Star’s Footy Show walkout threat
HAWHORN legend Shane Crawford is reportedly set to walkout on Channel 9's The Footy Show in the middle of his contract.
The Herald Sun reports Crawford has become disgruntled by changes to his role on the iconic AFL panel show.
The 43-year-old's walkout is expected to cause yet another major shake-up to the show's line-up, which is still trying to recover from a series of high-profile axings and resignations in recent years.
Crawford reportedly informed Footy Show producers early in December that he is not happy his role has been diminished from co-host to comic relief funnyman.
Despite being part of the Channel 9 family with other hosting gigs, Crawford is reportedly prepared to turn his back on The Footy Show over his demotion to Thursday night larrikin.
In 2017, Crawford's airtime on the show was predominantly limited to the Back Up The Truck segment where he featured alongside Billy Brownless delivering prizes to viewers.
Crawford's future on the show will be decided in a meeting in January - with Channel 9 reportedly declaring it is confident of persuading Crawford to remain on the show.
The Brownlow medallist remains contracted with Nine until the end of 2018, however, a new deal will be up for discussion when his management hold talks with Channel 9 in coming weeks.
The Herald Sun reports it is unclear if Crawford intends to continue his hosting roles on popular travel show Postcards and children's afternoon show Kids WB.
Crawford's departure would be another major blow to the show, which underwent major surgery in 2017 in an attempt to reinvent its dated format.
Rebecca Maddern was famously parachuted into the hosting role in 2016 before former host James Brayshaw moved on at the end of that year.
It resulted in journalist Craig Hutchison being promoted to the role of co-host before a ratings backlash resulted in Channel 9 making desperate overtures to Footy Show favourite Eddie McGuire, pleading for the popular presenter to return.
McGuire's production company was also installed to run the show.
McGuire on Saturday said the show will continue to make changes in 2018 and is preparing to make "some exciting announcements".
"As far as I know, Shane Crawford is contracted for next year as he was for the past few years," he told The Herald Sun.
"We look forward to making some exciting announcements around the show when we all return from the holidays. Until then we are all having a nice break and letting the imagination wonder."
The Footy Show also lost Dave Hughes to his own show on Network 10 and is still recovering from Gary Lyon's dramatic departure from the show in 2016 after his relationship with Brownless's ex-wife Nicky became public news.
Lyon last month announced he would be joining Fox Footy in a move which has dented Nine's Monday night Footy Classified panel show.
It comes as Melbourne's footy media landscape continues to react to the merger of SEN Radio and Hutchison's CrocMedia company.
The merger between CrocMedia and Pacific Star Network has already resulted in casualties with day-time radio presenter and Richmond legend Kevin Bartlett being moved to the afternoon slot to replace sacked duo David Schwarz and Mark Allen.
Crawford's potential Footy Show walkout could have ramifications for all media parties still trying to finalise their line-ups for the 2018 AFL season.