ABC axes Lateline, The Link.

Updated: ABC has axed long-running current affairs program Lateline and newly-launched indigenous current affairs show, The Link.

The changes are part of an ABC Investigations unit and Specialist Reporting Team and two new programs for 2018.

Presenter Emma Alberici will remain with ABC news as the ABC’s Chief Economics Correspondent.

The Link, hosted by Stan Grant, began in February. Grant will also remain, fronting a prime-time news discussion show at 9pm on ABC News channel in 2018 and a half-hour late edition national news bulletin at 10.30pm on ABC. He also becomes Chief Asia Correspondent.

Lateline has been part of ABC since 1990, with hosts Kerry O’Brien, Maxine McKew, Virginia Trioli, Leigh Sales, Ali Moore, Ticky Fullerton, and Tony Jones. Matt Wordsworth currently hosts on Fridays.

“When it launched in 1990 Lateline was a ground-breaking program, and for almost three decades it has made an enormous contribution to Australian public life,” said ABC Director, News Gaven Morris. “Many great ABC journalists and production teams have worked with Lateline and the current team has produced an innovative brand of late-evening current affairs. The Link was a bold experiment that has done wonderful, creative work.

“This proposal is no reflection on the excellent work of the program teams. But with audience habits changing, we can deploy these resources more effectively in other ways.”

An ABC Investigations unit will be led by Editor Jo Puccini formerly 7.30 Executive Producer with 10 investigative reporters, working across a variety of programs and platforms.


A Specialist Reporting Team sees Lisa Whitby, former Lateline EP,  as Editor with a team of reporters and producers covering Technology & Science; Regional Communities; Consumer Affairs; Education; Health; Arts, Culture & Entertainment; Social Affairs; and Indigenous.

“These proposals represent a big investment by the ABC in investigative, specialist and in-depth journalism at a time when many other media outlets are retreating from these areas,” said Morris.

“Public interest journalism on behalf of all Australians is more important to the role of ABC News than ever.”

John Lyons, the ABC’s Head of Investigative and In-Depth Journalism, said: “Alongside teams such as Four Corners, 7.30 and Background Briefing, the establishment of the largest investigative daily news team in the Australian media reflects the ABC’s growing commitment to journalism for television, radio and digital audiences.”

Last October ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie was quizzed about cuts to current affairs, including Lateline, without directly addressing the show. That led to speculative reports which triggered an ABC response it would return in 2017 with no changes.

Consultation on the proposed changes is now underway with staff and unions.


  1. Maev....Sydney

    I enjoyed The Link…..I have always enjoyed Stan Grant…
    I dislike immensely what they have done to The Mix….
    I am soo over the ABC News channel…I use to have it on 2nd screen most days….now I have TV on less and less….All channels messing around with programming….you cannot rely on anything, anymore….It is a sad state of affairs when we have to keep coming to TV Tonight to find out what is going on….it is proving just too much for me….as I have said before …I do not want to work that hard …just to watch TV…. 🙁

  2. The Link was terrible and so was Stan Grant. Light, fluffy, most of it consisted of street vox pops. Worse than that it was prerecorded meaning breaking news – like the Las Vegas shooting – couldn’t be covered on a Friday like it could on other weekdays by 7:30.

    It promised to be a current affairs show presented from an Indigenous viewpoint. They lied, it was just pointless cr*p. Apparently the ABC are now trying to find Stan Grant another job. Don’t bother, he has lost it. Just get rid of him.

  3. I like the bit about the ABC consulting with staff and unions, I suppose the ABC media could go out on strike. Certainly those who constantly criticise the ABC’s left wing bias and internal political agendas wont care that much, but everyone to their point of view, I for one think Lateline had lost some of its newsworthy attraction in recent months.

    • That’s how the ABC consults with everybody – staff, unions, viewers/listeners, and government – under Guthrie. Announce it as a fait accompli, then ‘consult’ with stakeholders…

      Lateline had certainly lost some of its ‘newsworthy attraction’ in recent years (not months), but it – and 7:30, even without state editions – was still streets ahead of the manufactured bogan tut-tutting and tradie-bothering of its commercial equivalents.

  4. What scrutiny is being delivered by a show that airs on ABC News, which has as 1.5% share in the evening and is then repeated after 10:30pm when nobody is watching TV. The ABC will still do a tonne of political news and interviews. It doesn’t matter what’s its called but its better that’s it on where people can see, listen or read it. It’s not 1990 anymore, people don’t have stay till the BBC dramas finish to catch ABC news and politics.

  5. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Politicians do not like being scrutinised.
    Call a double sitting of Parliament, lock the fence gates and throw away the key.

  6. Stan Grant hosting a news panel discussion show at 9pm sounds like they’re trying to take on Sky’s highest rated show Paul Murray Live in the same timeslot, and Grant is a former Sky host!

  7. Rather tbey axed 7:30 and not Lateline. There goes the end of in-depth long form interviews, sadly. Yet rubbish like NX Exchange remains? Not fussed about The Link going. At this rate, the ABC will take a direct feed from Sky News and put Andrew Bolt live to air.

  8. A few years ago the IPA put out what was effectively a wish-list of 75 things Tony Abbot & the Liberals needed to do to “transform” Australia to their vision.

    Looks to me like they started at #75, and have now worked their way down as far as #50…

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