Natalie Barr has permanently replaced Samantha Armytage on Channel Seven’s breakfast show Sunrise alongside co-host David ‘Kochie’ Koch.
Natalie was welcomed by the panel on her first official day on the top job at 5.30am on Monday.
The program’s long-standing newsreader, 52, thanked loyal viewers for all the well-wishes and congratulations, but was shocked by a comment made by Kochie, 65.
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New Sunrise host Natalie Barr (left) hit co-anchor David ‘Kochie’ Koch (right) on Monday after he made a shocking jibe about her during official first day as Samantha Armytage’s permanent
Natalie, who will celebrate 20 years with the program in 2023, has often filled in for Sam and former Sunrise co-host Melissa Doyle in the past.
Kochie joked with a cheeky smirk: ‘After 18 years as part of the family, And we were never convinced she could do this after 18 years.’
Natalie’s face reacted in shock as she instinctively hit her co-host for the jibe, joking: ‘Excuse me! Okay, the first five minutes I’m already punching you, this is going to be fun.’
Kochie did add: ‘It’s fabulous news… Handy tip: nothing has changed since Friday, or most of last year, so you should be okay.’
‘We were never convinced she could do this after 18 years’: Kochie congratulated his co-star on the new gig, but joked with a cheeky smirk that they didn’t know if she was capable
‘Okay, the first five minutes I’m already punching you’: Natalie reacted in shock as she instinctively hit her co-host for the jibe as he laughed
Natalie was officially confirmed as Samantha Armytage’s permanent replacement on Channel Seven’s Sunrise over the weekend.
In a statement on Sunday, she told viewers she was looking forward to stepping into Samantha’s shoes.
‘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.
It’s official! Newsreader Natalie Barr, 52, (pictured) has been confirmed as Samantha Armytage’s permanent replacement on Channel Seven’s breakfast show Sunrise
‘I like to think of it as same same, but different. I can’t wait!’ Natalie said.
In a statement, Kochie praised Natalie for her dedication to Sunrise, saying: ‘Nat has been there every step of the way as we’ve evolved Sunrise over the past 18 years.’
‘Our viewers know Nat is 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 continued.
Can’t wait! In a statement on Sunday, the presenter told viewers she’s looking forward to stepping into Samantha’s shoes
‘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.’
He added: ‘Nat is a wonderful person, with a wonderful family, and I can’t wait to sit alongside her as we continue to evolve Sunrise.’
It comes after Natalie filled in as Sunrise co-host on Friday, just a day after Samantha completed her last ever shift on the show.
Front-woman: Natalie is pictured front and centre in new promo pictures for Seven’s Sunrise lineup
The popular presenter happily sat alongside Kochie and presented the program.
Natalie was at ease in the role, which she has been doing every Friday before Sam’s resignation, after the blonde switched to a four-day working week last year.
Sam, 44, marked her last day on Sunrise on Thursday, and broke down in tears during an emotional farewell.
She had announced her resignation live on air on Monday, saying she wanted to step back from TV to spend more time with her family.
She fits right in! Natalie temporarily replaced Samantha on the Sunrise panel on Friday – just one day after the former host bid farewell to the breakfast program
Gone: Sam, 44, marked her last day on Sunrise on Thursday and broke down in tears during an emotional farewell
Sam, who was supported by her husband, Richard Lavender, and her Sunrise co-hosts on Thursday, took aim at the wider Australian media as she bid farewell to viewers.
‘I do want to say that I never fully understood some of the scrutiny and the snarkiness and the bullying from some aspects of the media,’ she said.
‘But today we move on from that, because there is a new chapter starting and it has been overwhelmingly a good experience in my life.’
Emotional: Sam, who was supported by her husband, Richard Lavender, and her Sunrise co-hosts on Thursday, took aim at the wider Australian media as she bid farewell to viewers
She continued: ‘Most of all, I thank all of our viewers. You are just wonderful people. There are so many lovely people. So many more lovely ones than the nasty ones.’
At another point, she wiped tears from her eyes when her sister Georgie Cavaliere called into the show with her daughter Lucia to surprise Sam, all away from London.
Kochie asked Lucia ‘What kind of auntie is auntie Sammy?’, to which she cutely replied to the anchor: ‘The greatest auntie in the world!’
New focus: She had announced her resignation live on air on Monday, saying she wanted to step back from TV to spend more time with her family
Making headlines: Sam, who joined Sunrise in 2013, spoke about the toxic envirHer remarks greatly upset her colleagues and executives at Seven, and said to be described by some insiders as tantamount to ‘career suicide’.onment of the TV industry in an article for the News Corp-owned Stellar magazine last month
Welling up at the kind sentiments, Sam said: ‘She is the greatest niece in the world. I miss you guys. Will see you soon, I hope.’
Kochie meanwhile said during his farewell tribute to Sam on the show: ‘For the past eight years she’s been a much-loved part of the Sunrise family, but the time has come for her to focus on her family.
‘Goodbyes are never easy. There will probably be some tears, but this morning we’re going to celebrate an incredible journey with some very special guests and a lot of surprises.’
Sam’s last day on Sunrise was Thursday, but her $800,000-a-year contract with Seven doesn’t expire until October.
History of Samantha Armytage’s highs and lows
January 2014: Samantha is criticised for ‘offending strippers’ by joking about her new ‘stripper heels’
March 2014: Khloe Kardashian cut off her interview on Sunrise over questions about her niece North West
March 2015: Samantha accused of racism after appearing to congratulate a woman for looking whiter than her twin
February 2016: Samantha is dropped as host of a UN refugee fundraiser over a cringe-worthy segment with Sex and The City star Kristin Davis
2017: She joined News Corp Australia lifestyle magazine Stellar as a columnist
June 2017: The Sunrise host ruffled feathers when she took aim at George Clooney’s wife Amal and her post-baby body
March 2018: She is criticised for claiming at-risk Aboriginal children were only being placed with family members of other Indigenous families. The comments ignited protests outside Sunrise’s Sydney studio
June 2020: Samantha sued for racial vilification over 2018 discussion which suggested a second stolen generation was needed to help Aboriginal children
December 2020: The Sunrise host marries millionaire businessman Richard Lavender on New Year’s Eve
February 2021: She launches her own podcast – Something To Talk About with Samantha Armytage
March 2021: She divides opinion after claiming women are treated better in the workplace when they are married with children in her column for Stellar magazine