The Seven Network, in a joint bid with Foxtel, have won the rights to broadcast Cricket Australia fixtures for the next six years. However, fans of cricket have received the news with a mixed reception after it was revealed that One Day International fixtures would be exclusive to Foxtel and, in order to save costs, Basil Zempilas will be made host of everything on the network.
Zempilas is already juggling co-hosting duties on Weekend Sunrise with AFL commentating duties, as well as reading the news for Seven Perth. Most recently he has featured during the network’s Commonwealth Games coverage as main commentator at the swimming events, and has commentated the Australian Open tennis while also taking on the Master of Ceremonies on-court position.
It is expected that Zempilas will be added to the cricket commentary team ahead of this summer’s coverage to keep costs minimal in lieu of adding more knowledgeable and experienced cricket personalities.
Similar strategies are expected to be employed over the Seven Network’s other key programs.
Long-running soap Home and Away is expected to drop the axe on Ray Meagher who has famously played character ‘Alf Stewart’ since the show’s inception. Fans of Stewart can expect to see the character continue, however, with Zempilas affecting a more broadly Australian accent and recounting the character’s famous catch-phrases, such as ‘flamin’ galahs’, ‘flamin’ mongrels’ and ‘flamin’ mongrel galahs’.
Zempilas is also expected to replace both presenters of the Seven Network’s prized property My Kitchen Rules. While existing hosts Manu Feildel and Pete Evans both bring unique qualities to their roles, the Seven Network is confident that Zempilas can replicate the best of what both have to offer. It is said that, for Feildel’s role, Zempilas will talk in an offensively slurred French accent and for Evans he will just open his eyes unnaturally wide.
Finally, Zempilas will take over from Brynne Edelsten on Brynne: My Bedazzled Life. No cosmetic or character changes will be necessary.
Foxtel have not announced any of their presenters at this stage. Kevin Pietersen is not expected to play any part.