In Sydney, both Nine and Ten had extended news updates at around 10.30pm but Seven seemed to be the most persistent in trying to establish a late news service. In 1978 they tried a straight news bulletin called The Latest News with John Bok as newsreader.
In 1980 they tried the relaxed, casual approach with Newsnight. It started as a 30 minute bulletin with Mike Peterson, Seven’s former man in Canberra, and Mike Bailey and it soon extended to one hour. Ross Symonds would eventually join to read news. Described as “a current affairs Tonight Show”, producer Mike Bailey took inspiration from Good Morning America and included commentary, features and entertainment in the format. It drew a lot of criticism for its unconventional approach and never really took off.
Kay Stammers, one of the first female reporters at Nine, joined Seven towards the end of 1981 to front the late news service which would be retitled Newsworld. Another revamp took place when Karina Kelly, joining from SBS, took over in 1984. The service was starting to find success. It wasn’t until Clive Robertson was moved from Eleven AM to Newsworld and started to attract a cult following that Nine wanted a piece of the late night action. His relaxed, casual approach seemed to work in a way the previous attempt didn’t.
Nine attempted mid evening, summertime 9.30pm bulletins in the late 1970s with the same team that did the 6.30pm bulletins- Brian Henderson, Ron Casey and Alan Wilkie. These bulletins were updated with late breaking news and were designed to capture the audience that took advantage of daylight savings and missed the earlier bulletin. It was intended for these bulletins to continue into the ratings year but they rated poorly so the idea was abandoned.