Today newsreader Tracy Vo’s departure no ‘temporary leave’
The musical chairs on the Today Show panel have claimed another official casualty. Newsreader Tracy Vo departed her post recently, with the Nine Network claiming the presenter, who had been in the role just 12 weeks, was on "temporary" leave to be with her Perth-based family during the COVID-19 crisis.
Vo had moved to Sydney from the west to take on the role alongside Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon.
However Vo has, in fact, quit Today for good with no plans to return to the beleaguered breakfast show.
Her exit means Alex Cullen, an ex-Channel 7 reporter, is now reading both news and sport while producers search for a replacement.
Vo's departure marks the sixth cast change in six months following the axing of Georgie Gardner, Deb Knight, Tony Jones, Tom Steinfort and Steve Jacobs.
And while Channel 9 continues to slay all comers in prime time - thanks mostly to Married At First Sight - the breakfast figures paint a far bleaker picture.
For the first time ever on the show, Today has dropped to third behind ABC News Breakfast, based on national weekly averages.
The public broadcaster's show is helmed by popular hosts Michael Rowland and Lisa Millar, together with Paul Kennedy, Madeleine Morris and Nate Byrne.
Sunrise, meanwhile, is light years ahead of both in the No. 1 spot with a weekly average of 360,000 - its highest numbers in more than three years.
Today is yet to win a single day across the five-city metro ratings in 2020. Or, for that matter, all of 2019.
Dark times indeed.
KOCHIE MEETS NEW GRANDDAUGHTER OVER INTERNET
In a week of grim headlines there was at least a glimmer of joy for David Koch when the Sunrise host met his newest granddaughter for the first time - via FaceTime.
Stuck in Sydney due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Koch and wife Libby had to settle for meeting new baby Ella through a series of Zoom and FaceTime chats, with Koch's daughter Brianna giving birth in Western Australia on Monday.
But the meeting was no less emotional for Koch, whose grandchild count now stands at six.
"I just think babies are the cutest," says Kochie, a self-confessed "big softie".
"It was the first grandchild that we weren't able to meet in person when they were born. But you know what, it was still so exciting.
"It was kind of like being there. She is just the cutest little thing."
Meanwhile, Koch said the Sunrise gang are still adapting to life in lockdown, filming with a skeleton crew and maintaining social distancing on air.
"When you think that it was less than a month ago that things were completely normal … and now you look around sometimes and think, 'what the hell happened?','' he says.
"But I think Aussies are doing the right thing and I feel like we're getting through it."
Originally published as Today newsreader Tracy Vo's departure no 'temporary leave'