Channel Nine has axed founding host Paul Vautin from the Logie-award winning The Footy Show as the program undergoes its most dramatic overhaul in 24 years.
Footy Show executive producer Glenn Pallister this week told Vautin, who is holidaying in the US, the show would no longer exist in its current format and he would not be a part of it. Vautin has one year of his contract to run and is likely to spend it in the commentary box calling matches.
There was confusion on Tuesday over whether the show had been axed to make way for a new one-hour program headed by Vautin’s co-host Erin Molan with more of a focus on football.
Some panellists and many others at Nine have been told the show had been dumped. Others at Nine insisted it had not because The Footy Show brand was so iconic. We won’t know until round one next March.
The future of panelists Beau Ryan, who has another two years to run on his deal, and Darryl Brohman, who is off contract, remains unclear.
It is also understood Nine will try to breathe life into a Monday night rugby league show similar to Footy Classified, which is aired in AFL states.
Nine’s Sunday Footy Show hosted by James Bracey will continue.
Only last week, Nine’s publicity department declared The Footy Show, which has won 11 Logies, would return in 2018 on Thursday nights.
“The NRL Footy Show also returns for its 25th season in 2018 with all the latest breaking stories and loads of fun from the world of rugby league,” the media release said. “Each week, Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin, Erin Molan, Beau Ryan and Darryl ‘Big Marn’ Brohman will be joined by some of the biggest names in the game.”
The Footy Show was a ground-breaker when it first aired in the 1990s and was the scene of some of rugby league’s biggest stories, including the on-air stoush between Ray Hadley and John Ribot during Super League war and Andrew Johns’ confession to Phil Gould that he had battled depression and drug use during his playing career.
But a consistent drop in ratings in recent years has put pressure on the show. Next season, Nine will broadcast 23 live matches on Thursday nights.
The news follows Monday night’s shock announcement that Lisa Wilkinson was walking away from The Today Show to join Network Ten’s The Project because of a pay dispute.
A Nine spokesperson said: “The program is going through some changes in style and format that is yet to be determined. Under the new broadcast deal with the NRL there will be 23 Thursday night matches next season and the show will be off the back of that. Nothing is resolved in terms of how it will look and what talent will be used.”
wow!, so sad to see. Most of us grew up watching the show. It was hilarious back in the late 80s and early ninties. Those times were nothing was really off limits and people weren’t as sensitive as they are now. ANd as a result the show was fantastic and complimented League so well. SO much of that my youth was laughing with Fatty; sterlo; chief and others.
This show has brought about so many laughs & a lot of great memories on Thursday nights. But it’s inevitable times are changing and tv is on the decline and we’re becoming more digitalis-ed with mobile phones and the internet.
Wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do after the show. I don’t know fatty but he seems like a really down to earth guy. Perhaps last few years he’s tried a bit too hard and the comedy has been a little forced. But still really sad to see some people on here so disrespectful to someone who’s given television and footy so much.
Can’t see many being disappointed with this. Did the footy show ever progress past ex players laughing at each other’s bad jokes and skits
It did. Sort of.
It evolved into 80% of the show being clips from past shows.
19% of the show is cringey segments with bad jokes. 1% of the show is actual footy.
Obviously they wanted to position the host as a female, but I’m not convinced Erin is actually a female?
Might be a bit rough.
I’m sure she’s a good person, but she just doesn’t cut it as the host of a Rugby League program. She isn’t particularly insightful or knowledgeable about the game.
Best sports news that I’ve heard in 24 years.
Now if we can get them to sack Ray Warren, and that smirking paperweight James Bracey ,
More than 1show will be improved
The big noting fool should never have got the job in the first place anyway.
Ray Warren doesn’t seem to know much about football. Just talks a lot. Just like the footy show.