TV personalities often have a healthy appetite for tiffs, as RACHEL BROWNE
WHEN Witness anchor Jana Wendt and reporter Graham Davis head to court this
week in an attempt to resolve their differences with Channel 7, it will be the
latest round in what has become one of TV's most bitter and public brawls.
When stars fall out with management, or each other, it's usually hushed up,
with one party discreetly ousted and a convenient reason for the departure
But office politics are as common in the TV industry as in any other
profession. Viewers watching Today last Tuesday could be forgiven for thinking
the early morning show was a less than happy ship.
After weather presenter Monte Dwyer told presenters Tracy Grimshaw, Steve
Liebmann and newsreader Ian Ross he wasn't awake yet, Ross responded by rolling
his eyes and saying: "Oh, well, everything's normal."
In the second news and weather break, Ross, after reading the cricket
results, told Dwyer: "On-field sledging is a terrible thing, Mont ."
To which Dwyer sarcastically snapped: "On-field sledging is a terrible thing,
isn't it? It's like sledging in the workplace, on national television. It's a
good thing we don't do it."
Nine's news is a banter-free zone compared with Jessica Rowe and Ron Wilson's
nightly chats to Tim Bailey, and Ann Sanders' warm reception to Brian Bury.
Speaking of Bury, word around the Seven corridors is that ousted weeknight
weather presenter Adam Digby speaks of his replacement in less than flattering
Those who want to keep their jobs won't speak publicly about internal
The sensible ones wait until they've left their place of employment to dump
on their colleagues.
Soap star Melissa George had barely left Home And Away when, in a national
women's magazine, she called Dieter Brummer, who played her on-screen husband,
"stupid and undisciplined".
Totally shattering the soap's Shane and Angel romance, Brummer reacted by
labelling her rude, demanding and jealous in a later article.
When actor Nick Freedman left the show, he scoffed at his on-screen love
interest, Isla Fisher, calling her a silly little redhead. Fisher did not
dignify his comments with a response, but then, she's still contracted to the
The 7.30 Report host Kerry O'Brien waited until Paul Lyneham left the ABC in
late 1995 to shed light on the antipathy they shared. According to those
working in the Canberra press gallery with the two, their bitter rows and
rivalry over interviews with the political heavyweights were the stuff of
When O'Brien took over The 7.30 Report and ABC management decided he, not
Lyneham, would handle the big political interviews, Lyneham, regarded as one of
the public broadcaster's most astute interviewers, packed his briefcase and
signed with Channel 9.
"Paul and I were once very close friends," O'Brien said later.
"We're not any more. There's something sad about that but there was something
inevitable about it."
News and current affairs programs, by their nature, will always be hotbeds of
tension but what of comedies?
One of TV's most-celebrated blues was between Hey Hey It's Saturday's Daryl
Somers and former sidekick Denise Drysdale.
DRYSDALE'S continual upstaging of the star and refusal to be the butt of the
jokes resulted in her swift departure from the show. Both parties say, however,
that they have since made up.
But the biggest behind-the-scenes barnies are on American sets where
over-stroked egos run out of control.
David Caruso's tantrums were more volatile than anything which went to air on
his show, NYPD Blue. During one outburst, he threw a wastepaper basket at
co-star Dennis Franz. After that, the pair spoke only when exchanging scripted
dialogue and everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief when Caruso left to pursue
a film career - which later flopped.
Still at war, however, are Cybill Shepherd and her co-star Christine
Shepherd is furious that Baranski gets all the laughs on the sitcom, Cybill,
and has been on a mission to fire Baranski sympathisers in the script
department. Baranski, meanwhile, has said Shepherd treats her like pond scum and
is said to be looking for another gig.