|Genre||Breakfast news program|
|Opening theme||Reach Up for the Sunrise|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||24|
|No. of episodes||5,000+|
|Executive producer||Michael Pell|
|Production locations||Martin Place, Sydney, New South Wales|
|Running time||210 minutes (3.5 hours)|
|Original network||Seven Network|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV)|
|Original release||17 January 1991 -|
|Related shows||Weekend Sunrise|
The Morning Show
Sunrise is an Australian breakfast show program. It is broadcast on the Seven Network, and is currently hosted by David Koch and Natalie Barr. The program follows Seven Early News, and runs from 5:30 am to 9:00 am. It is followed by The Morning Show.
The history of Sunrise can be traced back to at least 17 January 1991 when 11AM news presenter Darren McDonald began presenting an early morning Seven News - Sunrise Edition bulletin prior to hostilities breaking out during the Gulf War.
In 1996, Seven introduced a one-hour weekday bulletin called Sunrise News, later renamed Sunrise. Seven recruited Chris Bath from NBN Television to present the bulletin alongside Peter Ford. Ford moved to other presenting roles in 1996 and was replaced by finance editor David Koch. In 1997, Chris Bath was transferred to Seven's 10.30 pm News and was replaced by Melissa Doyle. In 1998 Sunrise was presented by Doyle and Nick McArdle. Seven launched a Sunday bulletin hosted by Stan Grant, entitled Sunday Sunrise, in 1997. Weekday Sunrise was cancelled in 1999, replaced by children's program The Big Breakfast. Seven maintained half-hourly news updates during The Big Breakfast and their Sunday bulletin was not affected by the axing. Other temporary Sunrise hosts up until this time include Anne Fulwood (who was filling in for Georgie Gardner at the time of the program's end), Leigh Hatcher and Nick McArdle (previously weekend sport presenter, Seven News Sydney).
During the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Andrew Daddo and Johanna Griggs presented Olympic Sunrise from a leased apartment near Lavender Bay, New South Wales, in Sydney which provided the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House as waterside backdrops.
On 1 May 2000, the program was replaced by a new version of Sunrise produced by Adam Boland. It was hosted by Georgie Gardner and Melbourne sport reporter Mark Beretta. It was followed by music video program AMV.
According to Boland's Brekky Central, in late 2001 producers had created a plan to take on Today on the Nine Network, the leader at breakfast, taking inspiration from Fox America's Fox and Friends. Set to debut in March 2002, the multimillion-dollar production would have its own dedicated studio and fronted by Australian Radio personality Andrew Daddo and Lisa Forrest. However a month before its launch, the network's board axed the idea and believed money could be better spent.
In 2002, Seven revamped their breakfast television schedule with Seven Early News at 6:00 am, hosted by Chris Reason (which only lasted around one week), and a new version of Sunrise from 6:30 am to 9:00 am, hosted by Reason and Melissa Doyle. Sunrise ran from 6:00 am to 9:00 am from February the same year. David Koch was brought in to present the finance reports. In October of that year, Reason discovered he had another cancerous tumour behind his kidney and had to resign from his position. Four years earlier he had undergone treatment for another growth. Koch was appointed temporary presenter, a position later made permanent.
Sunrise was yet again revamped in December 2002 soon after Koch's appointment, focusing less on hard news and became more family friendly. The show, along with its rival Today on Nine, have become more tabloid focused which has boosted ratings.
In 2003, the show began to pick up ratings, and appointed Natalie Barr to present the news updates, followed by the appointment of former Network Ten journalist Grant Denyer to present weather reports, then the re-appointment of Mark Beretta, who was brought in to present sports updates. The new plan to take on Today, following the ratings rise, was some dramatic point of difference which included news updates every thirty minutes, big interviews, less formal presenting than a news bulletin, "the soapbox", ROS wall, natural chemistry but most importantly a shift in viewers interest. "Kochie" and "Mel", as they became informally known, replied less on scripts but more on talking points. They would debate the issues of the day and the viewers would heavily influence those topics. On 30 August 2004, Sunrise, Seven News Sydney and Seven Morning News moved from their studios in Epping to the new Seven News centre at Martin Place.
On 29 January 2007 Sunrise had a complete makeover with changes to the set and on-screen graphics. Due to continued viewer feedback, the Sunrise set changed again on 10 June 2007; specifically, the new set includes more of the city into its shots by the installation of smart glass. This glass, similar to that on the new Boeing 787 allows for the transparency of the glass to be adjusted, ranging from clear, to partially transparent to completely opaque, showing as a solid blue. These changes have proved useful in shielding viewers from the actions of some passers by, notably, cast members of the ABC show The Chaser's War on Everything. The set was also modified so The Morning Show's set could fit into the Martin Place current affairs studio. In October 2009, it was announced that at the start of 2010, Sunrise will receive a brand new set, format, graphics and logo on 25 January 2010.
In April 2010, Sunrise added a feature show that shows a selection of highlights from the previous day's (or in the case of Monday, Friday's) Sunrise; the show known as Sunrise Extra aired at 5am each weekday prior to Seven Early News.
In 2011, there was much speculation that Melissa Doyle would be leaving the show to present Today Tonight and that David Koch may be moved to a prime-time position. However, Doyle continued with the show for her tenth consecutive year in 2012, as did Koch.
On 29 February 2012, Sunrise celebrated its 10th anniversary with Doyle and Koch. Doyle is the only original presenter remaining from the March 2002 launch; at the time, Chris Reason was her co-host (he took leave in late 2002 to fight cancer, prompting the initial then-temporary appointment of Koch) and Koch was the finance analyst. Koch started presenting Sunrise on a permanent basis from 4 October 2002.
In May 2013, Sunrise broadcast once a week from the Seven Network's Melbourne studios (HSV-7) to attempt and capture a growing Melbourne audience. Sunrise has been trailing Today (and, since 2008, News Breakfast on the ABC) in the Melbourne market since 2008. The show was broadcast from the stations AFL Game Day set. This was discontinued later on after continually poor ratings.
On 20 June 2013 during the program, Doyle announced that she was leaving Sunrise after 14 years to front a new prime time Network News initiative. She stated, "It's with that experience and support from the team that I am able to take this next step. I'm honoured that the Network has given me this incredible new opportunity and I am unbelievably excited about the new challenges ahead." It was later announced that Samantha Armytage would be replacing Doyle as co-host alongside Koch.
In February 2016, Sunrise received a new set and graphics and was extended by 30 minutes to start at 5:30 am, matching the starting time of rival Today. This resulted in Seven Early News being moved to the 5:00 am timeslot and Sunrise Extra being cancelled. Edwina Bartholomew announced that she will be departing her role as weather presenter with Sam Mac announced as her replacement.
In June 2020, it was announced Natalie Barr would host the show two days a week, after Samantha Armytage requested a reduced workload. Barr presented with David Koch on Mondays, and with Armytage on Fridays. However, in September 2020, it was announced that Koch and Armytage would revert to a five-day working week with Natalie Barr resuming her news role.
On 8 March 2021, Armytage announced that she would be resigning as co-host, to spend more time with her family. Her final show was on 11 March 2021 On 14 March 2021, it was confirmed Natalie Barr would officially replace Armytage as co-host.Edwina Bartholomew replaced Barr as news presenter.
Prior to 2010, Sunrise occasionally aired two special Saturday editions. This included, since 2003:
A number of musical guests have appeared on Sunrise and performed live action the show, usually meeting fans afterwards. Like the rest of the studio, their stage area gives people on the street a chance to view the performances. Occasionally, musical guests perform "on the plaza" on a temporary stage erected in Martin Place. Musical performances normally take place at 7:50am and 8:50am, with most guests playing two songs.
In 2005 the Seven Network replaced its struggling Sunday morning program Sunday Sunrise with a program called Weekend Sunrise which originally was an hour long (8am - 9am) program with an identical format to Sunrise. Hosted by Chris Reason (then the presenter of Sunday Sunrise) and Lisa Wilkinson, the program was successful and various critiques at the time called for the program to be lengthened to two hours (7am - 9am) and be extended to Saturday mornings as well as Sunday.
In 2006, Weekend Sunrise was extended from an hour to a two-hour show, running every Sunday from 8:00 am till 10:00 am. When Sportsworld returned for the football season Weekend Sunrise settled into a 90-minute format from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. After Sportsworld's series concluded, the show returned to a two-hour format.
Andrew O'Keefe initially temporarily replaced host Chris Reason in 2006, but after improved ratings he was given the hosting position permanently. In 2007, Wilkinson moved to the Nine Network to host Today and was replaced by Samantha Armytage. In 2008, Weekend Sunrise moved their start time 30 minutes earlier to 7:30 am to match the new start time of Nine's Sunday program. The program continued to run through to 10:00 am, meaning that the program had a two-and-a-half-hour running time.
In 2009, the program's start time was moved even earlier. Originally, rival Nine Network announced that Today on Sunday (now Weekend Today), the replacement of the long-running Sunday, would run from 7:30 am to 9:00 am. But this was changed on 28 January 2009 to 7:00 am to 9:00 am. As result, Seven announced that Weekend Sunrise would also commence at 7:00 am and run to 10:00 am, meaning the program would go for three hours, the same as the weekday version of Sunrise.
On 13 February 2010, Seven announced that Weekend Sunrise would extend to Saturdays to compete against Weekend Today. The Saturday edition airs in the same time slot as Weekend Today (7:00 am to 10:00 am). Saturday Disney, which previously occupied the timeslot, aired its last two hours of their program on 7flix (the first hour, from 6:00 am – 7:00 am, preceded Weekend Sunrise on the Seven Network). The original Saturday team consisted of Samantha Armytage co-hosting with Larry Emdur with Sarah Cumming, Simon Reeve and James Tobin presenting news, sport and weather respectively.
In June 2013, Melissa Doyle announced that she would be leaving Sunrise for a national network role with Samantha Armytage replacing her. Monique Wright therefore initially replaced Armytage on Weekend Sunrise, but it was not until February 2014 that she was made a permanent co-host on the show.
In September 2019, Basil Zempilas announced his resignation as regular host of Weekend Sunrise, citing a desire to spend more time with his family, but will still appear on the show intermittently as a summer and fill-in presenter whenever required. In October 2019, it was announced that Matt Doran will replace Zempilas on the show from 12 October.
Like most other breakfast television shows, Sunrise blends a mixture of news every thirty minutes, interviews and light-hearted feature pieces into three hours each morning. Often they will go out and present the show from other locations, such as Hawaii, Las Vegas, Athens, Disneyland, Beijing and Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games, Beaconsfield in Tasmania and Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. A major feature of the show is that the viewer can send in their responses to stories via email, SMS, phone, Facebook and Twitter. Viewers can also bring up issues they want reviewed or investigated and it is recorded on the ROSwall (Responses of Sunrisers).
Local news updates, following the national news updates at 6am, 7am, and 8am were launched on 28 May 2007, offering viewers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, and Perth news specific to their city. Prior to this, local weather and capital city traffic updates had already been inserted into the program. These were removed in June 2008, following the commencement of Seven Early News, due to logistical reasons.
Since 2015, Perth viewers have received their own localised news update, presented by Matt Tinney from Seven's Perth studios and airing every half-hour, prior to the national news update. Amelia Broun is the main fill-in presenter, while Natalie Barr has even filled in on a few occasions. This news update provides viewers with the most up-to-date news for Western Australia, which is two hours behind the eastern seaboard (and three during daylight saving), and includes news items from local reporters.
Traffic reports are shown at four regular intervals during the show, presented from a helicopter or a traffic management centre. Traffic reports air in the metropolitan markets of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. They are produced and presented by traffic reporters from the Australian Traffic Network:
|Edwina Bartholomew||News & entertainment||2021-present|
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Current presenters who have been fill-in hosts or co-hosts of Sunrise in recent times include Edwina Bartholomew, Monique Wright, Matt Doran, Basil Zempilas, Michael Usher, Mike Amor, Mark Beretta, Larry Emdur and Chris Reason.
Fill-in presenters for other roles, in order from most likely to be used to least likely to be used:
Other presenters who have either filled in presenting Sunrise in the past include Andrew O'Keefe, Kellie Sloane, Matt White, Mike Munro, Nick McArdle, Ben Davis, Chris Reason, Bruce McAvaney, Jennifer Keyte, Sarah Cumming, Ann Sanders, Jessica Rowe, Emmy Kubainski, Rosanna Mangiarelli, Ryan Phelan, Sharyn Ghidella, Kendall Gilding, Peta Jane Madam, Jim Wilson and Ben Damon.
|7News/Sunrise correspondents and reporter/s||City/state|
|Samantha Brett (primary, Monday - Wednesday)
Amber Laidler (primary, Thursdays and Fridays)[a]
|Bianca Stone (primary)
Tamra Bow (Mondays - Wednesdays)
Brittany Lane (Thursdays and Fridays)[b]
|Matt Tinney||Perth (also local 7News presenter)|
|Shaun White||Consumer correspondent||2014-present|
|Mark Riley||Political editor||2004-present|
|Olivia Leeming||Political reporter||2017-present|
|Ashlee Mullany||US Bureau chief||2017-present|
|Sarah Greenhalgh||Europe correspondent||2019-present|
|Hugh Whitfeld||Europe Bureau chief||2014-present|
|Nelson Aspen||Showbiz editor||2003-present|
|Panelist #1||Kylie Gillies||Jessica Ridley||Felicity Harley||Chris Reason||Mark Beretta|
|Panelist #2||Mark Beretta||Deborah Clay||Mark Beretta||Gemma Acton||Sally Bowrey|
|Panelist #3||Edwina Bartholomew||Natalie Barr||Natalie Barr||Edwina Bartholomew||Samantha Brett|
|Melissa Doyle||Co-host||1997-99; 2002-13|
|Grant Denyer||Weather||2004-06, 2010-13|
Prior to the 2002 relaunch of the program there were various presenters and hosts. Hosts included, Georgie Gardner & Mark Beretta (2000-2001), Andrew Daddo & Joh Griggs (Olympic Sunrise), Melissa Doyle & Nick McArdle (1998-1999), Melissa Doyle & David Koch (1997), Chris Bath & David Koch (1996), Chris Bath & Peter Ford (1996) and Darren McDonald who hosted the original program in 1991.
Chris Reason was the original co-host with Melissa Doyle for the 2002 relaunch, while Monique Wright, David Brown and Fifi Box were previous weather presenters. Brown resigned from his role in July 2008, with no replacement until 2009, during which various presenters filled in, being Fifi Box. On 24 January 2010 it was announced that the original presenter Grant Denyer would return to the weather and Fifi Box would move to entertainment replacing Nuala Hafner. In March 2013, Denyer resigned as weather presenter for the second time to spend more time with his family.
In June 2013, Doyle announced that she was moving to a network prime-time role with the Seven Network and would be leaving Sunrise after 14 years. Samantha Armytage was to be her immediate replacement. This came not long after Denyer resigned as weather presenter, with his replacement being former Sydney correspondent Edwina Bartholomew. Doyle's final regular appearance as host on Sunrise aired on 9 August 2013.
In June 2020, Bartholomew would become news anchor on Mondays and Fridays, replacing Natalie Barr who co-hosts on those days respectively. However this would be short lived, with Barr returning to full time duties as news anchor in September 2020.
In March 2021, Samantha Armytage announced that she would be resigning as co-host, to spend more time with her family. Her final show was on 11 March 2021. Natalie Barr was announced as her replacement, with Edwina Bartholomew stepping into Barr's position of News Presenter.
In 2003, an interview aired live with Sue Butler from the Macquarie Dictionary on the topic of swearing and what was acceptable, during which Butler used the term "fuckwit" as an example of what was not acceptable. Doyle and Koch immediately ended the interview and apologised afterwards, though many complaints were still received.
In 2006, David Koch read the joke of the day, which involved then Prime Minister John Howard, his wife Janette, Kim Beazley, and "a message written in urine in the snow". Koch anticipated thousands of complaints even before he made the joke. There was an "extreme backlash" from the public, resulting in Channel Seven owner Kerry Stokes forcing Koch to write a letter of apology to Howard. Howard has not forgiven Koch for the joke and as of 2014 still refuses to appear on Sunrise.
Also in 2006, a number of people including Sunrise presenters David Koch and Melissa Doyle, news presenter Natalie Barr, executive producer Adam Boland and Melbourne news presenter Jennifer Keyte and former Today Tonight host Naomi Robson faced court convictions over a story run in 2004 relating to a 14-year-old boy who "divorced" his mother. Under the Victorian Children and Young Persons Act, publishing the identity of a child involved in Children's Court proceedings is prohibited. While the Sunrise cast and crew were cleared of any wrongdoing, the Seven Network itself was ultimately held responsible.
Later in 2006, upon the rescue of trapped miners Brant Webb and Todd Russell in the aftermath of the Beaconsfield mine collapse, David Koch was invited into an ambulance. This led to rival the Nine Network and Today calling him an "ambulance chaser".
In April 2007, reports surfaced that the show was lobbying Vietnamese authorities to hold an ANZAC Day dawn service early so it could be broadcast live on television in Australia. Koch denied on-air that any such lobbying had occurred. His claim was proven false upon the release of email communications from the office of then opposition leader Kevin Rudd. After considerable political fallout over the alleged request, opposition leader Kevin Rudd and Liberal minister Joe Hockey decided to end their regular weekly appearances on the program.
In a March 2008 episode Koch and Doyle were ambushed by a group of protesters chanting and carrying placards that claimed "Channel 7 doesn't pay", a reference to controversy surrounding the reported non-payment of winnings to National Bingo Night audience members and home viewers. The group, posing as fans of guest Keith Urban, were moved away by security. Koch later blamed the incident on the Nine Network's A Current Affair, a theory that was lent credence when the same protesters appeared on that night's episode of the program. Both Koch and co-host Melissa Doyle promised to look into their allegations but later simply read a statement from the network.
In April 2010, a scheduled concert for Canadian teen singer Justin Bieber, at Circular Quay, Sydney, was cancelled at 5:00 am by order of police after the crowd of more than 5,000 people (mainly teenage girls) had begun a crowd crush and were ignoring the orders of the crowd controllers. Eight people were taken to hospital for their injuries and others suffered from hyperventilation. The concert was then moved to the Sunrise studios at Martin Place. Sunrise had been promoting the concert for two weeks beforehand, creating a significant amount of excitement and anticipation. It was also alleged that Bieber swore at a floor manager but was reassured by Bieber's regular sound technician that "he tells us that all the time". Bieber, however, has denied this, publicly denouncing the claims as "lies and rumors" spread by "adults".
In March 2015, Armytage was accused of racism in an on-air interview on the programme, after congratulating a woman for looking whiter than her twin. After an online petition was signed by over 2,000 people calling for her to apologise, she did so.
In February 2016, actress Kristen Davis appeared on the show to discuss her work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in which she also reluctantly took part in a Sex and The City themed skit which was received poorly by viewers. On Twitter Davis expressed her annoyance that Sunrise focused on her role in Sex and The City instead of her work with the UNHCR, and the incident led to Armytage, who was meant to MC and conduct an interview with Davis at a UNHCR event in Sydney, being disinvited to the event.
On 13 March 2018, Armytage hosted a segment on Sunrise focusing on Aboriginal adoption, during which she incorrectly stated that Aboriginal children could not be fostered by white people and stated that "Post-Stolen Generation, there's been a huge move to leave Aboriginal children where they are, even if they're being neglected in their own families"; in addition, guest Prue MacSween said that most of the Stolen Generation were taken for their own well-being and suggested "we need to do it again, perhaps". The segment was widely criticised for these remarks, as well as for only including white people on the discussion panel and for not seeking any input from any Aboriginal people or experts on the subject.
Consequently, protests were held outside the Sunrise studio in Martin Place in response to the segment on 15 March, which lead to further outrage when the programme chose to obscure the protest from viewers watching the live broadcast, citing a possible breach in broadcast standards. In response to the controversy, the following week Koch presented a discussion on the issue with a panel of Indigenous experts. Despite this, protests continued during the show's live broadcasts at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April, while in May rock band Portugal. The Man pulled out of an appearance on the show citing the recent statements aired on Sunrise. The segment later came under the investigation of the Australian Communications and Media Authority for potential breach of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice; in September 2018 the ACMA concluded that the segment was in breach of the code, as it contained inaccurate statements and "strong negative generalisations about Indigenous people as a group".
The segment also used file footage of members of the Yirrkala community, who sued Seven for defamation, breach of privacy and confidence, racial discrimination and breach of Australian consumer law in April 2019. The footage was originally filmed for a health promotion in Yirrkala, but was reused with only slight blurring for the segment. In December 2019 Seven settled the matter out of court, and offered an unreserved apology to the community which was also broadcast on the program the following month. In June 2020, Armytage and MacSween were sued for racial vilification over the segment.
Seven aired a general apology for airing the segment on the program on 4 January 2021. A number of commentators criticized the apology, with some questioning its sincerity while others noted the length of time between the airing of the original segment and the apology, as well as the fact that Seven aired it early in the morning (at 6:45am) and during the summer non-ratings period when less viewers would be watching the programme than usual.
Occasionally, in the event of major breaking news, Sunrise may run overtime to cover the story, resulting in The Morning Show either airing later or not airing at all.
During 2008's World Youth Day in Sydney, Sunrise was extended on Thursday, 17 July and Monday, 21 July to cover the Pope's morning Masses and the departure of the Pope respectively. Both of those editions ended at 9:30 am with The Morning Show picking up the rest of the coverage.
On 22 January 2013, Sunrise commenced at 3:00 am and concluded at 10:00 am to cover the inauguration of Barack Obama. Normal early morning programming did not air. On 29 January, Sunrise was extended to 11:00 am to cover flooding in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Following the birth of Prince George of Cambridge, Melissa Doyle fronted an extended edition of the program for two days, live from outside Buckingham Palace. David Koch and Samantha Armytage also appeared in a reduced role back in the studio. The extended version began at 5:00 am, replacing Sunrise Extra and the Early News, with Doyle also contributing reports to The Morning Show which began at its regular time of 9:00 am.
On 9 August 2013 a special Sunrise edition of This Is Your Life aired throughout the program to farewell the outgoing Sunrise host Melissa Doyle. Throughout the program special guests including Dannii Minogue, Joe Hockey and then Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd made a video message to farewell Mel. Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner and Kerry Stokes appeared paying tribute. Throughout the show the hashtag #farewellmel trended on Twitter.
On 28 March 2017, Sunrise was extended to 1.00pm to cover Cyclone Debbie.
On Good Friday, 2009, Sunrise suffered its first one-day ratings defeat nationally against Today since 2004. In 2011, Sunrise suffered its first weekly ratings defeat against Today since the same year. In 2016, after twelve straight years of ratings dominance, Sunrise dropped to second place behind Today, but reclaimed the lead in the breakfast battle the following year.
Because Australia has more than one time zone, Sunrise is not broadcast live to all of Australia, it is instead broadcast delayed. Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Tasmania, and Victoria have Sunrise broadcast live all year round, and Queensland has Sunrise broadcast live in wintertime, but during Daylight Saving Time in Sydney has the program delayed by one hour. The Northern Territory has Sunrise delayed 30 minutes during winter and 90 minutes during Daylight Savings in Sydney. South Australia has it delayed by 30 minutes all year around and Western Australia has it delayed by two hours in wintertime and by three hours during Daylight Savings in Sydney.
Occasionally, broadcasts of Sunrise are altered during special circumstances. On the morning of 20 March 2006, when Sunrise was normally on a one-hour delay in Queensland, the program was broadcast live in order to provide immediate and up-to-date information on Tropical Cyclone Larry to local residents. The show continued to be broadcast until 10am Sydney time only in to Queensland to continue these updates and prevent scheduling problems.
On most public holidays, Sunrise is extended to 10 am, thus adding an additional hour to its telecast, and has at times had a studio audience for these special events.
Sunrise used Duran Duran's "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise" as its theme song up until 2010 when MGMT's "Electric Feel" replaced it. In October 2011, "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise" was reinstated as the theme song again.