Despite reassurances from the ABC, speculation continues to build that the ABC's flagship comedy panel program Gruen will not return in 2014.
It is believed host Wil Anderson is less than interested in continuing to host the high rating program. Wil has increasingly been spending large parts of the year based in the US where his stand-up comedy career is starting to take off. Anderson has regularly talked of his wish to completely focus his career on stand-up comedy and not rely on TV and Radio jobs to supplement his income.
This website can also report that pressure is building on regular panellist Russel Howcroft to end his association with Gruen.
As well as being the CEO of advertising agency George Patterson Y&R, Howcroft was appointed as Executive General Manager of Network Ten in February.
A highly placed source at Ten yesterday told me that it's increasing being considered a “bad look” to have a manager of a struggling network playing such a key role at a successful rival.
The ABC was quick to deny reports of Gruen's demise yesterday with the networks Head of Television Richard Finlayson telling me.
“There are no plans to retire Gruen. The team at Gruen HQ are having a well deserved break after such a great series and we look forward to their return onto our screens as soon as possible.”
The ABC’s Head of Publicity Dylan Brookes added.
“Wil is committed to Gruen and we will lock down a return date in forthcoming months.”
Talk of Gruen not returning first emerged last week when well placed media commentator Steve Molk tweeted.
“Have we seen the last of ABCTV's marquee program @GruenHQ? I understand it won't return in 2014...”
Wil Anderson has today taken to Twitter to respond to this article.
"There are no plans to retire Gruen and my understanding is that Ch 10 are comfortable with Russel's role." "my understanding is Russel's role was part of his original agreement with the network, but clearly I don't pry."