Mounter dismounts Star TV

Julian Mounter, chief executive of satcaster Star TV for barely six months, is set to be replaced in the wake of the News Corp. takeover.

An insider claims that Mounter’s departure from the top post and appointment as a consultant until the end of the year will be announced officially this week.

“All the company’s senior staff know already, but they’re under threat of being sacked if they talk to the press,” the insider said.

No successor is apparent, although it is expected that Star’s new chief will be sanctioned by SamChisholm, head of News Corp.’s British sat TV operation BSkyB.

Chisholm has been closely involved in the takeover machinations on News Corp.’s behalf and had a strong presence at high-level meetings held at Star last week.

Talk of dissonance

Rumors have been rife that Mounter, the former head of Television New Zealand (TVNZ), and News Corp. chief exec Rupert Murdoch don’t see eye to eye. However, neither Star nor News Corp. would comment publicly.

Just over a week ago, Mounter addressed worried staff members — many of whom had traveled halfway around the world to join Star after becoming casualties of News Corp.’s Sky TV takeover of British Satellite Broadcasting in 1990. He reassured them, insisting few changes would occur and that he would “definitely” be carrying on as the company’s leader.

Asked this week about his plans, Mounter said, “We are not in the habit of responding to rumors, but as reported on the weekend, I have been asked to stay on as chief executive.”

Mounter replaced Li

Mounter joined the Hong Kong-based satellite TV broadcaster in February, taking over the top job from Richard Li, who was said to be required to spend more time with parent company Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.

Having guided the company through its successful entrepreneurial stage, Li said he was stepping aside to allow Mounter to manage the company for its consolidation period.

Mounter’s main management credentials related to a four-year stint as head of TVNZ, during which he cut the staff by half and radically pruned the company’s in-house production, relying instead on outside supply of programming.

He is said to have led TVNZ’s expansion into telecommunications, pay TV and satcasting.

During his short tenure at Star, Mounter has managed to shift out most of Richard Li’s entrepreneurial team to make way for his own hand-picked set of senior executives, including former TVNZ staffers Michael Dunlop (heading the free-to-air service); Maurice Smyth (international affairs); and Paul Edwards from South African cable TV group Emnet (Star’s pay-TV project).

More Biz

  • Paul Rosenberg

    Paul Rosenberg Stepping Down as Head of Def Jam

    Paul Rosenberg, chairman and CEO of Def Jam Recordings since August of 2017, is leaving his post at the company, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. Rosenberg, who has managed Eminem since early in the rapper’s career and continued to do so throughout his Def Jam stint, will presumably return to management. [...]

  • Baby Yoda - The Child Animatronic

    Hasbro's Adorable Baby Yoda Animatronic Toy Is Already Sold Out on Disney's Online Store

    The Force remains strong for toys based on Baby Yoda, the breakout star of Disney Plus original series “The Mandalorian.” Less than a day after becoming available for pre-order, Hasbro’s new $59.99 Baby Yoda animatronic toy is no longer available on Disney’s official online store: As of Friday morning, Shop Disney listed it as “sold [...]

  • BTS Leads Spotify’s New Music Friday

    BTS Leads Spotify’s New Music Friday Playlist Rebrand

    Spotify has launched a global rebrand of its popular New Music Friday playlist, which this week features BTS, The Weeknd, Noah Cyrus, Trippie Redd, Kenny Chesney, Rei Ami and others. The revamped playlist, which has 43 versions worldwide, has more than 3.5 million followers in the US and eight million globally. New elements include a [...]

  • Donna Rotunno Gloria Allred

    Donna Rotunno Complains to Judge About Gloria Allred Attacking Her in the Media

    Harvey Weinstein’s lead attorney Donna Rotunno asked the judge to silence Gloria Allred, the high-powered attorney who is representing three women who’ve testified in the New York rape trial. Before the jury entered the courtroom on Friday morning, the fourth day of deliberations, Rotunno made a complaint on the record to the judge regarding Allred’s [...]

  • Revelries Sign With Edgeout Label via

    Revelries Sign With Edgeout Label via Universal’s Catalog Division

    Louisiana band the Revelries has signed a development deal with Edgeout, a label that will release music via Universal’s catalog division UMe. The band is managed by Red Light. “Edgeout Records is committed to discovering the next generation of rock artists,” said label chief Tony Guanci, who signed an exclusive global deal to release bands [...]

  • MadeFor Productions

    Endemol Shine Sets Up German Scripted Label Ahead of Banijay Acquisition (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Black Mirror” and “Peaky Blinders” producer Endemol Shine Group has set up a new scripted label in Germany, Variety can reveal. Based in Berlin and led by joint CEOs Nanni Erben and Gunnar Juncken, MadeFor Film will focus on both high-end TV series and feature films for the domestic and international markets, as well as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content