Why Sunrise host Kochie skipped Sam Armytage's farewell lunch

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

David ‘Kochie’ Koch was on hand to celebrate his colleague Sam Armytage's final day on the Sunrise set on March 11, presenting her with flowers and champagne with other Channel 7 stars as the episode came to a close.

But when the cameras stopped rolling, it was apparently a different story. After signing off on her eight-year stint on the breakfast program, Sam, 44, decamped to a fancy restaurant for a farewell lunch.

Sunrise host David Kochie Koch
Sunrise host Kochie has revealed why he skipped Sam Armytage's farewell lunch. Photo: Channel 7.

Kochie, Nat 'not invited'

She was joined at Catalina in Sydney's Rose Bay by her new husband Richard Lavender, Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell and Morning Show host Kylie Gilles — but Kochie was nowhere to be seen.

Two weeks on, the 65-year-old TV host has finally revealed why he didn't attend Sam's 'do during a chat with Kyle and Jackie O on KIIS FM on Thursday morning.

"Well, we didn’t know about it," he admitted when prodded by Kyle.

'We' being himself and his new co-host, Nat Barr, 53, who joined him for the radio appearance.

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Sunrise co-host Natalie Barr covering the NSW flood crisis from Penrith
Nat Barr had ditched the Sunrise studio to cover the NSW flood crisis just a week after replacing outgoing host Sam Armytage. Photo: Channel 7.

"Oh, you weren't invited?" remarked Kyle, however, neither Kochie nor Nat seemed to reply.

Kochie quickly went on to play down the alleged snub, saying that the network had planned a 'big postponed Christmas party' the following day.

It's believed that Sam was expected to attend the belated festive event however, News.com.au reports she was unable to attend 'due to a prior commitment'.

Nat piped up to say that the Sunrise team had been 'drinking all through the morning' on Sam's last day.

Sam was farewelled by her Sunrise colleagues on March 11. Photo: Instagram/sam_armytage.
Sam was farewelled by her Sunrise colleagues on March 11. Photo: Instagram/sam_armytage.

'Knew for months'

Elsewhere in the chat, Kochie told Kyle and Jackie O that he and Nat had been aware of Sam's plans to quit the show many months before she made the shock announcement on March 8.

"We'd known for a couple of months that she was thinking about [resigning] and just wanted a simpler life," he said.

Nat also opened up about how she came to replace Sam in the hosting chair after presenting the news on Sunrise for several years.

"There was a call from the big boss who said, 'How about it?' I said, 'Oh, OK, yeah right.'"

Despite 18 years with Channel 7, Nat admitted that she'd almost turned down the offer — which came through a 'few days' before Sam's announcement — due to nerves.

"I was actually really nervous. I was so nervous that one of the bosses who called actually said, 'Are you sure you want this?'"

She said she wasn't 'clamouring' for anything else from her job; "If Sam had wanted to stay for another 10 years that was fine with me."

It was her husband, Drew who kindly but firmly told her it was time to 'step up'.

"He said, 'If you sit there and say no and you’re listening to someone else do it, you’ll regret it.'"

Sam Armytage crying on Sunrise after announcing her resignation
Sam broke down as she shared the news of her exit with viewers on March 8. Photo: Channel 7.

Sam out, Nat in

In a move that shocked viewers, Sam announced she would be walking away from eight years in breakfast TV two weeks ago.

At the time, she explained that she wanted to "take a break and find some peace and calm" after a difficult six months.

On her final day on Sunrise, Sam hit out at the 'snarkiness' and 'bullying' she had faced during her time as host.

After much speculation around her replacement, Sam's Channel 7 colleague Nat Barr stepped in to host the program alongside David 'Kochie' Koch.

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