Rumour: Local News bulletins next for Seven?

The rumours on perceived changes to Seven’s news and current affairs in 2013 are abuzz with talk about local, local, local….

One theory doing the rounds is that Seven is considering local News bulletins at 5:30pm ahead of their current 6pm bulletin. Locally-hosted current affairs, possibly still retaining the Today Tonight brand, would follow at 6:30pm.

Helen Kapalos continues to be linked to a Melbourne-based current affairs show at 6:30pm, with Samantha Armytage (pictured) tipped for the chair in Sydney and ex-TEN presenter Bill McDonald for Brisbane.

Under that scenario Deal or No Deal would have to move, possibly to 5pm, or face the chop. Seven has previously confirmed the show will return with Andrew O’Keefe but as it loses to Hot Seat, change is still expected.

Remaining in the mix is Seven News at 4:30 but the network is rumoured to be keen to see it shift to Melbourne with Rebecca Maddern as host. Seven is keen to communicate to the Melbourne audience that it is not just a second cousin to Sydney, all of which will hopefully improve its ailing 6pm numbers.

Whether all, or some, of this comes to pass is unclear. It almost sounds like TEN’s 2011 News revamp all over again.

But as revealed on TV Tonight, Seven has been advertising for producers, reporters and researchers in all 5 cities. Added to Matt White’s resignation last week and Peter Meakin’s recent comments that Today Tonight will “evolve,” it’s clear that sweeping change is on the way.


  1. I don’t have a problem with more news bulletins provided that the content between local programming, national programming and the tabloid current affairs show is distinct, especially the fine line between what should be on the hard news programs and Today Tonight. When I was in America I quite enjoyed the local news from 4-6, then the network national bulletin and then a bit more local content. I was disappointed it didn’t work with Ten but would give it a go on Seven if they tried it.

  2. God, you Aussies are news junkies if your early evening TV is anything to go by. Here in the UK although the combined audiences for BBC regional news generally make it the highest rated news show of the day the only commercial broadcaster to offer regional news does it with great reluctance.

  3. News, news, news. Enough already. Everytime I turn on the telly it’s friggin news. Or so called news. I dont care how many damn bullitins the commercial networks have I still wont watch them.

  4. The best idea would be that the 6pm new is real news again and the stories infiltrating 6pm news – like “people making a difference” or traffic problems in [insert your city here] move to 6.30pm under a new 6.30 show which is more like Sunday Night every night rather than tabloid ACA copy…

    Yes – Seven need to overhaul their 6-7 hour but adding 5.30pm news when we have 4.30pm news as well is overkill.

    They need something fresh at 5.30 – Deal has been around for years and we’ve all had enough of it now.

  5. I think the idea of Local News bulletins for the capital cities is a good idea. The current 6pm News bulletins are not local news bulletins.
    If true Seven will use the format they currently use for Seven Local News bulletins in regional queensland cities. Local will mean local news ie. Seven Local News Brisbane (if thats what they call it) will only have news stories from Brisbane and Gold Coast. This way they can go more indepth with news stories. With sport they can focus more on the broncos, titans, the roar and even the Intrust Super Cup even school aged sports.

  6. @Secret Squirrel – “I think Seven would be better off fixing up their news so that it was actually news…”
    Agree completely. 100+ killed in a typhoon in the Philippines. Not a word on 7. At least The Project mentioned it, as did ABC24 of course. The commercial crud masquerading as “news” is not “news”.

  7. I know it won’t work for me i.e. 5.30pm News. I’ll admit I’m willing to try it with the ABC (and love the idea for them; I hope it works ) . That said unless you do something really disastrous or the ABC finally put Classic Doctor Who back on I’m watching the 6pm News. Except when I’m not watching TV. I’ll also admit it sounds to me like Ten Mrk II.

  8. Being someone who has never held shares etc. and shudder when getting done over as a “customer”, when that company says their first responsibility is to their shareholders, and is why I’m now kicking myself, when I did not invest in Gaviscon, Mylanta(no product placement intended) and any other company that eases reflux or the pain associated with repeating something we have been served.

    The pain of frequently repeated items, began in earnest with the intrduction of the ABC’s News 24 channel, and some repeats kept coming back for months, often popping up in just so many programmes, or even as entire programs, and has since infected ABC1 in many cross repeats among many programs.

    My geatest fear is this is starting to infect the commercial channels even a worse than the ABC News 24’s repeat of segments throughout differents programs, and will inevitably be what will happen as repeated news items will simply become stocking fillers scattered among supposedly local content news programs. To many of us local does not mean our nearest capital city, it means our local community news items, read by those who know our communities and can “correctly pronounce” Local Items of Interest Names, such as towns roads and rivers etc.

    Why else would they be consolidating their news teams? and indeed what better way to fill out several hours per day using repeats, especially if all networks intend doing the same under the guise of being competitive.

  9. I think a national ‘The Project’ style program at 5.30pm would work with some of those let go by Ten. The Project itself isn’t performing as well as it once was, and is much better as a lead in to the ratings period rather than a key program of a network. Channel 7 could really improve a panel like show with more social media inclusion, and more discussion rather than a lot of autocues and pre-recorded interview. That would lead into 7news then a refurbished local editions of Today Tonight.

  10. Secret Squirrel

    I think Seven would be better off fixing up their news so that it was actually news, rather than wall-papering the current pap from 4:30pm.

    During Once Upon a Time last night there was an ad for another unmissable segment on tonight’s news about the “millions of Australians suffering in agony” from back pain. Ignoring the ridiculous hyperbole of that statement, it ain’t news if they know about it more than 24 hours beforehand. The subject matter isn’t real news either. This would be fine on Today Tonight.

    Until they can manage to show 22 minutes of actual news, I won’t be watching.

  11. We already get local news at 4.30 now in Perth, not the bulletin from the eastern states.

    So that would mean we would get news at 4.30, 5.30, 6.00 and TT at 6.30. I don’t think there are enough local stories to fill the schedule.

  12. In Perth the 4:30pm news is live and local though some stories they say they’ll have more in the 6pm bulletin and only give you a brief version of it.

  13. Big mistake 7. Today Tonight use to be local and never dominated the national ACA. People today like to get their news from different sources and not just one. We can jump from our local paper to the Internet, to Commercial TV, to ABC and SBS.
    We can get it from Facebook, Twitter and TV Tonight. Not many people are going to let 7 thrash all their news down our throats. Just give us 6pm news and a new decent current affairs show at 6.30. If you give us a 5.30 pm news, you will cannabilise your 6pm news as people will go to 9 for something different.

  14. I don’t care where a national news is broadcast from.It will be the same news regardless
    But let’s not kid ourselves that the content will be any different, nor that it will be like an SBS news

  15. I’ve never understood the fascination with “local” news and current affairs on the commercial networks. How much back to back pretend news can anyone tolerate?

  16. Well I can say that it would be a great move getting Rebecca Maddern back in the 4:30 News Chair, that’ll get the AFL Fans watching again.
    But David Knox would that 5:30 Bulletin idea happen in Adelaide?

  17. To those confused – this format works for thousands of local stations in the US.

    5pm – Local News
    6pm – Local News
    6.30 – National News

    Some even do local news at 4.

    It doesn’t damage 6pm. It helps.

  18. Firstly, the choice to make local Today Tonight at 6.30 is a big tick and I think will pay off.

    Secondly, the choice (if correct) to go for a new at 5.30 is horrid. Has Ch10 not taught us anything? Huge blocks and chuncks of news telecasts dont help your ratings. This means from 4.30-7.00 will all be news and acurrent affairs.

    They would be best to try find a new format for a gameshow overseas and pump money into it. Not Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune…something new and exciting. Deal and No Deal was so popular for a long time, it needs a rest. It’s time for its protege to stand up.

  19. History repeats. The 4:30 was always made in Melbourne from its inception. And Maddern hosted it! It was so much better when it was Melbourne based. A lot of international news. Sort of felt like SBS news. Then they moved it to Sydney and it went to nonsense.

  20. So are they talking local news, or local magazine? Extra was, after all, fluff.

    And in QLD, I’m pretty sure residents in the far north really aren’t going to get a real look in during a local based bulletin, and they won’t care about Brisbane City Council news.

    And – didn’t everyone say up front that Ten’s news push was too much news with 90 mins of news with Negus wedged in the middle?

  21. Interesting stuff.
    But I’m slightly confused.. how ‘s a possible new local (state-based?) bulletin at 5.30pm followed by the existing 6pm state bulletin going to help? Wouldn’t that scenario simply be likely to reduce the audience of Seven’s 6pm news; even loyal Seven viewers surely aren’t going to watch two bulletins back-to-back? Or have I missed something?
    The main problem for Seven at the moment is what I understand is the (currently) widening gap with Nine in Melbourne… I believe it’s moved from a gap of about 100k/night to an even bigger gap in recent days?

  22. What would the difference between Seven News at 5:30 and 6pm be? Unless it is a local ‘extra’ style program I do not see how it would be of any benefit.

    Hopefully the rumour about Bill McDonald is true for Brisbane. Bill McDonald & Sharyn Ghidella would then make an incredible team once Rod & Kay go (I’m talking… best in the country).

    I’m in two minds about Samantha Armytage going local only. Weekend Sunrise need her. I guess she isnt irreplacable, but she is very suited to a team. She would become stagnant hosting something night after night all on her own.

    Of course the alternative to that is if Seven are assembling some kind of panel show at 6:30 and they use a personality from each capital city, being Helen, Sam and Bill. Now that would be interesting, albeit unlikely.

  23. I think networks need to be carful of not scheduling too much news. A National bulletin @ 4:30pm, then one @ 5:30pm with a local twist means more repetition @ 6pm for the State Capital news. News is important to be informed but other options need to be considered. Will probably not wat h a local edition of TT unless it is less trashy and revamped. Would prefer a more Negus style approach without the recent ‘stories’.

  24. Why don’t they cut the 4.30pm national news & replace it with the local edition?
    I can’t see an audience for a 5.30 local bulletin followed by 6pm bulletin followed by 6.30 local TT.
    Didn’t Ten try something similar? Remember how that went?

  25. The current 6pm bulletin is a state based “local” bulletin.. so I don’t see how this supposedly new “local” bulletin would be any different

  26. Moving Deal to 5pm is quite a possibility. I hear that Price is Right won’t be returning.

    However, there is still this perennial problem that not everyone is home in time for a 6pm news. Could perhaps TT sit in the middle?

    In that hour from 5.30 to 6.30 there is a tremendous number of people still driving home in their cars and squeezing into public transport. I really think there is a market for a 6.30 News on a commercial network – even if it supplemented a 5.30 bulletin.

  27. State based local news and state based Today Tonight will cost ’em heaps – but, indeed, sends a signal that 7 wants to take back the checkered flag for that 90 minute block.

    Especially Melbourne.

  28. I think there is no need for a 5:30pm bulletin. It just seems like a lazy way to fill the time. Id still prefer to watch TEN Perth news at that time anyway.

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