Vautin reveals Footy Show heartbreak
PAUL Vautin has revealed he is still hurt by the sudden decision to axe him from his own show during The NRL Footy Show's death spiral.
The popular Channel 9 veteran has said he is still not yet ready to reveal the circumstances surrounding his sacking from the Thursday night panel show, which he helped turn into an Australian TV icon.
In an exclusive interview with The Courier-Mail, Vautin says it has "hurt" him to see his show ultimately killed off just one season after he was dumped as host.
"Yes, it actually hurt a lot," Vautin said of the moment
"I loved every single show. We got into a 24th year and I loved the two hours of off the cuff live television sitting among friends."
He said people would be "really surprised" to learn how his sacking was handled by Nine - a topic he has never discussed publicly.
Still employed by Nine as a rugby league commentator, Vautin said he will eventually tell his side of the story.
While the Queensland State of Origin icon has never discussed his axing, The Daily Telegraph reported last year Vautin would have refused any last-gasp approaches from Nine to help save the show after a fan backlash toward his demotion and the promotion of network star Erin Molan.
The report claimed Vautin was told of his axing while on a family holiday in the United States.
It was also reported Nine's CEO Hugh Marks and sports boss Tom Malone avoided Vautin at the time and had an executive producer deliver the bad news.
"I haven't spoken about it and I won't yet but you would be really surprised how it happened," Vautin said this week.
"One day I will talk about it. The demise of the show hurt as well but you know what - that's life, especially in the media game which can be quite fickle. But I am really enjoying commentating now and connecting with grassroots and club people I haven't seen for years."
He said it's a miracle that he has been able to carve out a 26-year career in television.
"I was very fortunate, especially since I had everything against me," he said.
"I played for Manly who everyone hated, and Queensland who they also hated down there as well and I had red hair. I mean - hello."
The Sunday Telegraph revealed this week Molan will become the face of the network's live rugby league coverage, following the axing of The Footy Show.
Nine has also recruited Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston to join the live broadcast commentary team.
Meanwhile, AFL Footy Show star Sam Newman has revealed his new role at Channel 9 would be right to be seen as a demotion.
The veteran panellist told The Herald Sun this week the decision to revamp the show and only include himself and host Eddie McGuire in four specials throughout the season is the equivalent of him being "sacked" after 25 years.
"If, logically, I have been on a show called The Footy Show for quarter of a century and The Footy Show is going on and I am not on it - it is just a tongue in cheek - if somebody wants to say I have been sacked, I am very happy to acknowledge that," he said.
"I have said this plenty of times over the past 25 years, I am just filling in time until I am sacked and one day I will be right. And you know what, I have been proven right. Give me some credit for predicting the future."