News, Culture & Society

Emily Maitlis ‘to replace Evan Davis on BBC Newsnight’ and become the first woman to front the show

Emily Maitlis is set to take over as BBC Newsnight’s top presenter, it emerged last night.

Seen as one of the corporation’s top talents, Maitlis, 48, will soon be the main anchor on the current affairs programme, insiders believe.

It would be the first time a woman has presented Newsnight, and follows the announcement that co-host Evan Davis is moving to Radio 4’s PM.

Emily Maitlis in the press room at the GQ Men of the Year Awards earlier this month. Miss Maitlis, 48, will soon be the main anchor on the current affairs programme, BBC insiders believe

Miss Maitlis yesterday said Davis leaving the show was a ‘huge loss for us’, tweeting that his PM move to replace Eddie Mair was ‘hugely well deserved’.

The daughter of a leading scientist and physiotherapist, she read English at Queens’ College, Cambridge, before working for US channel NBC in Asia, followed by Channel 4 and Sky.

Under current Newsnight rules, Davis, 56, is contracted to host the show three days a week and Miss Maitlis and Kirsty Wark present on the other days.

In 1985, Olivia O’Leary became the first senior female presenter on the programme.

 Miss Maitlis was at the centre of a sexism row last year when it emerged that she was being paid significantly less than Davis – who appeared on the Corporation’s annual rich list with a pay packet of up to £299,999.

Miss Maitlis, meanwhile, was taking home less than £150,000 and reportedly considered leaving the BBC2 show.

But her pay was this year bumped up to at least £220,000. 

When asked last year if she should have been made lead presenter over Davis when Jeremy Paxman left in 2014, she told the Jewish Chronicle: ‘No. We’re a good ensemble and it works for us.’

Davis will move to PM in the coming months following Mair’s departure in August after 25 years at the helm.

Before joining Newsnight, Davis presented Radio 4’s Today programme for six years. 

He said: ‘Having survived several years of people saying “you’re not as good as Jeremy Paxman”, I now look forward to people saying “you’re not as good as Eddie Mair”.’

Emily Maitlis pictured attending a charity event earlier this month. Evan Davis, 56, is contracted to host the show three days a week and Miss Maitlis presents on other days. Now Maitlis will become the show's top presenter

Emily Maitlis pictured attending a charity event earlier this month. Evan Davis, 56, is contracted to host the show three days a week and Miss Maitlis presents on other days. Now Maitlis will become the show’s top presenter

An internal email to Newsnight staff leaked to the Media Guido website yesterday read: ‘We are fortunate enough to have three outstanding presenters on the show.  

In the interim Emily and Kirsty will step into the space left by Evan while we decide on the next steps…’

A spokesman for Miss Maitlis declined to comment, while the BBC said it would make an announcement in due course. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk