TVNZ's next reality show will feature redundancies

Top-level management changes will be outlined to the board of Television New Zealand tomorrow.

TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis has put together proposals that would “end up shaping my new executive team”.

About 10 executives are thought to report directly to Mr Ellis.

There has been speculation about the future of high-profile managers such as news head Bill Ralston, who was appointed in 2003 and has watched TV One news ratings slump ever since.

Mr Ellis told MPs in November that redundancies were looming in the shake-up.

The board signed off late last year on an overall strategy – sighted by the Government in December – but this week’s meeting will give directors details of the internal restructuring involved.

TVNZ has struggled with a loss of viewers and advertising revenue.

The last annual report, issued in the middle of 2006, about the time Mr Ellis was appointed, recorded a $9.4 million drop in advertising revenue.

Mr Ellis, chief executive from 1998-2002, returned after Ian Fraser quit in October 2005. Mr Fraser said he had lost confidence in the company’s board and its business plan.

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The review comes as the broadcaster begins big changes, including the establishment of two new digital free-to-air channels – one expected to have round-the-clock news – and the launch of TV shows over the internet from March.

TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards yesterday said the changes being presented to the board covering people reporting directly to Mr Ellis were “the first stages of what probably will be a significant organisational redesign”.

The changes had been drawn up in-house, with guidance from outside specialists, she said.

“The object is to put the organisation in a shape to achieve what we want to do strategically.”

Once the board signed off on the initial changes, similar restructuring was expected to roll through the rest of the organisation.

“We’re working to a reasonably short timetable,” Ms Richards said. “Assuming the board is happy with what they see and doesn’t request further work, the next step will be to send that back to the organisational design team and see how the next stage fits into that.” The changes were expected to be in place by mid-year.

– NZPA

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10420573

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