Seven axes Today Tonight in Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane.
Seven moves to a one hour news bulletin in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, confirming the axing of Today Tonight.
Locally-produced versions remain in Adelaide and Perth.
The news follows ongoing rumours amid Nine’s move to a one hour news bulletin, and the departure of host Helen Kapalos last month.
Seven CEO Tim Worner sent an email to staff today:
Today we are announcing plans to transition to a one hour news bulletin at 6pm in our Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane markets, effective from tonight.
In Adelaide and Perth, we will continue with Today Tonight where the programs serve as really important local windows.
All staff previously working on the East Coast editions of TT will continue in their roles and will contribute to News Investigations and Features as well as TT ( Adelaide and Perth) under Executive Producer Max Uechtritz. Max will now report to Rob Raschke.
This move is about building and investing in Seven’s leading news coverage . In recent times we have increased our level of news across the day with great success. We plan to do even more in the future.
We see this as an exciting opportunity to serve our news audience in a better way.
I want to take this chance to pay tribute to Today Tonight and the TT team on the East Coast. Over many years, and as recently as last week, the program has broken big stories, kept consumers informed and held people to account.
Thank you for your continuing efforts and commitment.
The change comes despite Seven programmer Angus Ross telling TV Tonight last week, the news hour was “business as usual for us.”
“Nine have opted to go with their one hour news but I always look for flexibility in our news hour depending on news events and we still look for that.
“We’re experimenting in the hour as Nine is, but we’re not going to a one hour news.”
Today Tonight has come in for its share of tabloid criticism under hosts Naomi Robson, Anna Coren, Matt White and Helen Kapalos, including for its extraordinary use of the word ‘Exclusive’ across multiple stories.
It has been a regular target of Media Watch and The Chaser’s War on Everything with some of its more controversial stories involving faked recreations on the chase for Christopher Skase, Papuan child “Wa Wa,” ‘chaining’ up a nursing home resident for visual effect, defaming Mercedes Corby and, last week, was criticised for airing a ‘breakthrough’ story that was filmed 3 years ago.
But it has also been a successful ratings winner for Seven for two decades, as part of the network’s early evening line-up, including several years of beating its rival, A Current Affair.
Today a Seven spokesperson said Seven had been expanding its news department in recent weeks including to a 24 hour newsroom and indicated a stronger news brand was the way forward.