Seven reels in the Kapalos Ten rejected

NEWSREADER Helen Kapalos is expected to be appointed as the new host of Channel Seven's Today Tonight just three weeks after she was unceremoniously dumped by rival Network Ten.

Kapalos met Seven's former boss of news and public affairs, Peter Meakin, last Monday in Sydney, and is believed to have been offered the prized role. Incumbent host Matt White announced his departure on Friday but would remain at Seven in an unspecified position, the network said.

The former Ten news anchor could sign with Seven as early as Monday and will be charged with restoring credibility to the ailing program, which has slipped in popularity behind rival A Current Affair in Melbourne and Sydney.

Seven is expected to revamp the format of its current affairs flagship, with a shift away from tabloid scandal and consumer puffery.

The appointment of Kapalos ends a turbulent week at Seven, which lost its director of news and public affairs, Peter Meakin, who resigned on Tuesday after nine years with the network.

The veteran news and current affairs boss has been replaced by Rob Raschke and Neil Mooney, who will take on the roles of director of news and director of public affairs respectively.

The changes at Seven are part of a broader upheaval in Australia's television industry, with the ailing Ten sacking several prominent staff and Nine recently striking an eleventh-hour deal to restructure its debt-laden empire.

Fairfax Media revealed last month that Kapalos and Ten's Sydney newsreader, Bill Woods, had been dumped, victims of a financial and ratings crisis that has engulfed the network.

Kapalos was sacked within minutes of finishing a Friday-night bulletin, with Ten management immediately cancelling her security pass and computer access. She is believed to have appointed lawyers, and Ten is yet to pay out her contract, which expires in March 2013.

■chouston@theage.com.au

The story Seven reels in the Kapalos Ten rejected first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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