John Howard in the hunt for top Free TV post

John Howard in the hunt for top Free TV post
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Free TV Australia is remaining tight lipped about whether former prime minister John Howard (pictured) is in pole position to take over as chairman of the free-to-air television industry's lobby group.

The speculation linking Howard to the position has refused to go away since Nine Entertainment’s managing director Jeffrey Browne resigned from the post last week amid accusations that he is putting the interests if his own network ahead of others.

The Australian has reported this morning that Howard will be discussed alongside former deputy prime minister John Anderson as a possible replacement for Browne, adding that a meeting will take place tomorrow to discuss the issue.

When contacted by B&T about the possibility of Howard joining the Free TV ranks a spokesperson said the group was not commenting at this time.

Meanwhile, Free TV is proposing to amend the commercial television industry code of practice to reduce and control the promotion of live odds during the broadcast of live sporting events.

Under the proposed changes, the promotion of live odds during play will be banned, with commentators and guests also prohibited from promoting live odds during a game, as well as for 30 minutes before and after the game.

The call comes after a joint select committee convened late last month to examine the close links of betting agencies and sports. That same week Channel Nine made the decision to bench bookmaker Tom Waterhouse from its NRL commentary team as it looked to limit the damage of the public backlash against the incorporation of gambling into live sport.

“The proposed amendments to the Code reflect an agreement reached between the Government and commercial radio, commercial television and subscription broadcasters to reduce and control the promotion of live odds during the broadcast of sporting events,” said Free TV in a statement. 

For more on this issue read B&T's feature: 'One punt too far?'

The proposed amendments are now available for public comment via the Free TV website.

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