After thirty years, three current affairs programs, five TV Week Gold Logies, and any number of special events, carols, election nights and celebrity interviews – Ray Martin has left the Nine Network just days before he was due to return for the new year co-hosting Sunday.
Nine chief David Gyngell said he and Martin agreed it was the right time to move on:
“I have the utmost respect for Ray and count him as a friend so we have reached this decision totally amicably. Ray Martin has made an enormous contribution at Nine, and indeed to public broadcasting in this country. His legacy is there for all to see. There’s almost nothing he hasn’t done here with his trademark style and great quality. But it’s time for a change for him, and now for us.”
Martin said it was time for new challenges:
“Nine has given me the chance to go to some amazing places, meet a lot of famous people, and tell some yarns that make you laugh and make you cry. (But) it’s time to walk down a few other roads and take a few risks again – in and out of television. I’m certainly not retiring.”
Martin joined Nine in 1978, after ten years at ABC, as a founding member of the 60 Minutes team (pictured) alongside Ian Leslie and George Negus. The program launched in February 1979. In 1985, Martin traded in the long overseas trips for daytime stardom as the new king of daytime TV, hosting The Midday Show for nine years. In 1994, Martin moved to the early evenings as host of A Current Affair for four years, and then returned to the program again in 2003.
In 2006, Martin presented an exclusive interview with Terri Irwin, following the death of husband Steve.
Last year, Martin took on the role of co-host of Sunday amid reports that he was wanting to leave Nine after it declined to offer him a prime-time talk show. Sunday is due to return this weekend in the earlier 7.30am timeslot – its first timeslot change in its 26 year history – up against the Seven Network‘s popular Weekend Sunrise.
Source: Nine Network (press release)