The ‘cruel and shallow money trench’ that is TV claimed another victim

The ‘cruel and shallow money trench’ that is TV claimed another victim

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“The music business,” Hunter S. Thompson once famously wrote, “is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.” It is a quote often equally applied to television, and so it proved for Channel Seven’s chief executive Tim Worner this week. Despite having presided over six years of winning ratings in his time in the big chair, Worner was rather brutally let go on Thursday.

The Channel Seven board met on Wednesday to make the decision, and it was left to chair of the board Kerry Stokes to administer the coup de grace. Worner was in Melbourne when Stokes called and asked the entirely unsuspecting TV executive to visit him in his private offices in Woolloomooloo on Thursday evening, and the job was done. Still, Stokes was so gracious about it – throwing in a year’s pay to go with long-service leave – that Worner is actually not bitter and twisted at all. His view is that he lived his dream, and had the time of his life, so what’s to regret? His next step will likely be forming his own production company.

Outgoing Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner, left, and incoming head James Warburton. Credit:Louis Douvis, Louise Kennerley

As to his replacement, James Warburton was the very one Kerry Stokes had offered the gig to nine years ago, before Warburton was lured away by Lachlan Murdoch to Channel Ten instead – resulting in an ugly court case, which saw an injunction preventing him from taking up the post for nine months. But now, here he is again!

The seasons change, the execs come and go, the game in “the cruel and shallow money trench” goes on. And a helluva game it is!