The Footy Show's sole survivor

And then there was one.

After the network gave the heave-ho to veteran host Paul "Fatty" Vautin, cut ties with Darryl Brohman, and threw Beau Ryan's contract on the show up in the air, Erin Molan is Nine's sole NRL Footy Show survivor, set to lead a "shaken up" version of the program in 2018, the network announced on Tuesday.

The news was met with mixed reaction and some confusion among league fans, unsure what to make of Nine's decision to effectively end its footy flagship after 24 entertaining, aggravating, confounding years (five straight Logies for Best Sports Program? OK, sure).

For Molan, it's almost a reluctant coup.

She took to Twitter after the news broke with a virtual shrug, diverting attention to her "mates" on the show.

"I'm focused on the wellbeing of my colleagues - both on and off-air. They are real people," she said.

Erin Molan will lead a "shaken up" version of Nine's The Footy Show in 2018. Photo: Channel Nine

Erin Molan will lead a "shaken up" version of Nine's The Footy Show in 2018. Photo: Channel Nine

The Canberra-born, Indonesia-raised journalist - who this week won an ACRA for Best Newcomer On-Air for her work on 2GB - has been Nine's rising star since moving to the network in 2010, after launching her career as a reporter for regional network WIN.

She's been a regular fixture on The Footy Show - and its weekend offshoot The Sunday Footy Show - since 2012, becoming a permanent host on the Thursday night program alongside Vautin in 2014.

Her permanent appointment on the show dovetailed with the game's attempts to address its 'women problem' after a string of violent off-field incidents among players, routinely bungled by the NRL's authorities.

Molan, 35 - who has weathered the usual sexist backlash that tends to greet female sports presenters - has been outspoken on such issues on The Footy Show, becoming the game's conscience amid more recent scandals.

In June last year, she took aim at the NRL's hypocritical response to domestic violence amongst players, in the wake of charges levelled against Parramatta Eels star Semi Radradra (the charges were later dismissed).

"If this is proven to be true, and our game does not take an incredibly tough, strong stance against this, then we are condoning domestic violence. We are saying to every kid, every teenager, every man out there that it is OK to be violent against a woman... It has to stop, it's enough," she emotionally told viewers, as her fellow panellists applauded.

She's also impressed viewers with her intricate footy knowledge, regularly outshining her co-stars (ex-players, at that) with her probing questions and articulate understanding of the game, and a refreshing, almost disinterested, side-eye to the show's more larrikin-like, off-the-cuff antics.

"Confidence for me comes with ridiculous amounts of preparation - most of which I will never use, but if I've done the hard work it gives me confidence," she told Fairfax Media in 2016 about her approach to being on-air.

"If I go on the panel and someone asks me a question and I don't know, it's because I'm an idiot and because I'm just a girl. If one of the former players doesn't know, it's funny. I'm in that position where I can't not know," she said.

Nine's plans will no doubt have been spiked by the success of Foxtel's League Life, which has Nine's former league presenter Yvonne Sampson leading an all-female panel.

That show, which premiered in February, quickly picked up followers The Footy Show lost amid all-time low ratings, after it was pushed into the 10pm slot on Thursday evenings to make way for match broadcasts.

While Nine's new show will remain in the same timeslot, Molan has so far brushed off speculation, saying she has "no idea" what the program will entail - or even her part in it.

"This is all news to me, I haven't been told anything about what the show will be doing next year, what direction it will be taking, or what the role will be," she told Nine's The Fix.

"We're all kind of waiting to find out as much as our audience and our fans are."

After this week's Lisa Wilkinson saga, Nine might want to start quelling those doubts sooner rather than later.

This story The Footy Show's sole survivor first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.