Thomas has forged a reputation for his forthright opinions and having a fresh take on football, said Channel Nine’s Executive Producer of Entertainment Tim Cleary.
“Grant is one of the game’s most forward-thinking commentators. He is a straight shooter, fearless, opinionated and passionate about football,” Cleary said.
“Grant has an interesting history with Hutchy and Caroline to say the least. True to the show’s philosophy of ‘no room for the feint-hearted’, I think Grant will thrive in this robust environment and viewers can expect more of the skirmishes that have become the show’s trademark.”
Thomas – who played 72 games for St Kilda between 1978-1983 before moving to North Melbourne and Fitzroy – coached St Kilda from 2001-2006.
Thomas said he was delighted to be joining the show.
“I like the edgy and confrontational format of Footy Classified,” Thomas said. “I understand my style polarises people’s views however I am more interested in getting to the guts of the issue than protecting what people may or may not think about me.”
Thomas has had a chequered history with both the AFL and several football commentators.
Of his testy relationship with Hutchison and Wilson, Thomas was typically forthright.
“I respect Caroline and Craig, but I don’t necessarily agree with them. I’m not expecting a Christmas card that’s for sure! We’ve clashed over the years and I don’t expect that to change when the cameras start rolling.
“To say we’ll challenge each other’s views is probably putting it mildly. I won’t be holding back.”
Thomas’ signing completes an on-air revamp of Nine’s three football programs, The Footy Show, Sunday Footy Show and Footy Classified.
Billy Brownless and Shane Crawford join The Footy Show cast full-time, while James Brayshaw takes the reins on Sunday alongside Brownless, Crawford, Brian Taylor and recruit Nathan Thompson.
“The remodelling of the shows ensures Nine’s footy offerings have every angle covered in season 2009. The Footy Show provides the prime-time entertainment, The Sunday Footy Show the weekend analysis, while Footy Classified will continue with its raw and unique focus on all the issues, the politics of the game and the stories behind the stories,” Cleary said.