Goodnight Today Tonight?
The future of the Seven network’s Today Tonight is uncertain and it may not return to air, Mumbrella understands.
The show has been sidelined for the past 17 days to make way for a one-hour news bulletin supplemented with content from the Today Tonight team, a formula that sources at Seven say will continue.
Mumbrella has been told by senior Seven executives that the experiment of a one-hour bulletin, to replace the Today Tonight show, has been under discussion for “several” years.
It was the recent bushfire crisis that gave executives a chance to extend 6pm bulletins to 7pm, and then monitor the ratings difference between news and Today Tonight filling the 6pm-7pm hour.
Curiously, TT has reamined logged into OzTam’s ratings system as a standalone program with its figures still appearing in daily reports.
Typical TT stories – produced and fronted by the current affairs team – have been fed into the second half of the hour-long news, and so far the executives have been impressed with the result.
TT’s long-time dominance was eroded by Nine’s A Current Affair last year, and then Seven announced host Matthew White was stepping down.
Speculation over the network’s plans for the show has been growing since the hour long arrangement began, but recent days have seen internal conversations taking the possibility much ore seriously.
Seven is currently pushing ahead with plans to bring TT back – having hired and announced ex-Ten reporter Helen Kapalos as the show’s new host on Monday – but that plan is now by no means certain.
“It could be back in a few weeks, or it may not be at all,” a network source said.
Kapalos was today in a publicity photo shoot for her supposed new role on the show, but could not be contacted by Mumbrella this evening.
It’s not known if there would be job cuts if TT was dropped as the one-hour bulletin would continue to carry TT-style stories, Mumbrella has been told.
TT evolved out of Real Life, hosted by Stan Grant, which Seven created to take on ACA in the early 1990s.