Rumour continues to spin over the future of Today Tonight after host Matthew White resigned last Friday from the show to pursue other interests with the Network – wanting to follow his love of “live television”. Entertainment reporter Peter Ford tweeted on Saturday (then swiftly deleted it) that a new program would replace the Ch7 public affairs standard in 2013 with the newly-Network-reacquired Derryn Hinch involved in a program, and then alluding to the involvement of ex-Ch10 Melbourne newsreader Helen Kapalos. Ex-Ch10 Brisbane newsreader Bill McDonald has also been mooted as being connected to the revamped program though not by Ford.
It all points to an alleged reinvention of the tired program, changing from a networked Sydney-based model to adding three state-based shows, all branded the same and using Hinch in an editorial/supervising producer/senior reporter role. This would place Kapalos and McDonald into the hosting roles for their respective states and very likely ex-Ch10 Sydney newsreader Bill Woods to fill the role in NSW. The new hosts would join Rosanna Mangiarelli (Adelaide) & Monika Kos (Perth) who already deliver localised versions of the program with great success in their respective markets.
Given the recent changes in NewsCAFF leadership at Seven and the inroads Nine has been making on the once impregnable 6-7pm timeslot for the home of the big red train, anything is possible (and likely is all over bar the shouting). The localisation of public affairs would be a significant point of difference to its competition in A Current Affair (hosted by Tracy Grimshaw out of Sydney and distributed nationally) and The Project (hosted by Charlie Pickering and Carrie Bickmore out of Melbourne; also national).
Hinch’s suggested/near-confirmed involvement does offer one assurance – whatever Today Tonight becomes it won’t continue as the last great bastion of journalists chasing crooked tradies down the street, as he suggested on Saturday afternoon:
Been following the discussion. I’m Manuel: I know nothing. I wouldn’t host TT in current format and 7 wouldn’t ask me.
— Derryn Hinch (@HumanHeadline) December 1, 2012
Perhaps David Ecclestone & David Richardson should be preparing their resumes…