John Campbell is doing something he hasn't done in a long time tonight.

He's reading the 6pm news on television.

Campbell, who fronted news shows at Mediaworks for years, will make a surprise return to prime time news on 1 News At Six.

The announcement came in a tweet by Seven Sharp host Hilary Barry.

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She wrote: "FYI. The marvellous John Campbell's reading the 6pm news on TVNZ 1 tonight."

A TVNZ spokesperson is yet to return a Herald request for comment.

Campbell left Mediaworks in 2015 after 24 years fronting news and current affairs shows.

He hosted the network's 6pm bulletin alongside Carol Hirschfeld from 1998 to 2005, before moving to front his own show Campbell Live.

He moved to Radio New Zealand in 2016, but quit in June last year to begin a roving reporter-style role at TVNZ.