Leigh Sales has revealed she will be returning to Australian TV screens next year as the anchor of Australian Story.

The ABC journalist will be just the second person to host the show in its history, after its long-term host Caroline Jones died earlier this year.

Australian Story is one of the most beloved programs in the country and I am so excited and humbled to be invited to front it. I can’t wait to be involved in the production process of such a talented team.” Sales said.

Her new role comes after Sales wrapped up 12 years as the host of 7.30 following the federal election, and was announced as part of ABC’s virtual showcase of programming plans for next year.

The national broadcaster will also reboot Mother and Son, with Matt Okine and Denise Scott taking over the comedy’s starring roles.

Other shows slated for next year include scripted comedy Gold Diggers, which follows two sisters searching for rich, dumb husbands in the 1850s goldfields, as well as Limbo and a new season of Utopia.

In the wake of the announcement, Sales took to social media to share the news and an update on how she’s been spending her time since leaving 7.30.

“Hello everybody, long time no see,” she began in a clip of herself at home, dressed in a white t-shirt and pants.

“I have been so massively enjoying my long service leave and my break from the news – I’ve gone completely cold turkey, I’ve switched off the news – and I pretty much barely change out of, let’s face it, pyjamas.

“I’ve really let myself go, and I know that ‘letting yourself go’ is said as an insult … but is there really anything that sounds more luxurious to you than letting yourself go?

“Anyway, I’ve got some news to share.

“I am going to be, next year, anchoring the Australian Story program for the ABC.

“I’m so thrilled and excited about that, because, as you would all know, because it’s one of the most popular shows on the network, it is such a brilliant program with such a history of making the most brilliant shows and telling the most moving stories.

“I’m just so lucky to get to go and work with and learn from the people who pull that show together and hopefully contribute some of my own ideas.

“It’s also very humbling to be invited to front that show because it’s only had one anchor in its 25-year history, and that of course is the late, great Caroline Jones, so it’s really quite overwhelming actually, to be following on from such a legend.

“I just feel like I’m so lucky.”

Sales received a flood of congratulatory messages from fans and fellow TV stars, including Dr Chris Brown and Lisa Wilkinson.

“This is the best news. But I’m even more excited about the cello introduction you’re going to give every feature story in 2023. That’s entertainment,” Brown commented.

“Such fabulous news Leigh. Congrats, adn so deserved. Looks like we have something else to celebrate on our margarita date!! 👏👏👏 xxxx,” Wilkinson wrote.

“Woooooot! Great news. Congratulations on letting yourself go so luxuriously and let’s hope they’ve got a great team on board to put you back together 😆 can’t wait to watch 👏,” Leila McKinnon said.

Image: Twitter

This article first appeared on OverSixty.