The same day as Sam announced her engagement to Richard Lavender, it was revealed the veteran presenter would only be appearing as co-host of the Channel Seven program four days a week.
Natalie will now be co-hosting alongside David 'Kochie' Koch on Mondays and will then also co-host on Fridays alongside Sam, as Kochie hasn’t worked Fridays for some time.
She had already covered for Sam for six weeks earlier this year, while Sam was on leave from the program.
At the time viewers seemed keen to see more of Nat, with many even suggesting she permanently remain co-host.
“Hope Nat stays on as a main host. Have all three; Sam, Kochie and Nat,” one person said on Twitter at the time.
Another wrote: “All she's achieved is proving the show can go on quite well without her.”
But plenty of fans said the program would “not be the same” without Sam.
“Sam, I say this from everyone out there. Please, Sunrise isn't the same without you. We hope you're back real soon,” one viewer shared.
Despite Sam recently facing widespread backlash over an old Sunrise segment that resurfaced on Twitter, as well as a potential racial vilification lawsuit, Channel Seven insists the change is unrelated.
“Sam's doing a great job,” Seven's news director Craig McPherson told the The Daily Telegraph. “We’re happy. The ensemble is doing fantastically. There is no suggestion we want her anywhere but here.”
The shocking news was shared on Friday, with the economic fallout of coronavirus blamed for the unforeseen move.
Co-host Sally Obermeder took to social media to share the news, confirming the global pandemic was to blame for the cut.
“The end of an era,” she captioned a photo of her on the show’s infamous blue set.
“Like so many other businesses, COVID has impacted our show and as such our last day for The Daily Edition will be next Friday.”
“I’ve spent my television career, the last sixteen years, as part of the Channel 7 family and in doing so, you’ve become a part of mine.”
Yahoo Lifestyle has contacted Channel Seven for further comment.