One of Channel Nine’s biggest stars is changing roles after more than 25 years.
The network announced the news on Saturday, and confirmed both Alicia Loxley, 42, and Tom Steinfort, 39, as his replacements.
The pair have a long history at the network, with Loxley presenting for 9News Melbourne for the past 12 years, while Steinfort is a longtime 60 Minutes correspondent.
Hugh Nailon, Director of 9News Melbourne, said in a statement, ‘We are thrilled to welcome Alicia and Tom to the forefront of our news team.
Veteran broadcaster Peter Hitchener, 77, who has presented Nine’s weekday news bulletins since 1998, has been bumped to the weekend slot following health issues
The network announced the news on Saturday, and confirmed both Alicia Loxley, 42, (left) and Tom Steinfort, 39, (right) as Hitchener’s replacements
In what will be just the fourth hosting line-up for the bulletin, this really does signify the onset of a new age,’ they continued.
‘We have big plans for 2024 and look forward to bringing viewers the most accurate and informative news that they have come to rely on from 9News.’
Meanwhile, Hugh Nailon, Director of 9News Melbourne, issued a statement about Hitchener’s future at the network.
‘We’re delighted that Hitch will continue to be a valuable and much loved part of the 9News Melbourne family,’ Nailon said.
‘He has an unwavering passion for delivering news to Melbourne and we look forward to the wealth of experience he will continue to bring to our weekend broadcasts.’
The new lineup is set to start in January, 2024.
Hitchener is pictured with Livinia Nixon during one of his weekly broadcasts
‘Hitch’ is one of the most beloved figures at Channel Nine. (Pictured with Livinia, Richard Wilkins, and Karl Stefanovic)
Hitchener has spent months denying increasing chatter that he is set to retire from Channel Nine.
The 77-year-old, who recently celebrated 50 years at the network, insisted that stories of his retirement have been greatly exaggerated.
‘To be absolutely clear, the first I heard of my so-called retirement was reading about it in @theheraldsun this afternoon,’ Peter wrote on Instagram in July.
‘It is my great honour and a privilege to present the news, and I still hope to for a few more years’.
In 2021, the veteran newsreader took a step back from presenting the news full time.
In March 2021, Peter was taken off air mid-bulletin during Channel Nine’s 6pm Melbourne news
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, a representative for Channel Nine confirmed that Peter was dropping to four days a week.
In April of that year, Peter gave an update on his health after he was taken off air mid-bulletin during Channel Nine’s 6pm Melbourne news.
He sparked concern after he stumbled over his words on March 29 due to a migraine, causing producers to quickly cut to a pre-recorded story.
Peter assured the Herald Sun that ‘everything’s good’ with his health, and confirmed he’s looking after himself more than ever since the on-air incident.
‘I’m very good now and making sure I drink plenty of water,’ he said, before confirming he had visited the hospital as a precaution.
Peter, who soon after returned to work, added that he had only started suffering with migraines over the past few years.
‘It was the first time on air and I hope it never happens again,’ he said.