Sunrise hosts’ secret on-set signals

 

Sunrise co-hosts Samantha Armytage and David 'Kochie' Koch have revealed the secret signals they use to communicate with the show's executive producer while on air.

Michael Pell, who has been the executive producer of the Channel 7 breakfast show since 2010, is in constant communication with the two co-hosts during the three-and-a-half hour show from his seat in the control room.

"I like Michael talking in my ear when we're on air," Armytage told news.com.au.

"I like to know where we're going."

Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell inside the control room. Picture: The Australian / Renee Nowytarger
Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell inside the control room. Picture: The Australian / Renee Nowytarger

Pell gives the hosts guidance as they conduct live interviews and he doesn't pull any punches if he's not entertained by what he sees.

"We might have an interview and Michael's going (in our ears), 'This is boring as bats**t! Get out of this quickly,'" Koch told news.com.au.

"Sam and I are sitting on air going (to the guest), 'That's really interesting, thanks so much for that, it's been a delight to have you on.' And Michael's saying, 'F**k them off!'"

"Look, I'm not tactful," Pell joked in response to Koch's comment.

"I like to have a very casual and colourful environment and I think that helps with the energy, that helps with making it fun."

With Pell's "colourful" comments ringing in their ears, you'd imagine it would be hard for the hosts not to react on air occasionally. But Armytage told news.com.au that's rarely the case.

"No, because we're highly trained professionals," she laughed.

 

The Sunrise team are on air from 5.30-9am weekdays.
The Sunrise team are on air from 5.30-9am weekdays.

It's not just Pell communicating with the hosts via their earpieces, but they also communicate back to him. But how exactly do they do that when they're in the middle of a live interview?

"During an interview I'll say (to the hosts), 'Do you want another question (for the guest)?'" Pell told news.com.au.

"They then signal physically through the camera to me which I'm watching in the control room."

The co-hosts hold up one or two fingers at the camera when the Sunrise feed is focused on their guest, but every now and then they get caught out making the signal live on air.

That happened earlier this week when they interviewed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and the camera quickly cut back to Armytage who was pointing one finger at the camera.

Sam Armytage spotted making a signal to executive producer Michael Pell on camera.
Sam Armytage spotted making a signal to executive producer Michael Pell on camera.

This week was Koch and Armytage's first week back on air for 2020 after they had their holidays cut short.

Channel 7 decided to bring the hosts back a week earlier than expected to combat the new look Today show with Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon which launched this week.

Sunrise won this week's ratings battle convincingly, beating the Today show every day.

On Friday Sunrise had 299,000 viewers (five capital cities) and 485,000 nationally. That's compared to Today which had 202,000 viewers (five capital cities) and 297,000 nationally.

The Today show is desperately trying to recover from a disastrous 2019 that saw Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight axed as hosts after they failed to connect with viewers.

 

The new look Today show team celebrating Mulletfest this week.
The new look Today show team celebrating Mulletfest this week.

It's been a turbulent few years for the Channel 9 show which has seen several big name stars including Sylvia Jeffreys, Tim Gilbert, Steve Jacobs and Tom Steinfort, booted from the program.

"I'm quite surprised at how all of that's gone down with that show," Sunrise's Michael Pell said about Today in an interview with news.com.au earlier this week.

"Not to talk too much about them, but I've never seen that many people sacked that quickly for no apparent reason.

"I think the audience is punishing them for that still," Pell said about Nine's revolving door of hosts.

"The audience doesn't like a company that treats people badly.

"On our side of the fence, there's been very little change in what we've done for many years and I think people appreciate that."

 

 

 

Sam Armytage quickly dropped her finger when she realised the camera was on her.
Sam Armytage quickly dropped her finger when she realised the camera was on her.


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