Popular Seven star Melissa Doyle has already started working on a top-secret show that could once again make her one of the network's biggest stars, just weeks after her current affairs show Sunday Night was axed.
"This could take Mel right back to the top," claims a TV insider, who says Mel could blow rivals like Samantha Armytage and Edwina Bartholomew out of the water with her new news and entertainment-based show.
"Mel will be filming secret pilots for a new version of Midday in coming weeks, and I know she's excited about the potential boost this will give her career. If it works, she could easily once again become the biggest star at the network."
There have been rumours that Seven has had a new daytime TV show in the works for weeks because of the dismal ratings of the midday movie slot – and now they have the perfect host for it since Mel is currently without an assignment.
"She flatly refused to go from Sunday Night to hosting a new version of The Farmer Wants A Wife or Big Brother," confirms our source, who says Mel was keen to secure a new long-term role rather than a risky reboot of a reality series.
"Midday appeals to her as it will deliver ratings and income to the network. While it's early days and the first pilot has yet to be shot, there's a bit of a buzz about it at the network. The working title is Midday with Mel."
Seven have enlisted Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell to oversee the first pilots. "He has a terrific track record, having kept Sunrise at the top for many years. He's also still very close to Melissa after working together for so long on Sunrise."
Mel, 49, became a household name when she helped transform Sunrise into a ratings powerhouse from 2002 to 2013, before hosting Sunday Night for four years until it was axed last month.
The last host of Nine's Midday, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, thinks Mel would be the perfect person to present a new version.
"She's warm, lovely and very capable – I love Mel," says Studio 10 star Kerri-Anne, 66.
"I know Seven have been looking for a show to replace the midday movie, but it's not going to be another Midday because it will be entirely an advertorial show to generate revenue."
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