EXCLUSIVE: Nine News boss Darren Wick has hit back at a New Idea cover story which claimed Tracy Grimshaw was “reeling” after not winning the Gold Logie, and took time unscheduled leave to reconsider her future.
According to the article, “What Tracy Grimshaw is Hiding” she spent a week in ‘self-imposed exile at her property,’ with network bosses forced to pull out all the stops to keep her happy.
“It’s made her question everything – including whether she sticks with the show,” an industry insider told the mag.
But Wick told TV Tonight the article was all fabricated and riddled with errors.
“It’s nonsense. Tracy’s leave was planned long in advance of the Logies. She would have gone on leave beforehand but we asked her to stay on for the Logies. So there’s nothing strange about that. Everyone has to take leave and we’ve found it’s really important with a lot of presenters to get them away mid-year to have a break.
“So it’s just completely made up.”
“It’s just an anonymous person who has made it up.”
“’Still reeling after the disappointment.’ Wrong. ’Tracy blind-sided.’ Wrong. “It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the network.’ Wrong. ‘It’s made her question everything says an insider.’ Who is that person? It’s just an anonymous person who has made it up.”
In the lead up to the Logies, Grimshaw was on the campaign trail with press interviews and travel to Melbourne and the Gold Coast, then back to the A Current Affair desk in Sydney the night after.
Although it didn’t result in a Logie win, Wick says she had a great time at the industry event.
“She’d like to have won but she had a good time, and quite honestly she was thrilled to have been nominated,” he continued.
“If anyone knows Tracy Grimshaw, she can and does party hard!”
He denied suggestions Grimshaw was close to walking out.
“It is point blank not true. Tracy is signed, sealed and delivered for a new contract.
“She is very happy with where the show is at in 2018. I think it’s in a great place, and the numbers reflect that.
“The morale of the team is fantastic and they obviously had a challenging year last year. But it’s in a good space and she’s loving it.
“She’s mentoring so many young reporters and producers, and she has a big smile on her face everytime she turns up to work.”
Yesterday Grimshaw was nominated for a NSW Kennedy Award for Outstanding Current Affairs Reporting.
In a further blunder the article bizarrely claimed, Nine bosses were attempting to appease her ‘by giving her more control over her Today segments.’
The online version has since corrected to A Current Affair segments, but hard copies on news stands still carry the error.
“It’s probably a template,” Wick joked.
“The fact they are writing about Channel Nine stars all the time, Tracy, Karl, Georgie…. Channel Nine stars sell magazines.
“This story is so error-riddled and devoid of facts it’s a joke.”
“The magazine industry is under incredible pressure and probably on the verge of folding. So they are doing whatever they can to sell. This story is so error-riddled and devoid of facts it’s a joke.
“It’s worse than lazy, it’s deceitful.
“By the same token, do we want to get tied up suing them for every single article they do? It’s a waste of time. I think the public out there don’t believe this for a second and that’s why the mags are in the trouble they are in.”
New Idea, which scored the Karl Stefanovic scoop on his Uber call, is also published by Seven-owned Pacific Magazines. Is there a corporate agenda to target Nine with fake news? Wick is doubtful.
“I can’t imagine my counterparts at Channel Seven are plotting to bring us down with this sort of stuff. I don’t imagine anyone has the time to do that any more,” he continued.
“They can’t keep printing rubbish which is factually wrong and expect to have a long existence”
“But I think market forces will ultimately take care of them. They can’t keep printing rubbish which is factually wrong and expect to have a long existence. Mags have always been tabloid and at times outrageous with a bit of scandal, but by and large a lot of it has been based on fact with good journos.
“I just think the magazines are pushing whatever button they can to try and get somebody to buy it off the news stand.”
A Seven West Media spokesperson said the error of ‘Today‘ segments over ‘A Current Affair‘ was “a typo.”