Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Media Musical Chairs

There is such a frenetic game of musical chairs going on in the media these days that we can hardly keep up. So we decided to just do a short post, combining all the major transitions we do know about or have heard about...

First up, rumours are swirling that Fahd Hussain, who recently left Express TV to join Dunya, may be signing up with Aaj TV, where Talat Hussain recently announced his departure. According to this website, Fahd has been involved in some clashes with Dunya TV's owner Mian Aamir Mahmood and is also finding it frustrating not to yet have found a primetime slot there. We do not know how true these particular reports are but Fahd himself apparently refuses to either confirm or deny the rumours of negotiations with Aaj, which might be some sort of indication.

Matters are complicated by further rumours that Talat Hussain's apparent move to DawnNews may have hit snags over his desire to bring with him about half a dozen other subordinates at fairly high salaries, at which DawnNews management has balked. There are also reports that Aaj management is going full throttle to retain Talat by offering to address the issues he had with the channel. If indeed either or both of these reports are true, and Talat does in fact stay at Aaj, obviously there would not be any empty slot for Fahd to move into.

In any case, that's enough of the rumours. What is certain are the following:

Sana Bucha, the host of Crisis Cell who recently resigned from Geo to go to ARY, is coming back to Geo, believe it or not. Apparently, she began having doubts about her move to ARY almost immediately upon signing up with them, realizing (a bit late) that she would be reporting to one President Dr S&M there. Even before she had formally begun work there, however, she therefore allowed herself to be poached by the Express Media Group. This is when it got even more interesting. Having signed up with Express (in what capacity, whether for the Express Tribune or for their channels, we are not quite sure), she was beseeched by a rather dramatic Mir Ibrahim Rahman (MIR) to come back to the Geo fold. Apparently she was put under a lot of family pressure (the Rahmans know her family) and finally buckled on the condition that MIR would handle the embarrassment with the Express management. In this short, almost virtual job hopping spree, it is said that she managed to come back to Geo at double her previous salary. A good strategy if you can swing it.

Meanwhile, from the looks of this return, the negotiations that Geo was having with Meher Bokhari (which have been confirmed) to wean her away from Samaa, seem to have come to naught.

But Geo has managed to snag one other big fish, so to speak. As we reported earlier (in rumour terms), Dr Shahista Wahidi is all set to take over the morning show at Geo, replacing the once-favoured Nadia Khan. Wahidi has left ARY and scooted over to Geo's welcoming arms at a whopping salary. Her stint will begin anon.

In already established news, Zaffar Abbas has formally taken over (on October 4) as Editor Dawn from the departing Abbas Nasir, who has moved back to London with his family after four-years at the helm of the paper. And Aaj TV has introduced former bureaucrat and columnist Orya Maqbool Jan and former The News editor Salim Bokhari as the bickering replacements for Mushtaq Minhas and Nusrat Javed in their Bolta Pakistan programme. The latter duo, as we all know, now bicker over at Dunya TV on Dunya Mere Aagay.

On an unrelated note, Arif Nizami's Pakistan Today is now said to launch today (October 5) in Lahore and, interestingly, will be published in the tabloid format, making it the country's first such daily.


TLW said...

Cafe Pyala, I personally have a soft spot for Nusrat Javed. He's one of the few non-right wing, voices of sanity on Pakistani television. I wonder why you guys never have a positive take on him.

And since we're on the topic of journalists switching jobs, I wanted to mention that a purported reason "Bolta Pakistan" was pushed off Aaj was because of intense lobbying by a Jamat/right-wing faction in combination with the shows low ratings performance. They apparently have an intense hatred of anybody countering the prevailing reactionary bent. Any truth to the lobbying story?


Anonymous said...

whats the deal with Nadia Khan show? and I live in the US, I can say certainly, that these TV personalities are probably making way more then on air personalities here. Now im not comparing these Sana Bucha to Katie Couic of CBS (network television) but surely more than cable TV here. You guys mentioned Dr. Wahidi, how much is she making now a month, must be 20 Lakhs?

Anonymous said...

TLW might be right (no pun intended) in suggesting some Jamaati-type pressure on Bolta Pakistan.
The small part of the new version I saw had two of the top names in the current fundocracy, Hameed Gul and Imran Khan, holding forth on drone attacks and our rulers' lack of ghairat. Oriya (is it a man, is it a medicine, is it a planet?)was in his elements but the staleness of content and format could be smelled from a thousand miles.
Has anyone else noticed Aaj TV's recent lurch into toeing a blatantly right wing agenda? Would love to know what's going on behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

just wondering that what kind of ballpark salary do these hosts get ? not talking about the big guns but the new comers like sana bucha or mehar ?

Calpot said...

Agree with TLW.
Also, Pyala, sometimes I do wonder that if commenting so much on TV anchors is justified?

Very few or none are journalists and their professional antics reminds one of corporate yuppies or film star gossip.

But it is justifed commenting on established names like those found in the print media. Also, what about the columnists?

They have become pretty known as well and move around; and some are getting good money to write.

AI said...

Time for consolidation of our electronic media has come. Sooner than later, these guys will not be able to operate with the "enormous" salaries they are giving. As far as these anchors are concerned, higher the salary, higher the pressure on them to make their programs successful, which in essence means more controversies and sensationalism

Hostless & Happy said...

@ AL
In other words, it's a vicious circle.

But, really, many Pakistanis would actually benefit if we can get rid of a lot of these anchors. :)

Anonymous said...


"On an unrelated note, Arif Nizami's Pakistan Today is now said to launch today (October 5) in Lahore and, interestingly, will be published in the tabloid format, making it the country's first such daily."

someone told me it is "Berliner format" not tabloid.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon above

It is obvious that you are a staffer at Pakistan Today, as evidenced by the ease with which you throw the term 'berliner', which, to all other civilized folk, would be a jelly donut :)

But rightly said. Pakistan Today takes its shape from the longstanding British Daily The Observer.

BTW... since Pyala hasn't yet reviewed Pakistan Today, I think its safe to assume that none of the team is based in Lahore... but then you already knew that I knew that you guys weren't...! :D