Eddie McGuire and Livinia Nixon will co-host the new 5:30pm “magazine-style show” for Nine in Melbourne.
Nine is preparing new lead-ins to its 6pm News in Sydney and Melbourne to again tackle Seven’s Deal or No Deal.
McGuire, who is regularly reported as being on a multi-million dollar salary with Nine, is without a regular show, while Nixon, who presents the weather in the 6pm News, saw her other regular show, Temptation, air its final show yesterday.
Nine’s director of news and current affairs, John Westacott said, “I’m a great subscriber to the American experience that the best lead-in to news is news.”
Sydney hosts are yet to be announced, although Leila McKinnon’s name is expected to be attached for its local version. Brisbane will keep its Extra programme.
The Sydney 5:30 show will be crucial to address the dwindling 6pm News where the change from Mark Ferguson to Peter Overton has backfired.
Although complicated by tennis and cricket programming, ratings for Nine News in Sydney have disappointed.
A story today suggests the latest Q Scores survey – used by network executives to tell what shows and personalities are hot or not – shows Ferguson was twice as popular than Overton with Sydney audiences before his demotion from the prime news spot.
But John Westacott, who has backed the switch to Overton said, “When we give them a reason to be there, like after the cricket or a professional job all day with the Obama inauguration, we’re not being dumped or rejected, which says to me the lead-in is even more critical.”
Nine News‘ strongest market is in Melbourne where newsreader Peter Hitchener either beats Seven’s Peter Mitchell or remains locked in a city often divided. On nights when big news breaks, Nine regularly wins.
Seven’s news chief Peter Meakin is sceptical of the importance of lead-in programs to 6pm News saying, “I’m not going to understate the importance of a lead-in but when you’re producing a news service you can’t go believing it will deliver you the audience regardless of what you do on your news,” he said.
“It has something to do with the product and much as you’d like to blame the guy reading the autocue, some of the people behind the camera have to cop some of the blame.”