After “a huge amount of thought”, Joe Hildebrand will not only depart from Studio 10, but leave the network entirely tomorrow, as Ten’s shake up of the morning show continues to take effect.
Hildebrand had been in discussions with the company’s management about another role at the network after his role on the Studio 10 was called into question at the same time talent such as co-host Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Natarsha Belling, and Tim Bailey were cut.
On this morning’s episode, he spoke of the “plenty of people” at Ten who have lost their job, and the show’s audience of “pensioners” and “housewives” who are “the people I love”.
“We all know the show’s getting a bit of a shake up,” he said.
“Channel 10 and my lovely bosses asked me if I’d stay on in a new role. We talked about it really openly and warmly, about what that might look like. And they were really keen and they were really lovely about it, so don’t lash out at them. But I just thought, probably just better to draw a line under this amazing, little story … and give the new show, whatever it may look like, the chance to breathe and have a fresh start without me hanging around.”
Earlier this week, dancer Tristan McManus was announced as Sarah Harris’ co-host on the new-look Studio 10, starting Monday. Harris cried as her “work husband” told the show’s viewers of his departure.
“God, I knew it was coming and it’s still horrible,” she said.
Also part of the panel were Angela Bishop and outgoing co-host Kennerley, who previously gave a similar piece to camera when her exit was announced in which she joked about being back on the “Lazy Susan of television”.
In his address, Hildebrand expressed regret he couldn’t hug and say goodbye to the studio audience in person, and said he will continue to make content for “battlers” like them in any future role.
Some news from @Joe_Hildebrand… #Studio10 pic.twitter.com/3TgN3xdLBd
— Studio 10 (@Studio10au) September 9, 2020
“People often stare down their nose at daytime television, because it’s only watched by pensioners at home or whatever, or housewives. They’re the people I love,” he said, tearing up.
“They’re the battlers. They’re people who have often had really tough lives and they’ve overcome that. I draw great strength and inspiration from them. They’re wonderful people, our audience, and I really do love you all.
“I’m very lucky. I made this decision of my own accord. I’ve got other stuff I can do, I’m talking to other people about exciting stuff that I can do … I know there are people who have been absolutely smashed by this thing [COVID-19]. I know there are people who don’t have other jobs to go to and they just don’t know what the future holds, they don’t know if there is a future for them.
“There’s plenty of people at this network. There’s hundreds of thousands of people right around the country who have been absolutely slaughtered by this and they don’t have a light at the end of the tunnel.
“When I do go on to other things, and you’ll see that down the track, it’s not the day to talk about what that is now, but when I do, I swear to god, I will be sticking up for the little guy.”
In a statement, Ten said: “Joe was one of the original co-hosts of Studio 10 when it launched in late 2013. His wit, insights, intelligence and sense of fun have been an integral part of the show.”
Network director of news content, Ross Dagan, said Hildebrand is “moving on to new adventures”, while executive producer Tamara Simoneau joked she’ll miss “Joe’s unmatched passion for politics, dad jokes and bananas but mostly we’ll miss his ever-smiling face around the office”.
In a formal statement, Hildebrand added: “First let me say I am enormously grateful to my bosses at Network 10 for asking me to stay on with Studio 10 in a new role but after much heavy thought I have decided it is best to make a clean break and I truly appreciate them understanding that. There has been an abundance of goodwill and I wish the new show all the success in the world.
“I am unspeakably lucky to have been part of Studio 10 since it started seven years ago. It is almost criminal to have a job that you love so much.”
On Monday night’s episode of Have You Been Paying Attention, Studio 10 contributor Denise Scott announced she was also leaving the program, after Ten previously said she would remain on as a contributor.
“I’m no longer the correspondent. I’ve been in lockdown since March, and I just simply ran out of things to correspond about,” she quipped.
At least 25 roles were impacted by the round of redundancies at Ten, with Mike Larkan, Georgina Lewis, Josh Holt, Rebecca Morse, Will Goodings, Kate Freebairn, Michael Schultz and Monika Kos also leaving the network. Sydney and Melbourne will become the central locations for the weekday 10 News First bulletins as part of the changes.
Ten boss Beverley McGarvey has previously said the cuts – which follow further redundancies with Ten’s sales team merging with that of its parent company Viacom CBS, and the shuttering of 10 Daily – are “essential to future-proofing our business”, which recorded a $226m loss earlier this year.
But the industry’s union countered that Viacom CBS’ ownership hasn’t led to the stability it should have. The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s Adam Portelli said: “Despite the best efforts of staff who have constantly struggled to do more with less, we are now seeing deep cuts that have cruelled the hard work done by so many loyal employees.”