Sunrise boss: Unlike Today we’re not going for the old school thinking of running dead over summer

The boss of Seven’s Sunrise has suggested that rival show Today is behind the times by allowing its A-team of hosts to take an extended summer break.

Sunrise – which kept familiar faces on screen throughout the non-ratings period has been trouncing Today in the ratings.

Sunrise EP Michael Pell’s comments followed new Today EP Neil Breen almost admitting defeat by telling today’s Sydney Confidential that “Seven have played it well” in keeping Melissa Doyle and David Koch on air. Doyle stayed on until  Christmas and Koch returned immediately afterwards.

“(Doyle and) Koch have done the hard yards over summer while Channel 9 has made the decision to let Karl (Stefanovic) and Lisa (Wilkinson) have a break,” he said. “I’ve been on the job five weeks and in that time Karl hasn’t been on air at all.”

Pell would not directly comment on what Breen has to say about the roster he inherited, but said he would have demanded the main hosts be on air if he was in the position. “It is old school thinking to run dead over summer because the beginning of the year is not the time to drop the ball,” Pell told Mumbrella today.

“In 2013 viewers expect something out their breakfast show – people have more to to sit down and watch them and digest the news, and there has been plenty of it lately. We’re now looking forward to a massive year given the ratings lead we have  already.”

Sunrise has enjoyed its best head start over Today in five years, with an average 370,000 daily national viewers last week to Today’s 260,000. Sunrise won last year, but the gap was much narrower – 370,000 to 330,000 overall.

Today has also had significant recent glitches – it kept its Queensland edition on one hour daylight saving when the winning yacht crossed the line in the Sydney to Hobart Race, and in Sydney a commercial break was on when the yacht crossed the line.

Breen could not be contacted for comment today.

Marcus Casey


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