ABC’s news and current affairs program Lateline will be axed at the end of this year after 27 years on air.
The move is part of Managing Director Michelle Guthrie’s overhaul to the structure and schedule of the broadcaster’s news and current affairs programming. According to Guardian Australia, Lateline’s host Emma Alberici will stay on in a new role in ABC’s national news and current affairs team.
Alberici tweeted earlier this morning to say that she’ll be discussing the announcement on Radio National’s Drive program tonight.
— Emma Alberici (@albericie) October 4, 2017
The program, which airs on weeknights at 9.30pm on the ABC News channel and at 10.30pm on the main channel, has won multiple Walkley Awards over the last two decades. But rumours that the show would be axed have been circulating since the show had its budget cut significantly in 2014.
There’s also been some concern of “doubling up” with the ABC’s flagship 7.30 program, given that both programs have a similar remit and focus on current affairs reporting and interviews.
Lateline was first hosted by Kerry O’Brien, and has been headed up by presenters including Maxine McKew, Virginia Trioli, Leigh Sales and Tony Jones.
The move comes as part of a major restructure to the ABC, which will see a 20% reduction in management staff. It’s rumoured that an announcement will be made next month that will see editorial staffing restructured along the lines of content and genre areas, rather than designated specifically to TV, radio, digital platforms. The restructure follows a series of redundancies throughout the year.
UPDATE: ABC announces plans to create ‘the largest dedicated daily investigative and specialist journalism teams in the country’.
The ABC has this afternoon put a “proposal” to staff and unions concerning the restructure:
“ABC Investigations: Led by Editor Jo Puccini, formerly 7.30 EP, and including 10 top investigative reporters, Australia’s most formidable daily investigative journalism unit would work across programs and platforms, uncovering exclusive stories and breaking new ground on big issues.
“Specialist Reporting Team: Under Editor Lisa Whitby, formerly Lateline EP, a team of reporters and producers would bring in-depth, expert reporting to core rounds including: Technology & Science; Regional Communities; Consumer Affairs; Education; Health; Arts, Culture & Entertainment; Social Affairs; and Indigenous.
“Two new television programs would also launch in changes proposed for the 2018 season: a prime-time news discussion show at 9pm on the ABC News channel, presented by Stan Grant, and a half-hour late edition national news bulletin at 10.30pm on the ABC TV main channel.”
Alberici will be ABC’s Chief Economics Correspondent, and Grant will be, in addition to his presenting role, the broadcaster’s Chief Asia Correspondent. The ABC says the move will strengthen its flagship current affairs program 7.30.