The Nine Network has confirmed that it has not renewed ties with Bert Newton after his contract with the network quietly lapsed last year — potentially ending a TV career that began back in 1957, just months after TV began in Australia.
The Daily Telegraph reports that industry speculation over Newton’s contract at Nine was triggered by his no-show at this year’s TV Week Logie Awards — an event that has been linked with Newton on and off since he first hosted them in 1967.
A spokesperson for Nine said it was Newton’s decision not to renew the contract.
It is a much quieter departure for Newton from Nine compared to 1985 when his long-running talent show New Faces had been suddenly axed and he ended his then 26-year association with the network:
Newton then returned to radio, as general manager and breakfast announcer at 3DB, before joining the Seven Network in 1989. He then signed with Network Ten in 1992, where he hosted Good Morning Australia (1992-2005), a revival of New Faces (1992-93) and the Logies (1993).
Since re-joining Nine for a six-figure sum in 2006, Newton hosted Bert’s Family Feud, 20 To 1 and What A Year and reprised his role as Logies host — first as a co-host in 2006 and then solo in 2010 — and was also called upon to hand out the Gold Logie in various years.
He was guest of honour at a special edition of This Is Your Life to celebrate his 70th birthday in 2008, a contestant in a celebrity edition of Hot Seat in 2012 and made a guest appearance on Big Brother last year.
His contract also made him “on call” for whenever the need arose — such as getting him to talk about his health scare in Singapore a few years ago or even to discuss troubled son Matthew on A Current Affair, although the latter topic was later to be off limits.
Away from television Newton has for many years been working on stage roles, recently starring in the musical Grease.
Ironically, it may seem that his last TV appearance was actually not on Nine but on Ten… as he did a farewell message to Ten newsreader Mal Walden during his last news bulletin late last year.