Back to five-day-a-week grindstone for Kochie and Sam
Sunrise hosts David Koch and Samantha Armytage have had their four-day working week cancelled and been ordered back to work five days following a recent surge in the ratings of rival breakfast show Today.
The Sunrise stars were last week instructed to head back into Seven's Martin Place studios from Monday to see off Nine's Today, which has closed the ratings gap on the still dominant Sunrise on the strength of heightened viewer interest in COVID-19.
The reboot is seen as bad news for recently promoted Sunrise newsreader Natalie Barr, who was tapped in June to increase her days in the anchor's chair from one to two a week.
She will return to regular newsreading duties.
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Barr had been filling in for Koch on Fridays to give him a three-day weekend when she was approached to do the same for Armytage on Mondays.
Seven News director Craig McPherson confirmed the reshuffle on Friday: "They are back five days a week," he said, wasting no words.
Also said to have been ordered back into the studio control room is longtime Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell, who has spent most of this year enjoying a stretch in a newly expanded role overseeing prime-time light entertainment at Seven and leaving the day-to-day EP responsibilities on Sunrise to two more junior producers.
This new role saw Pell installed as consulting boss on a number of programs starring news boss McPherson's wife, Sonia Kruger. Chief among them, Seven's Big Brother and the new series The Voice.
While Nine has been boasting of "wins" across the slate in the breakfast timeslot, closer inspection of the figures reveal that while some gains have been made in eastern state-based markets, nationally Sunrise is still ahead of Today and the Nine show is yet to win a day in Sydney.
In fact Sunrise is yet to be beaten this year and hasn't been beaten since 2018. Last week Sunrise bettered Today by 33,000 viewers (nationally, all people five capital cities) on Monday by 16,000 viewers on Tuesday, by 40,000 on Wednesday and by 29,000 on Thursday. (Friday's figures were not available at press time).
HEADACHES AT FORDHAM YARN
An article on 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham is causing some internal headaches at media company Nine.
Insiders last week informed this column that reporter Tim Elliott has been commissioned to do a piece on Alan Jones' radio successor.
According to sources, Elliott is working on a monster yarn for one of Nine's magazine liftouts, Good Weekend.
Fordham, who enjoys a large fan base internally at Nine, is of the view the piece will be a jolly piece of PR.
But some within what was once called Fairfax say that may not be the case.
Meanwhile, with radio ratings set to be released in a week's time, 2GB's new breakfast host is understandably feeling some pressure.
In his last ratings survey on 2GB, Jones achieved an audience share of 17.9 per cent. Nine management is hoping Fordham can achieve at least a 12 in his first breakfast survey, say sources.
So nervous is Nine about the survey, the sources say, it prompted the network to bring forward their "upfronts" advertiser showcase event by a month so prospective advertisers wouldn't be put off by what might turn out to be softer than promised radio figures.
The event was last week and was a terrible yarn say some who witnessed it.
SHARED NAME, NOT A LEGACY
Further to recent news on the surprise departure of McGrath CEO Geoff Lucas comes word of the death of his father, Peter.
Lucas senior died last month aged 86, days before his son stood down from his post at McGrath.
The retired businessman had once worked for Alan Bond, where he had to have struggled sharing a name with a second Peter Lucas, one who would forever be known as Bond's lieutenant and a former director of Rothwell's Bank.
This infamous Peter Lucas would forever known as "Peter K Lucas" to help distinguish him from the man who died last month, "Peter C Lucas".
Having faced charges for his part in the collapse of Rothwell's, "Peter K Lucas" would go on to other corporate adventures while "Peter Charles" held the fort for Bond in Hong Kong.
Peter Charles died peacefully at home with his wife Norma by his side.
Originally published as Back to five-day-a-week grindstone for Kochie and Sam