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Sunrise: Sam Armytage on plan for Basil Zempilas to replace David Koch

Sam Armytage breaks her silence on Channel Seven’s ‘succession plan’ for David Koch – after Basil Zempilas said he could have been his replacement

Sunrise host Sam Armytage has addressed speculation her co-anchor David ‘Kochie’ Koch was almost replaced by Basil Zempilas a few years ago.

The journalist, 44, confirmed on The Kyle and Jackie O Show there had been a tentative ‘succession plan’ in place, but it never materialised.

‘There were rumours that Basil was going to take over Kochie’s spot, is that true?’ radio host Kyle Sandilands asked.

Next in line? Sunrise host Sam Armytage (right) has addressed speculation her co-anchor David 'Kochie' Koch was almost replaced by Basil Zempilas (left) a few years ago

Next in line? Sunrise host Sam Armytage (right) has addressed speculation her co-anchor David ‘Kochie’ Koch was almost replaced by Basil Zempilas (left) a few years ago

‘Well, no,’ Sam replied. ‘I think years ago they brought Basil in to see what a succession plan might look like.’

She added: ‘But then he went back to Perth and now he’s the Mayor of Perth!’ 

Last week, Basil revealed he was quietly convinced for a time that he was next in line to take over from Kochie as Sunrise co-anchor.

Close, but no cigar: Sam (left, with David Koch) confirmed on The Kyle and Jackie O Show there had been a tentative 'succession plan' in place, but it never materialised

Close, but no cigar: Sam (left, with David Koch) confirmed on The Kyle and Jackie O Show there had been a tentative ‘succession plan’ in place, but it never materialised

But his hopes were dashed when Channel Seven bosses made it clear they were sticking with Kochie, who signed a new two-year deal in July.

Basil, 49, who quit Weekend Sunrise in 2019 for family reasons, assumed the network had big plans for him because of the travel required for his job.

For two years, he commuted from Perth to Sydney every weekend to host the show. 

Successor: Last week, former Weekend Sunrise host Basil Zempilas (right, with Monique Wright) revealed he was quietly convinced for a time that he was next in line to take over from Kochie as Sunrise co-anchor

Successor: Last week, former Weekend Sunrise host Basil Zempilas (right, with Monique Wright) revealed he was quietly convinced for a time that he was next in line to take over from Kochie as Sunrise co-anchor

‘Look, I suppose if you’re living in Perth and they ring you up out of the blue and say, “Can you fly to Sydney every weekend and host Weekend Sunrise and we’ll see how it goes” … I guess there was a sense of expectation that if they didn’t have a role for me, they wouldn’t be flying a bloke from Perth every weekend,’ he said on Triple M.

But it seems no plans were forthcoming, as Kochie signed a two-year contract extension in 2018, which was renewed in July 2020.

Basil said he ‘wasn’t annoyed’ at Kochie, but he did think Seven had dangled a carrot when there was no job opportunity available. 

Not going anywhere: Sadly, Basil's hopes were dashed when network bosses made it clear they were sticking with Kochie (pictured), who signed a new two-year deal in July

Not going anywhere: Sadly, Basil’s hopes were dashed when network bosses made it clear they were sticking with Kochie (pictured), who signed a new two-year deal in July

‘Did I think maybe there was an opportunity there and maybe was that the direction I was heading? Yeah, I probably did,’ he said.

Fortunately, Basil has other duties keeping him busy: he hosts 92.9 Triple M’s breakfast show in addition to being the Lord Mayor of Perth. 

While Kochie did renew his deal with Seven six months ago, it’s believed he didn’t get a pay rise because of the Covid-19 recession.

He’s said to be earning $800,000 a year to host breakfast show Sunrise. 

No hard feelings? Basil said he 'wasn’t annoyed' at Kochie, but he did think Seven had dangled a carrot when there was no job opportunity available

No hard feelings? Basil said he ‘wasn’t annoyed’ at Kochie, but he did think Seven had dangled a carrot when there was no job opportunity available

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