Accomplished ... Hamish Macdonald is leaving Channel Ten to join US network ABC as an international affairs correspondent based in London. Photo: ABC News
Former Ten Network chief foreign correspondent Hamish Macdonald has signed a contract with the US network ABC.
Macdonald will become the international affairs correspondent for the network.
The post is a career coup for Macdonald, who joined Ten in 2010 as a foreign correspondent for the now-defunct 6:30 with George Negus program.
He later served as host of Ten's Late News and host of the current affairs program The Truth Is.
Macdonald was in New York late last year meeting his new colleagues, including journalist Diane Sawyer, who hosts ABC's flagship news program, ABC World News.
He starts in the new position on Monday.
Macdonald confirmed his departure from Ten in September.
"I will miss the many great friends I have made here," he said at the time.
Macdonald's contract with Ten was due to expire in March.
After receiving the approach from ABC, Macdonald met with Ten's senior management and negotiated a release from his contract.
"Ten's management, and [head of programming] Bev McGarvey, could not have been more supportive," Macdonald told Fairfax.
"They were very receptive to my reasoning," he said. "This is a great opportunity."
Macdonald will be based initially in New York but will move permanently to London later this year, a more effective base to cover breaking news in north Africa and the Middle East.
ABC is one of America's "big three" networks; the others are CBS and NBC.
ABC operates a vast international news operation, servicing a handful of high-profile programs, including World News with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, Nightline and the current affairs program 20/20.
The deal slots Macdonald into ABC's senior correspondent line-up, alongside some of the most iconic names in US journalism, including Sawyer, who is ABC's lead anchor, global affairs anchor Christiane Amanpour, "special" correspondent Katie Couric and chief political correspondent George Stephanopoulos.
It is understood Macdonald has negotiated a so-called "carve out" in his contract for Australia.
That clause leaves Macdonald free to pursue other work here, though it is unlikely ABC would approve him working for Australian networks which have affiliations with its rivals, such as Ten (which is tied to CBS) and Seven (which is tied to NBC).
ABC has a news content sharing agreement in Australia with Nine.
Macdonald would also be free to work for a non-commercial broadcaster.
Macdonald declined to discuss the details of his contract.
In a note to staff, ABC's president of news Ben Sherwood said Macdonald was "one of the best storytellers of his generation."
"Hamish is a dynamic addition to our outstanding international news-gathering team."
In the meantime, Macdonald's last project for Ten, the current affairs program The Truth Is, is now screening on the Al-Jazeera America channel in the US.
Macdonald won the British Royal Television Society's young journalist of the year award in 2008 when he was a 27-year-old reporter working for the English-language Al Jazeera news channel.
At the time, the jury noted his "confidence, style and spirit". They also said he possessed "real star quality".
Macdonald has also worked for Britain's Channel 4 and ITV.