Ten reaches out to John Stephens

07 March, 2014 by Don Groves

In a bid to help revive its flagging ratings Network Ten has hired veteran Seven and Nine programming executive John Stephens.

“Stevo” has been appointed Director of Scheduling and Acquisitions, working closely with Chief Programming Officer Beverley McGarvey. Both will report to CEO Hamish McLennan.


McGarvey has shouldered responsibility for programming since she was promoted in 2012 following the departure of David Mott, who now runs Nine's Perth station.

His start date at Ten has not been confirmed; the network merely indicated it will be soon. In a career spanning more than 40 years, the highly regarded Stephens led both the Nine and Seven networks to the top of the ratings. He was Head of Programming Strategy and Acquisitions at Seven Network for five years until 2008. Since then he has been a programming consultant at Seven.

Ten’s share of the prime-time audience has slumped to around 9%, new Aussie dramas Secrets & Lies and Puberty Blues 2 had underwhelming debuts this week and The Biggest Challenge Australia and So You Think You Can Dance have struggled.

“John is one of the most experienced and successful television programming executives in Australia, with a local and international reputation second to none,” McLennan said.

“With a long history of developing, commissioning and acquiring popular, innovative and enduring television series, he knows what viewers want and how to create and schedule hit programs.

“We are very pleased to welcome someone of John’s calibre, experience and talent to Network Ten. He is a critically important addition to our management team. His appointment underlines our commitment to hiring industry-best talent as we work on our turnaround strategy.”