Changes to the struggling Channel 9 NRL Footy Show for 2009 has caused the departure of another member in Paul “The Chief” Harragon. Forming part of the team for 14 years, Harragon will no longer be beside Paul Vautin, Matt Johns and Laurie Daley in 2009.
The reason for Harragon walking away was apparently due to a revamp of the format; changes which Harragon says he wasn’t keen to be a part of.Â The departure of the Chief comes nearly 2 years after leading commentator Peter Sterling chose to part ways with the aging show. At the time some punters felt Sterlo may have been axed; however Sterling merely saw the writing on the wall for the program and picked the perfect time to walk away as the show struggled for crowd pulling ability.
“The Footy Show, like any business is undergoing big changes for its future success,” said ‘The Chief’ today.
“I was very pleased to be offered a role as a part of that future, however after some careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that the time is right for me to move on.”
During 2008; ratings continued to slide for the show. It was the worst year on record for the Thursday night program – in some instances even the ABC was toppling the once powerhouse show in the 9.30 slot. Surprisingly Nine boss David Gyngell remained supportive of the program, with many amazed it remained unchanged for so long. In contrast the Foxtel run panel show headed by Warren Smith continued to go from strength to strength; with many saying they preferred a comprehensive Rugby League review as opposed to ‘Hey Hey It’s Saturday’ style show hosted by ex-Footy players.
Changes for the show in 2009 remain under-wraps; with Nine’s director of event television Gary Burns confirming that Paul Harragon’s personality and humour would be missed.
“While Paul’s decision is understandable it is still sad,” Burns said.
“He was one of the prime-time originals and is much loved by not only the audience but his fellow hosts and all of the production staff.
“We will all miss him. Weekly production meetings aren’t going to be as much fun without the Chief.”
The show is set to return to the air in March.