Channel Seven axes Sunday Night

Penny Burfitt
Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Channel Seven has axed flagship news program Sunday Night, after a decade-long run on Aussie screens.

The current affairs program, hosted by Melissa Doyle, was plagued by rumours of unrest before news broke this morning that the program has been ditched from the network’s lineup.

Channel Seven's Sunday Night hosted by Melissa Doyle has been axed. Photo: Instagram/melissadoyle7

“After 11 years at the forefront of our Public Affairs offering it is with much sadness I announce the closing down of the day to day operations of Sunday Night: True Stories,” Craig McPherson, Seven Network’s Director of News and Public Affairs said in a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle.

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

The program will remain on air until the end of 2019, retaining a small production team to produce existing material he said in his statement.

“I want to thank the exceptional team of reporters; producers; camera operators; editors and many others who have helped produce more than 500 hours of quality public affairs programming over its lifetime,” he concluded.

“I wish all those leaving us nothing but the best for the future.”

The show’s poor ratings (the show’s September 22 episode had 448,000 metro viewers), as well as controversial staffing decisions, are two reasons that have been cited in conjunction with the reports.

In June last year, Sunday Night built up an exclusive interview they’d nabbed with former deputy minister, Barnaby Joyce, and his parter. Vikki Campion, whom they reportedly paid $150,000 for their time on the short segment.

However, it was an expensive ratings flop for the show, with the interview enticing just 631,000 metro viewers to tune in that night.

It was beaten by ABC’s Mystery Road, Channel 10’s Masterchef and ABC’s David Attenborough Tasmania.

The decision to axe the show comes on the back of reports Seven’s new CEO, James Warburton, is looking at overhauling the network, with an eye to dramatically reduce costs.

TV Tonight claims Sunday Night is a victim of the cost-cutting.

The show was hosted by Melissa Doyle for four years after the previous host, Chris Bath, stepped away from the network in 2015.

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