Sam Armytage to work fewer days on Sunrise
Instructed to fill-in for regular breakfast show anchor Sam Armytage after she took extended leave in March to deal with a health issue, Natalie Barr has been rewarded with a promotion that will see her host Sunrise two days a week.
From tomorrow Armytage will no longer host Sunrise on Mondays, a situation that has presented a golden opportunity to the program's long-time newsreader Barr.
Barr also fills in for co-presenter David Koch on Fridays after he negotiated a four-day working week beginning in 2018.
The arrangement means Barr has now been elevated to a regular two-day-a-week presenting role on Sunrise, an arrangement Channel 7 on Saturday said was instigated by Armytage.
"Sam's doing a great job. We're happy. The ensemble is doing fantastically. There is no suggestion we want her anywhere but here," said Seven's news director Craig McPherson.
He added that Armytage has been asking for a reduced working week, like Koch, for some time and indicated the request from her came a year ago.
This contradicts a statement she made on social media earlier this year: "I am NOT off contract at the end of 2020 … I have NEVER asked 7 for a 4 day week," she said in response to a story published in this newspaper.
Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell, who is rumoured to have fallen out with Armytage in March after she complained about her co-hosts Koch and Barr, which is something Seven strongly denies, did not return this newspaper's call on Saturday.
Seven sources insist relations between Pell and Armytage have been strained since she returned from a five-week leave of absence for what she described as a "respiratory infection". McPherson said Armytage made a "lifestyle decision".
She will forfeit one-fifth of her salary with the new arrangement.
It comes after Seven staff were asked to forfeit the same percentage of their salary to help Seven recover from the advertising downturn impacting all media.
The arrangement ceases on June 30 so Armytage will effectively remain on the same pay, put at $400,000 down from $500,000, and not see her salary further affected.
Barr, meanwhile, can expect a pay spike. With her contract up in November and currently being renegotiated, the opportunity couldn't have come at a better time.
Originally published as Sam Armytage to work less days on Sunrise