Ed in a SPIN
Eddie McGuire’s career in TV, sport and radio is on a roll again after a slump in 2008, writes Colin Vickery
Ative streak. And he’s never more vocal than when he’s forced to defend his ambitions and convictions.
There have been many who’ve set out to unsettle McGuire by having a crack at his way of doing business in TV, sport, and radio, so it’s no surprise the 46-year-old president of Collingwood Football Club talks of the deep satisfaction of seeing the Magpies win the 2010 AFL premiership.
He’s also quietly pleased his quiz show Hot Seat is consistently beating Deal or No Deal in the ratings and that his Hot Breakfast radio show is steadily gaining listeners in the Melbourne market.
McGuire, who on Tuesday revisits one of his biggest TV hits as host of Channel 9’s The National IQ Test (the original version was a ratings smash in 2002), is in a vastly different place than mid-2008, when he was nicknamed ‘‘ Eddie Nowhere’’ by media critics.
Back then, McGuire was slammed for pocketing a $4 million-a-year salary despite having no regular TV show. Collingwood was in crisis after players Heath Shaw and Alan Didak became embroiled in a drinking and driving scandal.
It came after McGuire’s controversial tenure as Nine CEO, which ended in June 2007.
‘‘ It surely can’t get any worse for Eddie McGuire,’’ one scribe said in August 2008.
‘‘ He’s become a target of vitriol within the (Nine) network given that his $4 million salary for doing sod all is more than the entire budget for the axed Sunday program.’’ NYONE who’s dealt with Eddie McGuire will tell you he has a fierce competi-
McGuire admits the barbs hurled at him at this time hurt. ‘‘ It was hard there for a period where people were writing ‘ Eddie Everywhere and now he’s getting paid to do nothing’,’’ McGuire says.
‘‘ It was the first time in my career where it wasn’t all happening.
‘‘ It (career) had always been on an upward trend and this was a bit of a stalling situation after a major upheaval.
‘‘ I was working just as hard but I wasn’t on air as much. In a lot of ways you’re working harder because you try and make things (TV shows) happen.
‘‘ It feels harder because the criticism is there. It was frustrating because you don’t have that control.’’
The turnaround in McGuire’s fortunes has come through persistence and his ability to put a new spin on past glories.
Hot Seat is a revamped version of the megasuccessful Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Hot Breakfast a variation on early Triple M radio hit The Grill Team.
The National IQ Test continues the trend. When the first one aired in 2002 it was a monster hit.
Livinia Nixon replaces former co-host Catriona Rowntree. ‘‘ I think the era of negative (TV shows) is over. People are looking for inspiring stories, a bit of fun, relaxation,’’ he says.
Right now, McGuire is on a roll and he intends to keep it going on all fronts — football, radio and television.
‘‘ Once you win a premiership you want to win another,’’ McGuire says. ‘‘ There is no resting of laurels. There is the coaching change over in 12 months (Mick Malthouse to Nathan Buckley). That will be an interesting time.
‘‘ I suppose I need to get elected (as Collingwood president) again at the end of the year. I’d like to think the members might have thought this year wasn’t bad.
‘‘ I’ll stand for president again at the end of this season and that will be another three years at least. I’ve really enjoyed getting back on the radio, the production side (McGuire Media) is going well and we have pitched some dramas around the place in recent times.
I have thoughts about where the industry might be heading and I’m positioning myself accordingly.
‘‘ It’s about coming up with good ideas and shows that people like.
‘‘ I love the whole media entertainment business.’’ The National IQ Test, Channel 9, Tuesday, 7.30pm
Competitive: Eddie McGuire is reprising The National IQ Test.