Aaj TV is going through quite a shake-up after the news of Talat Hussain's notice to leave the struggling channel. This past Saturday, about half a dozen staffers - including senior staffers - were given their pink slips and sources indicate that a total of about two dozen people face the axe in the next few days. Actually, staffers are being asked to resign to immediately receive a two-month severance pay, failing which they would be terminated and face a delay in the clearance of their dues. Understandably, most have opted to resign.
The news of this downsizing seems to strengthen rumours that Hussain will, in fact, be leaving, since sources claim that many of those being laid off were considered close to Hussain. However, he may initially only be doing a show at DawnNews rather than coming in as head of the channel as originally speculated. Sources at DawnNews indicate that the management was not ready to meet Hussain's demands of his having fiscal control over the channel as well, something he enjoyed at Aaj. Meanwhile, in a related development, DawnNews has announced to its staff that present News head, Mubashir Zaidi, will now assume charge as Chief Editor for both News and Current Affairs.
In other news, Yousuf Baig Mirza, the erstwhile Managing Director of Geo and currently head of Dunya TV, has been re-appointed Managing Director of Pakistan Television (PTV), according to an APP report in Dawn. He replaces the former Ufone head Arshad Khan who himself was on his second stint as head of the state owned broadcaster. Recall that YBM, as he is known, was first appointed head of PTV by Nawaz Sharif during his second stint as prime minister. He was retained by General Musharraf after the 1999 coup. He has now been appointed by the PPP government. Is he the most dynamic media head ever or does he just have really good PR with everyone?