Outsiders (Australian TV program)

Outsiders is an Australian television news and commentary show broadcast on Sky News Australia.[1] The show is currently co-hosted by editor of The Spectator magazine Rowan Dean, The Friday Show host Rita Panahi, and The Daily Telegraph opinion editor James Morrow, and features long-form discussion of political issues between conservative contributors.[2][3]

Presented by
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
Running time1–2 hours (incl. adverts)
Original networkSky News Australia
Original release4 December 2016 (2016-12-04) 

The show is broadcast from the Sky News Centre in the Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park. The series debuted in a pilot episode on 4 December 2016,[1] and began airing weekly in 2017,[4] before the format expanded to a two-hour Sunday morning edition and hourly primetime episodes in 2018.[5] From October to December 2018, the show aired late at night, four times a week.[6]

The show debuted with three co-hosts, two of whom were fired for separate controversial comments. Former Labor leader Mark Latham was the show's primary host until his employment was terminated by Sky News on 29 March 2017, following several controversial statements made on the show.[7] On 2 November 2018, former Liberal MP Ross Cameron became the second co-host to be sacked, after using offensive racial stereotypes to refer to Chinese people.[8]


The format was designed as a response to the long-running ABC program Insiders, which many conservatives see as aimed towards the "inner-city leftist class".[2] The hosting trio described themselves as "[Donald] Trump's Aussie mates"[9] and proudly boasted "absolutely no balance whatsoever", intending to "do the opposite of [Insiders host] Barrie Cassidy".[2] In 2017, the program aired at 10 a.m. AEDT, beginning as Insiders concluded, but in 2018, the program added a second hour, beginning at the same time as Insiders and competing with it directly.[1]

The program was the second format co-hosted by both Cameron (following the now-defunct Keneally and Cameron) and Latham (who continued co-hosting Jones + Co until his sacking), and is the first hosting role for Dean. It was developed following the appearance of all three men on an episode of Paul Murray Live.[10]


The pilot episode on 4 December 2016 was watched by 22,159 viewers, a 79 per cent increase in the timeslot average of Weekend Live ratings over the previous four weeks. Amongst homes with subscription television (STV), Insiders on the ABC was watched by 790,070 viewers, and including viewers without STV rated 220,000 viewers.[11]

An episode on 5 March 2017 had 37,000 viewers but that dropped to 24,000 viewers on 26 March, following a series of controversial comments by Latham.[12]

An episode on 27 August 2017 was the twentieth-most-watched program on subscription television, with viewership of 41,000.[13]

In the first half of 2018, Sky maintained that the weekend edition of Outsiders increased its audience by 24 per cent, the Monday edition by 84 per cent and the Thursday edition by 105 per cent in their respective timeslots "year-on-year".[14][15]


In early 2017, Sky News presenter Peter van Onselen, whose program Sunday Agenda airs ahead of Outsiders, was critical of the program following an Outsiders segment which named van Onselen's wife Ainslie as a member of the "diversity bunch" who Latham claims push diversity but only help "rich and privileged women". The ABC program Media Watch noted that Ainslie van Onselen had left her position five months earlier. The same report revealed Outsiders has an audience of 31,000 viewers each week.[16]

Latham's employment was terminated by Sky News on 29 March 2017, following several controversial statements made on the program.[7][17] Subsequently, the program was put on hiatus, with the scheduled episode on 2 April 2017 being pulled.[18] When it returned on 9 April 2017, it was revealed that the program would use rotating guest hosts in place of Latham, until the use of the third host was eventually dropped several week later.[19] In April 2017, Latham launched a website called Mark Latham's Outsiders and began hosting a weekly Facebook Live program affiliated with The Rebel Media.[20] Despite sharing the same name, it was unrelated to the Sky News program.[21]

On 1 July 2018, a producer of Outsiders was suspended after the program broadcast controversial comments by Senator David Leyonhjelm about the personal life of Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, and further displayed them in an on-screen strap. Sky News issued an apology on Twitter hours later, describing the comments as "appalling".[22] In response to a social media campaign targeting companies who advertise during Outsiders, Sky News replaced paid advertisements with station promotions in episodes airing the following week.[23]

In November 2018, Cameron was sacked from Sky News days after making allegedly racist comments on Outsiders, becoming the second original co-host to be fired.[24] The program briefly used a roster of guest co-hosts alongside Dean, including Liberal MP Craig Kelly, until permanent presenters were appointed in 2019.[25] Panahi and Morrow were appointed permanent co-hosts alongside Dean in 2019.[26]


  1. Knox, David (21 November 2016). "Airdate: Outsiders". TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  2. "Trump's Aussie mates: Latham, Dean and Cameron launch new show". The Australian. News Corp Australia. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016.(subscription required)
  3. Purcell, Charles (24 November 2016). "New This Week (Nov 28): The Exorcist, DC Crossover, Shark Week, FFA Final, Wallabies and live sport". The Green Room. Archived from the original on 25 November 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  4. Knox, David (19 December 2016). "SKY News 2017: highlights". TV Tonight. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  5. "Sky News changes: New set, new schedule, expanded lineup". Mediaweek. 30 October 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  6. "Daily Telegraph political editor Sharri Markson to host Sky News program". The Daily Telegraph. 5 October 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  7. Brook, Stephen (29 March 2017). "Sky News sacks presenter Mark Latham". The Australian. Retrieved 29 March 2017.(subscription required)
  8. Loomes, Phoebe (2 November 2018). "Sky News commentator sacked over on-air racism". news.com.au. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  9. Butler, Josh (9 November 2016). "We Spent Election Day With Trump's Biggest Aussie Supporters". Huffington Post Australia. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  10. Faruqi, Osman (21 November 2016). "Mark Latham And A Bunch Of His Trump-Loving Mates Have Launched A New TV Show". Junkee. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  11. "Outsiders by name, outsiders in the ratings". Mumbrella. 6 December 2016. Archived from the original on 7 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  12. Savva, Niki (6 April 2017). "Conservative: a different meaning". The Australian. Retrieved 11 April 2017. Ratings peaked on March 5 with 37,000 viewers. On March 26...it dropped to 24,000 viewers.(subscription required)
  13. Knox, David (28 August 2017). "Sunday 27 August 2017". TV Tonight. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  14. "Sky News on a roll as presenters bring in record number of viewers". The Australian. 16 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  15. "Sky News delivers record-breaking audiences". Sky News. 16 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  16. "Sky News civil war". ABC. 20 March 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  17. Meade, Amanda (29 March 2017). "Mark Latham sacked by Sky News after controversial remarks". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  18. Burrowes, Tim (1 April 2017). "Sky News axes Outsiders from schedule after sacking of Mark Latham". Mumbrella. Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  19. Brook, Stephen (10 April 2017). "Independent Australia's Martin Hirst to rile press gallery". The Australian. Retrieved 10 April 2017.(subscription required)
  20. Since renamed Rebel News
  21. "Mark Latham goes online with Outsiders Facebook page". News Corp Australia. 4 April 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  22. "Sky News apologises for airing 'appalling' Leyonhjelm comments". The New Daily. 1 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  23. Knox, David (13 July 2018). "Outsiders running without ads on SKY News". TV Tonight. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  24. Remeikis, Amy (2 November 2018). "Ross Cameron sacked from Sky News after racist comments about Chinese people". The Guardian Australia. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  25. Davies, Anne (7 November 2018). "Liberal MP Craig Kelly to replace Ross Cameron as co-host of Sky News' Outsiders". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  26. O'Connell, Brigid (20 January 2019). "Rita Panahi to co-host Outsiders in revamp of show". The Herald-Sun.
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