News Corp Australia chose to publish a report claiming the Nine Network was attempting to poach television personality Carrie Bickmore despite being told it was wrong, Nine says.
Nine news director Darren Wick said the anonymously-sourced report on Sunday, saying Nine was moving to employ Network Ten's Ms Bickmore to host the morning news show Today, would not stand up to legal scrutiny.
"News Corp's story is not a beat-up. It is completely made up," Mr Wick said in a statement on Sunday.
The report, published in print and online, claims Bickmore would host the program alongside its former anchor Karl Stefanovic.
An insider is quoted as saying Nine was pursuing the duo because "something needs to be done" about the show's ratings slide.
Mr Wick said Bickmore "does not factor in our plans for the future" and reporter Amy Harris was told as much.
"News Corporation has chosen to publish it regardless without corroborating sources or facts to support this fantasy," he said.
News Corp has been approached for comment.
Australian Associated Press