It’s big news indeed – after 14 years on the Sunrise set and a majority of them next to David “Kochie” Koch, Melissa Doyle announced on-air this morning she’d be leaving Sunrise… soon. There’s some life left in her yet and much to be done, but the big sizzle is what her next project will be (it also leaves lots of time to prep the obligatory “Mel’s time on Sunrise” package sure to draw a tear).

My sources tell me it’ll be a revamped 6pm one hour News Bulletin in Sydney with Matt White, which begs the question of what will happen to Chris Bath and Helen Kapalos. I’m sure there are plans. Also who will replace Sam Armytage on Weekend Sunrise? Certainly more news to come from the home of the Big Red Train.

Much loved from her time on Sunrise and other Seven projects Doyle is sure to succeed with whatever opportunity she’s presented by the network. From the press release:

June 20, 2013; Channel Seven today announced that Sunrise co-host Melissa Doyle will depart the program to front a new, prime time Network News initiative.

“I’ve cherished every moment and every experience on Sunrise,” said Mel. “It’s with that experience and support from the team that I am able to take this next step. I’m honoured that the Network has given me this incredible new opportunity and I am unbelievably excited about the new challenges ahead.”

Melissa will remain with Sunrise for several weeks. From Monday she will take a 2 week planned break before heading to London to cover the Royal birth for the Network after which Mel will return to Brekky Central until the launch of the new program.

Melissa has been the co-host of Sunrise for 14 years – nearly 12 of those alongside David Koch – and has reported on the biggest news stories at home and abroad

This year Mel has travelled overseas on special assignments including Washington, to cover the inauguration of President Obama and to Rome, to cover the election of the new Pope. Additionally Mel has led rolling News coverage of the Queensland floods and other events of national significance.

On-air partner Kochie said: “Mel is a very special person to me and it’s been a privilege to work with her and share so many experiences. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am for her.”

CEO Seven West Media, Tim Worner, said: “Melissa’s contribution in establishing Sunrise as Australia’s leading breakfast program has been outstanding. During her tenure on Sunrise, she has helped redefine breakfast television. Her professionalism, wonderful warm nature and sharp journalistic skills make her perfectly equipped for the next phase in her career here at Seven.”

Samantha Armytage, who has fronted Weekend Sunrise for six years, will be the new
co-host of Sunrise.

Details on Melissa’s new project for Channel Seven will be released soon.