CBS orders voice training for Ten’s stars
NETWORK Ten's newsreaders and presenters must undergo voice coaching as part of a push from new American owners CBS to give bulletins a more grandiose sound.
Ten talent, including those with decades of experience such as Sandra Sully, are being forced to do the training.
Ten's chief content officer Beverley McGarvey and newly appointed director of news Ross Dagan delivered the decree this month and are understood to have offended TV veterans in the process.
Experienced newsreaders and presenters include Sully, Natarsha Belling, Hugh Riminton and Tim Bailey.
A Ten spokesman said ongoing voice coaching was "industry standard" but executives from rival networks Nine and Seven said it would only be for newcomers, not seasoned newsreaders.
"We think it is important to invest in our team," a Ten statement said.
Despite almost three decades of broadcast experience, Sully admitted: "It's easy to slip into sloppy patterns.
"All broadcast journos are encouraged to do voice work and I've done that on and off from day dot."
Earlier this month, Ten chief executive officer Paul Anderson said the network would "more closely align with CBS across all platforms".
Whether that means its presenters will be aping new CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor's affected tone is not known. But since the takeover, Ten has ended its relationship with outsourced sales group Multi Channel Network and finalised a $100 million deal to snatch the rights to Melbourne Cup from Seven.
There are also reports some flagship programs are facing the axe.
"It would be considered very insulting to suggest top talent needed to be retrained," a Channel 7 source said. And a Nine source said experienced newsreaders would "absolutely not" be required to do coaching. However voice coach, Melissa Agnew, said it was necessary.
"The best voices in the country do not shun voice training," she said.
"There seems to be a misconception that to work with a voice coach is a remedial thing, and it's certainly not."
One media commentator said the training could be the broadcaster reviewing its news output. "Is this an indicator they are about to review their commitment and increase news across the channel with the backing of CBS?" the commentator said.