Disheartened staff at the beleaguered Ten Network say it feels like ‘a sinking ship’ as higher-profile names follow Carrie Bickmore out the door.
Insiders say the network is ‘lacking direction and morale’ with more key staff from its Sydney and Melbourne headquarters called to hand in their notices in the coming weeks.
The year-end staff purge follows a tough year for Ten, who was at the center of a high-profile federal court bullying case filed by reporter Tegan George.
The network also suffered its fair share of negative publicity following Lisa Wilkinson’s now infamous Logies speech, which delayed Bruce Lehrmann’s trial.
The departure of Carrie Bickmore capped a difficult year for Ten, with the network also copying its share of the fallout from Lisa Wilkinson’s Logies speech (R)
Carrie Bickmore posted this throwback photo of her hosting The Project with her son, Ollie, after announcing she was leaving Ten
Add to that a pitiful year of ratings duds including The Real Love Boat, The Bachelorette, The Traitors and the always disappointing 10 News First: Breakfast which recently set a new record for the worst ratings program in history. Australian television.
‘There are going to be a lot more quits to come…Ten is a bit like a sinking ship,’ one told Daily Mail Australia, adding that morale had been on a critical slump ‘for some time. “.
“It seems a bit rudderless. As there is not much direction and the network cannot figure out exactly what it wants to be.
Adding to general dissatisfaction is the network’s haphazard programming that leans heavily on reality TV formats, another staffer said.
The Real Love Boat was part of a series of misfires for Ten in 2022
The always disappointing 10 News First: Breakfast set a new record for the worst ratings program in Australian television history
“Some like Survivor and, in a pinch, MasterChef work, but a lot of them don’t,” the source said.
“There seem to be so many bombs.”
Just a fortnight after Bickmore announced his surprise decision to leave The Project after 13 years, Ten’s longtime publicity executive Sarah Johnson has also stepped down.
Johnson, who started at Ten in 2007, had overseen the advertising team on Channel 10, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount+, 10 Bold, 10 Peach, 10 Shake and 10 Play.
It is understood the TV advertising guru has yet to officially announce her next move with a spokesperson for Ten saying only that she will be replaced by senior publicist Paula Lucarelli.
Carrie Bickmore dropped her quit bombshell in October, revealing she was quitting her high-paying host role on The Project
Sarah Johnson (center) seen with Ten’s PR and strategy manager Cat Donovan (L) and social content manager Kirsty Wilson (R)
Known as ‘SJ’, Johnson was announced as Ten’s head of publicity in 2019 after sharing the role with Catherine Donovan who transitioned to head of public relations, strategy and events.
On her 2019 head of advertising appointment, Network 10 chief content officer Beverley McGarvey said: ‘It’s really exciting to make these appointments. Not only are SJ and Cat brilliant and experienced PR people, but they are a pleasure to work with and invaluable members of the team. I am thrilled that they are taking on these critical roles at such an important time for the network.
Johnson’s departure comes a week after senior reporter and producer Gillian Bowen also left the network after a seven-year stint.
Popular journalist and producer Gillian Bowen also left Ten after seven years
Bowen started at Ten as a reporter in 2015, then became a senior producer and financial reporter before stepping down last week to take up the post of Australian Public Affairs Officer for Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
Another established reporter from Ten’s newsroom, crime writer and podcaster Lia Harris, took a gig at the ABC.
Harris produced the award-winning film “Where’s William Tyrrell?” podcast three years ago that revealed new information about the child’s baffling disappearance.
The podcast has even been subpoenaed by the NSW Coroner as part of his inquest into the boy’s case.
Ten’s crime reporter Lia Harris heads to the ABC after five years – and a top-rated podcast in Ten
Harris produced the award-winning film “Where’s William Tyrrell?” podcast three years ago that revealed new information about the puzzling disappearance of the child
His departure comes as Ten’s longtime former news director Anthony Murdoch formalizes his move to Channel Seven.
Murdoch left Ten in June. It is understood he has just taken up a new position as assistant news director at Seven News in Sydney under Jason Morrison.
Ten’s latest departures come two years after the first big wave of cuts at Ten which saw high-profile presenters Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Natarsha Belling, Tim Bailey and Mike Larkan dropped as part of a cost-cutting campaign within the broadcaster’s news division.