EXCLUSIVE: Channel Seven’s ‘Mr Nice Guy’ sues the TV network for a payout after he was quietly boned after 20 years – in contrast to the celebrated departure of his Sunrise couch buddy Melissa Doyle
- Veteran Channel Seven presenter Simon Reeve has launched court action
- Reeve, 59, was axed by the network in June amid the economic downturn
- Daily Mail understands he’s suing for an unspecified termination payout
- Seven will be defending the payout and will argue he has ‘changed his tune’
- Network celebrated his ex-Sunrise couch buddy Mel when she left this month
When Sunrise presenter Melissa Doyle became the latest casualty of cost-cutting at Channel Seven, both the TV star and network executives issued statements praising one another.
But things weren’t so rosy for other well-known faces caught up in the network’s recent axings.
Doyle’s one-time buddy on the Sunrise couch, presenter Simon Reeve, is suing Seven in the Federal Court after he was boned in June.
Lawyers for Reeve, 59 – the sports presenter on Weekend Sunrise and host of Million Dollar Minute and It’s Academic – filed a statement of claim late last week.
Simon Reeve worked for Channel Seven for 20 years when he was axed earlier this year – and is now suing in the Federal Court. Above, in the Sunrise studio with Angela Cox and Sally Bowrey
Reeve (above with Larry Emdur and Monique Wright) has been the sports presenter on Weekend Sunrise for about a decade but hasn’t appeared on screen since March
Reeve mostly recently hosted It’s Academic, Million Dollar Minute and the sport on Weekend Sunrise
The origin of the TV term ‘boned’
When Today Show host Jessica Rowe’s head was on the chopping block in 2006, it was alleged Eddie McGuire had spoken of having her ‘boned’ – or axed, in other words.
‘What are we going to do about Jessica? When should we bone her? I reckon it should be next week,’ it was claimed McGuire said.
McGuire later claimed he had said ‘burn’ instead of ‘bone’, but the damage was done.
It has since entered the Australian lexicon for when TV presenters are axed.
Reeve, known as one of the network’s ‘nice guys’, had been with Seven for two decades in one role or another when he was shown the door – as the economic downturn ravages Australian TV businesses.
Daily Mail Australia understands the presenter’s lawsuit is about entitlements he believes should have been paid out when he was let go.
At the heart of the legal dispute iswhether he was an employee of Seven – as Reeve argues he was – or an independent contractor at the time.
Seven will be defending the case and is expected to argue Reeve had ‘changed his tune’ on being a contractor after being axed.
No dollar figure has been placed on the lawsuit.
It sets the stage for what could be the highest-profile court stoush Seven has faced since the network and former CEO Tim Worner’s executive assistant Amber Harrison sued one another in 2017.
Both Seven and Reeve’s lawyers declined to comment, with a court date yet to be set.
It has been a year of bloodshed in the TV industry with big names shown the door at both Seven and Network 10.
By far the biggest departure so far is Doyle’s. She issued a statement upon her departure where she singled out Seven chairman Kerry Stokes for his support.
Reeve regularly worked on Sunrise and was a regular presence when Mel and Kochie were on the couch. Above, the trio together in 2013 – with Kochie the only survivor
Reeve has been on and off Channel Seven for the past 40 years. Above, he poses with longtime colleagues Doyle and Kylie Gillies at a Seven Christmas party in 2007
Reeve, far right, was a long term contributor to Weekend Sunrise but is understood to be living on the Gold Coast
‘For 25 years, I have called Channel 7 home,’ she said. ‘I’ve had the privilege to share stories that mattered, meet incredible people and be there for significant moments in history.
Melissa Doyle and Seven executives exchanged gushing statements when she left the building
‘I am incredibly proud of the work I have done and appreciative of the trust and warmth our viewers have shown me.
‘I want to thank the consummate professionals I have worked with along the way, in particular our chairman Kerry Stokes for his constant support.
‘I leave Seven with a great deal of pride, satisfaction and gratitude.’
Seven CEO James Warburton thanked the former Sunrise host for ‘everything she’s done for the Seven Network.’
‘Melissa has deserved every success that’s come her way’.
There was no such song and dance for Reeve – who started his career at Seven in Western Australia in 1979.
Meanwhile, Ten has axed state-based bulletins in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, as well as legendary weatherman Tim Bailey – who worked there for 29 years.