Leigh Sales and Chris Uhlmann will present the ABC's flagship 7:30pm current affairs programme in 2011, with the broadcaster confirming today that the rebranded 7.30 will undergo numerous changes.
Announcing the revamped programme today, the ABC said that 7.30 would undergo several format changes. The alterations will see Stateline folded in under the new 7.30 branding, but Friday editions of 7.30 will continue to be presented locally and focus on state-based issues.
Sales, who currently presents Lateline three nights a week, will be 7.30's primary presenter from the broadcaster's studios in Sydney.
"I'm really excited by this opportunity and I can't wait for us to bring our audience the best interviews and the most important stories," Sales said.
"I'm particularly delighted at the chance to team up with Chris Uhlmann, who's somebody I not only admire and respect very much as a journalist, but whom I like a great deal."
Uhlmann will return to his previous role as 7.30's political editor, having moved across to ABC News 24 earlier this year. The ABC said that Uhlmann would present the programme from Canberra "when the news demands it".
"The producers, editors and reporters at The 7.30 Report set the gold standard in television current affairs and I'm optimistic that the changes planned for 2011 will maintain their proud tradition and continue the epic work of Kerry O'Brien," Uhlmann said.
The broadcaster has not yet announced who will replace Sales and Uhlmann when they move to their new roles in March.
Changes to the programme were set in train by the announcement in September that Kerry O'Brien would leave after fifteen years at the helm. The ABC's announcement confirms earlier speculation that the broadcaster would take the opportunity to overhaul The 7.30 Report's brief.
The amalgamation of 7.30 with Stateline fits with comments made by the ABC's managing director Mark Scott that there would be "a strong state-based element" from next year.
"By combining the resources of all the existing program teams, there will be increased opportunities for each state to provide its own local edition of 7.30 on other nights when the news agenda demands it," said Kate Torney, the ABC's director of news.
"We can and will break out of national programming to cover major state-based stories, using national resources."
Other personnel changes to occur at the programme include the addition of contributions by Annabel Crabb, the chief online political writer. Heather Ewart, currently The 7.30 Report's political editor, will move to the role of national affairs correspondent.
The 7.30 Report will continue to run in its existing format over summer. The changes will take effect from March next year.
Media Spy discussion: 7.30