Jennifer Byrne leaves the ABC as The Book Club is axed

The ABC is axing The Book Club after host Jennifer Byrne announced she’s leaving the broadcaster.

The former newspaper journalist presented the show for 11 years and her decision means the final episode, its annual Christmas special, will air on Tuesday, December 19.

Jennifer Byrne is set to leave the ABC after 11 years

In a statement, she said: “What a joy these past 11 years have been. And what a privilege to share my love of books with a wide, loyal audience on the national broadcaster. You don’t get better jobs, or better co-conspirators, than Jason and Marieke, who’ve been with me from the start.

“We’ve had huge fun, tangled with some brilliant minds (and books) and read like threshing machines. For me, it’s now time for a break, both to explore what might come next and remember what it’s like to read for pleasure alone. I’m proud we’ve run so long and strong.

“International authors were often astonished – and envious – that a show like ours existed, let alone endured. Thanks to the ABC which backed us, to the publishing industry that embraced us and deepest thanks to the readers who travelled with us. I’ve loved the journey more than I can say.”

The announcement was followed by a video message from Byrne on The Book Club’s Facebook page.

Byrne trained as a print journalist, and was at one time assistant editor at The Age’s Monthly Review. Jennifer then moved into television, where she became a Logie-winning television reporter for the Sunday program and spent seven years travelling the world for 60 Minutes. She then went on to present ABC TV’s Foreign Correspondent.

David Anderson, ABC director of television said: “For 11 years Jennifer Byrne has been entertaining book lovers with her erudite mix of guests, heartily arguing over new releases, disputing the classics, grappling with the best summer reads and managing to do it all with a healthy dose of laughter, affection and insight.

“We will be sad to see The Book Club go, but understand Jennifer’s decision and thank Jennifer, Marieke and Jason for the hours of reading, thinking and talking they have shared with our audiences.”

The Book Club began life as the First Tuesday Book Club in 2006 with guests Marieke Hardy and Jason Steger. Over the years the likes of J.K. Rowling, Bill Bryson, Tim Winton, Richard Flanagan, Helen Garner and Di Morrissey were invited onto the show.

The news comes just one week after the ABC announced it would be axing two more of its long-running shows, Lateline and The Link.


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