Nick Robinson approached for top BBC news executive roleDecember 11, 2021
Nick Robinson is approached for top BBC news executive role – but are bosses just trying to clear a berth for Laura Kuenssberg on Radio 4’s Today?
- Nick Robinson has been sounded out by BBC bosses for Director of News role
- Move would end Robinson’s 25-year stint at microphone for Corporation and ITN
- It would also free up his highly-prized spot on the Radio 4 Today programme
- Suggested this could provide a berth for Laura Kuenssberg to join radio team as she stands down as Political Editor next year
Veteran BBC presenter Nick Robinson has been sounded out by the Corporation’s bosses about taking the influential Director of News role.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that BBC chiefs are keen for him to replace Fran Unsworth, who announced in September that she would be stepping down from her £340,000-a-year job next year.
The move would end Robinson’s 25-year stint at the microphone for the Corporation and ITN, including ten years as the BBC’s Political Editor.
It will also strike a blow in his rivalry with Media Editor Amol Rajan, 38, who joined him as a fellow presenter on the Radio 4 Today programme in March.
Veteran BBC presenter Nick Robinson has been sounded out by the Corporation’s bosses about taking the influential Director of News role, ending his 25-year stint at the microphone
BBC sources say the Corporation is keen to have an ‘impartial and safe’ figure succeed Ms Unsworth, not least because of the controversy surrounding the appointment to a senior news executive role last year of Jess Brammar, who had previously made highly critical comments about the Tory Government.
While insiders say Robinson, 58, who underwent surgery six years ago to remove a tumour on his lung, is unlikely to throw his cap in the ring, the plan shines a light on the BBC’s presenter ‘merry-go-round’ and the sharp elbows at the flagship Today programme, which has been described as a ‘cauldron of egos’.
There are currently five Today presenters – Robinson, Rajan, Mishal Husain, Justin Webb and Martha Kearney – but there has been speculation that highly respected Laura Kuenssberg, who stands down as BBC Political Editor next year, wants a role there too.
There has been speculation that highly respected Laura Kuenssberg, who stands down as BBC Political Editor next year, wants a role at the Today Programme, and pushing out Robinson would free up a seat
‘There is quite the merry-go-round happening at the moment and it is causing some headaches,’ said an informed source.
‘Laura needs to be looked after and Amol is a priority in the mix, so something has to give. While it might be surprising to some to move Nick to a non-presenting, behind-the-scenes role, it would solve a problem. It is a big job and Nick has the credentials to do it.’
The BBC has faced repeated claims of bias against the Tories. Before becoming a journalist, father-of-three Robinson was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association and later Chairman of the National Young Conservatives.
It also suggests Robinson is not seen as a contender to replace Andrew Marr as presenter of the BBC’s Sunday morning political show. Sophie Raworth (pictured) will temporarily take over The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One’s flagship Sunday programme
Andrew Marr will be presenting new radio shows on LBC and Classic FM from next year
The approach to Robinson provides further evidence that the appointment of Jonathan Munro, the Head of Newsgathering, to Ms Unsworth’s job is no longer the formality that it was once considered.
Munro, nicknamed ‘Macavity’ for his ability to duck the blame for scandals, has found himself embroiled in the damaging Cliff Richard and Martin Bashir affairs.
It also suggests Robinson is not seen as a contender to replace Andrew Marr as presenter of the BBC’s Sunday morning political show.
The Corporation has announced that newsreader Sophie Raworth will temporarily host the programme when Marr leaves at the end of the year.
Among those in the running to replace Ms Kuenssberg as Political Editor are her deputy Vicki Young, and Jon Sopel, who stood down as the BBC’s North America Editor earlier this year.
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