David Mott quits Network TEN

“I am proud of the bold programming decisions we have made .....It’s been a great ride, and I’ve loved every second of it."

Statement from Network TEN:

TEN Programming Chief David Mott has resigned after 16 years with the network.

The move follows the repeated failure of new programmes and TEN’s ratings falling behind the ABC last week.

“David has had an extraordinary career at TEN over the past 16 years,” Network Ten Chief Executive, James Warburton, said.

“He has been a fantastic asset for the network and we are sorry to see him go. David’s legacy at Ten includes landmark television programs such as MasterChef, Australian Idol, Rove Live, The Biggest Loser, Thank God You’re Here, The Project and Big Brother, and – more recently – Offspring, Puberty Blues, MasterChef All Stars and Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms.”

Mott said: “It’s a sad day when you say goodbye to friends and colleagues, and leave a place you hold so dear. But it’s a great day when you take stock on what has been achieved over 16 fantastic years.

“I am proud of the bold programming decisions we have made at Ten over that time, because without risk there is less chance of success.

“In a job where you live and die by the numbers, perhaps I’ve been luckier than most. It’s been a great ride, and I’ve loved every second of it. I leave behind a focused and committed creative team and I wish them all the best for the future.”

Mott had always been perceived as the public face of TEN, despite other CEOs including Grant Blackley above him, regularly quoted in media interviews alongside other network CEOs.

His ability to create bold programming reached a peak with shows like MasterChef when the industry questioned a cooking show as a replacement for Big Brother.

But in the last 18 months a new board and new management has challenged TEN’s programming direction.

Mott remained at TEN under new CEO James Warburton and acting CEO Lachlan Murdoch despite an overhaul of executives across the last 12-18 months.

Beverley McGarvey continues as Head of Programming and assumes Mott’s responsibilities on an acting basis.

This post updates.

87 Responses

  1. @TM James Packer quit the TEN Board when James Warburton was appointed, his spot was filled by Siobhan McKenna as a nominee of Packer’s Cavalane Holdings (but she is also managing partner of Murdoch’s investment company Illyria and one of his advisors).

    Gina Rinehart is on the board, she actually increased her stake in TEN when she sold off Fairfax shares, when Fairfax wouldn’t let her on there board.

    Bruce Gordon is not a TEN Board Member as he also has shares in Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, and Sunraysia Television (40% of it), so conflict of interest stuff there.

    David Gordon is a Ten Board Member, but no relation to Bruce.

  2. Yeah, I’m sure there will be a round of cost cutting very soon. They have lost tens of millions of dollars on shows over the last 12 months because of the failure of so much of their programming. I would be surprised if Breakfast lasts beyond this year, but Paul Henry appears to be a protected species, so you never know.

    I’m sure the next shareholders’ meeting will be a very torrid affair and the Board is going to be grilled as they have never been before. The proverbial fish rots from the head, so I’m sure they will be held to account by the shareholders.

  3. I predict that there will be a lot of cost cutting and sackings at Ten very soon.

    The only people who will be safe are Lachlan Murdoch, James Warburton, Paul Henry, Andrew Bolt and Sarah Murdoch.

    Everyone else is fair game.

  4. How ironic that FOX USA, headed by 81 y/old Rupert – “FOX continues to be the dominant player in the US TV ratings landscape as the May sweeps results have come in, showing the network as No. 1 for the eighth straight year. (rapidtvnews.com)
    – whilst TEN, Chaired by the young one is such a disaster.

  5. @George 100 – The bigger shareholders, Murdoch and Rhinehart, have taken a haircut on their “investment”. Rhinehart has copped a king-hit with her Fairfax shares falling to 41 cents too, same as TEN. She tried to offload a few million Fairfax at 50 cents. No takers.
    When is TEN’s AGM? Will be some very vocal shareholders.

  6. Buddha….Now that we know that Ten has failed in their pursuit of a small youthful strategy – I wonder what would have happened if they stayed the steady course of bold, innovative and broadly appealing programming for the 18-49’s audience on TEN, let Eleven look after the youth and ONE grab a bigger slice of the all important Australian Sports culture.

    We should remember that the share price only 18 months ago before this farce was $1.50 not 0.41 cents. Ratings were far higher which meant revenues were about $150m more than today and the profit was $210m.

    I feel for Mott as he was doing his job chasing a youthful and small audience that is active, mobile and transient. However – it had to fail and so will the next programmer if they stay this course.

    Murdoch and Warburton have some serious questions about their strategy and implementation.

    When will the shareholders revolt and the Board stand up ? Soon I suspect.

  7. Disclosure: I’m a TEN shareholder but have never worked at the network. I do however, know David Mott personally and can confirm that he is one of the most decent, open and un-assuming senior TV execs around, with a wealth of experience and talent. There are many intriguing angles to this event. A key one, as many have stated here, is that we should remember that Motty wasn’t the CEO of the network.

    Consider, for example, when former CEO Grant Blackley decided to widen the usual demographic and at the same time launch a bolder news & current affairs line-up. Motty can argue for or against a proposal, but bearing in mind entertainment-oriented programmers traditionally don’t argue for blocks and blocks of News/Caff in commercial television, what if he was against a decision such as that – but was overruled? Does he take the high ground and walk out then for that reason? Generally most employees would move on, enthuse their team and carry out their superiors’ bidding professionally and suck up that disagreement. Then, as a servant of the current crop of upper management and hands-on owners, Motty certainly would have had to follow their directions to deliver their wishes.

    There are also some pertinent questions to ask: Like what part did his new “Head of Programming” (appointed from Ireland via NZ to free up Motty’s time to develop production and new media content) play in the decisions to axe Aussie Idol, re-cast BB and eventually axe it? And how much of the recent scheduling oddities can be attributed to that same person’s actions or advice? I fear that maybe the worst may still be around the corner.

  8. Wow…what a shock!
    But to be honest, I do believe its the right decision.
    16 years is an incredible achievement and the shows he has commissioned were outstanding.
    TEN need some new ideas and you cant simply ask David Mott to keep coming up with new content after 16 years. He has done his job and should be proud!

    He is truly the best in the business!
    Thank You David Mott

  9. David Mott was the best thing to happen to Channel 10. He made the tough decisions and commissioned some of the biggest hits this country has seen. He was not the problem at TEN, its the rest of the idiots running it. James Warburton was a good loss to Seven if you ask me. All he has done is train wreck after train wreck. The whole network is going under. The network has lost the plot if you ask me being run by the corporates in other industries and don’t know how to run a TV Station.

    It will be interesting to see if any offers come in from Seven or Nine to him or any other network for that matter. I wish him well on whatever he does next and is a huge huge loss to TEN.

    2013 – The year TEN loses to ABC. lol

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