ABC names interim Insiders hosts as David Speers’ jump from Sky delayed until next year

Sky News has confirmed the departure of David Speers, announcing that he will leave the channel in 2020, as ABC has confirmed him as the new host of Insiders, replacing the retiring Barrie Cassidy who will leave on June 9.

Annabel Crabb and Fran Kelly will split the Insiders hosting role for the remainder of 2019. Both Crabb and Kelly were thought to be in the running to take over the Insiders role prior to the appointment of Speers.

The confirmation comes after news outlets reported Speers would take on the role weeks ago, among confirmation from Cassidy himself.

“I couldn’t be more chuffed that somebody with his credibility and respect within the industry, which was so apparent on Twitter last night, wants to do Insiders. That really pleases me,” said Cassidy on ABC News Breakfast at the time.

“It really is fantastic and it makes us feel really comfortable that it’ll be passed from your hands to an incredibly safe pair of hands,” said Breakfast host Virginia Trioli.

Sky News has already announced the majority of its programming for the rest of the year, including the addition of Peter Stefanovic to the morning lineup and moving Kieran Gilbert to the AM Agenda hosting role.

Sky News CEO Paul Whittaker said Speers would see out the end of his contract with the channel, remaining political editor and hosting Speers and Speers on Sunday.

“David is an exceptional and highly respected journalist and one of Australia’s most insightful political interviewers,” said Whittaker.

“During his nineteen-year tenure with Sky News David spearheaded the growth of Sky News from humble beginnings into Australia’s leader in political news and national affairs coverage. He has been instrumental in developing our Canberra bureau into the editorial powerhouse it is today, together with Chief Political Reporter Kieran Gilbert and Political Reporter Laura Jayes.

“I’d like to thank David for his outstanding contribution to Australian journalism and for the proud and important legacy he leaves behind at Sky News. From all the team at Sky News, we wish him well.”

Speers will move to Melbourne to take the helm of Insiders, working alongside executive producer Sam Clark.

ABC director news Gaven Morris said the broadcaster was delighted to have Speers come onboard.
“David is a terrific journalist and presenter, an astute political observer and a great talent. He joins Australia’s best and most trusted political journalism team,” said Morris.

“We are delighted to welcome him to this key role as the successor to the great Barrie Cassidy.”

Speers called Insiders ‘essential viewing’ and said he was honoured to take the helm ‘over from a legend’.


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