The additions mean Newscast, which currently goes out on weekdays hosted by presenter Adam Fleming and the BBC’s political editor Chris Mason, will be a seven-day operation for the first time.
The Saturday and Sunday editions of Newscast hope to digest what goes on both on- and off-air at Kuenssberg’s Sunday morning TV interview programme, Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, and O’Connell’s Sunday morning Radio 4 magazine programme, Broadcasting House.
On Saturdays, the BBC said, audiences will “hear what it was like prepping for the pair’s two flagship shows”. On Sundays “the new weekend double act… will head straight to Newscast HQ, from the TV and radio studio, bringing together TV, radio and podcasting for the first time, talking about what it was really like on air, and in the green room”.
The corporation added: “Expanding to seven days and the signing of Laura and Paddy to Newscast is a big commitment from the BBC for its premier news podcast, ahead of the next UK general election.”
Earlier this month Newscast’s producers told Press Gazette the podcast was seen within the broadcaster as a “BBC hero brand” intended to be “really central to the BBC’s general election coverage”. The next election is due no later than January 2025.
Kuenssberg, who the BBC said was a “familiar voice” on Newscast since it started and co-hosted in its former guise of Brexitcast, said she was pleased to get “back behind the Newscast mic, with a brand new show, and a brand new podcasting partner. Paddy’s broadcasting genius is to make you laugh out loud while you’re learning.
“I can’t wait to try to make sense together of what just happened in our TV and radio studios on Sunday mornings. And I’m thrilled to be reunited regularly with the Newscast audience, with their sparky questions and fantastic feedback, especially now we’re on the road to the general election. Get the coffee on!”
O’Connell said: “It’s the best BBC decision since Colour TV. Millions choose TV or radio on Sunday mornings but never before have we joined forces. Only Newscast can make this happen. Laura is the platinum-selling political journalist in the UK. I’m hoping Broadcasting House listeners start a new podcasting habit by listening on a Saturday and Sunday morning. It’s time for Podcasting House.”
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