Farewell to Lateline

Tonight Lateline will bow out with its last ever episode on ABC, bringing to an end a 28 year run.

The final episode, recorded yesterday in Sydney, will see host Emma Alberici joined by previous hosts Kerry O’Brien, Maxine McKew, Virginia Trioli and Leigh Sales (but not Tony Jones).

Other hosts have included Jeremy Fernandez, Quentin Dempster, Lisa Millar, Tamara Oudyn, Ali Moore and Ticky Fullerton. Matt Wordsworth currently hosts on Fridays.

Lateline was axed in October as part of restructuring which sees an ABC Investigations unit and Specialist Reporting Team in 2018.

Emma Alberici, who becomes the ABC’s Chief Economics Correspondent, said some of the best journalists in this country have been attached to the program.

“We’ve broken stories, we’ve won Walkleys, Logies, quite recently we were the impetus behind the royal commission into child sexual abuse and the Northern Territory intervention,” she said.

“The show has a really proud tradition of breaking stories and our interviews have been among those most talked about the next day. But it’s an unfortunate part of what’s happening throughout the media landscape and the fact that to meet audience demands we all need to change the way we deliver news.”

Based on Nightline with Ted Koppel, the series was created in 1990 by ABC’s Ian Carroll, as a 30 minute single-topic debate hosted by Kerry O’Brien from Parliament House.

It was promoted as ‘a totally new type of current affairs program for Australian television’ and pioneered the use of multi-satellite interviews in which a single topic was discussed at length by several people in a studio-based debate. Format variations included news, long-form reports, guest tweeters and spin-off show The Business.

There were interviews with prime ministers, world leaders, premiers, CEOs, and figures from politics, economics, health, science & technology, sport, religion, arts and social movements. Whether in the studio or via satellite, opinions, perspectives and walk outs raging late into the evening. Last night the show was once again, trending on Twitter.

In 2014 PM Tony Abbott said of a heated interview between Emma Alberici and Wassim Doureihi, a spokesman for Islamic State supporters Hizb ut-Tahrir, “Good on Emma Alberici, she’s a feisty interviewer… I think she spoke for our country last night.”

Lateline: The Farewell screens 9:30pm AEDT tonight on ABC News.
10:20pm locally on ABC.


  1. Sad day for journalism and democracy. The ABC is fast becomming but a distant memory of what good independent public broadcasting used to be. Bit by bit, it is turning into a commercialised quasi state broadcaster filled with endless hours of infotainment and repeats of said infotainment. 4 Corners and 7:30 will be next for the chopping block, note 7:30 is already gone on Fridays. The IPA will be delirious with joy!

  2. this is a sad milestone in Australian TV journalism, i fear this will be the beginning of the end, but hoping Four Corners won’t be next on the chopping block!

  3. Very disappointed the ABC has chosen to end this programme. All presenters have been excellent and I always looked forward to watching this, either at 9.30 on ABC news, or later on ABC. One of the few TV programmes to delve deeply into local or world news.

  4. I can’t believe Tony Jones isn’t included. He presented many years was my favourite. He’ll also be absent for Q & A’s finale this Monday. Steve Cannane a former Triple J announcer filled in on occasion. Also news related Andrew O’ Keefe is leaving Weekend Sunrise.

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