Barrie Cassidy has presented Insiders since 2001. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.
Barrie Cassidy has presented Insiders since 2001. Picture: Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.

Insiders left without a host until 2020

Sky News have confirmed David Speers will leave the network to host Insiders on the ABC in 2020.

This means the marquee ABC show will be without a permanent host for six months, with Barrie Cassidy leaving the series on Sunday.

Instead Annabel Crabb and Fran Kelly will share hosting duties on the show until Speers comes on board once his contract with Sky expires.

In a statement confirming the move Sky News Chief Executive Officer Paul Whittaker praised the Walkley winning journalist.

"David is an exceptional and highly respected journalist and one of Australia's most insightful political interviewers," Mr Whittaker said.

Barrie Cassidy leaves the show on Saturday. Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.
Barrie Cassidy leaves the show on Saturday. Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.

"During his nineteen-year tenure with Sky News David spearheaded the growth of Sky News from humble beginnings into Australia's leader in political news and national affairs coverage.

"David has been instrumental in developing our Canberra bureau into the editorial powerhouse it is today, together with Chief Political Reporter Kieran Gilbert and Political Reporter Laura Jayes … I'd like to thank David for his outstanding contribution to Australian journalism and for the proud and important legacy he leaves behind at Sky News.

"From all the team at Sky News, we wish him well."

Fran Kelly
Fran Kelly

ABC Director News Gaven Morris said the network was "delighted to welcome him to this key role as the successor to the great Barrie Cassidy".

Speers, who will move to Melbourne for Insiders, said he was honoured to be taking over from the ABC veteran reporter.

"Insiders is essential viewing if you're interested in politics and understanding how Australia is being led," Speers said.

"I never miss it. To be able to take over from a legend, Barrie Cassidy, and present the program is an honour and a terrific opportunity."

Cassidy announced he would be leaving Insiders in June after 18 years as host while accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Melbourne Press Club's Quill Awards in March.

David Speers will leave Sky after almost two decades. Picture: Sean Davey.
David Speers will leave Sky after almost two decades. Picture: Sean Davey.

"I have always admired and respected all of the panellists that I've worked with, and all those on staff who made it happen, particularly the longest-serving EP, Kellie Mayo," Cassidy said at the time.

On News Breakfast last month Cassidy said he was "chuffed" to be replaced by Speers.

"There has been no formal announcement, and the bureaucracy gets in the way at times like this, but he'll be there eventually," Cassidy said.

"I couldn't be more chuffed that somebody with his credibility and respect within the industry, which was so apparent on Twitter last night, wants to do Insiders. That really pleases me."