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Sports push prompts split at Ten

MAJOR additions to Network Ten’s sports programs, including the AFL from season 2002, has prompted a management split between news and sport.

Network Ten successfully bid earlier this year for the television rights for the AFL as part of a News Ltd consortium including the Nine Network, Network Ten and Foxtel.

Network Ten Perth is now scouring the land for a new general manager following a decision to appoint general manager network news and public affairs, David White, to a role managing the network’s sporting stable.

Kel Robards has been appointed to Mr White’s former role and will relocate to Network Ten’s Sydney office.

Network Ten said changes in a number of key management positions had been prompted by a significant increase in the network’s sports programming as a result of the AFL bid and a new six-year contract for coverage of the V8 Supercars.

Network Ten chief executive John McAlpine said that, with the AFL on the Ten calendar from 2002 and a contract for the V8 Supercars, David White, previously general manager network news and public affairs would now be managing the network’s sporting stable.

“As general manager, sport, David will implement and nurture what has become a much larger asset of prestige programming for the network,’ Mr McAlpine said.

Mr Robards began his career at Network Ten in operations and production in Bris-bane before becoming general manager in Adelaide and then general manager in Perth for the past two years.

“When we got the AFL it was raised as a possibility to split sport and news up because AFL is just such a huge product for Network Ten,” Mr Robards said.

“The sport program has just grown too big.”

In his role as Network Ten Perth managing director Mr Robards has overseen the station’s ongoing commitment to covering local events in WA, both locally and for the national market.

“Wherever we can a cover a local sporting event what we look at is how can we cover this nationally, Mr Robards said.

Network Ten Perth is currently producing a high definition television documentary on James Fitzpatrick, the 2001 Young Austra-lian of the Year.

Mr Robards said the documentary would examine why he received the award and his concerns with Aboriginal health.

Production on the documentary is set to start early next month with a view to airing the program for a national market.

There are hopes of a new appointment for Network Ten Perth by the end of July and, in the interim, the strong management team and support staff will ably run the place, Mr Robards said.

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