Former NTV anchor Debarl Inea is set to be unveiled on Mediamax-owned K24 TV as the new host of Punchline, Business Today can reveal.
The journalist, musician and procurement specialist signed a contract, with the revamped show expected to launch in February. He replaces Ann Kiguta who quit the station in December, citing ‘fundamental disagreements over he editorial process’.
It was Ann Kiguta who introduced Kenyan viewers to Punchline, a Sunday night political show featuring one-on-one interviews with high profile political figures and asking tough questions about the state of the nation.
Debarl, on the other hand, was the popular host of morning political show AM Live on NTV before becoming one of the victims of a retrenchment exercise at Nation Media Group in July. The show featured spicy political debates with panels often made up of past and former MPs, Senators and Governors.
A highly placed source at K24 told Business Today that the revamped Punchline would “lean on Debarl’s strengths”, with panels likely to be a new feature of the show.
The show will be produced by veteran Macharia Muhoho, who has helmed it since its inception.
Muhoho produces a slate of shows at K24 and previously had stints at KBC and Fountain Media.
Since Kiguta’s exit, anchor Allan Owino has been standing in as host of Punchline.
Business Today had reported in December of how the station was banking on a slate of prime time shows to deliver growth in 2021, noting that the Punchline brand was unlikely to be dropped.
A combination of Kiguta’s star power and the hard-hitting, topical debates on the issues of the day had seen the show become a ratings hit.
Debarl is also a ratings draw in his own right, as was evidenced by the outcry that followed his outcry.
Ardent followers of AM live as well as his political guests were the first to offer words of encouragement at the time.