced singer David Campbell would be joinging Kruger on air 5 days a week. A solid performer in his own right with a number of fill-in slots on Ch7’s morning program already under his belt, it only adds fuel to the Ch7/Ch9 rivalry fire.