Sunrise’s long-time Executive Producer Michael Pell is preparing to leave Australia for his new role in Los Angeles.
And the breakfast show’s hosts David ‘Kochie’ Koch and Natalie Barr have paid tribute to their 38-year-old colleague.
Barr, 53, said ‘working with Michael has been one of the highlights of my career.’
Fans: David ‘Kochie’ Koch and Natalie Barr have paid tribute to their 38-year-old colleague Michael Pell as he prepares to move to Los Angeles
‘Michael is a good friend and I’ll miss him dearly, but I know he’s looking forward to an exciting new challenge in the US with Seven and we wish him every success,’ she added.
Kochie meanwhile said that Michael’s ‘drive, his passion, his flamboyant leadership style has meant it has been an absolute delight to work for him.’
‘I’m excited about his new opportunity within the network where, I have no doubt, he will achieve similar success.’
The man: Kochie meanwhile said that Michael’s (centre, with Samantha Armytage and Kochie) ‘drive, his passion, his flamboyant leadership style has meant it has been an absolute delight to work for him’
The 66-year-old TV host added that he wasn’t concerned that Pell’s absence may leave a leadership void at the hit breakfast show.
‘Sunrise has seamlessly transitioned through numerous key personnel changes over the years, which is a huge testament to the depth of the entire Sunrise team.’
Pell himself said of his legacy, ‘I am extraordinarily proud of what we’ve achieved at Sunrise. It has been an honour to lead the talented team for more than 11 years, and I thank every one of them for their hard work and dedication.’
‘The program is in great shape, and I have no doubt Kochie and Nat will continue to dominate the landscape.’
Confident: The 66-year-old TV host added that he wasn’t concerned that Pell’s absence may leave a leadership void at the hit breakfast show
Seven is putting a succession plan in place as Pell prepares to leave Australia.
The executive will leave a gaping void when he exits to take up a new role in Los Angeles sourcing ‘new programming out of the U.S. for the network’, reports The Australian.
Pell’s role could be run by two people moving forward, according to sources.
Moving on: Channel Seven is putting a succession plan in place as longtime Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell prepares to leave Australia
One person would likely oversee both of Seven’s breakfast TV shows, Sunrise and The Morning Show.
The latter is currently run by Sarah Stinson.
The other role would focus on the day-to-day running of Sunrise, the jewel in Seven’s crown.
Next in line? One person would likely oversee both of Seven’s breakfast TV shows, Sunrise and The Morning Show. The latter is currently run by Sarah Stinson (right)
Lagging: Today, hosted by Karl Stefanovic (left) and Allison Langdon (right), has fallen further behind Sunrise in the ratings race since the beginning of the year
Meanwhile, rumours are swirling in the TV industry that the move may be a way for Seven to keep Pell on its books – and far from Nine executives who want to poach the wunderkind for the Today show.
Today, hosted by Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon, has fallen further behind Sunrise in the ratings race since the beginning of the year.
News broke last month that Pell will step down from the role he’s held for the last 11 years around Easter time.
End of an era: News broke last month that Pell (pictured) will step down from the role he’s held for the last 11 years around Easter time
Rumours of Pell’s departure from the network had been circulating for months.
According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald in December, the top producer was eyeing potential offers in the U.S.
Pell confirmed at the time his current contract with Seven was ‘in negotiation’ and no decisions had been made.
In 2019, the Herald Sun reported Pell had ‘expressed interest’ in relocating to America, prompting Seven bosses to offer him an annual salary of more than $1million to stay at the network.
Exit strategy: Pell is planning to relocate to Los Angeles, but will continue working with Channel Seven in a new role. (Pictured with Studio 10 host Sarah Harris)
Pell is said to be one of the highest-paid executives at Seven and produces up to 24 hours of live television every week.
He was close friends with Sam Armytage during her time hosting Sunrise, and she confided in him when she stepped away from the show last year.
Pell told TV Blackbox in June: ‘We got really close and that is when she came to me and said, ‘I think I would like to leave because I want to see what life’s all about.’
Talk of the town: Rumours of Pell’s departure from the network had been swirling for months
‘And she’d had a tough year last year. If you aren’t enjoying it anymore you should seek something else to do. You have to do what it’s in your heart and it wasn’t in her heart… it just wasn’t for her anymore.’
Michael said he was ‘fully supportive’ of Sam’s exit from Sunrise, and was delighted she was so happy with her new husband, Richard Lavender.
‘She went and met Richard and I didn’t matter anymore!’ he joked, adding: ‘I love Richard. He is a great guy, and I have never seen her happier.’
Moving on: Pell was best friends with Sam Armytage during her time hosting Sunrise. (Sam pictured with husband Richard Lavender)