Olivia Newton-John was once pitched to host one of Australia's biggest current affairs shows


Olivia Newton-John was once pitched to host one of Australia’s biggest current affairs programs – and you’ll be surprised by which show it was


It’s been revealed that Australian singing icon Olivia Newton-John was once considered for a special role at the ABC more than 20 years ago.

The role was to replace veteran journalist Kerry O’ Brien as the new host of the public broadcaster’s current affairs program, The 7:30 Report.

The suggestion to replace O’Brien with Newton was made by former ABC managing director Jonathan Shier, who was subsequently terminated from his position by the ABC board after some convincing from colleague, Max Uechtritz.

From singer to news presenter: You will never believe what flagship current affairs show Olivia Newton-John was once considered for

From singer to news presenter: You will never believe what flagship current affairs show Olivia Newton-John was once considered for

‘ON THIS (rather good) DAY 20 YEARS AGO,’ Uechtritz wrote in a tweet last Saturday, sharing an image of The Australian’s front page news story on Shier’s sacking exactly 20 years ago. 

Uechtritz, who was the ABC News and Current Affairs Chief at the time, was one of the key figures that convinced the board to terminate Shier.   

He had written to ABC chair Donald McDonald to reveal more details about Shier’s plans for 7:30 and the events culminating in his eventual resignation.

Anniversary: 'ON THIS (rather good) DAY 20 YEARS AGO,' Uechtritz wrote in a tweet last Saturday, sharing an image of The Australian's front page news story on Shier's sacking exactly 20 years ago

Anniversary: ‘ON THIS (rather good) DAY 20 YEARS AGO,’ Uechtritz wrote in a tweet last Saturday, sharing an image of The Australian’s front page news story on Shier’s sacking exactly 20 years ago

In the letter, Uechtritz informed McDonald of an encounter he had with Shier, where Shier suggested appointing none other than singer Olivia Newton-John as O’Brien’s replacement.

‘You could get Olivia Newtown-John, put her in the chair, put the word out and you could get more viewers,’ Uechtritz recalled Shier telling him at the time.     

The former News Director’s version of events were corroborated by Kerry O’Brien himself in his 2018 memoir. 

Story: The suggestion to replace O'Brien with Newton was made by former ABC managing director Jonathan Shier (pictured), who was subsequently terminated from his position by the ABC board

Story: The suggestion to replace O’Brien with Newton was made by former ABC managing director Jonathan Shier (pictured), who was subsequently terminated from his position by the ABC board

‘When Shier spoke to staff for the first time three months into his tenure, he flagged that everything was up for grabs across the program schedule but singled out 7.30 for special criticism,’ the veteran journalist said.

‘I didn’t need much imagination to conclude I was in the crosshairs – helped along by headlines such as ‘ABC’s dead man talking’ next to a large photo of me.’     

Shier had only been in the position as ABC managing director for 19-months before he was terminated. 

'I didn’t need much imagination to conclude I was in the crosshairs': The former News Director's version of events were corroborated by Kerry O'Brien himself in his 2018 memoir

‘I didn’t need much imagination to conclude I was in the crosshairs’: The former News Director’s version of events were corroborated by Kerry O’Brien himself in his 2018 memoir

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