Peter Hitchener has set tongues wagging after posting a series of bizarre images of himself enjoying life in response to speculation he may be about to retire from Channel Nine News.
In the since deleted Instagram posts, the beloved Melbourne anchor appears with his hands stretched out ‘like a zombie’ outside Sydney’s iconic Opera House.
Littered with love heart emojis, Hitchener stated ‘Life is great!’.
Peter Hitchener in the now deleted Instagram post. One industry insider described it as bizarre
Peter Hitchener’s usual Instagram posts show him behind the scenes at Channel Nine
Alicia Loxley is expected to replace Hitchener when and if he decides to retire
In another equally cringe worthy post, also plastered with heart emojis, Hitchener commented that he was ‘looking fresh’ and ‘feeling the best I ever have’.
‘Loving life to the max!’ the 77-year old exclaimed. ‘I won’t stop til I drop’.
One television insider told Daily Mail Australia Hitchener’s now deleted posts were bizarre.
‘It’s not a good look,’ the source said.
The odd posts appeared to come in response to an opinion piece that featured in Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun.
The article, penned by entertainment guru Fiona Byrne, suggested Hitchener ought go out with grace and allow his ‘heir apparent’ to lead the charge.
That heir is none other than Melbourne newsreader Alicia Loxley.
Loxley has been a respected member of Nine’s news team for years.
In years gone by she has been up to her ears in muck, knocking on the doors of murder victims and criminals alike.
Hitchener showed his love for viewers with an emoji littered Instagram post that he has since deleted
Peter Hitchener (pictured) has refuted speculation he is set to retire from Channel Nine News. The 77-year-old, who is celebrating 50 years at the network, insisted this week that stories of his retirement have been greatly exaggerated
Loxley has been sitting in for Hitchener at 6pm on Fridays and the weekend and also leads the Nine Afternoon News at 4pm on Mondays and Tuesdays and Nine News First at Five, the national afternoon bulletin, at 5pm on weekends.
Industry insiders say Loxley was named as Hitchener’s eventual replacement at least two years ago.
Hitchener, who is celebrating 50 years at the network, insisted this week that stories of his retirement have been ‘greatly exaggerated’.
‘To be absolutely clear, the first I heard of my so-called retirement was reading about it in @theheraldsun this afternoon,’ he wrote on Instagram after Byrne’s opinion piece ran online.
‘It is my great honour and a privilege to present the news, and I still hope to for a few more years’.
That post saw Hitchener lavished with love from around the globe, with hard rocker’s Airborne posting to his page from Serbia.
‘No matter where we are in the world the only place we trust our news is, from you,’ the band wrote.
‘The mighty Hitch! With NineNow and a VPN from places as far as the Serbian Border we stream your warm comforting informing voice into our tour bus. Thank You Hitch, and may you cast your dulcet tones around our globe for as long as you like!!’
In 2021, the veteran newsreader took a step back from presenting the news full time.
In a statement to Daily Mail Australia, a representative for Channel Nine confirmed Hitchener was dropping to four days a week.
In April of that year, Hitchener gave an update on his health after he was taken off air mid-bulletin during Channel Nine’s 6pm Melbourne news.
He sparked concern after he stumbled over his words on March 29 due to a migraine, causing producers to quickly cut to a pre-recorded story.
Hitchener assured The Herald Sun that ‘everything’s good’ with his health, and confirmed he’s looking after himself more than ever since the on-air incident.
Alicia Loxley has done the hard yards on the mean streets of Melbourne
‘To be absolutely clear, the first I heard of my so-called retirement was reading about it in @theheraldsun this afternoon,’ Hitchener wrote on Instagram. ‘It is my great honour and a privilege to present the news, and I still hope to for a few more years’
In 2021, the veteran newsreader took a step back from presenting the news full time
‘I’m very good now and making sure I drink plenty of water,’ he said, before confirming he had visited the hospital as a precaution.
Hitchener, who soon after returned to work, added that he had only started suffering with migraines over the past few years.
‘It was the first time on air and I hope it never happens again,’ he said.
Shortly after the footage aired, Nine issued a statement to confirm that he was suffering from a migraine.
Hitchener has been forced to endure further hassles after being linked to an alleged stalker who claimed he was once married to the news anchor.
Kodei James Mulcahy, 22, of Werribee, is scheduled to appear before the Werribee Magistrates Court next week on 26 unrelated charges of stalking and assault.
Last year, Mulcahy hit social media to announce his ‘divorce’ to Hitchener.
‘Just an update me and Peter have been married and divorced,’ he stated.
Mulcahy had claimed for months that he had been married to Hitchener, who came out as gay in 2008.
Mulcahy has shared at least three images of himself alongside Hitchener: two during tours of the studio and another that appears to have been snapped outside Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne during a group shot that crops Hitchener’s body in half.
Channel Nine insiders have told Daily Mail Australia that Mulcahy’s claims about Hitchener are completely false.
‘They’re a figment of his imagination,’ the source said.