Pulitzer Prize-winning Egyenes Beszéd (Straight Talk) hostess Olga Kálmán has left ATV to work for HírTV, the conservative broadcast news channel owned by Lajos Simicska. The evening talk show Kálmán hosted for 13 years will reportedly continue without her, although ATV has yet to announce her replacement.
News of Kálmán’s departure was confirmed by ATV news director Szilárd Németh, who said the parties had parted “in a civilized manner.”
Before joining ATV in 2003 Kálmán worked for Rádió Bridge and Info Rádió. Between 1994 and 1998 she was anchorwoman for the state-owned broadcast news channel.
Kálmán reportedly took a number of her ATV colleagues by surprise when announcing she was leaving the independent broadcaster after the company Christmas party.
A staunchly opposition television under the second Orbán government, in the wake of the 2014 general election (which Fidesz won by a landslide thanks to last-minute changes to electoral law) the independent broadcaster appears to have sought an accommodation with the center-right Fidesz-KDNP governing political alliance and even with Hungary’s radical right-wing party, Jobbik.
Jobbik MEP Zoltán Balczó was the first Jobbik politician to appear on the show in the spring of 2o14. He was followed by Jobbik chairman Gábor Vona, Ásotthalom mayor and Jobbik vice-chair László Toroczkai, and controversial Jobbik MP Előd Novák before he was stripped of his parliamentary seat.