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EXCLUSIVE: Natalie Barr speaks out on Kochie’s shock departure from Sunrise

The host spills on the tough process of finding her new Sunrise co-star.
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When David Koch first broke the news to Natalie Barr that he’d be stepping away from Sunrise after 21 years, the usually stoic co-host broke down.

“He pulled me into an office and I cried,” she tells Woman’s Day.

“He was like, ‘Don’t do that,’ but I said, ‘I can’t speak to you about this right now because I’m too upset. This is all your fault. I’ll talk to you in a couple of weeks,'” she adds.

Kochie announced his departure from Sunrise on May 29.

(Image: Getty)

“I was really sad that such a good working relationship was coming to an end.”

So when it came to finding his replacement, Nat, 55, wanted to ensure they found a worthy successor.

“It was a very long process,” she says of the auditions that were held after Kochie, 67, announced his impending departure at the end of last year, confirming she had an integral role in finding the new name, who at the time of writing, was set to be Matt Shirvington.

“Everyone is really happy with the choice,” Nat spills. “As sad as it will be [to see Koch leave], I’m excited for the next chapter.”

Matt Shirvington is the favourite to take the top spot.

(Image: Instagram)


When asked if she feels any nerves around the new appointment making a negative impact on viewership – Karl Stefanovic and Sarah Abo’s Today show has been slowly bridging the gap in the ratings – Nat says she does feel “a certain amount of pressure”.

“We look at the ratings every morning when they come in at nine o’clock,” she admits.

“I’m not one of those people who says, ‘Oh, someone else can look at the ratings, I don’t care’. I do care and I want to win, I’ve always wanted to win and I’ll keep working as hard as I can to win.”

Stefanovic and Barr are head to head in the ratings battle.

(Image: Instagram)


Despite only co-anchoring Sunrise together for two years, Nat and Kochie have been with Sunrise for more than two decades, when the pair worked in a transportable office parked out the back of Seven studios with next to no budget and told by reluctant bosses to “see what happens”.

Little did they know then that its dedicated team would help drive it to be the biggest breakfast TV show in the country and they’d have a whole lot of fun getting it there.

“We’ve always worked really hard to make it the best show we can and have fun doing it. Koch and I have travelled around the world together, slept in plane seats side by side, we’ve shared each other’s lives and our families know each other. That is so rare,” she says.

“Sometimes we’ll be laughing about something that has just cracked us up in the ad break and we’ll be rolling around on the couch, literally. It’ll just be like we’re at a backyard barbecue, taking the mickey out of each other and laughing our heads off,” says Nat, who reveals it’ll be those laughs that she misses the most.

The duo have been at Sunrise for over two decades.

(Image: Getty)

She adds that while the magic of Kochie might be hard to replicate, he’s laid down the foundations for the future of the show.

“He’s created something in breakfast television that wasn’t there before. He’s always been himself, he’s got to the heart and the soul and cut through the skin of every story and every interview he’s done. And he’s taught all of us that that’s how we should be doing things,” she says.

“So I think the heart and soul of Sunrise will still be there, it’ll just be with a different person.”

And if things turn pear-shaped, she knows Kochie will be the first to tell her.

“Oh he’ll be watching and he’ll no doubt be sending me text messages in the ad breaks, giving me tips,” she laughs.

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