Media experts have described David Mott (Network Ten Programmer) as the “fall guy” for Network Ten’s recent poor showing in the ratings.
Mott quit today as head of programming for the beleaguered network as a string of show supposed to spark its rebirth have failed to catch the imagination of viewers.
One industry insider said: “I’m not surprised he’s taken the fall, someone had to from the programming perspective. But to steady the ship they’re obviously going to have to rely on some international programming, they can’t keep ploughing money into stuff. They’re just going to have to work bloody hard.”
This view was echoed by analyst Steve Allen, the principal of Fusion Strategy, who said: “Peak season programming for America starts in two weeks so they in particular with their fast tracking will be hoping for a few hits out of America they can put straight in.”
He said Mott had done the honourable thing, despite rumours within the industry he was not having the final say on alot of programming decisions coming from Ten.
Mott was famous for launching shows including MasterChef, Big Brother and The Biggest Loser, but this week was forced to cancel Everybody Dance Now, fronted by network chief Lachlan Murdoch’s wife Sarah, after terrible ratings.
It is understood star judges Kelly Rowland an Jason Derulo were on contracts worth about $3m. WTF!
OMD Australia CEO Peter Horgan said they may struggle to find someone of Mott’s calibre to replace him.
He told B&T: “The problem with programming directors is there’s very few of them, and if you’re going to make a call like this you need someone of equal or better connectivity and vision that you’re going to bring in.
“Quarter 4 hasn’t kicked like Ten and the market hoped it would and that put pressure on them to make changes. The key is they result in a better outcome.”
However, Henry Tajer, CEO of UM, was more prosaic about the move, adding: “Change is just a reality of our industry and we’re seeing change all over it. The decisions for the change many in the market would understand.”