Seven’s axing of Today Tonight in Adelaide and Perth, has led to 29 redundancies including Perth presenter Monika Kos.
12 staff in Adelaide and Perth will be redeployed into Seven News (including Adelaide’s Rosanna Mangiarelli who already reads an afternoon bulletin). After 25 years both programs will be replaced with a one hour news, reflecting a decision made on the East Coast in 2014.
Craig McPherson, Seven Director of News and Public Affairs, attributed the decisions to costs and changing audiences -even though both TT editions win their slots year in, year out.
“The analysis that we’ve done in these cold, hard economic times show that we would still get that audience for less money,” he told TV Tonight.
“I think it’s a credit to the people, to be frank, that it’s lasted this long, given that they’ve almost had to become self sufficient out of their own markets. There wasn’t a lot of material coming from elsewhere to help feed the beast.
“We didn’t just don’t have the finances to increase the resources to help feed that beast. So, here we are.”
With the axe falling in the same week as Sunday Night wrapping its final show, Seven is now facing 2020 with no destination for long-form or investigative journalism -something which weighs heavily on McPherson.
“I think we’re missing something,” he admitted.
“I’m hopeful and confident to a degree that at some point that’ll change, albeit it won’t be the way things have been done in the past. I think that’s been proven that the audiences are now looking for something else. We’ve got a couple of things in the melting pot, but nothing firm.
“We do need to get back into that space at some point. There’s no doubt about that. But right now, we’ve essentially pared it back and are looking at just the core, which is essentially where we dominate across the country from 5am through to 7pm.
“So we’ve got all that right.”
Seven News will still be able to cover breaking news such as bushfires, politics and similar events in primetime but to surrender the current affairs space to its rival in Nine is a major concern.
McPherson confirmed there is nothing on the horizon at this point in time, but never say never.
“I don’t think the way traditionally it’s been done is resonating anymore and we’re looking at seeing how we can do it.”