A memo from Nine Network News Director Darren Wick has been released outlining some pretty big changes behind the scenes at two of their flagship News programs – The Today Show and 60 Minutes. The memo reads:

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce new appointments at two of the NINE NETWORK’S most prestigious programs.

TOM MALONE, who is currently the Executive Producer of TODAY & WEEKEND TODAY, will take up a new role as the Executive Producer of 60 MINUTES – the flagship program of NINE’s News and Current Affairs Division. Tom has had great success in his six years at the helm of TODAY, reinvigorating the program and firmly establishing it as Australia’s Number One Breakfast Show, along the East Coast.

HAMISH THOMSON, currently the Executive Producer of 60 MINUTES, will take up a senior production role across the network, and will also produce stories for the program. His work ethic, professionalism and passion have been a major driving force behind the continuing success of 60 MINUTES. In his new role, we will utilise his extensive experience to produce primetime specials for the NINE Network.

NEIL BREEN, currently the editor of the Sunday Telegraph, will become the new Executive Producer of TODAY and WEEKEND TODAY. Neil is one of Australia’s most accomplished newspaper editors and a Walkley Award winning journalist. He will bring his years of experience to the program. He will join TODAY, later this year.

ALEX THORNTON, currently the Senior Supervising Producer, will be the interim Executive Producer of TODAY, and then will continue with the program in an expanded role when Neil Breen takes over as Executive Producer.

I believe these key changes to the management teams will drive the momentum and audience gains we’ve made this year in ALL of our News & Current Affairs programs.

The 60 MINUTES program remains an Australian institution. It continues to dominate the highly competitive Sunday evening timeslot.
NINE NEWS has won the ratings year along the East Coast, in Sydney and Melbourne. A CURRENT AFFAIR has won the ratings year along the East Coast, in Sydney and Melbourne, and is just three weeks away from potentially winning Brisbane. TODAY has won the ratings year along the East Coast, in Sydney and Melbourne.

This is our best performance across the board in News and Current affairs for eight years.

The NINE brand is strong. And that is a tribute to all of you. It’s your hard work and dedication that has helped our programs achieve this level of success.

Darren Wick

It means we can expect a far more tabloid-style version of Today once Breen takes control given his experience at News Limited, with a bigger focus on the stars and general entertainment while driving the news portion to be a little more flamboyant and combative. That said he’s not expected to try and fix what ain’t broken, so nothing too quick. Critically though, Breen will need to embrace social media where he’s ignored it thus far – an interesting challenge for him. Malone moving to 60 Minutes will indeed be an interesting move – expect changes (including possibly Karl Stefanovic as a more regular reporter) in 2013.