As
reported before, Ray Martin is bound for a
free-ranging role at Nine next year, nowhere near A
Current Affair
which will see Tracy Grimshaw step up
as the host. Of course Grimshaw’s move will see changes, unknown as yet, in the line-up of Nine’s Today show.

There’s
also speculation that Jana Wendt may be reading the 6pm news in Sydney next year but that has been ruled out by the third
floor at Willoughby – how to rejuvenate the Sydney 6pm news is just
as big a task as refreshing Today and ACA.

The break over the summer holiday at ACA from December 16 to January 16
was confirmed yesterday by Nine’s new head of News and Current Affairs, Mark
Llewellyn. He has
a lot to learn about when to sledge and when to remain silent. Here’s what he
told the SMH’s Spike column:

Nine’s news and current
affairs boss, Mark Llewellyn, confirmed ACA would go off the air for a month from
mid-December to mid-January because his staff deserved a holiday “just like
everyone else.” He took a parting shot at Seven, predicting they would “rehash,
reheat and repeat” the same gumph they’d broadcast all
year.

Llewellyn’s criticism of Today Tonight ignores what ACA has also been doing this
year: reheating, rehashing and repeating stories. Both
programs are serial offenders.

Readers
with a memory will recall that ACA, through reporters Brett McCloud (since
gone), Simon Bouda and Ray Martin, did some pretty
good reporting on the Tsunami in the first couple of weeks of last January, when
if the new policy had been in place, ACA would have been on Mark Llewellyn’s “deserved holiday.”

Nine
has its Christmas Party tonight and a sombre affair it
will be with the voluntary retrenchment scheme in progress.

A
number of long time producers and reporters have put their hands up and news and
current affairs programs will be very different in personnel, both on air and
behind the camera, if these offers are accepted.

There
are suggestions there’s an unofficial target of a 10% cut in staff numbers in
the scheme. With
total Nine strength put at around 1700, that would
indicate a reduction of some 170 is on the cards, but that will depend on the
number of applications.