The longtime Sunrise executive producer, 38, 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.
Channel Seven is putting a succession plan in place as longtime Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell prepares to leave Australia. Pictured centre with Samantha Armytage and David ‘Kochie’ Koch .One person would likely oversee both of Seven’s breakfast TV shows, Sunrise and The Morning Show. The other role would focus on the day-to-day running of Sunrise, the jewel in Seven’s crown.
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.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.
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.”
‘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.’