Popular Weekend Today co-host Belinda Russell announced her surprise exit from the show last week, and Channel Nine is set to announce new hosts shortly. This will come as a blow to the network, as Belinda has soared in popularity due to her much-loved TikTok dance videos.
This past weekend, Jayne Azzopardi and Clint Stanaway hosted the breakfast show in Belinda’s absence. According to The Australian, Jayne and Clint are frontrunners to clinch the gig in Nine’s major shake-up.
However, this would mean a brutal commute for Melbourne-based Clint, who is currently the KIIS FM Jase & Lauren news presenter during the week. If Nine chooses him as a permanent replacement, he would need to commute to Sydney every weekend.
Nine has been busy moving their journalists around, with former Weekend Today host Charles Croucher replacing Chris Uhlmann as Chief Political Editor in October last year.
Long-serving entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins is said to be concerned about the network’s future plans for him, with his appearance on this past weekend’s broadcast limited to one Zoom interview and a small segment about what movies to watch.
A source told Woman’s Day that the 68-year-old is “worried he’s about to get a tap on the shoulder”.
“He’s seen firsthand the upheaval at Nine, and he’s genuinely concerned about his future after all the crazy changes at Today, including the weekend line-up, where he used to be front and centre,” they added.
The publication reports that Richard was taken aback when he was pushed back in favour of Brooke Boney, who has taken on the extra responsibility as newsreader as well as her entertainment reporter role.
“Dickie has copped it on the chin since he was replaced [by] Brooke,” the insider said. “Everyone, including Dickie, were wondering just who was making the decisions.”
Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Nine for comment.
Belinda Russell quits the show
This comes after Belinda made her announcement on Instagram about leaving Weekend Today.
“Hello friends. A little career update for you. My time on Weekend Today has come to an end,” she wrote alongside a montage of memories from the show.
“Thanks to those who tuned in. I hope I brought some sunshine and joy to your weekends.
“I have loved the last year and am looking forward to future opportunities at Nine. Good luck to the team for 2023 and beyond!”
Belinda last appeared on Weekend Today on Sunday, February 26 alongside co-host Clint Stanaway, however, there was no mention of her departure or any sign that it was her final show.
Shortly after Belinda broke the news on Instagram, her famous followers and Nine colleagues took to the comments to praise her time on Today and wish her well in the future.
“What a treat it was to get to spend those mornings with you!” Charles Croucher replied. “So much fun.”
“LOVED my time next to you! More fun times ahead,” Tim Davies added, followed by David Campbell who wrote “my sister” alongside three love heart emojis.
“Pure sunshine!” A Current Affair producer Ashley Carter shared. “Congrats on all you’ve achieved in that role and I can’t wait to see what’s next! We’re all so lucky to work with you! Here’s to you.”
“They had better put you somewhere where we can see MORE of you. You’re like sunshine,” Alison Daddo remarked, while The Block’s Mitch Edwards and Mark McKie said, “Wherever you appear on Nine, you will always add a very special dose of joy”.
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