After presenting the weekday 6pm Melbourne news bulletin for Nine since 1998, Peter Hitchener is moving to weekend anchor.
Taking over as joint hosts of the Monday to Friday editions of 9News Melbourne are Alicia Loxley and Tom Steinfort.
Nine will be hoping the change will give it the edge in the 6pm ratings battle with Seven News Melbourne. Nine doesn’t change newsreaders very often. In fact, this is just the third time it has changed the hosts of its 6pm news bulletin since the channel started broadcasting in the 1950s.
In the ratings clash in 2023, Seven has the edge with victory so far with 36 weeks in first place. However, the margins are often paper thin with little separating the two channels. In the past fortnight, Seven won both weeks. The margin between the two networks though was close to 10,000 viewers or less in the 6pm and 6.30pm half hours for weeks 45 and 46.
Loxley, who has been the weekend presenter for 9News Melbourne for the past 12 years, will now take the helm during the week.
Steinfort, currently a globe-trotting reporter on 60 Minutes, will surrender his passport and join Loxley as co-anchor, giving himself an appointment every weeknight at 6pm.
On announcing the overhaul of the bulletin, Hugh Nailon, director of 9News Melbourne, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Alicia and Tom to the forefront of our news team. In what will be just the fourth hosting line-up for the bulletin, this really does signify the onset of a new age.
“Alicia and Tom will bring a fresh dynamism to Melbourne viewers as they follow in the footsteps of Sir Eric Pearce, Brian Naylor and Peter Hitchener. We have big plans for 2024 and look forward to bringing viewers the most accurate and informative news that they have come to rely on from 9News.”
Veteran anchor Peter Hitchener, a presence on television screens for more than 50 years, will now anchor the weekend edition of 9News Melbourne, beginning in January 2024.
Nailon added: “We’re delighted that Hitch will continue to be a valuable and much-loved part of the 9News Melbourne family. He has an unwavering passion for delivering news to Melbourne and we look forward to the wealth of experience he will continue to bring to our weekend broadcasts.”
The all-new line-up for 9News Melbourne is expected to start when the Australian Open commences on January 15, 2024.