The ABC has today announced journalist Stan Grant as the new host of long-running current affairs debate program Q+A.
The veteran broadcaster, 58, will begin solo hosting duties with a special edition of Q+A from the Garma Festival in north-east Arnhem Land, airing Monday August 1 at 9:35pm.
“Garma is a talking place where the nation asks itself hard questions about who we are. It is an honor to take the helm of Q+A from there,” Grant said in a statement released by the ABC.
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“Hosting Q+A is a huge responsibility. I feel the weight of the audience’s trust in me and the program. I will approach my role with integrity, decency and humility.”
Grant’s appointment comes after a period of uncertainty for the program, which has been hosted by him, David Speers and Virginia Trioli in a regular rotation ever since Hamish Macdonald departed the hosting chair to return to the Ten Network a year ago.
And Grant’s existing stints as host haven’t been without controversy: back in March he took the unprecedented step of ejecting an audience member live on television after they aired widely discredited pro-Russian claims about the invasion of Ukraine.
“Something has been bothering me… people here have been talking about family who are suffering and people who are dying. Can I just say – I’m just not comfortable with you being here. Could you please leave?,” a visibly shaken Grant told the young man.
The headline-making incident did not help the show’s sinking ratings, though – a week later, Q+Adropped to just 175,000 viewers across the five metro capital cities, its lowest ratings to that date.
Justin Steven’s, ABC’s Director, News, said in a statement published by the network that Grant was a natural fit to take over the reins of Q+A on a permanent basis.
“With Stan at the helm we’ll continue to explore ways to further develop Q+A, including how to get audiences even more involved,” he said.