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TEN news boss mulls return to late night news

TEN's News boss Andrew Flannery wants to restore the late night bulletin. But does TEN?

You have to feel for TEN’s News and Current Affairs boss Anthony Flannery.

Recently appointed to the role from TVNZ, he now oversees TEN News, Breakfast, The Bolt Report, The Project, Meet the Press and The Circle -nearly all of which have undergone wholesale changes lately.

Ambitiously, he wanted to return the late-night bulletin to TEN.

It was one of the titles cut by the man who recruited him, Lachlan Murdoch. Fans of the long-running bulletin and Sandra Sully weren’t happy to see it go. But it was enough for SBS to switch its 9:30pm bulletin into 10:30pm.

Now Flannery wants to see it return, but tells The Australian he has a different format in mind.

“We’re ready to roll,” he says. “It won’t be a traditional newsreader-to-camera bulletin. We’re going to value-add and be doing some different things. It’s all about a fresh proposition.

“We need to reinvigorate and rebuild the TEN News brand,” he says. “We can’t just be a peripheral news service. If we are a serious news brand, a serious media company, we’ve got to be providing material and news coverage around the clock.”

But it was just over twelve months ago the network hired a swag of reporters in a bid to be perceived as a serious news outlet. Along with 6pm with George Negus, it ended in tears.

Continual Press Releases from TEN about a lift in its early evening audiences cleverly spin comparisons with numbers from twelve months ago. They aren’t as flash when compared to two years ago.

Flannery also says he wants to get Breakfast to average 100,000 viewers within 12 months. So far it is sitting at around 40,000.

Flannery is right about wanting to restore TEN’s brand. It has been badly damaged by cost cuts, job losses, programme failures and timeslot changes. “Super Sunday” has gone some of the way to rebuilding on this, and MasterChef is its brightest hope so far.

But consistency is its best solution, and that’s no quick fix.

Restoring the late night news (preferably with Sandra Sully & Brad McEwan) would be welcome, especially as it would signal “you were right, we were wrong.”

TV Tonight recently asked Programming Chief David Mott about rumours it might return.

“No truth to the rumour. Our ratings are up double digits since we included general entertainment programming to late night,” he said. “We continue to have a strong commitment to news with Breakfast, TEN First at Five and The Project. That’s 5 hours per day. More than we have ever had before.”

22 Responses

  1. Some good suggestions – Hamish McDonald would be perfect! 10 could fund a new Late Night programme by cancelling the Bolt Report – a waste of space & certainly not a news programme!

  2. What a great idea… a late night news programme, presented by a somewhat cynical personality, throwing in some ad-lib comments taking the mickey out of everything, assisted by a co-anchor at the news desk, and maybe – just maybe – a live studio audience!

    Wow – Gra Gra’s dead – wonder if Clive Robertson is wanting a job…?

  3. Yes @kevin investing more time and energy into a show rating in the 40,000 compared to bringing back a telecast that was axed when it was rating x10 better makes a lot of sense – not. Late News with Sandra Sully + regular 10:30 timeslot = winner. They had the time market sewn up until they started messing about with the time.

  4. Totally agree @ryan. Unfortunately I don’t think they will move Sandra from 5pm, even though for me, she made Late News what it was. Even though I still get to watch her at 5pm, it just isnt the same.

  5. Face it Ten Sandra and brad were the best team and were such great fun for news readers.
    I can’t see how Ten can say what they have now beats Ten late news when it was on cause most of their shows fail to get over 400,000 in the 9.30 onwards slots, where as 10 l8 news usually was around 400,000 plus. Anyway it only went for 30 mins! it could easily be squeezed in

  6. I’d love it if Sandra came back on with the late news at 1030pm. I’m rarely home from work for the 6pm news and Sandra used to be my only news fix. Without it I have to rely on the internet for news now…so yes, please bring her back

  7. According to a report by The Australian, Flannery said he already had a presenter in mind.

    My bet is he is talking about Ten journalist Hamish Macdonald. He was great on Negus’ old show and has also done well on The Project. A good fit, I’d say.

    Safe to assume Flannery was talking about him?

  8. Another reason why Late News was canned last year was because the target audience for the channel wasn’t interested in news. Most individuals below their 30’s get their news (if any news) from the internet. This is the only website I get news off and any other big stories I read on Twitter or Facebook. Bringing back Late News would be a terrible idea. If they thought of a program that targetted their target audience then maybe I would change my opinion.

  9. I would love for Late News to return, but it has to be with Sandra Sully – she is late news. The whole ‘funky news’ concept is ridiculous. What audience is that targetting? The ‘funky’ crowd are off watching Jersey Shore. Ten made a grave mistake cancelling Late News in the first place. What they should have done was put it on at a regular time, 10:30pm nightly. Sandra has an extremely loyal national audience. How can you compare ratings of 40,000 for breakfast with an average of 250000+ for late news when the starting time was whenever? Time to steady the ship at Ten – what they use to do well was have the broadest news coverage throughout the day. That’s fallen by the wayside.
    Bring Sandra back to where she belongs.
    Btw Steve Sydney, the updates are pre-recorded. She’s often out and about town when they’re telecast.

  10. Why would any of you want to watch a late night news bulletin from Ten, when the ABC and SBS already both provide news at this time?

    A news bulletin from Ten cannot provide *anything* that these two existing shows aren’t doing already.

  11. They might as well… Sandra is still kept behind each nights anyway. Doing 5 min ‘News updates’.. what would be the difference to stretching it out by another 20?

    Unless of course, those updates are pre recorded ??

  12. If he wants 100,000 viewers for Breakfast instead of just 40,000….then get rid of Paul Henry.

    I’d be happy if Ten scheduled programs at 10.30 instead of late news, but they have shows like White Collar which they could put in that slot and instead they put NCIS repeats so why bother?

  13. Yes, please start producing the Late News again. Even though it is on late, it is beneficial to those who have to work until around 9pm. Although, it didn’t have a major following, no show does at 10pm and there after. I watched it and it had a specific target audience. Please Channel Ten, I beg you.

  14. The new show will be called the Late Nite Project. It will have ten minutes of news and sport, and then twenty minutes of articles that were first seen on the (6pm edition) of The Project.

    You heard it here first 🙂

    And what is with The Circle and Bolt Report being under the News and Current Affairs brand?

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