Entertainment

Melissa Doyle denies she was forced to quit Sunrise

Melissa Doyle has denied that she was forced to step down as co-host of Channel Seven's Sunrise, claiming the "rumour mill has been working overtime".

Doyle announced live on the show last month that she would be leaving the breakfast television show after 14 years to take on a new challenge in a prime time news initiative with Channel Seven.

She said she had been offered "a great opportunity" and would leave Sunrise "with great sadness".

But reports then emerged that Channel Seven executives had been plotting for weeks to axe Doyle from Sunrise as a pre-emptive strike against plans by former Sunrise producer Adam Boland to revamp Channel Ten's morning line-up.

Doyle reportedly was told to take a pay cut, step down from Sunrise and pretend she had been promoted to a news presenting position.

But Doyle on Friday posted a statement on her Facebook page insisting those reports were incorrect.

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"I'm still on holidays before completing a couple of overseas work assignments but it seems the rumour mill has been working overtime," she wrote.

"I don't normally bother responding to fictional stories but judging by the number of comments I've received I thought it best to reply.

"What I said on air and in all the media interviews when I announced my departure was correct. It was then, it is now. Obviously you can't stop people making up stories and that seems to be what is happening now."

She claimed her overseas trip was booked months ago and was not a "hastily planned getaway".

"I was presented with a new opportunity at the network and I decided to accept it," Doyle wrote.

"Of course I will be sad to leave the Sunrise couch, but I'm also excited and happy about my new challenge. I know the conspiracy theorists would like you to believe otherwise, but it's just not true."

I know the conspiracy theorists would like you to believe otherwise, but it's just not true

Channel Seven this week said Doyle's talents in live reporting were recognised and her "new agreement with the network was done months before the announcement".

The network denied reports that she had been told to take a reported pay cut of $150,000, from a rumoured salary of $700,000.

Doyle will be replaced on Sunrise by Samantha Armytage.

It is believed Doyle's new roles include presenting the Seven Afternoon News bulletin at 4.30pm and a new nightly news program, co-hosted with former Today Tonight presenter Matt White, on 7Two.

smh.com.au

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