ABC star Leigh Sales reveals her surprising next move as she prepares to leave 7.30 after 11 years
- 7.30 host shocked viewers in February with a bombshell announcement on-air
- Leigh Sales announced on Tuesday she will host her final episode on June 30
- Plans to take the rest of 2022 off, a decision that was inundated with support
Leigh Sales will take six months off for ‘a huge rest’ in the second half of 2022 as she ponders her next project.
The long-time host of ABC’s 7.30 shocked viewers last month with the bombshell news that she was quitting the role after 11 years at the helm of one of Australia’s most prestigious current affairs programs.
The mother-of-two vowed to stay on as host until after the federal election due to be held in May.
Sales gave a further update on her departure date and future plans on Tuesday, leaving her last show would be on June 30.
Departing host Leigh Sales (pictured) will host her final episode of 7.30 on June 30
‘I’m then taking the rest of 2022 off and planning a huge rest,’ she posted.
Sales’ update was quickly inundated with messages from well-wishers at rival television networks and in radio.
They included The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson, Today Extra co-host David Campbell, Channel Nine presenters Deborah Knight and Sylvia Jefferies, Channel Seven newsreader Michael Usher and actress Justine Clarke.
Sales stunned fans in February when she announced on-air she was quitting 7.30, saying her decision came down to her ‘two beautiful little boys’ wanting to see more of their mum.
Now aged eight and 11, sons James and Daniel have always known their mum to work four nights a week.
Leigh Sales announced earlier this year she was quitting the program to spend more time with her young sons, now aged 8 and 11 (pictured)
Leigh Sales’ plans to take six months off was supported by famous well-wishers online
‘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 at the time.
‘There’s nothing wrong other than I just feel a strong sense of it being time to pass the baton to the next runner in the race and to take a break. At the end of an election cycle feels like a good time to move on to something new at the ABC.’
‘When I first started I didn’t have children. And 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.
She explained she had ‘tried to shut down and call out bull****, hold powerful people to account, expose lies, incompetence and exaggeration in all political parties and all issues and present facts even when they’re unpopular or inconvenient’.
Sales added anchoring 7.30 has been ‘the most amazing job and I’ll never stop being grateful for the opportunities it’s given me.
Leigh Sales (pictured) has been at the helm of the 7.30 desk since December 2010
She ended her message by thanking viewers for supporting the national broadcaster and said she planned to stay with the network.
‘The ABC is so often under fire and it means a lot to all of us to know the public supports us,’ she said.
She said that 7.30 ‘is an incredibly important program’ and that it will keep going from strength to strength.
‘I’m looking forward to having a good break and figuring out what I do next at the ABC … I’m be around for a while yet.’
Presenting ABC’s 7:30, formerly The 7:30 Report, is considered one of the most demanding and high-profile roles in Australian television.
It’s understood the single mum was reportedly struggling to balance her demanding job with homeschooling her sons during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She was also bitten on the nose by a mouse during a battle with Covid earlier this year.
Sales recently revealed Shane Warne was at the top of her wish list of personalities when she began as 7.30 host in late 2010.
It would take eight years before Warne agreed to a one-on-one wide ranging chat with Sale, which was recently replayed on the ABC’s in the wake of the cricketer’s shock death earlier this month
Insiders host David Speers and occasional 7.30 host Laura Tingle are believed to be the frontrunners to replace Sales while Stan Grant and Virginia Trioli have also been touted as successors
Leigh Sales (right) finally got to interview cricket icon Shane Warne (left) four years ago