Channel Seven are expected today to confirm sweeping changes in their Brisbane Newsroom, with Bill McDonald and Sharyn Ghidella to lead the new look 6pm service Sunday to Thursday. Rod Young & Kay McGrath will continue on as the Friday & Saturday “weekend” news team, and against all predictions Ms Ghidella will host the Qld local version of Today Tonight Monday to Friday. McDonald was previously the Ten 5pm News reader for nine years, while Ghidella had read the weekend news for Ch7 for the last five years after moving across from Ch9.

This news confirms predictions by the author on 14 January 2013:

It’s been a tightly held secret on Mt Coot-tha – so controlled that even a promo team was flown up from Sydney to film and prepare the new faces for launch & to keep local talent in the dark. It is also believed McDonald was under threat of legal action from Channel Ten if he breathed word of his move to anyone before January 18.

It completes the NewsCAFF rebrand by Rob Raschke, appointed to the national News Director role in late 2012. As ex-Brisbane News Director Raschke knows the local market well and has been in no small part responsible for bringing together a team that has owned 6pm for the last 5 years. The changes firm Brisbane as one of the last markets in the country to maintain a double act at the News desk at 6pm, and also completes the Today Tonight puzzle with Ghidella joining Helen Kapalos (SYD/MEL), Rosanna Mangiarelli (ADL) and Monika Kos (PER) as part of the new “local” look for the public affairs program.

UPDATE: Channel 7 have issued this press release:



In an unrivalled commitment to Queensland, Sharyn Ghidella will host an hour of news and public affairs. Joining her for 7 News will be popular presenter Bill McDonald.

Not only will Sharyn, a highly respected news journalist, bring viewers the State’s most watched news service, she will also present the number one public affairs program Today Tonight, the only local nightly public affairs program made in Queensland.

Kay McGrath and Rod Young will continue bringing their depth and experience, presenting 7 News on Friday and Saturday evenings at 6.00pm.

Rob Raschke, Director of News for the Seven Network said “Bill and Sharyn are both outstanding journalists who know news and the issues that matter to Queenslanders. They’ve spent years earning their dues as hard working reporters, and it’s exciting to see them together on 7 News.”

“Seven is devoting more time, resources and effort to covering news and current affairs in Queensland.” Rob added. “We’ll work harder than ever to inform people about what’s happening in this great State.”

Born in Brisbane, Bill McDonald has an extensive journalistic career with more than 25 years in the media industry.

“It’s a dream come true to be joining Queensland’s number one News team and returning to where my career began,” Bill said.

Sharyn Ghidella added, “While others are cutting back on local content, Seven has taken the lead and is committing increased resources to reporting on important state topics. As someone who is very passionate about news and public affairs, it’s a huge privilege to be a part of it.”

State Producer of Today Tonight, Rodney Lohse said, “We have a hard working team that has broken significant local, national and international stories and we will double our efforts this year for this exciting new venture.”

7 News boasts an impressive team consisting of Sharyn Ghidella, Bill McDonald, Kay McGrath, Rod Young, Shane Webcke, Pat Welsh, John Schluter and Angie Asimus.

So join Sharyn and Bill for 7 News at 6.00pm from Sunday to Thursday, starting this Sunday January 20.