‘There’s a lot of rooting around in Canberra’

SUNRISE star Samantha Armytage has lifted the lid on the seamier side of the nation’s capital in the wake of Barnaby Joyce and the “bonk ban”, declaring “there’s a lot of rooting around in Canberra”.

The TV host and former Sky News Canberra correspondent sat down with Miranda Live special guest host Jonathon Moran on the online radio show today to discuss the embattled Nationals Leader and her own experience with political reporting.

“When Canberra is on it can be very boring, but when it’s ON — it’s the place to be,” she told Moran.


“It’s an incredible place to be a journalist: No one is from there, there’s a lot of bad behaviour, as we’re seeing now.

“It’s a naughty spot, there’s a lot of rooting around.”

Armytage, who co-hosts Channel 7’s Sunrise morning program with David Koch, cut her teeth as a reporter with WIN in Canberra before joining Sky News Australia in 2002 as chief political reporter.

She has backed the comments from many Canberra insiders who claimed the Barnaby Joyce affair drama was common knowledge before the Daily Telegraph publicly broke the story.

“There’s a lot of rooting around — in the press gallery and by politicians, and perhaps it’s an end of an era now,” Armytage told Moran.

Mr Joyce is now facing a party room revolt, with just a third of the Nationals still backing him to remain in the leadership position.

Newspoll: Barnaby Joyce should quit as voters punish government

The married Nationals Leader’s grip on the leadership began to slide after explosive revelations of an office affair with his former media adviser Vikki Campion — who is now expecting his child — and a falling out with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the scandal.

When pressed on if Mr Joyce should step down, Armytage told Miranda Live she was initially hesitant to attack him.

“Does it matter (the affair)? Because they’re all screwing everybody down there,” she said.

“If you took everybody — man, men mainly — down there who is doing that, you wouldn’t have anyone left.

“I’ve seen so many young female staffers drawn to that power — Barnaby Joyce, let’s face it, is not a great looking man — but that power, there’s something that attracts young girls.”

Tune in from 4pm, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for Miranda Live.

If you have a question for any of our guests, drop us a line or follow the conversation on Twitter via the #Mirandalive hashtag.


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Grant Denyer’s ‘X-rated’ Sunrise stuff-up

GRANT Denyer has spoken out about the time he was sent home after presenting a controversial weather segment on Sunrise.

Denyer, 40, was on his Today FM radio show Em, Grant and Ed, discussing a morning show segment set in a pole dancing studio when he revealed that he was once booted off air after presenting a similar weather segment on Sunrise.

“I was doing a weather cross from a pole dancing studio, for fitness … I got kicked off halfway through the show on air. The hosts of the show I was working at didn’t really like the subject of the material.”

Attempting to be discrete about exactly which show and TV hosts he was referring to, Denyer didn’t name names until Em Rusciano addressed the elephant in the room when she named them herself: “Mel Doyle and David Koch”.

According to Denyer, all it took was a simple phone call to have him sent home halfway through the show.

“I got a phone call saying, ‘Mate that last cross was a little too X-rated’ … they said no more, thanks, go home … Three crosses in and I had six to do, they cut me.”

“I was focusing on fitness, good athletes hard at it, showing body tone and core strength. And for that I got full disciplinary action.”

Denyer was weather presenter on Sunrise from 2010 til 2013 when he resigned to “spend more time with his family.” In 2014, he joined Channel Ten as host of Family Feud before becoming co-host of Em, Grant and Ed in 2017.

Why Armytage was forced to change outfits

SAMANTHA Armytage was forced to confess an embarrassing mishap on live TV this morning after she swapped her white top for a red one before she was grilled by her co-host David “Kochie” Koch.

The finance guru, 61, put the 41-year-old on the spot on Sunrise saying, “I know I’m old but I thought you were wearing a white blouse.”

Armytage snapped with “Kochie is the worst.”

“Can’t you just pretend? So I had to change outfits because I spilt coffee all down the first one,” she responded before he quipped, “Again?”

“I have a drinking problem,” Armytage added.

“It gets caught under the lid and then it spills all down the front and I’m just not old enough to wear white. So, as soon as I wear white, I spill coffee.

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“So thanks for that Kochie for keeping that a secret.”

News reader Natalie Barr told viewers it wasn’t the first time Armytage had this sort of accident.

“I do have to say that is twice in a week,” she said.

Armytage marked her four year anniversary of co-hosting Sunrise last August during the same month she had an uncomfortable spat with comedian Kathy Griffin on air.

The Sunrise host brought up Griffin’s widely-criticised photoshoot with a bloodied severed head resembling Donald Trump, and asked if she’d gone too far.

Griffin fired back angrily: “You’re full of crap. Stop this. You know this. Stop acting like my little picture is more important than talking about the actual atrocities that the President of the United States is committing.”

On Mark Latham’s Outsiders a month after the blow up, Armytage explained that she’d felt a responsibility to their audience to “call [Griffin] on it” because no one else had done so during her promotional interviews.

“As a journo, I sensed that she was happy to give it but not take it. Personally, I think the beheading joke wasn’t very funny,” she told the panel.

“Comedians are an interesting mob to interview — they’re very rarely like they are on TV or on the stage.”

Tradie’s shock Today confession

WELL, this was definitely not the answer she was expecting.

Today weather reporter Natalia Cooper was lost for words when a tradie made a shock confession on live TV.

Cooper was in the middle of a live-to-air cross in Sydney’s Parramatta, giving commuters $50 notes to “top up” their Opal cards.

The Nine presenter offered a tradie the cash, then innocently asked him how his Australia Day weekend was.

His completely inappropriate response left her stunned. It all started when Cooper asked: “Sir, would you like $50 to top up your Opal card?”

He accepted the money. Cooper then inquired about his long weekend, to which he replied it was “very good”.

“What did you get up to?,” Cooper asked. His response? “Punched a few cones”.

Yep, “cone” is a slang term for marijuana.

“Oh wow OK, we’ll just leave you there, all right,” a shocked Cooper said as she moved on.

Cooper later tweeted that she “Didn’t know what to say!” during the cross. Nine viewers were also baffled by the tradie’s admission, expressing their disbelief on Twitter.

Last year, Cooper, 33, replaced long-time Today weather presenter Steve Jacobs on Nine’s breakfast TV show. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, she said the plum job was worth the early call time.

“The earliest the alarm goes off is 2am but the job’s worth getting up for,” Cooper said.

But it has been a rocky start to the year for Today since the departure of former co-host Lisa Wilkinson.

Today host Karl Stefanovic and entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins were criticised last week for sporting seriously eyebrow-raising hair.

Host Stefanovic’s ’do looked like a botched dye job and almost wig-like, perhaps inspired by Will Ferrell’s TV anchor spoof Ron Burgundy.

The new look Today also failed to beat rivals Sunrise, which won the national battle with 480,000 viewers compared to Today’s audience of 378,000 on the first day of the 2018 ratings period.

Stefanovic’s first week back on air for 2018 didn’t get much better when the baby of a Married At First Sight couple cried hysterically as he held her during last Monday’s broadcast.

Karl ended the hilarious segment by looking down the barrel of the camera and saying, “If you want me to look after your kids, you can contact me on …”

What’s wrong with Karl, Dickie’s hair?

TALK about a bad hair day.

Karl Stefanovic and Richard Wilkins seem to be taking hair inspo from Anchorman, sporting seriously eyebrow-raising hair on Today this week.

Host Stefanovic’s ‘do looked like a botched dye job and almost wig-like, while Wilkins’ appearance also seemed out of the ordinary, perhaps inspired by Will Ferrell’s TV anchor spoof Ron Burgundy.

Veteran entertainment reporter Wilkins appears to have shed his blonde locks for an auburn shade laced with too much hairspray, while Stefanovic — who is loved up with much younger girlfriend Jasmine Yarbrough — appears to be trying to turn back the clock with a darker tone, which came across as harsh on camera.

All eyes have been on Today this week with the debut of the new breakfast combo of Stefanovic and Georgie Gardner, who replaced Lisa Wilkinson.

So-far the new look Today has failed to beat rivals Sunrise, which won the national battle 480,000 viewers yesterday to Today’s audience of 378,000.

Stefanovic’s first week back on air for 2018 didn’t get much better when the baby of a Married at First Sight couple cried hysterically as he held her during Monday’s broadcast.

Karl ended the hilarious segment by looking down the barrel of the camera and saying, “if you want me to look after your kids, you can contact me on …”

‘Why I call Karl all the time’

KARL Stefanovic has his own unique interviewing style — he loves to catch out his interview subjects. He also loves to have a laugh on air and can admit to where he went wrong.

Now his brother Peter is taking the reins at Weekend Today while Karl continues his Monday to Friday gig alongside Georgie Gardner this year.

Despite having loads of experience in his own right from being a former US correspondent for Nine and a 60 Minutes reporter, Peter told Nine.com.au that he still calls his brother for advice.

“He’s a great mentor for me, Karl, he tells me things to work on or things I can do better or things that might not be working or how to move to different levels. He’s a good brother and a good man …” he said.

“I’m always calling him for advice on how to do things better.

“It’s a great network and a great show that we work for and there are opportunities to improve yourself as a broadcaster and he’s as good as anybody in the country so why wouldn’t I pick his brain … after all, I’ve got a little bit of an ‘in’ there!”

His wife Sylvia Jeffreys will continue to be a newsreader for the Today Show while he joins the weekend crew.

When asked about when he and Jeffreys were planning to start a family, he said: “We have never been in any rush for that — work is taking up most of our time at the moment, has done for a few years. It’s something I definitely look forward to some time down the track but I don’t think it’s going to be any time soon.”

Peter will host Weekend Today with his former 60 Minutes colleague Allison Langdon, who will be presenting the show every Saturday and Sunday from January 20, with Jayne Azzopardi continuing as newsreader.

They will take over hosting duties from Tom Steinfort and Deborah Knight.

Steinfort has taken a new role at 60 Minutes while Knight will do the 6pm news bulletin in Sydney on Friday and Saturday nights. She will also fill in for Nine News Sydney newsreader Peter Overton.

Viewers are eagerly awaiting the return of Karl Stefanovic on Today with Gardner on January 22.

Gardner is returning after the shock departure of Nine stalwart Lisa Wilkinson last year after a bitter pay dispute, where she demanded to be paid what Karl was getting.

The Stefanovic family has also come under the spotlight in the last year after he split with his ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn after 21 years of marriage.

He has since moved on and is still in a relationship with girlfriend Jasmine Yarbrough.

In an interview with Woman’s Day magazine last year, Thorburn, 46, said she has grieved the end of her relationship and that he is now “dead” to her.

“I realised I was going through stages of grief, and to me it was like someone had died,” she told the magazine.

“The children still have a father but I don’t have a husband. He really is dead to me and no, we won’t ever be friends again.”

Nine announces new Weekend Today hosts

THE two new faces of Weekend Today have been revealed following the departure of former co-hosts Tom Steinfort and Deb Knight.

In a statement, Nine announced that 60 Minutes reporters Allison Langdon and Peter Stefanovic will be presenting the show every Saturday and Sunday from January 20, with Jayne Azzopardi continuing as newsreader.

Meanwhile, Steinfort — who had been co-hosting the show since early 2017, has moved to a full-time reporting role on 60 Minutes.

Last month, Nine revealed that Knight will be vacating the host’s chair after six years.

She’ll now be delivering the 6pm news bulletin in Sydney on Friday and Saturday nights, and also acting as a fill-in for regular weekday host Peter Overton.

The announcement is just the latest shake-up for the Today series, which saw the sensational exit of Lisa Wilkinson late last year.

After weeks of speculation, it was confirmed former Today newsreader Georgie Gardner would be returning to co-host alongside Karl Stefanovic in 2018.

Appearing on the show last November, Gardner described the gig as “an enormous privilege” and said she would not go easy on Stefanovic with whom she’s had a slightly rocky relationship with in the past.

“You’re all right, Karl,” Gardner said.

“I’m assuming with you we pick up where we left off. That is me running amok and you keeping me in line,” she said.

“Jokes aside, you know how much respect I’ve had for you. There’s been a bit of conjecture over the last few weeks how we feel about each other, loathe each other,” she joked.

“You know, we have had our bumps, we’ve had our laughs.”

Gardner will officially start her new role later this month.