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EXCLUSIVE: Natalie Barr takes over the Sunrise hot seat from Samantha Armytage

The brekkie show looks to the future as Natalie Barr steps up to the plate.

By Woman's Day team
As the dust begins to settle at Seven following Samantha Armytage's shock departure from Sunrise last week, Woman's Day hears the network's offices are a much calmer place – with a source revealing the team she's left behind are ecstatic that long-revered newsreader Natalie Barr will replace her.
"The obvious next person for the job has finally been rewarded," says the source.
"Nat is the real rock in the Sunrise line-up and always has been, and there's not one person at Seven headquarters who isn't happy for her. She's very loved and respected. Ask anyone in the building how they feel for the future and the answer is a resounding 'very bright'. Everyone's excited."
While the entire network is said to be overjoyed, one star is surprisingly more thrilled than others – David Koch.
"Kochie is excited to inject some fresh energy into the show," says the insider.
"Everyone thinks he'll lift his game now, too. He will exhale and enjoy coming to work. Things were getting quite tense with such a big change and even Kochie might have been close to calling it, but he now has a new spring in his step."
"He and Nat have always been very close, so he's looking forward to closing out his career the same way it began – with a bang!"
"Nat is the real rock in the Sunrise line-up and always has been, and there's not one person at Seven headquarters who isn't happy for her." (Image: Channel Seven)
The spy adds that the team joining Nat, 52, and Kochie, 65, will stay the same, with Edwina Bartholomew, Mark Beretta and Sam Mac expected to remain in their roles.
While the rejuvenated team move forward without Sam, 44, who waved goodbye to Sunrise after nearly 10 years at the desk, more details on her departure are coming to light, with our insider revealing that her decision to leave may have not been so sudden.
"This was no shock exit as many have been led to believe. This has been well thought out and has been discussed at length for some time" says the spy.
The Sunrise team - without Sam - are ready to move forward. (Image: Channel Seven)
"Sam has been able to depart on a high and even had her contract paid out, which was rumoured to be around $700,000."
"When executives announced that Sam will return for other 'projects' at the network later in the year, the source says Seven employees were left "a little perplexed."
"That was like dropping a hand grenade in the building – if there's a special project agenda for the network, there's plenty of staffers who will want to be involved," says the insider.
"That announcement could have just been a peace offering to make everything on the exit go smoothly."
Sam will continue to host her podcast Something To Talk About and write her weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph's Stellar Magazine.
David Koch is said to be thrilled over Natalie's appointment. (Image: Channel Seven)

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