Q&A with Maddy Callender: Senior Producer – Wide World of Sports

A unique Nine story, working on the National Rugby League, championing the Beanie for Brain Cancer round with the Mark Hughes Foundation and many other magic moments with the WWOS team.

Tell us how your role will play or has played a part in helping Nine bring the NRL to life?

My role is to provide our Rugby League audience with the ‘best seat in the house’ – this is what Nine’s Wide World of Sports does best. In collaboration with an incredible team behind the scenes, each week we aim to deliver a diverse range of features, interviews, news updates, commentary and analysis to best compliment the live match for our viewers.

What’s an unusual aspect of your job that people outside your area might be surprised to hear or not expect?

There’s a lot more to the broadcast than everyone thinks. It is all planned out to the second. This includes who we interview and where, which graphics appear when and why, talking points and highlights, even the exact times we plan to go to a break. As this is live television though, things can change in an instant and that’s when the fun begins! As producers, we must always be flexible and ready to think on our feet. The best example of this was during the 2021 Final Series when the Manly Sea Eagles’ team bus ran 15 minutes late to the venue. Suddenly, a rundown you’ve been working on perfecting all week goes out the window as interviews, segment timings etc all require adjustments on the fly.

What is your favourite part about working on the NRL?

The best part of my job is the creative licence we are given to regularly reinvent the broadcast wheel. One of the questions I get asked as a producer is, “What’s different? What will surprise me?” This isn’t an easy one to answer – especially on a weekly basis – but it’s a challenge which should always be embraced. Across the season, I’ll be part of over 40 NRL broadcasts ranging from regular season Round games, to Anzac Day, Women’s Origin and Finals but the best part is, you’re never telling the same story. 

How did you first come to join Nine? What attracted you?

I started at Nine straight after school with a job in our marketing department. Television runs deep in my family’s blood so it wasn’t a difficult decision for me. I did a Business degree at uni whilst I worked at Nine and as cliche as it sounds I fell in love with the people, the culture and the quality of Nine, in particular, it’s sports department and after eight years, I’m still here.

Tell us about some of the key moments you’re most proud of that have shaped your career at Nine over the years.

I’m very proud of my time at Nine and the opportunity I have been given to work in the ever-evolving landscape of television. Not only does my career path span across linear broadcast but it has also encompassed the dynamic digital and social arms of our business. In my eight years at Nine, I have worked across events including the Australian Open, Ashes, FINA World Championships, Suncorp Super Netball and of course, the NRL. It’s a list I hope to continue to build upon in the future.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Sadly, in 2016, my Dad was diagnosed with a stage four glioblastoma. This is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, to which there is currently no cure. He was given 12 months to live and instead of taking a backseat, we decided to join the fight against this terrible disease. In collaboration with the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF), the National Rugby League (NRL) and Channel Nine, where he’d worked for over 20 years, the Beanie for Brain Cancer Round was born. This is a weekend of footy dedicated to raising awareness and much needed funds for brain cancer, all through the simple act of buying a beanie at the footy. Since its establishment in 2017, the Round has raised over 15 million dollars and each year, the support and generosity never fails to blow me away. I’m looking forward to it again in 2023.

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