Axed: Sunday. Nightline.

Channel Nine has axed its prominent news programmes, Sunday and Nightline.

Just one day after an east coast tour to advertisers trumpeting Nine’s 2008 performance, Nine has pulled the plug on the shows. Sunday will be replaced by a one hour news bulletin at 8am.

Sunday ends on August 3rd. Nightline will have its last edition tonight.

Despite a mammoth 27 year history, fronted by hosts including Jim Waley, Jana Wendt and most recently Ellen Fanning, the flagship current affairs show has been regularly defeated by Weekend Sunrise. Over the course of its life the show was regularly applauded for its investigative journalism and breaking stories the frequently made evening bulletins the same day. Laurie Oakes’ interviews were second to none. These will continue in the revamped news bulletin.

“There is no joy or feeling of professional achievement to end programs with such illustrious histories”, said Director of News and Current Affairs, John Westacott.

“During its 27 years on-air Sunday has been at the forefront of ground-breaking and award-winning television; much envied for its journalistic bravery and professional diligence.

“Its demise is very disappointing for all of us. But today’s realities impose much tougher cost and performance benchmarks across the media industry than those of the past, and sadly there is not sufficient economic appeal for a loss-leader like Sunday, as good as it has been for Nine and television journalism”, he said.

Staff are expected to be absorbed into other news programmes.

“I am genuinely saddened by the decision we have had to make, a decision not taken lightly”, said David Gyngell.

Press Release:
The Nine Network today announced the closure of the Sunday program from Sunday, August 3, to be replaced by a weekly one-hour News bulletin on Sundays at 8.00am.

Nine’s nightly late night news program, Nightline, will also wind up tonight, with the Network scheduling more newsbreaks through the evening to provide viewers with regular news updates.

The Network’s Director of News and Current Affairs, John Westacott, said the decision to close Sunday was difficult but inevitable.

“There is no joy or feeling of professional achievement to end programs with such illustrious histories”, he said.

“During its 27 years on-air Sunday has been at the forefront of ground-breaking and award-winning television; much envied for its journalistic bravery and professional diligence.

“Its demise is very disappointing for all of us. But today’s realities impose much tougher cost and performance benchmarks across the media industry than those of the past, and sadly there is not sufficient economic appeal for a loss-leader like Sunday, as good as it has been for Nine and television journalism”, he said.

Mr Westacott said the new one-hour news program, Sunday Morning News, would be a high-quality, up-to-the-minute bulletin featuring the latest local and international stories, weekend sports results and and finance, together with Laurie Oakes’ weekly landmark political interviews.

Nine Network Chief Executive, Mr David Gyngell, said the Network was working to absorb the great majority of Sunday staff into senior roles in other news and current affairs programs. Likewise, the small Nightline unit would be appointed to key tasks in the new Sunday morning news service and other relevant positions.

“I am genuinely saddened by the decision we have had to make, a decision not taken lightly”, he said.

“This is all about concentrating and maximising our news resources to achieve the best possible results. I salute the Sunday program and its first-rate people, past and present, for the job they’ve done and the very significant mark they have made. And I look forward to many of them bringing that quality, passion and skill to other news programming.”

The Axe

12 Comments:

  1. I Think Matt Bransby screams very very loud like Leigh Whannell or maybe it was Jason Bransby ..

    Bring back Sunday and Axe the Today show’s weekend edition.

  2. They’re losing to Seven & Mix 106.5’s Weekend Sunrise in the TV and radio ratings, so let’s see the final goodbye to Sunday indefinitely for a one hour National Nine News bullitin from next week!

  3. Bernadette in Australia

    Sunday died when they dumped Jana in favour of whatsername and the balding bloke. Insiders is the way to go on Sunday mornings in our house these days.

  4. Channel 7 Sydney’s 6pm bulletin was pretty quick to jump on the story, rubbing it in to tell their viewers that 7 is better and 9 don’t care about news anymore.

  5. Over the years I have been relying on Nightline to catch up with highlights of one-day cricket from the MCG (before the games were shown in full in Melbourne) and now rugby league on Friday nights. With Nightline axed, I could only turn to Sports Tonight on Ten.

  6. Channel 7 has a current affairs show on Sundays, I never noticed, I watched Sunday until they ousted Jana, I watch Barry Cassidy on ABC now. I like professional news people gasbo.net

  7. That’s a real shame… the news is getting dumbed down so much, and sadly Sunday did head down the same path since its “relaunch”.

    But with the unstoppable force that is Sunrise/Weekend Sunrise, nine has to compete as best it can

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