When I see Eddie McGuire, I want to paraphrase SEINFELD and say, “Eddie You Magnificent Bastard!” For those who don’t know, Eddie is the sportcaster-turned-quiz-master,turned-Network-CEO, turned-quiz-master and still-CEO-of-Nine.
When he was anointed as Nine CEO thirteen months ago, it was a left-of-centre decision. A little like the way CJ Cregg went from Press Secretary to Chief of Staff on the WEST WING. (Yes, it all comes back to the WEST WING and CJ).
People in the know and many ordinary punters like ourselves, heaped derision on this way-out appointment. Were we expressing a secret communal wish? Were we really saying that we wanted Eddie to continue hosting WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, THE FOOTY SHOW and commentate Channel Nine’s AFL broadcasts? Perhaps.
Surprisingly, there were those who didn’t love the ubiquitous McGuire. “Eddie Everywhere” they dubbed him and it wasn’t a compliment. Others, churls to a man, suggested that McGuire couldn’t possibly commentate the football whilst being President of the Collingwood Football Club. These small individuals made piffling accusations of a so-called conflict of interest.
McGuire defended himself with a clever use of the I’m Not As Bad As Some technique :
“When you look at conflict of interest I don’t think I would rank in the top ten in football. When you look at it the chairman of the AFL commission had conflicts, the president of Carlton certainly has conflicts, you would say that Steven Silvagni – as a commentator and self-confessed salary cap cheat has conflicts and he is now a board member of Carlton”. (Quote courtesy Media Man.)
Note his words. “I don’t think I would rank in the top ten…” Right there is the humility that his critics never seem to appreciate.
Now Eddie has left behind all that ugliness. He or his Network Nine minions have done the hard yards, taken a gamble and copied an Endemol game show (1 vs 100) that’s been a hit in every other market in the world.
But the piece de resistance – Eddie has come out of his on-air retirement to host this great new show about winning money.
The CEO has still got it! Absolute Freakin’ Genius, Mr McGuire. The popular host of Australia’s most popular gameshow (MILLIONAIRE) returns to kick ass and take names. Nine could have got anyone, Jules Lund, Deborah Hutton, Don Burke (kidding!), but instead they chose the boss.
Imagine the conversation:
INT. NINE BOARDROOM. DAY
So I guess we should do this 1 vs 100 show, it’s a huge hit.
It’ll rule Monday Nights.
But we gotta problem, Boss. Who we gonna get to host it?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one.
Yeah, we need someone with talent and charisma…
Someone with a proven track record at game-shows…
But Bert’s already doing FAMILY FEUD and 20 to 1.
Come on, how would it look? What about Richard Wilkins?
It’s gotta be you, the people will demand it.
But I’m the Boss of the Network. Wouldn’t it look…I dunno,
try-hard and like I wasn’t cutting it in the Big Chair?
Okay. I’ll do it!
Eddie McGuire, you Magnificent Bastard. Going where angels and ethicists fear to tread. You are indeed, STILL THE ONE.
Elevate the Magnificent