After a stellar career that spans more than 40 years, tonight Tracy Grimshaw announced she will be stepping down from presenting A Current Affair at the end of this year after 17 years in the hosting chair.
The Walkley Award-winning journalist started out as a reporter in the Channel 9 Melbourne newsroom in 1981 and began presenting 9News daytime bulletins from 1985. In 1995, she joined the revamped Midday Show as co-host with David Reyne.
Grimshaw became co-host of Today with Steve Liebmann in 1996, a role she held for nine years. The following year she hosted the 9Network’s marathon live coverage of the miraculous rescue at Thredbo of Stuart Diver, and a month later she hosted Channel 9’s continuous coverage on the death of Princess Diana.
During her time on Today she interviewed world leaders, movie stars, sports stars and everyday people in the news, presenting from locations around the world.
On January 30, 2006 she began presenting A Current Affair. That year she covered the unbelievable story of human courage and survival with the rescue of the two miners in Beaconsfield, Brant Webb and Todd Russell.
In 2009, she was awarded the Walkley Award for Broadcast and Online interviewing, a testament to a television journalism career during which she has consistently been one of Australia’s most respected and versatile journalists.
On the show tonight Tracy said: “Normally right about now we’d be telling you what to expect tomorrow night but lately I’ve personally been thinking longer term, and I have some news that I wanted you to hear from me before you hear it from anyone else.
“I’ve decided to finish up with A Current Affair this year.
“It’s been a big decision and before the gossip websites start telling you rubbish, I want you to know it’s been my decision alone and I’m not being shoved out the door by the boys club because I’m too old.
“I’m not too old, I’m just a bit tired. And for the record both the boys and the girls have asked me to stay.
“But I’ve basically been a shift worker for 26 years, driving to work before dawn for 9 years on the Today Show, and the past 17 years driving home after dark here on A Current Affair and it’s time for less of that daily obligation.
“It’s been my privilege to host this show.
“I was just a kid in 1971 when Mike Willesee started it and in our family it was required viewing each night as Michael either forensically dismantled some politician or maybe laughed along with Hoges.
“Back then, I was going to be a vet or a flight attendant so if you’d told me that one day I’d sit in this chair, let alone occupy it for 17 years, I’d have thought you were mad. Well lucky me.
“You’ve let me indulge my love of interviewing here. I’ve talked to people who’ve made us all laugh and cry, who’ve shared their triumphs and their challenges and their wisdom and despair.
“And because it’s your show not mine and you get to vote each night with your remote control, you told us you wanted more of that. So thank you for that opportunity.
“Thank you for your loyalty. I hope I’ve repaid it. I’m around until November then I’m going to take a long holiday, but it’s business as usual until then. See you tomorrow night.”
Nine’s Director of News and Current Affairs, Darren Wick, said: “Tracy Grimshaw is an inspiration to us at Nine.
“She is the best interviewer on television and has been for many years. And she will forever take her place alongside the greatest interviewers that Australian journalism has ever seen.
“Tracy is stepping away from A Current Affair at the peak of her powers. That generates mixed feelings of joy and sadness for those among us who have known her for many years.
“Joy, because Tracy has decided now is the perfect time to leave the program. She is doing it on her own terms on her own timetable. Just as she has done throughout her whole career.
“And sadness because she is irreplaceable. I know we work in an industry where it’s often said that anyone can be replaced. But that’s not true with Trace. She is one of a kind. She cares about her colleagues and she cares about her viewers.
“We love her. We admire her. And we will miss her nightly on our screens.”