misery a goldmine for chequebook TV, by Peter Weekes,
Ben Doherty - 7th May 2006
Bidding for exclusive rights to
the Brant Webb and Todd Russell story is believed
to have reached an Australian record, with Channel
Nine close to signing a deal worth $500,000.
McGuire, the new chief of the Channel Nine was
rumoured to be personally involved in overseeing
discussions to secure the story.
one source told The Sunday Age that the Nine Network
had "all but sealed" the deal with the
Webb and Russell families.
later denied any direct personal involvement in
negotiations and would not comment on any rumoured
offer price for fear of tipping off rivals.
CEO of the Nine Network so obviously I would be
involved in any discussions going on . . . but
I am not personally involved and haven't spoken
to anyone in relation to doing any deals down
there, but someone from our organisation had better
be," he told The Sunday Age.
the half-million-dollar figure is correct, it
would be the biggest story deal in Australian
television history, topping the $400,000 paid
to Iraqi hostage Douglas Wood.
Seven is the only other television contender after
Channel Ten ruled itself out, citing cost. Seven's
news and current affairs head, Peter Meaken, said
the network "would be interested in speaking
to the miners and their families, and we don't
expect them to do it for nothing".
agents such as Max Markson, who describes Beaconsfield
as a "miracle story", and Harry M. Miller
are reluctant to name a price until the men are
safely above ground.
it would be out of character if they held back
and allowed a rival to clinch the deal. "I
would be surprised if Max Markson and Harry M.
Miller haven't got something going on or some
plans," said public relations specialist
Greg Tingle, of Mediaman.
the past week a media outlet reported an unsourced
claim that Webb and Russell could gain as much
as $2 million should they decide to sell their
story, but Tingle thinks this was more hype than
you look at some of Australia's biggest news stories
where people have gone down the commercial road,
it wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest that the
figure would be closer to a couple of hundred
thousand dollars," he said. "There is
potential for a motion picture, documentary and
book deals in it. Just what each of those segments
are worth needs further exploring."
is not unusual for victims in tragic events to
sell their story. Thredbo survivor Stuart Diver
sold his for $250,000, as did Lindy Chamberlain,
but when freed Iraq hostage Douglas Wood hocked
his tale of captivity to Channel Ten, the deal
did not live up to the network's expectation,
this story is different. Instead of one person
trapped under the ground there are two, and the
central characters in this story are miners who
were simply doing their job when the roof literally
caved in around them.
M. Miller Group