The crumbling ITV pillar
But what was perhaps more shocking - but only because of its symbolism - was to hear Michael Grade, ITV's chairman, talking this morning on Today with complete equanimity about the possibility of losing its special position as a licensed broadcaster.
The costs of living up to its obligations as the leading licensed commercial broadcaster were too financially onerous, he said, such that ITV wouldn't suffer too much if it became just another digital channel, providing less of the public-service broadcasting that once gave so much of its original definition.
He may be stating the obvious - but it was strangely upsetting to hear.
In urging Ofcom to lessen the regulatory burden, Michael Grade is no longer playing it in a nuanced way: "What is at stake is ITV's position as one of the three pillars of UK broadcasting, alongside the BBC and BSkyB", he says.
Multi-channel competition against ITV has been a nightmare for this founder of commercial broadcasting for years. What makes this nightmare almost unbearable is the economic slowdown we're all experiencing - manifest in ITV's expectation that its net TV advertising revenue will be 20% lower in September.
Michael Grade, ITV's chairman, is being realistic about the challenges. So a target to grow revenues from the sale of its programmes and content around the world has been cut by 20%, and it is now hoping to increase online revenues to £150m by 2012, two years later than planned.
All that said, the figures for the first half of the year don't look too bad in the circumstances. Group revenue is flat at just over £1bn. Pre tax profits - excluding an enormous impairment charge - were down 28% to £91m.
And Grade rightly takes pride that ITV's viewing share is up 2.5% and net advertising revenue for all its channels increased a smidgeon (though the revenue of ITV 1 fell 5.1%).
As for that impairment charge of £1.6bn, that's simply the unavoidable recognition that the businesses brought together to create ITV in 2000 and 2004 are worth a great deal less now than they were.
So cost-cutting has become the order of the day: there's a new goal of saving a further £35m a year by 2010. And the future for this totemic business looks uncertain - not least because one of these days BSkyB will probably be forced to sell a stake of more than 10% in a broadcaster that's in danger of being categorised as the media soap opera's battered victim.