New Morning Show Drama… Down Under

By Alex Weprin 

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Doyle (2nd from left) cries as she announces ‘Sunrise’ departure

A female morning show anchor, “knifed” in the back. A teary on-air resignation that had more to it than it seemed.

No, this isn’t NBC’s “Today,” this is Channel 7 Australia’s “Sunrise.”

It seems morning show drama is not a uniquely American phenomenon. Melissa Doyle, the co-anchor of “Sunrise,” broke into tears on the program two weeks ago, saying that she was leaving “with great sadness” but that she had been offered a “great opportunity.”

Now, however, The Age reports that Doyle was axed, and that executives at Channel 7 were plotting her departure for week’s as Australia’s “Today” show had been gaining ground on “Sunrise.”

Doyle was reportedly told to take a pay cut, step down from Sunrise and pretend she had been promoted to a news presenting position…

Seven executives had decided at least several weeks ago to “rejuvenate” Sunrise by replacing Doyle with Weekend Sunrise co-host Samantha Armytage. Doyle is said to have been told of the decision just a fortnight ago – and that she had no say in the matter.

The move, coincidentally, comes a year after Ann Curry’s tearful farewell from “Today.” Of course, the drama never stops:

Today Doyle posted on the “Sunrise” Facebook page to say that the decision was entirely hers:

“I was presented with a new opportunity at the network and I decided to accept it. Of course I will be sad to leave the Sunrise couch, but I’m also excited and happy about my new challenge. I know the conspiracy theorists would like you to believe otherwise, but it’s just not true.”

(h/t Aunt Anita in Melbourne for the story, @brianstelter for the link)

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