Samantha’s the new ‘sexy’ Mel
SAMANTHA Armytage is supposed to be Mel Doyle's "sexy" replacement on Sunrise, if you believe media reports quoting "inside sources".
But just who is she?
The 35-year-old beauty is a familiar face, particularly to Sydneysiders, but unless you watch Weekend Sunrise religiously you probably don't know her.
She grew up in the Snowy Mountains on her family's Bolaro Station property, believed to be where Banjo Patterson wrote The Man from Snowy River.
After attending Rose Bay's prestigious Kincoppal Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart, she studied broadcast journalism at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst.
She got her start in TV in WIN's Canberra bureau, just like Doyle, and was Sky New Australia's chief political reporter before being snapped up by Seven.
In 2007 she made the transition from Seven News Sydney to Weekend Sunrise opposite Andrew O'Keefe, replacing her now morning-TV rival Lisa Wilkinson.
"Kochie's a lot more polite than Andrew most of the time, but I'll miss Andrew," Armytage said.
"I love Andrew like a brother, but it will probably be a little less hectic (with Kochie).
"Andrew is different to Larry (Emdur) who's different to Kochie. They're all mates of mine and ultimately they're all good men."
Armytage officially takes over the Sunrise chair in August, but has already been filling in for Doyle while she has been on a family holiday in America and stays overseas to report on the birth of the royal baby.
Speaking to me in Brisbane during a recent Sunrise broadcast from Kangaroo Point, Armytage said she was glad to be stepping into the role at this point in her career.
"In hindsight I'm glad I did it all. I was filling in on Today Tonight, I was reading news and of course I was a journo to begin with," she said.
"The bosses would say 'what are we going to do with you? Which department are you going to end up with?'.
"I'm glad I'm a little bit older coming to it (Sunrise) now. If I'd gone into it at 30 as a host, not that it was an option, it would have been a little bit odd."
Armytage is happy to get her weekends back, but admits she's not a morning person.
"I'm not traditionally a morning person, but I love doing morning news. It's the best news of the day, the freshest news of the day," she said.
"My alarm is going to go off at 3.40am every day. It's something that's par for the course.
"I'd be lying if I said it was going to be easy or I was looking forward to that aspect of it.
"Getting up at that hour is about acceptance. Once you start accepting that you have to get out of bed and get straight in the shower and that is your life and you don't fight it, then it's actually okay."
As one of the two women at the centre of "the biggest change in Sunrise history", Armytage says all of the attention, and scrutiny, has been overwhelming at times.
"There was a point last week where I was like 'wow, okay, this is bigger than I thought it was going to be', but the love from our viewers has been really lovely and really flattering," she said.
"It's the biggest change in Sunrise history and I don't forget that. That's never far from my mind."
When I asked her about something viewers wouldn't know about her, Armytage's answer was, well, surprising.
"I have a childhood fear of mascots," she said. "I know there's a person inside it, but unless I can see their eyes I freak out.
"I almost have a panic attack, but I'm starting to work on it."
What she doesn't seem to be afraid of is Ten's new breakfast show, being helmed behind the scenes by former Sunrise producer Adam Boland.
"It's nice to have competition. There's no point in doing it unless you have competition," she said.
"We keep half an eye on what they're doing over there but we do our own thing."