Channel Nine's veteran broadcaster, Peter Hitchener, has made a significant career move after more than 25 years with the network. The 77-year-old, who has been presenting Nine's weekday news bulletins since 1998, will now assume the weekend slot due to health issues. On Saturday, the network officially announced Alicia Loxley and Tom Steinfort as his replacements, both of whom have extensive experience at Channel Nine. Loxley has been presenting for 9News Melbourne for the past 12 years, while Steinfort has been a longtime correspondent for 60 Minutes.
Hugh Nailon, Director of 9News Melbourne, expressed excitement about the new lineup, stating that this marks the fourth hosting line-up for the bulletin and signifies the onset of a new era. Nailon assured viewers that they have big plans for 2024 and are committed to providing accurate and informative news. Despite the change, Nailon emphasized that Hitchener will continue to be an integral part of the 9News Melbourne family, bringing his wealth of experience to the weekend broadcasts.
Hitchener, who recently celebrated 50 years with Channel Nine, has been battling retirement rumors for months. Denying any plans to retire, he affirmed his passion for delivering news and expressed a desire to continue for a few more years. In 2021, he already reduced his news presenting commitments to four days a week. Earlier this year, Hitchener had a health scare when he stumbled over his words during a live bulletin due to a migraine. However, he assured everyone that his health is good and that he is taking better care of himself since the incident.
The new hosting lineup is set to take effect in January 2024. Channel Nine audiences can expect the same commitment to delivering accurate and reliable news, as Hitchener, Loxley, and Steinfort strive to maintain the high standard viewers have come to rely on. With this significant change in the lineup, Channel Nine's 9News Melbourne is poised for an exciting new chapter in its long history of news broadcasting.