Virginia Trioli named as the ‘firm favourite’ to replace Hamish Macdonald on ABC’s Q&A
Hamish Macdonald made the shock decision to leave ABC’s Q&A this week.
And now his official replacement is rumoured to be none other than broadcast journalist Virginia Trioli.
According to TV Blackbox, the 55-year-old is the ‘firm favourite’ to replace Hamish.
‘She’s the firm favourite!’ Virginia Trioli is tipped to replace Hamish Macdonald on Q&A
‘While the decision is still being considered, senior figures inside the ABC are advocating for Trioli to take his place,’ the publication reported.
Virginia is best known for hosting ABC’s News Breakfast and ABC Radio Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Hamish is set to return to Channel 10 following his shock departure from the ABC.
The outgoing Q&A host, 40, will join Lisa Wilkinson in co-hosting The Sunday Project, as well as the show’s Friday edition, according to The Australian.
An announcement about the journalist’s new role ‘is set to be made as early as this week’.
Jumping ship: Meanwhile, Hamish is set to return to Channel 10 following his shock departure from the ABC
The move means Wilkinson’s current co-host Peter van Onselen will move on from that role and cut his working week from six days down to five.
‘Macdonald is expected to join The Project by September, with van Onselen continuing to co-host in the interim,’ reported The Australian.
Macdonald first worked with Channel 10 in 2010 as a senior foreign correspondent and fill-in presenter for 6:30 with George Negus.
As well as hosting Ten Late News and current affairs program The Truth Is, Hamish has also served stints as both regular guest and permanent host on The Project.
Homecoming: The outgoing Q&A host, 40, will join Lisa Wilkinson in co-hosting Ten’s The Sunday Project, as well as the show’s Friday edition, according to The Australian
Meanwhile, Twitter trolls were allegedly ‘a factor’ in Macdonald’s departure from the ABC, according to a new report.
The Charles Sturt University alum quit the ABC on Monday, less than 18 months after replacing Tony Jones as host of Q&A.
And ‘scrutiny and abuse’ on Twitter were ‘a key factor in Macdonald’s decision to quit’, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday.
Abused: Macdonald’s departure from the ABC allegedly came about due to the ‘scrutiny and abuse’ he faced on Twitter while host of Q&A, according to a new report
The newspaper also speculated on possible replacements for the outgoing host.
Stan Grant, Virginia Trioli, Fran Kelly and David Speers are all rumoured to be in line to fill Macdonald’s shoes – should Q&A even continue to air.
David Knox, the editor of TV Tonight, told Daily Mail Australia earlier this week he believes Q&A may soon face the chop.
Contenders: Stan Grant (left), Virginia Trioli, Fran Kelly and David Speers (right) are all rumoured to be in line to fill Macdonald’s shoes
Knox said that owing to the talk program’s flagging ratings, ‘the big question now is whether Q&A will be renewed for 2022 at all’.
He also predicted who may take over as host in the meantime.
‘I’d tip ABC having rotating presenters with the likes of David Speers, Stan Grant, Virginia Trioli and others just to see the year out,’ Knox said.
Long shot: Knox said that owing to the talk program’s flagging ratings, ‘the big question now is whether Q+A will be renewed for 2022 at all’. Pictured: potential host Fran Kelly
Knox also acknowledged that Macdonald faced an ‘uphill battle’ from the beginning of his tenure as Q&A host.
‘This year’s ratings for Q&A have struggled since it moved to a Thursday night timeslot,’ he said.
‘Personally I thought he was a good choice to freshen up the show given the ABC is in a constant chase to lower the average age of its audience.
‘If we look to last year, when he also hosted, the numbers were quite good. But that too is impacted by early interest around the pandemic, so there are always various factors at play.
‘Abandoning its Monday night timeslot meant Macdonald had an uphill battle no matter how good he was.’
Fans: Not all social media users rejoiced Macdonald’s fall, as evidenced here
Concerns: ‘Abandoning its Monday night timeslot meant Macdonald had an uphill battle no matter how good he was,’ Knox told Daily Mail Australia on Monday
On Monday, Macdonald quit the ABC less than 18 months after taking over as Q&A host – and almost a month since he last fronted the show with flagging ratings.
The 40-year-old broadcaster represented generational change when he replaced baby boomer Tony Jones, who had hosted the current affairs panel program since its debut in 2008.
Macdonald took over hosting duties in February 2020, just before the onset of the pandemic but Covid social distancing rules meant the show for much of last year lacked a studio audience.
Out: It comes after news that Macdonald has quit the ABC less than 18 months after taking over as Q&A host – and almost a month since he last fronted the show with flagging ratings
Ratings fell in 2021 as the program was shifted from Monday nights to 9.35pm on Thursdays, with viewer numbers in April dropping to just 224,000, less than half the 600,000 level of 2012.
The ABC announced his departure on Monday with a statement praising his ‘outstanding 18 months with the national broadcaster’.
With Sydney in lockdown since June 26, Melbourne-based ABC journalists David Speers and Virginia Trioli have filled in as Q&A presenters so the program could have a small studio audience.
Before the lockdown, Stan Grant was occasionally hosting the show in NSW.
Macdonald, who hasn’t hosted Q&A since June 24, said he was ‘enormously grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given’.
Slump: Ratings fell in 2021 as the program was shifted from Monday nights to 9.35pm on Thursdays, with viewer numbers in April dropping to just 224,000, less than half the 600,000 level of 2012