In one of the most expensive deals in Australian TV history, the Seven Network have apparently signed a contract with convicted drug smuggler Schappelle Corby, 36, that is said to be worth between $1m-$3m.
The deal will include Corby’s first interview since her paroled release from Kerobokan prison yesterday, which will air on Seven’s Sunday Night program and be conducted by veteran journalist Mike Willesee who is currently holed up in a five start Balinese resort with Corby, her family and a TV crew.
Host of Seven’s breakfast show Sunrise, David Koch, 57, has boldly spoken out against his employer’s decision to make a financial deal with Corby.
Koch said this morning: “I reckon we should have nothing to do with her as a network… I totally disagree with paying a convicted drug smuggler $2 million. I know Indonesia is corrupt and all that sort of stuff, but she is convicted”.
Koch referred to the controversial payment again during a cash give-away segment on Sunrise. “How would you like to win some Mega Cool cash without spending time in an overseas jail?,” he rhetorically asked the audience.
It’s unusual and can potentially career-endangering for journalists to criticise the decisions of their media owners. But when it happens, it’s generally because it’s something the journalist feels pretty damn passionate about.
And in this case, I don’t think Koch is alone.
Now, many of you will disagree about whether or not Corby should be allowed to profit from her criminal activity. Many will disagree about whether or not Corby is in fact, guilty or innocent. And you may have differing views to Koch about whether drug related crimes are deserving of jail time or not.
But. Regardless of where you stand on these questions, I suspect we’re all in agreement that $2 million could be better spent.
And just in case there’s a loophole in this agreement with the Corby Clan, here are a few alternative suggestions for Channel 7 on where they could invest their cash:
1. Investing in more original home grown Australian drama. Australian has some of the best script-writers and actors in the world and a whole bunch of them are desperately looking for work.
2. Buying and fast-tracking some quality overseas programming, like Girls, House of Cards, Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, and playing it on free-to-air television.
3. Putting the brain-power, energy, scoping and production efforts needed into creating a successful women’s panel discussion show; something that Australian television networks have found notoriously difficult to do for decades.
4. Renovating the Pier Diner on Home and Away. That place could use a serious sprucing up.
5. Interviewing an Australian who has been jailed overseas and who genuinely deserves our attention. Peabody Award Winning Al Jazeera reporter and Australian national Peter Greste is currently imprisoned in Cairo. Why? For trying to broadcast the truth about what was happening in Egypt. President Obama and the Whitehouse have been calling for Greste and his colleagues to be released. Theirs would certainly be a story worth hearing.
Any other suggestions for Channel 7 on where they could better spend their $2 million?
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