She the no-nonsense anchor of ABC’s 7.30 who will take on any politician or public figure without fear, but it will be 7.30 no more as talk that the program is moved back to the 9.30pm time slot currently occupied by Lateline emerges.
Fairfax Media reported that an attempt to boost ratings are behind the rumours of a broadcasting schedule shake up at the ABC, with an ABC staffer telling Fairfax that current affairs program Lateline is “in its death throes” following budget cuts.
“It’s had its budget chipped away at for years, so it won’t really come as a surprise when it’s axed”, the unnamed employee reportedly said.
“There has been talk about moving 7.30. It bounces around. Nothing is sacred and nothing is safe. That is the reality.”
Lateline has been airing since 1990, and is currently hosted by Tony Jones and Emma Alberici.
According to the source, one possibility is that 7.30 could be moved to ABC24, and also aired in a later time slot on the main channel.
Sales began hosting the popular show in 2011, and has been celebrated as a voice of reason in her tough, yet fair interviews with Aussie politicians.
The ABC has seen a host of changes this year already, with job cuts and the shrinking of their Radio National network.
“Good evening, I’m Leigh Sales and welcome to 7.30″, is the introduction viewers are used to, but will it make a difference if it becomes 9.30? There are concerns that despite the intentions, 7.30 will lose viewers if the changes go ahead.
If comments on social media are anything to go by, viewers are unhappy with the suggested move and are taking aim at ABC’s managing director, Michelle Guthrie.
“Michelle Guthrie is a useless manager with no relevant experience and no clue about public service broadcasting, radio or TV”, wrote one angry Facebook commenter.
“Sack her and save her wasted salary.
“God help us if we have rely on the bigoted, biased and puerile output of the rest of the commercial trash TV and radio. They haven’t made a worthwhile program in years.
“Public service broadcasting is essential for the intellectual, cultural and political well being of the country. Defend YOUR ABC to the death.”
Other fans pleaded for the programming to remain unchanged, professing their love for Sales.
“ABC management need to back off these changes, keep these programmes at Prime time, I’m sure this is why we love the ABC.. 7.30 report needs to be at 7.30 and I love Lateline, PLEASE don’t scrap it.”
“Well that’s a croc she’s my favourite…Leigh shoots from the hip and I prefer that to pussy footing around the subject, being too nice and getting nowhere.”