Who’s out to get Sam Armytage?

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 06 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Sunrise co-host Samantha Armytage gets drenched during a live cross

Lovers and haters ... Samantha Armytage is quickly becoming one of the most polarising personalities on Australian TV. Picture: Chris McKeen Source: News Corp Australia

WHO is out to get Samantha Armytage? That is the mystery that surrounds the Sunrise co-host who is quickly turning into Australia's most polarising TV star.

Armytage has been the subject of damaging leaks, seemingly from within Seven, ever since she took over as Sunrise co-host from Melissa Doyle in mid-2013, although media experts are divided as to whether they are hurting the Sunrise brand.

The leaks, which have portrayed the 37-year-old as a difficult diva with a fiery temper, have gained intensity in recent weeks.

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Polarising figure ... Samantha Armytage says she is a perfectionist but denies she has a short temper. Picture: Chris McKeen Source: News Corp Australia

Seven has hit back saying the hate campaign is being fuelled by rival networks.

Last week claims emerged that Armytage had an incident with her long-time make-up artist Eliza Campagna on the set of Sunrise over summer.

According to reports, Armytage physically blocked Campagna during the show and an upset Campagna had contacted Seven's human resources department.

Armytage described the report as "total rubbish" and Seven has backed its star.

"No such claim was lodged by any party on any HR issue," a Seven spokeswoman says. "Further — employers are compelled, by law, to properly manage any complaints lodged by employees."

But Seven's director of TV operations David Porter confirmed something had happened on set.

"Eliza was about to walk into a live shot so Sam put her hand out to stop her. In live TV, this kind of thing happens all the time," he said.

Lots of rumours and leaks ... Natalie Barr, David "Kochie" Koch and Sam Armytage. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis Source: News Corp Australia

Media analyst Steve Allen believes the leaks are by jealous insiders and says Seven management needs to tackle the problem head on or risk a viewer backlash.

"This is a nasty attack and it has been going on for months — we've just got a new outbreak," Mr Allen, chief executive of Fusion Stategy, says.

"My intuition tells me that some people at Seven were really unhappy that Melissa Doyle was replaced and that Sam got the job.

"Since the day that change was announced there has always been snide remarks and this is the second big wave.

"The bosses should be stepping in. Some heads should get knocked together and those that don't get the message should be fired."

The Sunrise team ... Mark Beretta, Samantha Armytage, David Koch Natalie Barr and Edwina Bartholomew Picture: Channel 7 Source: Channel 7

Armytage has acknowledged she is a perfectionist but attributes the leaks to tall-poppy syndrome.

"I was surprised by the attacks when I got the job (on Sunrise) and you go up a level," Armytage told the Herald Sun recently.

"I was surprised by how many knives came out from people who maybe had had their day in the sun. It was pretty vicious.

"I don't shy away from the fact that I'm a perfectionist and expect a high quality of work around me (but) I don't consider myself to have a short temper.

"I think the people who want to compete with you and want to see you not do well will try and pick on anything they can including leaking to newspapers to bring you down."

The irony in all this is that Armytage is a raging success with the Australian viewing public. Sunrise dominates rival Today.

Trendsetter ... Sam Armytage's new hairdo sent viewers into a social media spin. Source: Supplied

"We have actually seen a lift in Sunrise's audience this year versus last year," Maxus national trading director Nathan Cook said of whether the leaks were hurting the show.

That has Seven suspecting the opposition of indulging in a dirty tricks campaign against its star. A Current Affair ran a story on the Armytage saga earlier this week.

"We felt for (ACA host) Tracy Grimshaw, having to introduce a segment attacking another female presenter," the Seven spokeswoman says.

"When a show holds a clear leadership position in a timeslot, opponents feel compelled to attack."

Nine rejects the claim.

It has been left to Seven's Larry Emdur to jump to Armytage's defence.

"I've been in the business for 30 years now and I can say, hand on heart, Sam's one of the good ones," Emdur said. "I don't know where this stuff is coming from."

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