Joe Hildebrand has quit his role on Studio 10 after seven years in the co-hosting chair.
“I’m leaving Studio 10,’ the 44-year-old announced on air on Thursday morning.
“I’ve given it a huge amount of thought, it’s been really hard but also really lovely to look back on all the wonderful things we’ve done,” he added, causing his colleagues Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Angela Bishop and Sarah Harris to audibly gasp.
In what was an emotionally-charged five-minute speech, he referenced the morning TV show’s recent ‘shake-up’ which saw fellow Studio 10 stars Kerri-Anne and Natarsha Belling, as well as weatherman Tim Bailey given the boot.
Joe asked viewers not to ‘lash out’ at Channel 10, explaining that his ‘lovely bosses’ were keen to keep him on in a new role but it was his decision to leave the network.
“I thought it was better to draw a line under this amazing little story... and give the new show, whatever it might look like, the chance to breathe and have a fresh start without me hanging around,” he said.
Sarah Harris in tears
When addressing the viewers directly he began to choke up, saying that they were ‘wonderful’ and that he ‘loved them all’.
“It’s been a wonderful seven years,” he added.
At this point, Sarah Harris, who joined Studio 10 alongside Joe in 2013, broke down in tears prompting Joe to reach out and hold her hand across the desk.
“Sarah’s my best friend, my work-wife, we’ve been through all this since the very beginning,” he managed to say.
In what could be seen as a nod to Keri-Anne’s axing, Joe went on to reiterate that his resignation was voluntary.
“I’ve very lucky, I made this decision of my own accord and I’ve got other stuff that I can do,” he said.
He also pledged to ‘stick up for the little guy’ in whatever new role he takes on; “I will always make sure they are at the front of everything I do and fight for,” he said.
He then said a final farewell as his co-hosts all wiped away tears.
While news of Kerri-Anne Kennerley’s axing from Studio 10 on August 11 sent shockwaves through the media industry, the woman at the centre of it all remained surprisingly calm.
According to a tweet by entertainment reporter Peter Ford, who says he spoke with Kerri-Anne on the golf course, the TV personality “totally accepts” Channel 10’s decision.
Just one day later, the 66-year-old delivered a subtle dig at her former employers live on air by saying that she was wearing a military-style jacket because she was ‘being run out of town’.
While she said that the situation was ‘very tough’ she remained optimistic about her future.
“But I've always worked on a personal level, the Charles Darwin theory that says to survive you don't need to be the most intelligent. You don't have to be the strongest, but you have to be, to survive, the most adaptable,” she said.
The host has stirred up plenty of controversy during her time on the show, often dividing viewers with shock comments and political statements.
Last year, she famously clashed with Yumi Stynes over Australia Day protesters and called out journalist Antoinette Lattouf for wearing a short jumpsuit during her appearance on the show.
In June, the TV host said that she just “can’t resist” causing a stir with controversial comments, during an interview on Sky News' The Death of the Aussie Larrikin?.
Additional reporting by Sarah Carty.