Samantha Armytage’s surprise return to Channel Seven has ruffled quite a few feathers among her former colleagues at Seven, reports claim.
The 45-year-old surprised fans last week by announcing her role on the upcoming season of Seven dating show Farmer Wants a Wife.
Samantha’s former Sunrise co-stars were reportedly ‘stumped’ by the news that Sam would be returning to screens, mere months her shock departure from Seven.
‘There was a lot of talk and whispering in the corridors,’ an insider told Woman’s Day Magazine on Monday.
‘It will go down as one of the most baffling decisions the network has made in a very long time,’ they added.
The Sunrise cast, including co-hosts David ‘Kochie’ Koch and Natalie Barr, were apparently speechless in the hours after reporter Edwina Bartholomew announced Sam’s new gig on-air.
‘There was a very awkward silence on the Sunrise set the morning after the announcement,’ the insider said, describing the reaction as ‘very telling’.
Samantha stepped down as co-host of Sunrise in March, announcing on-air that she wanted to ‘step out of this public world for a while, take some time and calm things down… enjoy a bit of slow living.’
However, on Tuesday, Samantha made the shock announcement at Channel Seven’s Upfronts that she would be joining Farmer Wants a Wife.
Samantha, who married wealthy farmer Richard Lavender late last year, will assist with the matchmaking process alongside host Natalie Gruzlewski.
‘I’m thrilled to be joining Farmer Wants a Wife in 2022,’ she said.
‘I’ve always been a huge fan of the show and of country people, and I know first-hand that falling in love with a farmer is just about the most wonderful thing you can do.’
Her guest role will involve hosting a segment called Sam’s Choice, in which she introduces the farmers to a ‘new lady based on her own expertise and experience’.
Meanwhile, Sunrise producers appeared to bury Sam’s TV comeback during Edwina Bartholomew’s 6am news bulletin on Wednesday.
Edwina, 38, fleetingly mentioned Sam’s return to TV screens at the very end of her segment and simply called it a ‘great idea’.
‘The network will be the official broadcaster of the 2022 Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham, not to mention a historic Ashes series,’ Edwina began, as she spoke about Seven’s line up next year.
‘Your favourite hit shows will be back including The Voice and all the judges, and SAS Australia, Dancing with the Stars, fantastic, and My Kitchen Rules,’ she continued.
‘And Samantha Armytage will return to TV as a special guest on Farmer Wants a Wife with Sam’s Choice, which is a great idea.’
She then crossed back to host David ‘Kochie’ Koch, saying: ‘Here’s Kochie with finance.’
Kochie made no comment about Sam at the start of his own report.
Samantha’s announcement came just weeks after she expressed her dislike of some of the ‘lame’ light entertainment segments she endured as a co-host of Sunrise.
‘I’d have days where I was like… ‘I’ve got a journalism degree from university, do I really have to do this stuff?’ But you do it because it’s your job,’ she told the Brains Trust podcast last month.
Meanwhile, it has previously been reported that Sam and new host Natalie Barr were embroiled in a feud for months, after Sam left the show.
Sam criticised Natalie on Twitter in June for continuing to speak about her in the press, three months after taking over as anchor of Seven’s breakfast show.
She was responding to an interview Natalie had done with The Australian Women’s Weekly in which she claimed the pair weren’t friends outside the workplace.
After brushing off a question about their rivalry on The Kyle and Jackie O Show, Sam tweeted: ‘Look, I’m out. Nat’s wanted the job forever… and she’s finally got it. She just needs to get on and enjoy it – and forget about me (even though I’m unforgettable).’
Sam’s tweet contradicted Natalie’s own account of her promotion to co-anchor, as she has always said she didn’t aspire to be host and was surprised when Seven offered her the job.