Ita’s bombshell: ‘I resigned before Jess’
ITA Buttrose has explained her swift departure from breakfast show Studio 10 in her final episode this morning, just one day after her exit was announced.
In the closing minutes of the show, Buttrose revealed that despite her exit being announced mid-yesterday afternoon, she actually resigned before Jessica Rowe, who announced her departure on-air at the start of March.
"I resigned two days before Jessica did, but given her announcement, I left mine until it was more convenient because I think didn't you wanted two of us to go together. I didn't really 'spring it'," she said.
And while fellow panellists Sarah Harris and Joe Hildebrand showered their departing colleague with praise, Denise Drysdale did little to dampen rumours of a feud between the two, remaining largely silent throughout an earlier segment covering Buttrose's decision to quit the show.
"It was such a shock. It was a shock to hear you're leaving," co-host Sarah Harris told Buttrose in the program's opening segment today.
"Well, parting is such sweet sorrow," said Buttrose, explaining that "there comes a time in your life where you have to decide what else you want to do with your life."
"I've got five grandchildren ... I want to spend a bit more time with them. I've come to an agreement with a publisher to write a couple of books," she continued.
Harris described working on Studio 10 as "a hard slog," telling viewers that Buttrose was often the first panellist in the studio each morning.
"You are here so early, you're so well prepared for every show. As a founding member of the show, it's sort of like losing a family member," Harris told her.
Hildebrand said working with Buttrose had been an "enormous privilege," thanking her for everything she'd done for the show.
Drysdale remained conspicuously silent throughout the segment, speaking up only when Buttrose joked that Hildebrand's stubble made him look like George Michael.
"He's dead," she quipped.
"He's dead? Thank you, Denise," said Buttrose. It was the pair's only interaction during the opening segment.
Buttrose told news.com.au on set today she had no regrets about her decision to quit and that her final show was going "very well".
News.com.au has learnt, however, that there are no plans for a staff celebration to say farewell to the media legend, who has been a co-host on the show since it launched five years ago.
And while she's leaving morning TV behind, there'll no rest for Buttrose tomorrow as she will be busy recording an ad for a charity and will sit down for a magazine interview.
Buttrose and Drysdale were at the centre of much media speculation earlier this year regarding rumours of a feud.
In February, news.com.au reported claims that there was so much tension between the pair they were no longer talking off camera, a claim which Network 10 described as "nonsense".
Tempers between the two were understood to have flared late last year when Drysdale allegedly threw a Brussels sprout at her colleague during a cooking segment.
Ten made the shock announcement of Buttrose's swift exit from the show yesterday afternoon, releasing a statement following media reports that the media veteran was set to quit.
"I have had a long involvement with Network Ten, stretching back many years. I've had five great years on Studio 10, but it is time for me to move on and focus on other parts of my life, including spending more time with my grandchildren and writing," Buttrose said in Ten's official statement.
Buttrose's departure comes just a month after the show lost its long-running co-host Jessica Rowe, who announced on air in March that she was leaving the program to focus on her family.
In the closing minutes of today's episode, Buttrose also took a jab at Studio 10's original executive producer, Adam Boland, referencing an ill-fated 2013 stunt he'd concocted between Studio 10 and short-lived partner program Wake Up.
"I don't think I'll ever take a water taxi again, as long as I live," Buttrose told her colleagues.
"Do you remember the executive producer there? All he could say, 'It's such good television.' I'm thinking, 'I want to kill you'."
Buttrose was to serve as a guest on a November 2013 episode of Wake Up, then take a water taxi from that program's Manly beach location to the Pyrmont set of Studio 10 in time to start the show. Due to poor weather her water taxi became stranded, meaning she missed most of the episode.