Seven will return a male anchor to Today Tonight when sports presenter Matthew White replaces Anna Coren, it has been announced.
He will be the first male presenter in for the programme since Stan Grant vacated the chair for Naomi Robson in 2000.
The announcement of White for the role is a surprise name, most of the rumours were looking elsewhere as to Coren’s replacement, with many tipping Samantha Armytage would take the role. Most recently White was part of Seven’s Olympic team, filling in on Sunrise, presenting sports on Seven’s Sydney bulletin and comprising part of the short-lived NightCap team on 7HD.
He had a long role with Network TEN on Sports Tonight.
Seven’s David Leckie said White would “add a new dimension” to the evening current affairs show.
“He is familiar to millions of Australians through his network commitments, is part of a Logie Award winning team at 7 Sport and is undeniably one of the more versatile on-air people,” he said.
Leckie said White had “done a brilliant job” since he joined the network as sports presenter in 2004.
“He has been outstanding in his prime time anchor roles on our major sports event coverage and tremendous in his recent stints on Sunrise. He’ll do a great job for us.”
White said he was looking forward to the challenge: “I’m very excited about joining Today Tonight and working with such a successful public affairs team,” he said.
Seven had recently spoken to Nine’s Karl Stefanovic about the position.
Matthew White is to anchor Today Tonight.
White replaces Anna Coren who has resigned to take a new role with CNN in Hong Kong.
Commenting on Anna’s decision to pursue her career overseas, Peter Meakin, Seven’s head of news and public affairs, said: “Anna is a talented and ambitious reporter. After two triumphant years at Today Tonight, she’s set her sights elsewhere. I wish her continued good fortune in her career and thank her sincerely for her professionalism, sometimes in difficult circumstances. Anna is an asset to any news organisation and I know she’ll do herself proud.”
The CEO of Seven Media Group, David Leckie, said: “Matthew has done a brilliant job for us over the past four years. He’s been outstanding in his primetime anchor roles on our major sports event coverage, including the Olympic Games, and tremendous in his recent stints on Sunrise. He’ll do a great job for us across primetime.
“He’s familiar to millions of Australians through his network commitments, is part of a Logie Award winning team at 7 Sport and is undeniably one of the more versatile on-air people on television. He’s going to add a new dimension to Today Tonight and our network,” Leckie said.
White said: “I’m very excited about joining Today Tonight and working with such a successful public affairs team. In my time as a journalist, I’ve interviewed so many people – from the man in the street to footballers and Olympians to Prime Ministers. It’s a great job. To play such a significant role in Seven’s sports coverage including the recent Olympic Games coverage continues to be a privilege. I am looking forward to the next challenge.
“I am glad my role with the network has developed since I joined as sports presenter in 2004. Over the past four years, Seven has vastly expanded its sports coverage and I am pleased that I will continue my involvement in sport as I move across to hosting Australia’s most watched public affairs programme. This is a great job and I am up to the challenge.”
In addition to his expanding network role in public affairs, White will continue to play a key role in Seven’s coverage of major events, including the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Open Tennis Championships, the Wallabies’ test campaign and V8 Supercars.
Source: Daily Telegraph