Ten lashes Seven

19 March, 2014 by Don Groves

The dispute between Networks Ten and Seven over programmer John Stephens' alleged breach of contract is getting ugly.

Ten said this morning, "There has been a lot of noise and misinformation around recent events involving Network Ten and John Stephens. Network Ten had extensive negotiations with Mr Stephens in relation to his contract with the company.


"Network Ten wants to get the truth of what happened after that contract was signed by Mr Stephens. The leaking of confidential documents to the media only strengthens our resolve.

"We believe Seven Network, Bruce McWilliam, Tim Worner and others have a case to answer. On March 17, Justice Brereton in the Supreme Court of NSW stated there is a seriously arguable case that Seven Network has engaged in conduct that constitutes an interference with Network Ten’s agreement with Mr Stephens.

"In light of recent events, and this case, Network Ten is not prepared to be bullied. Network Ten believes Seven Network has induced breach of, and interfered with, its contract with Mr Stephens."

Stephens was due to join Ten as director of programming and scheduling in June but changed his mind and elected to stay at Seven, where he is a programming consultant.

According to The Australian, Stephens, who recently underwent hip surgery,  said in an email to Ten CEO Hamish McLennan, "Now that I have stopped the painkillers and other drugs and with a clear mind, feel that I can no longer accept the appointment … and will not be commencing employment with Ten.”