Five News presenter Charlie Stayt has quit the station after nine years, just two months into its new contract with Sky. Stayt, who was part of the Five News launch team in 1997, will leave this Friday after reading the lunchtime bulletin. He is not leaving for another job although there are suggestions GMTV may be interested in signing him.
Stayt’s agent denied he was leaving because he was unhappy, saying he had been there nine years and wanted to move on and try other things.
“I’ve been with Five News for nine years and now need to involve myself in other projects,” said Stayt.
But sources said he was unhappy that he was passed over to front the new-look flagship bulletin on anchor Kirsty Young’s days off.
According to insiders, Stayt is also not comfortable with some of the changes to the bulletins Sky News made when it took over as the channel’s news supplier from ITN.
Stayt has been a stalwart at Five News. He became the face of the channel when he replaced Andrea Catherwood as the main anchor for flagship Five News bulletins after she returned to ITV in 2000.
When Kirsty Young returned to Five at the beginning of 2002, Stayt presented some of the flagship evening bulletins, along with the lunchtime news.
But since Sky took over making Five News at the beginning of the year, he has only presented the lunchtime news programme.
The plum task of reading the flagship 5.30pm news on Thursday and Friday – the days when Young is off – was given to Sky News’ Julie Etchingham.
Mr Stayt was promised he would stand in for Young if she was ill or working on other shows on Monday to Wednesday.
He did so earlier this week – presenting from the studio when Young and Etchingham were involved in Five’s day of programmes with the Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy.
Five said Kate Sanderson – who was poached by Five last year from the BBC – will take over the lunchtime bulletins for the time being.