Local crews to produce national news

Natalie Forrest will read Wagga’s local bulletin permanently after changes were made to the Prime7 news bulletins.PRIME7 viewers will now miss out on the Seven Network’s national news bulletin altogether after the regional affiliate dumped it in favour of creating its own half-hour broadcast.

Last night, after nearly a month of “cutting and pasting” from the Seven Network’s new hour-long national news bulletin, Prime7 broadcast its first half-hour national bulletin, read by Daniel Gibson at 6.30pm.

Yesterday, a Prime7 Canberra spokeswoman confirmed it was trialling the new format for the next week in response to the programming woes it had as a result of the Seven Network’s decision to create an hour-long national news bulletin, which would have meant screening local news bulletins at either 5.30pm or 7pm.

“We are trying it for a week but it is expected we will continue with this format because of Seven’s changes,” the spokeswoman said, adding the changes would affect Wagga, Orange, Tamworth, Taree, Lismore and Coffs Harbour.

The changes mean anchor Natalie Forrest will read Wagga’s local bulletin permanently, which will remain at 6pm.

Earlier this month, a Prime7 insider told the Advertiser that no one was told of the Seven Network’s changes in advance of its decision to make a 60-minute bulletin, throwing the channel in limbo.

Last night’s bulletin saw a mix of celebrity and hard news before the first break, including the story on Grant Denyer and his wife denying they entered a treatment centre in Thailand for an expensive illicit drug addiction and continuing case against Hey Dad! actor, Robert Hughes.

Meanwhile, Fitzpatricks Commercial director Shaun Lowry has said he is in “serious negotiations” with a buyer for Prime7’s Lake Albert Road studio.

Mr Lowry was tight-lipped about the possible sale only saying he thought the buyer would continue to use the building as commercial office space.

The 21,008 square metre studio television studio was listed for sale last September, with former newsreader Doug Hogan saying the building didn’t “suit the needs of Prime7 anymore.”

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