“Allison is thrilled,” dishes our insider, adding Nine management planned to make the announcement on January, 14.
“She is a mother and a great host with years of experience. Viewers like her and she doesn’t have any dirty laundry to air, so executives feel confident she is just what they need to save the sinking ship.”
Having already presented Weekend Today and only too aware of the gruelling early morning starts, the stalwart journo, who is expecting her second child in March, is said to be happy to be on home turf on a more permanent basis after years of international travel with 60 Minutes.
“She knows the hours are tough but being able to head home to her husband every night and now with another little one on the way, this is something she really wanted and was flattered by the offer,” our source continues, adding that Studio 10 host Sarah Harris was also offered the gig however she is contracted to Network Ten for at least another year.
New Idea understands that Allison will take up a position alongside Adelaide news reporter Brenton Ragless – who made quite the impression with execs and female viewers while filling in for Karl Stefanovic in December.
“The proof is in the ratings,” the insider explains. “The show saw a spike of 37 per cent among female viewers with Brenton so the bosses have pulled out all the stops to put together their “dream team”.
And as Brenton, a doting father of two, gears up for his new role, the once apprehensive reporter is said to be looking forward to becoming Allison’s “on-screen husband”.
“Execs knew they needed to totally re-brand the show if they have any shot at making this work,” the insider continues.
News of Today’s changing line-up comes after Karl, newsreader Sylvia Jeffreys and entertainment guru Richard Wilkins were all shown the door.
Richard has been replaced by indigenous journalist Brooke Boney. Meanwhile, it is believed Cass Thorburn, who recently signed a deal with Channel Ten, is also considering a move back to Nine now that her ex-husband Karl has been dumped.
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea, on sale now.