Speculation is growing over who will replace Leigh Sales as host ABC’s current affairs program 7.30, following the surprise announcement that the ABC stalwart will be stepping down from the role following the federal election.
ABC executives have been rumoured to appoint Insiders host David Speers or chief political correspondent Laura Tingle as the next host but a surprising new entry is being tipped as the favourite.
ABC reporter Sarah Ferguson is now reportedly being considered for the role, as reported by The Australian.
Ferguson, 56 filled in as host for 7.30 in 2014 while Sales was on maternity leave. She joined the ABC in 2008 to work on Four Corners and has won numerous awards throughout her career, including three Walkley Awards for her work on the program.
Sales made her surprise announcement at the end of 7.30‘s February 10 program, telling viewers she would step away from the 7.30 desk in June 2022 following the federal election.
“I’ve asked my bosses at the ABC to allow me to step down from anchoring 7.30 later this year, once the federal election is over,” she said.
“I was appointed to the job on the 3rd of December 2010, so this my 12th year in the seat. That was five Prime Ministers ago! It was so long ago that Donald Trump was still just a guy with a bad orange hairdo hosting The Apprentice.
“I feel a strong sense of it being time to pass the baton to the next runner in the race and to take a break. The end of an election cycle feels like a good time to move onto something new at the ABC.”
Some news from me, with love to our viewers and my colleagues. https://t.co/fY6SRIpnq2
— Leigh Sales (@leighsales) February 10, 2022
Although Sales is stepping away from her current anchor duties, she hinted she will remain with the ABC in a new role.
“I’m looking forward to having a good break and then figuring out what I do next at the ABC,” she said.
Sales was appointed as presenter of 7.30 in December 2010, since then her role has seen her cover the terms of five Prime Ministers, nine federal budgets and two federal elections. She has also covered several major news events, including Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory and the death of Nelson Mandela in 2013.