Mark Ferguson replaces Chris Bath at Seven News
Mark Ferguson takes the anchor chair at Seven News in Sydney, with Chris Bath moved to Fridays and Saturdays.
Chris Bath will now read only on Fridays and Saturdays.
The move comes after Seven has been trailing Nine News in the Sydney market, but Chris Bath told The Australian she welcomed the switch.
“For me juggling two prime time shows has always been hard and with Sunday Night now expanding, something had to give,” she said.
“There was no way I could juggle that and see my family. I’ve been with Sunday Night since day one, it’s my show and we are all very proud of how well it has done. It was a no-brainer.
“The figures are in black and white,” Bath said. “We won with Rossco (Ian Ross), and then I won the next three years. I had a good crack at it, that’s all I can do.”
Seven CEO Tim Worner said: “The appointment of Chris to this new role will see the development of the next phrase of her distinguished career. Sunday Night is the flagship program from our News and Public Affairs division, hosted by Chris since the first edition five years ago. Chris is a big part of the success of the program and is perfectly placed to lead Sunday Night into its expanded series in 2014.
“It’s a mark of the depth of skill and ability inside the Seven News team that we have a news reader of the calibre of Mark Ferguson to take up the reins from Chris. Mark’s news gathering experience at home and abroad perfectly qualify him for this new role.”
It remains unclear what expansion Sunday Night will undergo, but the show has been ‘seasonal’ at Seven, making way for Reality shows.
Network Director of News Rob Raschke added: “Chris Bath is peerless when it comes to covering breaking news, and she will continue to play a central role in this for the network.
“Mark is an immensely experienced journalist and presenter who has covered some of the biggest stories in the world. He’s held in very high regard by those who work with him and those who compete against him.”
The move comes at a time of ongoing change within Seven News amid speculation Today Tonight is rife for the axe.
Nine chief David Gyngell told The Australian: “Today Tonight has been cancelled and, if it is not by now it will be, and that’s not a stupid thing,” he said.
“People will criticise Seven for dropping Today Tonight but they will be just as committed to news coverage as before.”
Seven has a one hour News bulletin tonight but Today Tonight returns tomorrow.