Seven cancels Melissa Doyle’s Sunday Night

Changes to Seven’s programming line-up under new CEO James Warburton are well and truly underway, with its Sunday Night current affairs program, aptly titled Sunday Night, being cancelled.

Seven Network’s director of news and public affairs, Craig McPherson, said the announcement was accompanied by much sadness.

“After 11 years at the forefront of our public offering, it is with much sadness I announce the closing down of the day-to-day operations of Sunday Night: True Stories,” he said.

“It has been a very tough decision in a very challenging TV landscape”.

The program has struggled against its current affairs rival 60 Minutes over on Nine in recent years.

On Sunday, 22 September, Seven’s Sunday Night had a preliminary overnight metro audience of 448,000, compared to 60 Minutes’ 622,000. With the addition of regional viewers, the figures were 668,000 and 866,000.

Throughout the year, Sunday Night has averaged an overnight metro audience of 469,000, but has sunk as low as 165,000 (on 17 March). Its high point was on 24 February, when it had a metro audience of 680,000.

60 Minutes, by comparison, has had an average metro audience of 693,000, dipping to 470,000 in July when it was on late due to the finale of The Voice. It has occasionally managed to crack the 1m metro viewers mark, such as in April when it followed ratings juggernaut Married At First Sight.

Sunday Night has also faced challenges finding viewers due to its shifting time slot, with its start time often moving.

Warburton, who today made sweeping changes to Seven’s structure, has previously noted the network faces serious challenges in the prime-time slot on Sundays through to Tuesdays.

“We need to get back to being the Seven that we used to be, around creating, executing and launching content that really connects with heartland Australia,” he told Mumbrella previously.

McPherson thanked the reporters, producers, camera operators, editors and many others who have produced more than 500 hours of content over the years.

“I wish those leaving us nothing but the best for the future,” he said.

There was no official word on the future of former Sunrise host Melissa Doyle who fronts the program, however Mumbrella understands she will be redeployed within the network.

A small production team will stay on until the end of the year, when the program will officially wrap up.


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