All jokes about the wrong person being announced as quitting aside, it’s quite the surprise to hear Sarah Murdoch quitting as Australia’s Next Top Model host & executive producer after two very successful seasons in the role. Of course most people immediately thought this move was because Sarah had snagged the role of female host alongside Dr Andrew Rochford and Paul Henry on the new Ch10 Breakfast program starting in 2012.

Recently appointed executive producer of Breakfast, Majella Weimers, moved swiftly to end speculation. “The news today is a co-incidence,” said Ms Weimers. “Rumours Sarah Murdoch will host breakfast are just that. Rumours.”

Perhaps the Murdoch family are packing up and moving overseas to allow Lachlan to take on a larger role within News Limited. Foxtel remain tight-lipped as to who will replace Murdoch as host, with many already calling for co-host Charlotte Dawson to step up. While Dawson’s performance shows she’s more than capable it would likely stifle the strengths she brings to the show. Perhaps new blood is necessary in the anchor role? From the press release:

FOXTEL announced today that Sarah Murdoch has decided to step aside from her role as host and co-executive producer of the FOX8 series, Australia’s Next Top Model.

Brian Walsh, FOXTEL’s Executive Director of Television, said: “Sarah has made a remarkable contribution to Australia’s Next Top Model and was instrumental in propelling the programme to its most successful season ever, in 2011. We would like to thank Sarah for her passion, commitment and incredible support of the series. Naturally we are disappointed to lose her, but the show goes on.

“Australia’s Next Top Model is, and remains, FOXTEL’s most enduring and successful local production. With the next cycle we promise another exciting series on FOX8 with more world locations, more beautiful girls and more of the best television that only the likes of Alex Perry and Charlotte Dawson can deliver. We wish Sarah continued success in her future endeavours,” Walsh said.

Sarah Murdoch said: “It has been an incredible opportunity to work on a show as exciting and popular as Australia’s Next Top Model. Leaving the show has been a very difficult decision for me. Being entrusted to work on all aspects as host and co-executive producer has been a huge experience and I have enjoyed it so much. Brian Walsh has been an amazing mentor and I would like to thank him and FOXTEL for the opportunity to work on subscription television’s highest rating series.”