Bruce McWilliam of Seven pays tribute to David Leckie, the person “virtually born for TV”

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The Nineties weren’t a simple journey for tv although it was its heyday. David needed to cope with the launch of paid tv and the Tremendous League wars. He fought each causes along with his ordinary style and produced gorgeous outcomes for Nove along with his dual-entry publishing and tv streams.

David was an amazing mentor of expertise each government and within the air. He noticed Hugh Marks at 9’s regulation division and pushed him into programming the place he succeeded. He mentored David Gyngell and was at all times impressed by his success. David was beneficiant with credit score.

David lived and breathed his final and within the late 90s he gained AFL rights for 9 (which they have been to share with Ten) which meant 9 had the 2 greatest winter sports activities. Plus cricket that was in his DNA TV. His tent at Wimbledon was the stuff of legends and he was magnificently adopted by Bruce Gyngell who was the president of 9 when he returned from London.

David caught his opposition to the community fearlessly, together with Nick Falloon, his good good friend 9 who known as him “the director” as a result of he at all times tried to talk harshly to David. He revered John McAlpine as head of gross sales at Ten (whom he known as “tree”) and likewise helped Nick rating “idol” for Ten.

Seven was unable to take it due to Popstars and have become a community base when Ten was essentially the most worthwhile of all of the networks. He had mistaken Grant Blackley’s title to annoy him. David, Nick and Grant secured the primary deal to share the AFL when Seven handed it over.

In 2000, a fallout with Kerry Packer – which David revered – over the brand new OZTAM ranking system led to his departure 9. He maintained the youngsters’s TV ideas till his lack of competitors ended and Kerry Stokes employed him to handle Seven in March 2003. Seven was languishing within the votes after the Sydney Olympics and having misplaced the ‘AFL. David Koch was the one particular person to win his phase exterior of Dwelling and Away and David lived to reprimand the “get me some stars” programming division.

Regardless of the difficulties he confronted, David acknowledged Seven’s strengths and cast robust ties with Seven stalwarts and was initially joined by Peter Meakin and John Stephens from 9 (who had all been employed by Kerry). Stokes earlier than David arrives).

A cascade with Seven’s head of sports activities who did not accede to the solutions of David’s rugby host – although his recommendation was delivered by a restaurant – noticed him appoint Saul Shtein from Fox Sports activities to manages the game and David promoted Tim Worner to handle the programming. That they had a little bit of a mercurial relationship however David at all times obtained one of the best out of Tim (whereas giving him a tough time) and inspired his profession growth. Bradley Lyons and Angus Ross are additionally promoted by David. He additionally employed James Warburton from McCanns and inspired him to handle on-line gross sales. Because it was a everlasting begin in a brand new subject, David held James to the bottom and noticed him triumph.

He reminded them how a lot Seven had spent for Disney and “requested” (ordered) the waiter to convey his costliest bottle of chilly white wine and “hold them coming.”

Simon Francis, PR chief of Kerry Stokes, was afraid of his arrival after answering a media query speculating concerning the appointment saying that the final time he regarded, David’s automobile was not in. the Seven Sydney North Sydney automobile park. It was early.

David was an amazing mentor and after the Athens Olympics the launch of Dancing with the Stars initiated the return of the community which he later capitalized on to safe the primary place in 2008 with the very best earnings since 2005. David he joined the Yahoo7 three way partnership with good friend Terry Semmell and bought Murdoch magazines from Matt Handbury (who introduced Marie Claire and Higher Houses and Gardens to the journal stall) and Time Australia (Which Weekly) when Warner offered the ‘native publishing operations.

He led Nick Chan to make runs that he known as the inscrutable chinaman. Chan returned the favor by asking for a publish on Border Safety that a lot of the time has centered on individuals making an attempt to keep away from immigration.

David had at all times hated Disney’s “manufacturing deal” that value Seven greater than $ 100 million a yr and swore he would do away with it. Nonetheless, shortly after his arrival Disney produced a profitable sequence Determined Housewives, Misplaced and Grays Anatomy which helped flip the fortunes of seven.

When David was having dinner with Disney in LA, they tried to serve him a $ 25 bottle of wine on the Orangerie in Los Angeles and reminded him how a lot Seven had spent at Disney and “requested” (ordered) the waiter to convey it. the most costly bottle of chilly white wine and to “make them come.”

David had been ingesting in his workplace each night time to relive the day after which watch the 6 p.m. She fell in love when Ian Ross joined 9 and equally when Mark Ferguson joined. In the present day Tonight was the end result of his life when advertisers complained however David dealt with his complaints skillfully and pragmatically. At one level he known as Craig McPherson (the present’s producer, now head of reports) and requested him if he ought to simply ship him the checklist of community advertisers in order to not go away anybody out.

David was CEO in 2007 when the community was offered to KKR for $ 4 billion. David continued to handle the community and Kerry Stokes put him on board Seven Group Holdings. His pursuits largely centered on tv and he would have had his secretary convey him a be aware at board conferences when the business portfolio was mentioned and he made his apologies. He advised to Terry Davis (head of Coca Cola Australia) and Richard Euchritz to hitch the council and he was mortified when at his first assembly on board the waitress gave Terry a Pepsi Eating regimen.

David didn’t like conferences, however when he was invited to attend, he knew he needed to do it. One of many KKR males who was a really shiny analyst was named by David as the pinnacle of the helix. They turned shut associates and David then up to date his nickname to “racial scientist.”

One other of the KKR analysts requested to David’s nice pleasure why the community has produced and purchased hits and even hits and it wouldn’t be higher simply to purchase hits. David was so happy with the query that he made the younger man repeat his request to the heads of programming.

When Archer Capital purchased the V8 Supercars – a Seven property he stole from Ten to the detriment of Nick Falloon – David was taken to a boardroom to satisfy the brand new homeowners. He regarded straight forward and stated, “what genius thought it was a good suggestion to purchase the game with out speaking to us?”. He turned and walked out.

David had initially chosen James Warburton to succeed him as CEO, nevertheless Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch proved to be extra persuasive and remunerative and James sadly left Seven for Ten. However not earlier than a colourful courtroom case by which David testified in his typical sturdy type, describing media consumers and a few of the Seven Council members in an unflattering means. Regardless of this, Seven has at all times gained the case. David repaired the bridges with James rapidly although they ran nets in competitors. Nobody has been happier than David since James ’return as CEO in 2019,“ It solely took ten years, ”David stated.

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Kerry Stokes was a giant supporter of David who remained a well-paid marketing consultant even after he ceased to be CEO. Throughout his lengthy profession, David was at all times able to reward, however he can be proper to take the blame for programming selections that hadn’t labored. He additionally lately acquired Seven programmers to debate programming concepts. He was so joyful lately with a win that he organized for “We Are the Champions” from Queen to play whereas strolling. Even when they needed to go exterior whereas he (nonetheless technologically challenged) tailored his sound system.

David knew just one key in his laptop that was the delete button. Consequently he by no means acquired emails e-mailing his mailbox that was empty (though he did write two phrases to a 9 programmer once they allegedly criticized one in all his selections).

David missed tv although he took quite a lot of satisfaction in his household. Her eldest son Tim from his first marriage was at all times warmly inspired by David and stayed shut. His sons with Skye, Harry and Ben, have introduced David nice satisfaction of their successes and abilities.

Skye and David as a pair have been a singular double act who obtained one of the best of one another and have been beneficiant to their family and friends. We are going to all keep in mind David with nice love and admiration and go away a niche in our lives as clear and lasting as his legacy.

Bruce McWilliam is the business director of Seven West Media.

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