“Flexible” hour of News & public affairs for Seven

2013-01-29_0045EXCLUSIVE: Speculation about Seven’s plans for a possible extended one-hour news and axing of Today Tonight continues.

Yesterday Mumbrella tipped Today Tonight would be axed entirely despite confirmation of Helen Kapalos and Sharyn Ghidella as new state hosts while The Australian suggests the extended bulletins have been a week-to-week proposition.

With Queensland floods, Seven has continued its one-hour News “experiment” incorporating Today Tonight stories. The experiment has been confined to the East Coast, given SA and WA have their own locally-produced TT.

Angus Ross, Head of Programming at Seven told TV Tonight the network had been looking closely at the results of recent one-hour News, with strong numbers for the second half hour especially in Sydney.

“You’d have to say the numbers over the past few weeks have certainly been interesting. Today Tonight is an important part of what we’ve been doing in the format we’ve been running over the past few weeks,” he said.

“We’ve been running 3 or 4 Today Tonight stories within that format. My belief is that audiences within that hour have been looking for more flexibility. So that’s what we’re looking at at the moment.”

Asked directly if Seven would be running a one-hour bulletin he said, “That hour will be more flexible, depending on News events.

“The audience has said they want a change in that hour and we’re obviously looking at that. You can never, I think, just go and set the refresh button. You’ve got to look at what the audience is telling you year in, year out.

“At the moment we appear to be first-movers in that area in thinking we can deliver the audience something that they would be more interested in.”

Seven is already running TT promos with Sharyn Ghidella in Brisbane as “the state’s only public affairs programme made in Queensland for Queensland.”

Meanwhile Deal or No Deal returned with new episodes at 5:30 yesterday.


  1. This will be a smart move by 7. On any big news night people will go to 7 as they will have more time to cover it. They can still throw in a couple of TT stories. This is a much more flexible way of doing news and by the current ratings people seem to like it. In this day and age it will be so much more cost effective. If it works well, Nine will follow.

  2. @JulieS: 7:30 QLD (what used to be Stateline) is only on 1 day a week.

    @brenton: I believe the reason for a combined NQ-Mackay bulletin for 7 Local News on Monday night, was because of a major fault with Telstra (which saw ph/internet drop out north of Rockhampton, which has since been rectified).

  3. @thebgl:

    Here in Wagga, while the tennis was on, we had Prime7 local news as usual at 6pm, with 7’s one hour bulletin running from 6:30 to 7:30.

    Since H&A’s return we’ve still had Prime7 Local News as usual at 6. Then 7 news as usual delayed by 30 minutes from 6:30. Complete with constant announcements of it being a “special one hour bulletin”.

    But it isn’t (for us)! At about 6:55 tonight Chris Bath threw to an ad break with “We’ll be back with the PM’s partner’s apology for his prostate joke and lots of other interesting stuff shortly”.

    Then our local newsreader Daniel Gibson appears on screen with “We have to leave 7 News there and here’s a short NSW weather forecast”.

    Then about 5 minutes of ads and promos and then H&A shortly after 7pm.

    No reason for why we have to leave 7 ‘s News!

    Messy messy messy.

  4. “You’d have to say the numbers over the past few weeks have certainly been interesting.”
    Yes, well, if “TT” as shown in the ratings as the 6:30-7pm part of the “news” it shows a loss of some 30,000 in every city at 6:30.
    “You’ve got to look at what the audience is telling you”. Um, I think they are doing that?

  5. In my opinion 7 should not continue long term with the 60 minute at 6pm bulletin and yes 7, we all know Bill McDonald works for you now and not 10

    If 7 want 60 minutes worth of news they should consider a 30 minute 5:30pm local edition and a 30 minute 6pm edition.
    Here’s an idea for Brisbane

    5:30pm Seven Local News
    includes news and issues from Brisbane, Gold Coast and Toowoomba only with local sport and weather no national and international news stories.

    6pm Seven News, as per normal
    6:30pm Today Tonight, as per normal

  6. @thebgl In regional QLD for 7QLD, I am in Mackay

    14-18 Jan (1st week AO)
    6pm Seven Local News, 6:30pm-7:30pm Seven News Brisbane, Tennis didnt start until 7:30pm whereas in Brisbane it started at 7pm.

    21-25 Jan (2nd week AO)
    6pm Seven Local News, 7pm H&A, 7:30pm AO, Seven News Brisbane did not air

    Mon 28 Jan & Tues 29 Jan, 6pm Seven Local News 6:10pm Seven News Brisbane (from intro) 6:45pm Seven Local News Sport & Weather, 7:00pm Seven News Brisbane, 7:30pm MKR,

    On Monday there seemed to be a one North QLD edition for Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, and a Southern QLD edition for Rockhampton, Wide Bay (aka Bundaberg) and Sunshine Coast.

    On Tuesday local news for each city ie, Cairns, Townsville etc etc then 6:10pm like Monday.

  7. I live in Perth. GWN is run by channel 7 so they have 430PM seven news 530PM GWN news then 6PM they have Perth news then 630PM today tonight weekdays. So be to much news for them.

    Perth get news 430 to 530 then deal or no deal then news so I guess people need a brake at 630 with the news. Hope made sence.

  8. I have stopped watching 7 weeknight news, 1 hr with some today tonight stories does not make any sense. Either have a 1 hr news bulletin without the TT stuff, or go back to the other format of 1/2 hr news and 1/2 TT, none of this inbetween stuff that they are doing right now.

  9. I wonder how this will/has affected the Prime7 regions in NSW/VIC and 7 Queensland regions where local news is broadcast before the state based 6pm versions of 7 News is screened at 6.30pm? I am referring to regions such as Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga, Orange/Dubbo, Tamworth, NSW Northern Rivers and just about all the 7 QLD regions who produce a local news bulletin. Can someone living in the areas listed above tell me if the respective Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne 6PM bullletins are edited the to fit in the local news bulletin? Or are these regions just screening the new hour long bulletins from Sydney or Brisbane or Melbourne after the Prime7 News/7 QLD Local News bulletin and running every program that follows on a delay of up to half an hour?

  10. Ten had foresight in 2009 when they launched the Project and now tired old Today Tonight is here and they are mucking with it . 1hr news is not the answer most people I doubt would really stick around more than 30mins … or do they ?

  11. Regardless, I do not like the 1hr bulletin, mainly as when they do the local weather they do a rush job and miss our local town Yeppoon . I know the data is available on the BOM website but surely they can do it properly like before .

  12. ““the state’s only public affairs programme made in Queensland for Queensland.””

    What about 7.30 Queensland on ABC1? I’m guessing that it’s either not a public affairs program or someone at Seven didn’t do their research.

  13. harrypotter1994

    If they do change it to 1hr news and TT stories incorporated into it then they can just do like they did with Ten news and sports tonight…..could be named Seven News with Today Tonight…or is that too simple

  14. As tomothyd said and i mentioned in the ratings section, we had a one hour news last night in Adelaide with no Today Tonight. I liked the one hour news, was more in depth and we got more stories. But they snuck in a TT story. If that’s part of their plan to incorporate TT into the news then i’m out Seven. I’ll just watch ABC.
    I stopped watching Ten news when they gave Andrew Bolt a bias political soapbox during their news.

  15. Rather skilful dodge there from Angus Ross: as Russell says earlier in the comments, “flexible hour” could mean just about anything, and it doesn’t really answer questions like what’s going to happen with Kapalos.

  16. How times change. In 1985 when the ABC tried combining news and current affairs into a one-hour bulletin called The National they were pilloried nationwide and accused of dumbing down the news. Now when Seven does it it is hailed as “flexible” and “innovative”.

  17. A one hour news bulletin is too long for me. I’ve already been watching Nine News some nights instead of Seven. Seven News’ lame attempt at an hour broadcast is dismal. All they do to stretch it out is constantly tell us what’s coming up (I hate that at the best of times!) and lots of re-capping, with some TT stories thrown in for good measure.

  18. the comment “more flexible depending on new events” (while completely avoiding your question) seems to me that TT will be back but may be preempted more often by hour long news… a system they have used for ages.

  19. As a Sydneysider, I like the one hour Seven News, and don’t mind the odd TT story (as long as they don’t go overboard). It allows them to include some national and international stories they don’t touch on at all in the 30 minute format.

  20. Due to the QLD floods, Adelaide had a one hour news on Seven last night, dropping TT. They did have one story presented by a TT reporter regarding insurance premiums rising due to the disasters we’ve had in this country over the past few weeks and the current floods.
    I am not a fan of the 1hr news on a permanent basis. I like to watch my 11 mins of news, change to the Simpsons when the sport comes on, and flick back at 6.28pm to catch the weather. What they really need to do is assess if what they are showing really is news worthy, and in Adelaide, dump Tim Noonan as a reporter.

  21. I’m sorry but reading that entire story all I thought of was a Seven version of The Project. Correct me if I’m wrong, but an hour of news with interest stories in between is exactly what The Project is doing. So by Seven saying they are “first-movers” is a plain right insult to TEN/Roving Enterprises

  22. I’ve given up watching this one hour bulletin. If I wanted to watch Today Tonight, I’d have a partial lobotomy. I’ve gone back to the later ABC news.

  23. So what does this mean exactly?

    Some nights it will be an hour of news. Some nights it will be 30 minutes. It just depends on the news of the day / week / local market.

    Is he suggesting that you don’t really know what you are going to get one day to the next.

    That’s what it sounds like.

    So you have a show like TT and a dedicated staff producing stories and content, just to be run as branded TT pieces in news on the east coast?

    And in ADL and PER they will have an actual TT show?

    This is all a bit of a mess. I don’t think Seven knows what they want.

  24. What does this mean for Helen Kapalos? Punted from one network…then her new show axed before she has a chance to even start it! Feel sorry for her…

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