REPORT | David Speers to replace Barrie Cassidy as host of INSIDERS on ABC
*This post has been updated
Award-winning political commentator David Speers will be appointed as the new host of the ABC’s Sunday morning flagship program INSIDERS.
According to a report in The Guardian, Speers is set to make the move to the ABC in June to commence hosting the program after the retirement of Barrie Cassidy.
TV Blackbox approached the ABC for confirmation of the report and received a “No Comment” from a spokeperson.
A spokesperson for Australian News Channels informed us “David Speers is under contract with Sky News”, but declined to elaborate on when that contract was due to expire, or if the pay-tv channel would be willing to share Speers with the ABC in a part-time role.
Despite the lack of information from the two companies current host Barry Cassidy confirmed the news on ABC News Breakfast Friday morning, saying;
“There has been no formal announcement and the bureaucracy gets in the way at times like this. But he will be there, eventually,”
“I couldn’t be more chuffed that somebody with his credibility and respect within the industry, which was so apparent on Twitter last night. that he’s coming and that wants to do Insiders. That really pleases me.”
Among general newsroom hubbub, someone yelled jubilantly: We got him!— Juanita Phillips (@Juanita_Phillip) May 23, 2019
The departure of Speers from Sky News will be a significant blow for the NewsCorp owned channel.
While Sky News is seen as a tarnished brand to many viewers, due mostly to the extreme right-wing views expressed by late-night commentators, David Speers has maintained a high level of credibility and respect by both viewers and political insiders in Canberra.
Speers recently hosted the second Federal Leaders Debate, and was the anchor for the channel’s Election night coverage.
The appointment of Speers will be a surprise to some at the ABC, until now the key contenders for the coveted Insiders role were Fran Kelly and Michael Rowland
Barrie Cassidy confirmed his departure from INSIDERS earlier this year while receiving the Melbourne Press Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Cassidy helped create the flagship political discussion program and has hosted it since its first episode in July 2001.
“I have genuinely loved every minute of Insiders and have always admired and respected the panelists I’ve worked with, and all those on staff who made it happen,” Cassidy says. “I’ll be here for the federal election before leaving Insiders in June. I then plan to take a break and reboot later in the year.
“I’ll continue to contribute to the ABC – hopefully in quite a substantial way — but recently I’ve come to the view that while I’m at Insiders I’ll never really know precisely what that might be. And I do want to do other things before I run out of motivation and energy.”