ALAN Jones has been sacked from his long-running spot on Channel 9's Today.
The close Packer family friend became the first victim of Nine's new management – apparently as part of a strategy to show they are now in charge.
Jones was personally appointed to the breakfast show by the late Kerry Packer more than 20 years ago and successive management regimes had regarded him as a "protected species".
His 7.15am editorial gave Jones the national platform his 2UE and now 2GB breakfast radio show could not.
New Nine boss Ian Law is understood to have in the past week told Jones, Australia's most successful radio host, he will present his last editorial on June 15.
Law is now running Nine for PBL Media stakeholders CVC Asia Pacific, which owns 75 per cent of PBL Media after James Packer reduced his share from 50 per cent to 25 per cent last Friday.
Jones was unavailable for comment last night.
A source close to Jones said he was "not upset", although he is thought to be hurt.
He added: "He's particularly sad country people will no longer be able to see his editorials."
In the past, Jones has famously used the term "pick and stick" to characterise his loyalty towards friends – most notably the Packers.
A Nine source said the move was not part of the ongoing shake-up of Today, which has just welcomed Lisa Wilkinson as co-host.
Wilkinson is the wife of Jones' direct 2UE breakfast competitor Peter FitzSimons and Jones failed to welcome her or name her on her first day on May 28.
"This is not a decision about the Today show," the source said.
"This is more about the new management at Nine and them showing they're definitely the ones now in control."
The move was seen as sending a message to already worried Nine staff that no one is sacred.
But Nine's news and current affairs director Garry Linnell said it was part of the evolution of Today which needed airtime for new segments – but curiously acknowledged they were losing a powerful news player.
"He is a voice of authority and an integral player in setting the national news agenda – we wish him well," he said.