Evan Davis is leaving Newsnight to fill Eddie Mair’s role as the host of Radio 4’s PM programme.
The BBC’s former Economics Editor, who presented Radio 4’s Today programme for six years, has been the lead presenter on Newsnight since 2014 when he took over from long-running host Jeremy Paxman.
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The PM spot became vacant over the summer when Mair left the BBC to join commercial network LBC.
Speaking about his new gig, Davis said: “Having survived several years of people saying ‘you’re not as good as Jeremy Paxman’, I now look forward to people saying ‘you’re not as good as Eddie Mair’. I would have loved to stay longer at Newsnight and will miss the team who’ve been fantastic, but PM is presenter heaven and jobs like this don’t come along very often, and you have to grab them when you can.”
Davis will take up his new role at PM later this autumn, with a rota of journalists continuing to fill the presenter’s seat until then. The appointment also leaves a vacancy at Newsnight with Emily Matilis understood to be a frontrunner to take over from Davis as lead presenter.
According to BBC sources, the promotion of a man to the PM programme means that a high-profile woman is almost certain to land both of the other two major vacancies at BBC News and current affairs. They are at Newsnight and as host of Question Time which becomes available when David Dimbleby steps down at the end of the year.
Gwyneth Williams, Controller of Radio 4, said: “PM has a special place in the lives of Radio 4 listeners and each week millions tune in to its unique blend of news and current affairs. I am sure that this discriminating audience will be delighted that Evan will be bringing his experience, intelligence and wit back to Radio 4’s daily news programmes as he takes the helm at PM. Personally I very much welcome his returning voice as, day by day, Radio 4 tries to reflect a fast-changing world for our listeners.”
Fran Unsworth, BBC Director of News and Current Affairs added: “Evan is a brilliant journalist whose warmth and individuality make him the ideal presenter for PM.”