Natalie Barr replacing Samantha Armytage as Sunrise co-host

From tomorrow morning, Natalie Barr will sit beside David ‘Kochie’ Koch as Sunrise co-host, a week after Samantha Armytage announced her exit from Seven’s top-rating breakfast show.

Barr has been at Sunrise for 18 years, joining in 2003 as a fill-in presenter over the summer. Almost a decade earlier, she had began at Seven after a stint in the US, during which she had been nominated for an Emmy Award for her reporting on the OJ Simpson car chase.

The updated Sunrise team L-R: Mac, Bartholomew, Barr, Koch, and Beretta

Born in Bunbury, Western Australia, Barr moved to Perth, where she studied journalism at Curtin University, and began her career at a community newspaper.

In her new role, the 52-year-old Barr will continue working with Mark Beretta, Edwina Bartholomew and weatherman Sam Mac.

“Sunrise has been my work family for 18 years and while I’ve absolutely loved my role as newsreader, I’ve now been given the chance to move half a metre along the desk closer to Kochie and give something new a try,” she said of the promotion.

“I like to think of it as same same but different. I can’t wait.”

Seven’s CEO James Warburton added that “we have an incredibly strong team at Sunrise and I’m delighted that Nat has agreed to step up into this new role.

“Sunrise is a very important part of many Australians’ days. It’s been the #1 breakfast show for many years and I know that Nat, Kochie and the rest of the team will continue to take it from strength to strength.”

Armytage announced her departure last Monday, and finished up on Thursday. She spent close to eight years as co-host, a further seven years at Weekend Sunrise, and almost 18 years with Seven. While Seven promised she will stay with the network and embark on new projects, Armytage told viewers she will decide on her “next chapter” after a break.

According to Armytage, her decision was met with “understanding” from executive producer Michael Pell and chair Kerry Stokes.

“The last six months of my personal life have been very bittersweet,” she said, referring to her marriage, the death of her mother, and the end of the relationship with her agent, Nick Fordham.

“Some bits have been very happy, and some bits have been very, very sad. And I want to step out of this public world for a while and take some time and calm things down. Enjoy a bit of slow living and spend some time with my precious family.

“Now, I go out of this job at a time of my own choosing and on top of the ratings, which not many people in television can say they do.”

Sunrise has remained the country’s top breakfast program against Nine’s Today Show and Ten’s Studio 10, even as Nine reinstalled Karl Stefanovic and promoted Allison Langdon last year and Studio 10 put dancer Tristan Harris into the hosting role with Sarah Harris, following the exits of Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Joe Hildebrand.

Koch noted that Barr has been “way more than just a newsreader”.

“For years she has always stepped up as a co-host, filling in for Sam and I, and spent much of last year leading our coverage of the COVID pandemic,” he said.

“We all love her wicked sense of humour and no-nonsense approach to life. Nat and I have always had a very close relationship – I’ve seen her sons grow into fine young men, walked The Kokoda Track with her husband, Drew, and her mum Julie is so gorgeous. Nat is a wonderful person, with a wonderful family, and I can’t wait to sit alongside her as we continue to evolve Sunrise.”


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