Sunrise headed for cast shakeup as Today gains in the ratings

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Sunrise will be shuffling its cast lineup as rival morning show Today gains steady traction in the TV ratings and closes the gap.

The cast shakeup comes seven months after the departure of former co-host Sam Armytage, who Sunrise insists will not be returning. 

Seven executives have hinted the Sunrise panel may be reshaped in the coming months after Natalie Barr took over Armytage’s role earlier this year.

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Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell quashed rumours that Barr will be replaced with the presenter and told The Daily Telegraph, ‘Nat and Kochie are enormously popular with viewers and possibly most importantly they’re also both trusted.’ 

‘Nat is one of Australia’s most popular and loved TV presenters. We’re delighted with how she’s going and thrilled she’s in the chair,’ he said. 

According to sources, Edwina Bartholomew, who is the current newsreader on the show, has been hinted as returning to her old entertainment reporter job next year.

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This would mean the network are either switching out Bartholomew with a new newsreader or replacing Barr with the presenter and putting her in her former role. 

Pell also dismissed the loss of Armytage as negatively impacting the breakfast program and its ratings, claiming Sunrise has still ‘continued from strength to strength since Nat took the chair’.

Seven confirmed that Armytage is not the supposed presenter being appointed, nor was she returning to the network in any capacity. 

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In the latest TV ratings, Sunrise has lost 5.5 per cent of its national audience since the beginning of 2021 when compared to the same figures in 2020.

The breakfast program’s audience has slipped from an average of 282,000 viewers to 266,000.

Melbourne is the only capital city where Sunrise had a slight gain in the numbers.

Sunrise’s biggest decline has occurred in just the last two months as Nine’s Today, by comparison, saw a 2.8 per cent increase in viewership and an average increase of 6,000 viewers to 222,000.  

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