Channel Nine have axed the NRL Footy Show after 23 years on air – the latest controversial move by the free-to-air network.
The network informed Australian TV’s longest serving host, Paul Vautin, the show would not see 2018 while he was on holiday overseas, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Nine are looking to revamp their rugby league lineup to reflect the dwindling ratings of the program, which has seen viewers decline from a weekly audience of nearly 400,000 in the mid 2000s to an average of barely 80,000 this year.
The new scheduling is set to revolve around rising star Erin Molan, who is set to get her own one-hour program.
The cancellation comes in the wake of Lisa Wilkinson being let go from the Today show after hosting the popular morning show for 10 years.
Channel Nine have axed the NRL Footy Show after 23 years on air
The network informed Australian TV’s longest serving host, Paul Vautin (left), the show would not see 2018 while he was on holiday overseas, with Erin Molan (right) set to get her own show
The popular sports show, which launched the careers of Vautin, Beau Ryan and Matthew Johns, has won a record 11 Logie Awards for Best Sports Program.
It is making way for a new lineup of NRL shows led by Molan, directly opposing Fox Sports’ Sunday-Monday-Thursday schedule fronted by former-Nine employee Yvonne Sampson.
The Monday night program is expected to reflect the more analytical approaches of similar programs on their News Corp rivals like NRL 360.
The Footy Show has seen viewers decline from a weekly audience of nearly 400,000 in the mid 2000s (pictured) to an average of barely 80,000 this year
Nine will be showing 23 Thursday night games from next season, which helped executives make the decision to cut the Footy Show.
The costs of producing a live sporting event as well as a two hour sports variety program on the same night was reportedly the driving force behind the decision.
Molan and Vautin’s contracts run out at the end of next year, with the latter expected to feature more prominently in the commentators box.
Ryan’s deal ends in 2018, and his involvement in the new lineup is yet to be confirmed.