Former Burke’s Backyard host Don Burke has dished out some advice for free to his former network, Channel Nine, telling David Gyngell the network has lost its way.
“[Gyngell’s] failing is he’s surrounded himself with people who are not very good at their jobs. I love David Gyngell as a person, I love him as a TV person, I have no respect whatsoever for him as a TV executive because he is not surrounding himself by people of his own calibre and that is a terrible mistake,” he told the Sunday Telegraph.
Burke blamed Nine’s programming department for Nine losing to Seven. In December last year Andrew Backwell was given charge of Programming and Production after Michael Healy was appointed Director of Television.
Meanwhile Jeffrey Brown became Nine’s Managing Director as Gyngell took on the top job across the parent company, Nine Entertainment Co. (formerly PBL Media).
“If Gyngell would back his own judgement and get better people around him, Nine would come back in a heartbeat. His mistake, and it is a huge one, is to stay with those that have failed. Programming is the problem at Nine – it has killed Nine.”
2011 has not been a good one for Nine so far, but 2010 saw a good performance in Nine’s key demos, considering it has been light on with content in recent years.
Nine’s output deals haven’t delivered many hits of late, which has seen Nine turn to the UK with BBC progamming including Top Gear, Sherlock and David Attenborough series.
Burke says Gyngell concedes losing Burke’s Backyard was their biggest mistake, but would not reverse the decision.
Don Burke was instrumental in the lifestyle genre in Australian television. Even formats such as Better Homes and Gardens owe much to his early work, while names such as Jamie Durie were given their break on his show.
In 2009 Burke returned to Nine for appearances on A Current Affair.
But Burke also has a strong reputation for producing TV in a determined if ultimately successful managerial style. No surprise then that Nine spokesperson David Hurley labelled him as “arrogant.”
It isn’t clear what has triggered the latest advice to Nine bosses, but presumably there are no plans to change his gardening leave just yet.