SEVEN returns to current affairs television with new series 7NEWS SPOTLIGHT

The Seven Network will premiere the first of a series of new current affairs specials next week.

7News Spotlight is a new series of primetime specials commissioned by Seven News

The first episode will focus on the tragic story from February this year when three Sydney children from the one family were killed after being struck by a vehicle while walking to a shop to purchase ice-cream. The driver of the vehicle had a blood alcohol reading of three-times the legal limit.

The special will feature previously unseen vision and exclusive interviews with the parents and the surviving children.

The commissioning of 7News Spotlight comes after the network axed its previous current affairs program Sunday Night last year due to declining ratings and budget cuts. The new series will not have a regular timeslot, but instead will be inserted into the schedule as new stories are commissioned.

This was pure innocence. A group of seven carefree siblings and cousins, enjoying a moment of childhood independence as they walked to get an ice cream from the shops on a hot Australian summer evening.

There was laughter and jokes as they took turns on a bicycle – when without warning the unthinkable.

In the blink of an eye, an alleged drunk driver ploughs his out-of-control ute into the group at more than 100 kilometres per hour. 

Four young lives were instantly lost by the side of the road at Oatlands in Sydney’s west that fateful day in February this year – not even 10 minutes from their home. Three siblings, Antony Abdallah, 13, Angelina Abdallah, 12, and Sienna Abdallah, eight, and their cousin Veronique Sakr, 11, who now share the same grave.

It was a tragedy that rocked all of Australia. The details would break any heart.

Five months on and dedicated to honouring the memories of their children, these courageous families open up in the most emotional story of the year. 

Through intensely personal accounts and featuring never-before-seen home videos, those closest to the victims reflect on their lives in this moving 7NEWS Spotlight special presentation, In The Blink Of An Eye.

Determined to right the wrong for their beautiful children, they share with Michael Usher their powerful fight for justice to ensure no other family endures the same. 

“I remember when I first reported this tragedy on the news,” said Usher. “I said out loud – those poor parents. I’d curl up in a corner and want to die. What I have found with these amazing families, however, is not crippling grief. But astonishing hope, faith and love beyond words. They’re inspiring. I’ve taken great strength from them. And I think everyone watching will as well.”

For the first time, the three children who survived the shocking accident tell of their frightening ordeal, including 11-year-old Charbel Kassas, who spent more than two months in a coma recovering from catastrophic injuries.

Above all else, this is a story of hope. And the boy who survived against all odds.

7NEWS Spotlight: In The Blink Of An Eye – Tuesday July 21 at 8:50pm on Seven

Kevin Perry
Co-Creator and Editor of the TV Blackbox website, Kevin Perry is an experienced media commentator focused on TV Production, Consumer Tech, SVOD & Sports Broadcasting. | Call/Text 0428 275 111

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  1. It is indeed tragic the deaths of four children. I was at a church where prayers for the repose of the souls of the children was held.

    “Spotlight” appears to be a program of human interest stories rather than “current affairs” which deals with stories behind the news headlines of the day such as the “7.30 Report” on the ABC>

    Seven’s attempt at current affairs such as “Today Tonight” have tended to be tabloid TV with a consumer affairs orientation, including stories on traffic fines, parking fines, people on unemployment benefits rorting Centrelink and neighbourhood disputes.

    I hope that later episodes of “Spotlight” do not degenerate into sensational reporting as “Sunrise” did earlier this year when during the early days of the covid-19 pandemic sensationally reported that the college of intensive care specialists ANZICS were going to apply “Italian-style” allocation of respirators to young people only in ICUs. When that story was reported, I contacted the ANZICS office about the report on “Sunrise” and the CEO Dr Sberna said that the “Sunrise” story was sensational and ICU doctors and nurses would not apply such rationing as in Northern Italy.

    In sum I hope that “Spotlight” should not degenerate into a sensational tabloid program and “puff pieces”.

    Thank you,
    Anthony of critical Belfield

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