Former federal Labor Party leader Mark Latham has so far failed to interest networks in his ideas for new reality TV programs as he waits for what he believes will be certain election to the NSW Legislative Council next year.
The Bug has been told Mr Latham has discussed concepts for pilot programs with Australia’s three commercial television networks but none has generated any interest.
It is understood Mr Latham believes his election to an eight-year term as a One Nation MP in the NSW upper house at the expected March 2019 poll is all but guaranteed.
The Bug has gained exclusive access to the election posters Mr Latham will be using in the NSW campaign next year (pictured).
But The Bug understands that until the election Mr Latham needs to find work to maintain an income after his sacking from various gigs including his column with the Australian Financial Review and his previous appearances as a commentator on the Sky TV network.
“The idea Latham pitched to us was for a weekly live arm wrestling show,” a Seven Network programmer said on the condition of confidentiality.
“He was badgering us for a meeting to discuss his idea which sounded quite good, but when we finally agreed to sit down a week or so ago he had nothing really detailed or concrete to offer.
“All he had was the idea for a show in which he and a guest would indulge in an arm wrestling contest.
“We told him we’d be interested in considering it only if he got John Howard to appear and re-create their infamous encounter at a Sydney radio station.
“But that caused Mark to become suddenly sullen then very loud, aggressive, and threatening so the meeting ended without any resolution,” the programmer said.
A producer at the Nine Network who also requested anonymity said Latham had sought her out to discuss a program concept.
“Mark said he wanted to star in a show that involved him cruising the city in a cab, picking up people, then grabbing their briefcase or handbag or other personal item and arm wrestling them to see if he had to give it back,” the producer told The Bug.
“I jokingly suggested that he should try to entice Bachir Mustafa, the cabbie whose arm Mark broke some years back, into acting as his sidekick on the show.
“Unfortunately that caused Mark to become suddenly sullen then very loud, aggressive, and threatening so the meeting ended there and then and we haven’t heard anything since.”
Network Ten has also refused to consider making a Latham pilot based on an idea he pitched at a meeting last week.
A network spokesperson said Latham had outlined the concept of a panel show in which he would arm wrestle feminist commentators, celebrities, or authors.
“Latham tried to convince us that the show would have a positive impact because if any of the women defeated him in an arm wrestle it would show they could tackle violence against women themselves if only they tried and didn’t just rely on blaming and demonising all men,” the spokesperson said.
“I certainly didn’t buy the argument, which caused Mark to become suddenly sullen then very loud, aggressive, and threatening so I ended the meeting pretty sharply.”
A long-time ABC executive producer said the national broadcaster had rejected Mr Latham’s idea of a “David and Margaret” type double-headed program in which he would arm wrestle former Australian of the Year and anti-violence campaigner Rosie Batty to convince her to change “her trendy, bleeding heart, lefty, politically correct” views.
“I quickly knocked back that idea which caused Mark to become suddenly sullen then very loud, aggressive, and threatening so I changed the topic,” the producer said.
“I suggested that instead of him pitching a program concept to me, I had an idea for him to consider.
“I told him we could do a fly-on-the-wall documentary about him. It would canvass in detail his career so far and delve into his public, private, and political lives.
“I even had a title for him to mull over — The Ladder of Opportunism.
“But it seems he liked my idea even less that I liked his. He walked out,” the producer said, “ but not before breaking my arm.”
One of Australia’s best-known personality image makers and celebrity promoters, Maximise “The Invoice” Markinson, warned that Latham might be trying to crack the wrong media sector.
Mr Markinson, the man who made the third Stefanovic brother Simon the household name he isn’t today, said he believed radio — though far less lucrative — was the right fit for Latham.
“I don’t want to rework that old joke about having a face fit for radio, but have you seen Mark’s nose lately?” he said.
“I don’t think your average TV studio could afford the amount of makeup needed to hide that schnozz so as not to frighten people sitting at home.
“It looks like a map of the entire NSW rail network in the early 20th Century. “