Leigh Sales to ‘step down’ as anchor of ABC’s 7.30 after 12 years

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Leigh Sales has announced she will leave her role as host of ABC’s 7.30 later this year.

The journalist and TV anchor announced the news at the end of the Thursday night’s program, telling viewers the change will take place after the federal election.

“I asked my ABC bosses to allow me to step down from anchoring 7.30 later this year once the federal election is over,” Sales said.

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Leigh Sales announces she will step down from anchoring 7.30 on ABC later in 2022
Leigh Sales announces she will step down from anchoring 7.30 on ABC later in 2022 (ABC)

“I was appointed to the job on December 3, 2010. This is my 12th year in the seat. That was five Prime Ministers ago.

“It was so long ago that Donald Trump was just a guy with a bad orange hair-do hosting The Apprentice.”

Sales told viewers there was “nothing wrong” and she just felt like it was “time to pass the baton to the next runner in the race and to take a break”.

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The mother-of-two, who didn’t have children at the start of her tenure, said she was looking forward to being at home with her sons in the evening.

“Now I have two boys aged 10 and eight. And they’ve only ever known their mum at work four nights a week. They want me home with them before 8.30pm and I don’t think that’s too much for two little boys to ask and they’re two beautiful little boys.”

The journalist hinted she would remain with the public broadcaster in a new role.

“At the end of an election cycle feels like a good time to move on to something new at the ABC,” Sales told viewers in the emotional statement.

Reflecting on the role over the past decade, Sales called it “the most amazing job” but admitted it takes a toll.

“While it’s truly been an unbelievable privilege to host — 7.30, it’s a demanding job that comes with pressure and scrutiny,” Sales said.

“Anchoring a nightly current affairs show has been a marathon but every day it’s a sprint as well.”

Speaking of the “incredible people”, she had interviewed, the journalist said Beatle Paul McCartney was a stand out moment but the non-celebrity interviews were the ones she found most powerful and the ones that stayed with her.

“The celebrities come and go but you never forget people like Matthew Lowe,” Sales said.

“His wife was killed in the Dreamworld roller-coaster accident and found the strength down the track to do an interview and try to ensure no other family would have to go what his did.

“People like Matthew are the ones who stick with you. Every time you interview somebody whose life has been devastated you feel terrified by what life has dished up to them and incredibly humbled by how they met it with strength and clarity and dignity and you just don’t forget it.”

Crediting the team behind-the-scenes, Sales sounded like she was getting her goodbyes in early but it will be later in the year before a yet-to-be-announced new host takes to the chair.

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