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Virginia Trioli the ‘favorite’ to replace Hamish Macdonald on Q&A

Hamish Macdonald made the shocking decision to leave ABC’s Q&A this week.

And now rumor has it that his official replacement is none other than television journalist Virginia Trioli.

According to TV Blackbox, the 55-year-old is the ‘favorite’ to replace Hamish.

“She’s the firm favorite!” Virginia Trioli is tipped to replace Hamish Macdonald during Q&A

“While the decision is still under consideration, leading figures within the ABC are calling for Trioli to take his place,” the publication reported.

Virginia is best known for hosting ABC’s News Breakfast and ABC Radio Melbourne.

Meanwhile, Hamish is poised to return to Channel 10 after his shocking departure from the ABC.

The outgoing Q&A host, 40, will join Lisa Wilkinson in co-hosting The Sunday Project, as well as the Friday edition of the show, according to the Australian.

An announcement about the journalist’s new role “will be made as early as this week.”

Jumping ship: Meanwhile, Hamish is ready to return to Channel 10 after his shocking departure from the ABC

Jumping ship: Meanwhile, Hamish is ready to return to Channel 10 after his shocking departure from the ABC

Jumping ship: Meanwhile, Hamish is ready to return to Channel 10 after his shocking departure from the ABC

The move means Wilkinson’s current co-host Peter van Onselen will leave that role and reduce his workweek from six to five days.

“Macdonald is expected to join The Project in September, with Van Onselen remaining co-host in the meantime,” The Australian reported.

Macdonald first worked with Channel 10 in 2010 as a senior foreign correspondent and fill-in presenter for 6:30 with George Negus.

In addition to hosting Ten Late News and current affairs program The Truth Is, Hamish has also served as a regular guest and host on The Project.

Homecoming: The outgoing Q&A host, 40, will join Lisa Wilkinson in co-hosting Ten's The Sunday Project, as well as the Friday edition of the show, according to The Australian

Homecoming: The outgoing Q&A host, 40, will join Lisa Wilkinson in co-hosting Ten's The Sunday Project, as well as the Friday edition of the show, according to The Australian

Homecoming: The outgoing Q&A host, 40, will join Lisa Wilkinson in co-hosting Ten’s The Sunday Project, as well as the Friday edition of the show, according to The Australian

Meanwhile, Twitter trolls are said to have been “a factor” in Macdonald’s departure from the ABC, according to a new report.

The Charles Sturt University alumnus left the ABC on Monday, less than 18 months after replacing Tony Jones as Q&A host.

And ‘control and abuse’ on Twitter was ‘a key factor in Macdonald’s decision to quit’, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Tuesday.

Abused: Macdonald's departure from the ABC was reportedly brought about by the 'control and abuse' he saw on Twitter while presenting Q&A, according to a new report

Abused: Macdonald's departure from the ABC was reportedly brought about by the 'control and abuse' he saw on Twitter while presenting Q&A, according to a new report

Abused: Macdonald’s departure from the ABC was reportedly brought about by the ‘control and abuse’ he saw on Twitter while presenting Q&A, according to a new report

The paper also speculated on possible replacements for the departing host.

Rumor has it that Stan Grant, Virginia Trioli, Fran Kelly and David Speers are all lining up to fill Macdonald’s shoes — should Q&A even air.

David Knox, the editor of television tonight, told Daily Mail Australia earlier this week that he believes Q&A may soon be crushed.

Contenders: Stan Grant, (pictured) Virginia Trioli, Fran Kelly and David Speers would all line up to fill Macdonald's shoes

Contenders: Stan Grant, (pictured) Virginia Trioli, Fran Kelly and David Speers would all line up to fill Macdonald's shoes

Pictured: David Speers in 2014

Pictured: David Speers in 2014

Candidates: Stan Grant (left), Virginia Trioli, Fran Kelly and David Speers (right) would all line up to fill Macdonald’s shoes

Knox said that due to the talk show’s weak ratings, “the big question now is whether Q&A will be extended for 2022 at all.”

He also predicted who might host in the meantime.

“I’d give ABC a tip to have alternate presenters with the likes of David Speers, Stan Grant, Virginia Trioli and others, just to see out the year,” Knox said.

Long shot: Knox said that due to the talk show’s weak ratings, “the big question now is whether Q+A will be extended for 2022 at all.” Pictured: potential host Fran Kelly

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Haters: ‘Control and abuse’ on Twitter were ‘a key factor in Macdonald’s decision to quit,’ The Sydney Morning Herald reported Tuesday. Some reactions to Monday’s news can be seen here

Knox also acknowledged that Macdonald faced an “uphill battle” from the start of his tenure as Q&A presenter.

“This year’s Q&A ratings have struggled since it was moved to a Thursday night timeslot,” he said.

“Personally, I thought he was a good choice to refresh the show, as the ABC is constantly on the hunt to lower the average age of his audience.

“If we look at last year, when he also hosted, the numbers were pretty good. But that too is affected by early interest around the pandemic, so there are always several factors at play.

“Giving up the time slot on Monday night meant Macdonald had an uphill battle no matter how good he was.”

Fans: Not all social media users were happy with Macdonald's fall, as shown here

Fans: Not all social media users were happy with Macdonald's fall, as shown here

Fans: Not all social media users were happy with Macdonald’s fall, as shown here

Concerns: “Giving up Monday night’s time slot meant Macdonald had an uphill battle, good as he was,” Knox told the Daily Mail Australia on Monday.

On Monday, Macdonald retired from ABC, less than 18 months after he took over as Q&A host — and nearly a month since he last opened the show to gusty reviews.

The 40-year-old broadcaster represented a generational change when he replaced baby boomer Tony Jones, who has hosted the current affairs panel’s program since its debut in 2008.

Macdonald took over hosting duties in February 2020, just before the start of the pandemic, but Covid social distancing rules kept the show without a studio audience for much of last year.

Out: It comes after news that Macdonald has left the ABC, less than 18 months after he took over as Q&A host — and nearly a month since he last opened the show with flagging ratings

Out: It comes after news that Macdonald has left the ABC, less than 18 months after he took over as Q&A host — and nearly a month since he last opened the show with flagging ratings

Out: It comes after news that Macdonald has left the ABC, less than 18 months after he took over as Q&A host — and nearly a month since he last opened the show with flagging ratings

Viewing figures fell in 2021 when the program was shifted from Monday night to 9:35 p.m. on Thursday, with viewership dropping to just 224,000 in April, less than half of the 2012 600,000 level.

The ABC announced his departure Monday with a statement praising his “excellent 18 months with the national broadcaster.”

With Sydney in lockdown since June 26, Melbourne-based ABC journalists David Speers and Virginia Trioli filled in the Q&A presenters so the program could have a small studio audience.

Before the close, Stan Grant hosted the show in NSW from time to time.

Macdonald, who has not hosted a Q&A since June 24, said he was “extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given.”

Slump: The ratings fell in 2021 when the program was shifted from Monday night to 9:35 pm on Thursday, with viewership dropping to just 224,000 in April, less than half of the 2012 600,000 level.

Slump: The ratings fell in 2021 when the program was shifted from Monday night to 9:35 pm on Thursday, with viewership dropping to just 224,000 in April, less than half of the 2012 600,000 level.

Slump: The ratings fell in 2021 when the program was shifted from Monday night to 9:35 pm on Thursday, with viewership dropping to just 224,000 in April, less than half of the 2012 600,000 level.

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