Sunrise viewers were scratching their heads Tuesday morning after host Natalie Barr mysteriously disappeared from the show.
She snuck out of the studio while her co-anchor David “Kochie” Koch was reading the 8 a.m. news bulletin, and was replaced by stand-in host Monique Wright.
When the cameras returned to the news desk at 8:01 a.m., the voiceover welcomed “Kochie and Nat,” but Monique was in her seat.
‘Good morning! Now back for our 8 o’clock hour on Sunrise. Thank you very much for coming,’ said a cheerful Monique.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Kochie asked her.
As the team laughed at the panel’s sudden change, Monique joked, “Nat just hurried out and I happened to be under the couch.”
Kochie then explained why Natalie had been forced to leave quickly, revealing that she had just scored an “exclusive interview” and had a flight to catch.
“She’s rushing to the airport right now. We’ll bring that to you tomorrow,’ he said.
‘Meanwhile, Monique is sitting in the chair for the rest of the morning.’
Sunrise viewers were scratching their heads Tuesday morning after host Natalie Barr (left, with David ‘Kochie’ Koch) mysteriously disappeared from the show
No further details were given about Natalie’s upcoming interview.
The sudden departure from Tuesday’s show follows news that Kochie plans to retire.
In October, he re-signed with Seven for two years.
He agreed a contract extension that locks him in until the end of 2024, but negotiated “more flexibility” in his schedule.
He signed the deal on October 19 during a meeting with Seven Network CEO James Warburton, expressing his interest in retiring.
She snuck out of the studio while Kochie (right) was reading the 8am news bulletin, and was replaced by stand-in presenter Monique Wright (left)
Warburton managed to convince him to put his retirement plans on hold for another two years, but agreed to put a contract in place that will allow the long-serving presenter to “take more breaks from the show as per his requirements,” it reported. The Australian.
This is in addition to Kochie’s already relaxed work schedule, in which he hosts Sunrise four days a week and takes Fridays off.
Kerry Stokes, the billionaire chairman of the Seven Network, is said to have played a “critical role” in Kochie’s contract renegotiations.
Now that Koch has gained more “flexibility” with his schedule, he hopes to spend more time with his wife Libby and focus on his businesses Ausbiz TV and Pinstripe Media.
Kochie plans his retirement, but pledged in October to stay with Channel Seven’s breakfast show for at least another two years with a flexible schedule. (He’s seen here at the 2019 Logie Awards with Samantha Armytage, Natalie Barr, and Mark Beretta)
“I’m thankful to James and Kerry Stokes for going about it this way,” Koch said.
“I had long conversations with them and they asked me if there was a way to come up with a plan that would give you the flexibility you want, and give you a connection to the network and a continued focus on Sunrise. I love it dearly. So I’m lucky to have the best of all worlds.’
News of Koch’s two-year contract extension came after sources told the Daily Mail Australia he was seriously considering retiring, but the prospect of covering King Charles’s coronation at Westminster Abbey in May.
Meanwhile, seven bosses would understandably be keen on Koch staying with Sunrise, which he began hosting in 2002 as a substitute.
Since then, the show has pretty much slaughtered Nine rival Today, every viewing year since 2004 and every week since 2018 in the metro market of five cities.
Kochie (pictured with former host Mel Doyle) has helped Sunrise slaughter Nine’s Today show, winning every viewing year since 2004 and every week since 2018 on the Five Cities Market