Board lost faith in Warburton

By David Knox on February 25, 2013 / Filed Under News 11

James WarburtonMedia reports today cast speculation on how the sacking of James Warburton played out within TEN.

The Australian tips that the Board began to have reservations around August, when new shows The Shire, Everybody Dance Nowand I Will Survive aired.

Then there were falling ratings, the failed appointment of Mike Morrison as head of Sales, the failure to secure NRL rights  and the short-lived Creative Development Unit. Observers noted the tension between Warburton and other board members at the December AGM in Sydney.

This year the network has seen MasterChef being decimated by his former network, Seven.

But Warburton also inherited a company plagued by job losses, cost cuts and shows commissioned before his arrival. 12 months was hardly much time to rectify so many deep-seated challenges.

The newspaper suggests the Board made a decision two weeks ago.

Warburton is said to have departed on good terms and is again likely to face “gardening leave” for 12 months.

The Herald Sun says Lachlan Murdoch flew to New York just 10 days ago to personally meet his replacement, Hamish McLennan, about taking on the chief executive role. Poaching someone from another network could have led to another long, drawn-out contract dispute.

McLennan was reportedly introduced to some of TEN’s billionaire shareholders, including Gina Rinehart, last week and shown around the Pyrmont building on Friday night.

“I think if we make the right sort of calls around programming, people, and engendering better relationships with the media-buying industry and advertisers, then we will do well,” said McLennan.

11 Comments »

  1. Gonzo February 26, 2013 at 8:52 am -

    IheartABC. You’re quite right but was he ever empowered to pull shows that were commissioned under the rein of the chairman?

  2. IheartABC February 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm -

    one can only wonder why Warburton took the job in the first place. Commentary at the time was agreed that he was a hiding to nothing – and we have all been proven correct.
    Was it hubris? Did he really think he was some sort of tv genius? History will shjow he had NFI.
    Some of those dogs of shows could have been pulled before airing – even if they had been commissioned before he took over. That’s what CEOs do – they make the tough calls. Anyone with an iota of tv nouse knew those shows were absolute shite within the first few minutes. Why then did no exec at 10 know this?
    Still Warburton’ll have a stack of cash in the bank as a result and will eventually eat enough humble pie to go back to sales and schmoozing clients.

  3. Secret Squirrel February 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm -

    “I think if we make the right sort of calls around programming, people, and engendering better relationships with the media-buying industry and advertisers, then we will do well”.

    That strikes me as a rather glib thing to say. Apparently it has been too difficult for the people running Ten recently to actually put it into practice.

  4. gabbo February 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm -

    Good to hear that the new CEO has met the billionaire shareholders – just in case he thought he was going to have some independence in news and current affairs. Has he met Mr Bolt yet?

  5. D@GP February 25, 2013 at 10:52 am -

    Will be interesting to see just how much sport they’ll let Hamish buy as I’m sure anything decent will go straight to little Lockie’s Fox Sports brands.

    Remember how fast he scuttled ONE’s sporting charter…

  6. joey69 February 25, 2013 at 10:42 am -

    Bring back John McAlpine, the only TEN executive that brought some respect to TEN. He got them the AFL TV rights back in 2000. And made TEN a real threat to the other two networks.

  7. Gonzo February 25, 2013 at 9:50 am -

    How bizarre…. Reservations about Warburton who arrived around the launch of those shows??? He wasn’t there during the commissioning of even one of them!

    Lauchy, you cast your wife in the show that finally sunk the network, you’ve fired 100+ executives for your failures, you were personally responsible for the development unit (does the unit still exist?), not to mention a stellar track record including Onetel and the Rugby League Super League!!

  8. Hampster February 25, 2013 at 9:35 am -

    Wonder Kid he was not !

    He was an arrogant young fellow looking to make a name for himself at everyone’s expense.

    He achieved the notoriety but for all the wrong reasons….not we have Hamish McLennan.

    One should read the commentary from Ex Y & R staff, clients and employee’s and we may see an insight in the near future… making a name for oneself at others expense.

    Let’s hope he knows something about Broadcasting in a Professional world and not just managing up.

  9. Mapia February 25, 2013 at 9:00 am -

    New CEO, more job cuts. That always seem to work, don’t you think!

  10. Pertinax February 25, 2013 at 8:42 am -

    Warburton was appointed on the basis of his strategy and ideas. The fact that things started before he could directly take change was due to the gardening leave.

    Seven’s legal strategies to damage their opponent worked well.

  11. jezza the first original one February 25, 2013 at 6:25 am -

    “I think if we make the right sort of calls around programming, people, and engendering better relationships with the media-buying industry and advertisers, then we will do well,” said McLennan.

    errr…. Mr McLennan, unless you connect with viewers and get consistant ratings, you will not achieve anything

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