Leigh Sales to host ABC’s Australian Story after wrapping up ‘exhausting’ 12-year tenure on 7.30

Leigh Sales reveals what her big return to TV will be after wrapping up her ‘exhausting’ 12-year stint on ABC’s 7.30

  • Leigh Sales will return as host of ABC’s Australian Story in 2023 after work hiatus
  • The 49-year-old said she was ‘excited and humbled’ to be the show’s new host
  • Sales return comes six months after she left a 12-year tenure as host of 7.30 

Leigh Sales will be returning to our TV screens sooner than thought after the revered journalist announced she’d be the next host of Australian Story five months after her shock resignation from the flagship current affairs program of 7.30. 

Sales wrapped up her 12-year tenure as host of ABC’s 7.30 on June 30, revealing she would use her six months of long service leave to get ‘some rest’ and spend quality time with her two young boys. 

On Thursday, the 49-year-old revealed she would be back on TV in January as the host of ABC’s Australian Story.

The revelation came at ABC’s ‘upfronts’ where the corporation announced all of their new programs for 2023.

Caroline Jones was the original host of Australian Story but sadly died in May at the age of 84 after a fall in her Sydney home. 

The program has been without a host since 2016 after Jones left and was using talent from each week’s show to introduce the story.

Sales said it was an honour to follow Jones as host of the program.  

Leigh Sales (pictured) revealed she will be returning to TV in 2023 as the host of ABC's Australian Story

Leigh Sales (pictured) revealed she will be returning to TV in 2023 as the host of ABC’s Australian Story 

‘Australian Story is one of the most beloved programs in the country and I am so excited and humbled to be invited to front it,’ Sales said. 

‘I can’t wait to be involved in the production process of such a talented team.’

ABC Director of News Justin Stevens said the network could not wait to see Sales in the role. 

‘Leigh has a strong connection with the Australian public and a deep interest in people’s stories,’ Mr Stevens said. 

‘We can’t wait to see what she brings to this role. Once Leigh’s back at work we’re also looking forward to exploring ideas for other projects she will be involved in, both on air and behind the scenes.’ 

Hosting Australian Story is a job less in the political spotlight with Sales admitting she was ‘exhausted’ when exiting 7.30 in June.

‘I am having six months off to try to get a rest because I’m exhausted after you know nearly 12 years of 7.30,’ Sales told The Guardian. 

‘I feel like until I actually get some headspace and slow my life down a bit that I just can’t figure out what I want to.’ 

The 49-year-old took a six month sabbatical from her 12-year tenure as host of ABC's 7.30 program to 'get some rest' from the 'exhausting' role and spend more time with her two sons

The 49-year-old took a six month sabbatical from her 12-year tenure as host of ABC’s 7.30 program to ‘get some rest’ from the ‘exhausting’ role and spend more time with her two sons

Sales also told 2GB host Ben Fordham that the six month sabbatical would give her time with her two sons. 

‘My boys really want me to be home more in the evening,’ Sales said. 

‘When they were little – because I’ve had two babies in my time there – it was fine, because I could hang out with them in the morning.

‘But now that they’re at school, I don’t get much time with them in the morning and when I get home I’m often really tired.

‘But they may, because they haven’t seen me, want to talk. And I feel bad … if I’m exhausted and I’m wanting them to go to bed, because I think that’s not fair.’

The ABC’s 2023 slate promises an array of new and returning comedies, dramas, and factual shows. 

Q&A will also return in 2023, despite a tumultuous year of ratings after scoring a new low with 165,000 viewers in the major centres on September 1. 

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