Ten's Russel Howcroft to replace David Nobay on Woolworths' Recipe to Riches

By Brendan Coyne | 24 April 2014
Russel Howcroft

Former adman turned Ten executive general manager Russel Howcroft is to replace David Nobay for the second series of the Woolworths-backed TV show Recipe to Riches, the network has confirmed.

Ten insiders tipped Howcroft for the gig last week.

The move came about after Droga5 lost out to Leo Burnett for Woolworths main creative duties. That led to speculation that Leo Burnett CEO Todd Sampson might add to his TV duties, which the adman quickly scotched.

Ten has subsequently come up with an internal solution in the shape of Howcroft.

The former Y&R Brands chief executive said Droga5 creative chief David 'Nobby' Nobay had done a great job on the first series, which while delivering middling ratings, shifted enough product for Woolworths to back at least one more series.

“He did a great job. He showed the Australian public what good ad men can do. But,” he quipped, “enough about Nobby”.

On whether a third series was likely, Howcroft said all parties were “working hard to make sure this series is as successful as possible … then a decision will be made.”

He batted away any suggestion that a network man's involvement in a show funded by Woolworths might cause conflict, given Ten also produces Masterchef, backed by Coles. The implication was that while agencies might suffer client conflict, networks sell audiences to all comers. Ten later clarified its position via a statement: “We cannot and would not talk on Coles’ behalf, but Russel’s involvement with R2R was discussed fully with Coles before it was finalised. Ten would never allow his presence in R2R to compromise or undermine Coles’ position as a major partner of MasterChef Australia.”

Howcroft becomes the third expert on the show, alongside Carman’s Fine Foods owner Carolyn Creswell and chef Darren Robertson. It is not yet clear which Woolworths executive will join them.

Howcroft said what he missed most about being an adman was “the pub on a Friday night.”

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