I cannot say too much about the Sandilands situation. For one thing, I am an employee of the Austereo Today Network, and anything I say regarding the situation could be misconstrued as an official statement by a company representative, and it is not my place to do that. We have people who make those statements and it has been made very clear to me that I am not one of those people, and could I please just shut up.
As to the Idol situation, I am also an employee of Network Ten, and I have had stern words said to me concerning comments I have made about Network Ten programming on Network Ten. When I am commenting in any other kind of media, however, they encourage me to say what I want when I want about the network and its programmes. (They're very good people to work for).
Now that I have put the disclaimer duo to bed, I will attempt to give you my opinion without nibbling too harshly on either of the hands that feed. The Idol decision would not have been an easy one. Kyle will still be on screen for the rest of the month, so it's hardly a quick fix. Today, Ten announced it is re-capitalizing, and given the buffeting of Austereo shares this week, that may have been a factor. Also, as laid out in the media statement, Idol will screen at the more family-oriented 6:30 slot this year, a timeslot that has seen great success in the form of Merlin, a very family-friendly show.
Ten stood by Kyle during the 'tuck-shop' and 'mong' controversies, and even kept him around after he and Jackie O got a big shovel and dug a grave for Big Brother, a show that had been a cornerstone of Ten's programming for the better part of a decade. Ten have been very generous to Kyle, who has had many a potshot at other Ten product and talent, from the comfort of his radio chair. (Rove and Dave Hughes, to be specific).
The biggest problem for Kyle has been the backlash from the bread and butter that drives the tv and radio industries: the advertisers. In this suppressed economic climate, media buying has suffered the most as companies strip back their spending. Network Ten's parent company, CanWest, are in dire financial straits and have been selling assets and closing down television stations in their home country of Canada. Ten, therefore, cannot afford to offend the advertising fraternity. Whether advertisers are truly horrified by the antics of my colleague, or are using the situation to pressure the radio and television companies into giving them a cheaper rate, who can say.
Whatever it was that motivated Ten to drop a high-profile member of one of their most expensive programming tentpoles just as he was about to embark on a publicity blitz to promote the first episode of the show, you can bet that it was not a decision that was made easily or lightly.
Will Idol survive? As we've seen with MasterChef, constructive criticism (as opposed to "ugh, I hated that, and you're fat") can still win ratings. Who will end up sitting in that chair? My guess is it will rotate for a few weeks, even for the whole season, as with last year's 'mentor/judges.' If they want a fat beardy obnoxious breakfast radio presenter, they have my number.