AFTER another year of intense controversy and fierce competition from a new direct rival, The Footy Show has survived the axe.

Announcing its 2018 programming slate to advertisers on Wednesday, Channel Nine confirmed the long-running show will return.

Despite speculation his tenure on the show could be nearing an end, Sam Newman has also been locked in according to the network. 

"It’s another big year in footy with The AFL Footy Show returning for a mammoth 25th season in 2018," Nine said in its release. 

"Eddie McGuire, Rebecca Maddern and Sam Newman will be joined by champions of the game for all the biggest stories from the world of AFL, in-depth discussions on the week in footy and a whole lot of laughs."

While far from the centrepiece of Nine’s programming launch, the announcement is a vote of confidence for the show under new producers from McGuire’s own production company. 

McGuire, Maddern and Newman are the only ones mentioned, with uncertainty surrounding other regulars including comedian Dave Hughes, Geelong champ Billy Brownless and Brownlow medallist Shane Crawford.

McGuire was installed alongside Maddern in a dramatic mid-season move after ratings slumped under newly installed co-host Craig Hutchison. 

After two weeks off air, the show returned with a sparkling new high-tech set, and a single desk. 

The show continued to make headlines, not only over Newman’s antics, but also because of paid interviews with Dustin Martin and his father Shane on the day the Richmond superstar recommitted to the Tigers. 

Hutchison was parachuted into the role after James Brayshaw’s sudden exit at the start of the year.

The former journalist turned businessman faced an uphill battle in the job as Channel Seven pitted former comedy show The Front Bar directly against it. 

Seven is yet to confirm its plans for The Front Bar in 2018, but it’s again expected to be a part of the channel’s broader entertainment offering.

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