Mix-up as ABC Insiders returns

TELEVISION:

The ABC’s Insiders program will return on Sunday 2 February but an embarrassing mix-up in paperwork means former Sky News host David Speers will need to wait even longer before fronting the long-running show.

An ABC insider, not directly involved with Insiders, said a mistake by the corporation’s legal department had seen South Australia’s Minister for Environment and Water, David Speirs, contracted as the show’s host for 2020 instead of David Speers.

The ABC insider said the upside of the contract problem was that having David Speirs as the new host for Insiders should reduce attacks about the program’s alleged left-wing political bias.

“We’re really sorry for the stuff-up and the ABC has sought opinions from a number of leading barristers specialising in contract law and the message we keep getting back is that there is nothing that can be done about it,” the insider said.

“So David Speirs has been splitting his time between Adelaide for his work as an SA cabinet minister and Melbourne where he has been kept busy with rehearsals for Insiders (main picture).

“Meanwhile we’re working overtime to find things for poor David Speers to do for the rest of this year.

“He’s already had to sit out the last six months of his contract over at Sky News because News Corp wouldn’t let him go early so you can imagine he’s not too happy.

“We think we might squeeze him in as the new host of Giggle and Hoot now that Jimmy Giggle has said he’s leaving.”