Former Seven News presenter Rebecca Maddern is joining Nine’s AFL Footy Show to co-host alongside James Brayshaw.
She becomes the first permanent female member of the team in 21 years.
The announcement follows Garry Lyon taking extended leave from the show.
Maddern is the number one ticket holder for Geelong Football Club.
“I have been a fan of the show for many years and I am thrilled to have a new challenge that allows me the opportunity to use my footy knowledge and work alongside some of the best in the business,” she said.
GTV9 Managing Director, Ian Paterson, said: “The Footy Show has been entertaining Australian audiences for 22 years and whilst its history has created an enormous legacy we think it’s now opportune to reset it for its long-term future. Having Rebecca come on board to co-host with her own perspective is a relevant decision, and we’re really excited at the prospect of what her dynamic personality will bring to the show.”
Nine’s Melbourne’s Head of Production and Programming, Tim Cleary, said: “I’ve always felt Rebecca was capable of hosting her own show. She loves footy, she’s an accomplished journalist and presenter, and her personality and sense of humour suits the show. We’re excited to have her fronting The Footy Show with James.”
Nine also explored Eddie McGuire returning to the show but a deal could not be reached with FOX Sports, where he has an exclusive deal. It has not ruled out Lyon returning to the panel.
Maddern started her career as a sports reporter for Triple M Melbourne. She rapidly worked her way up to read the radio news on some of the biggest stations in Melbourne, including Triple M and NOVA.
Maddern moved into television in 2002, working for the Seven Network, and quickly established herself as a first-rate reporter, winning one of journalism’s most prestigious awards in 2003, a Quill Award for her reporting of the Victorian bushfires.
She has hosted the 6.00pm news, been a correspondent for Sunrise, and handled presenting and reporting duties on a number of sporting events, including the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, The Australian Open, the Melbourne Cup, and the glitz and glamour of the AFL Brownlow Awards night.
The Footy Show kicked off 2016 with its highest rating opening episode in Melbourne in five years (average audience of 392,000, with a peak of 538,000 viewers). Across the combined markets of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth it secured an average of 546,000 a peak of 757,000 viewers.
Rebecca Maddern joins from Thursday, April 7.