Kochie’s mystery pics leave them all guessing about Mel
Was it a pang of guilt from Sunrise anchor David Koch that prompted him to post two images - impermanent though they may have been - of him with his former Sunrise co-host Melissa Doyle to social media on Thursday night?
Or was Koch just feeling nostalgic as he reflected on a solid partnership with a former co-host who never drew much media crossfire during her decade-plus in the chair at Sunrise?
A woman who seemed happy just turning up five days a week at 3.30am to do the glamorous job for which she was well paid?
Regardless, the pictures had disappeared 24 hours later - designed to decay in the Instagram Stories media in which he recorded them.
Yet it was enough for media insiders to pick up their phones and call this writer.
There had already been tea- room chatter earlier in the day concerning the imminent cancellation of The Daily Edition, Channel 7's afternoon news program hosted by Sally Obermeder and Ryan Phelan, which was dropped on Friday along with its stars.
Obermeder and Phelan finish up at Seven next Friday along with members of that show's production crew.
So did Koch's posts confirm what has been widely talked about - in every corner of
Seven's bunker - since the start of the year?
That the accountant's broom has finally caught Doyle in its bristles and that she has been notified her contract won't be renewed - that she will be gone in a few months?
The experts at Seven who usually deny everything didn't deny it when the question was put yesterday.
Her contract is "under review" we were told.
Seven CEO James Warburton said he had no discussion with Doyle or her agent: "We are still working through plans for 2021," he said, cryptically.
If Doyle is about to receive her marching orders, Koch, who at 64 must yearn for a week in which his new co-host, Samantha Armytage, isn't making news, would be understandably sad.
He has had a golden run sitting on the couch at Seven where he is beloved by both the Sunrise audience and, more influentially, by the Seven chairman.
As he approaches an age synonymous with retirement, Koch apparently feels no pressure to pay a visit to Baby John Burgess's old hair colourist who is perhaps now enjoying a career revival thanks to Karl Stefanovic. (What do you call that hair colour by the way, Karl? I'm-out-of-contract-at-the-end-of the-year-and-need-a-couple-of-mill-to-hold-onto-the-new-$3.6 million-Noosa-pad-I-bought-in-April brown?)
As history shows, Doyle, who this year began hosting Seven's late night news bulletin The Latest, has largely become a victim of her own professionalism.
Warm and inoffensive (though at times a little condescending), Doyle's career trajectory at Seven only serves to remind us that sprucing up, brushing up and turning up is no formula for success in television.
Koch has been a witness to all of the drama at Sunrise's Breaky Central.
He was there during the unravelling of former executive producer Adam Boland, there again during the rise, decline, rise-again and decline-again of weatherman Grant Denyer, there as network publicists tried to smooth over the departure of Andrew O'Keefe from Weekend Sunrise and there during the racism scandals that have plagued the show in recent years.
He knows all the finer details of the innumerable backroom flare-ups that are a part of any morning show's 4am prep.
But while Koch's current co-host Armytage lurches from controversy to controversy, many of them eclipsing the consistently strong work of the Sunrise production team and its presenters, Doyle, immaculate at 50, sits apart, pristine and untouched by it all.
The first photo, posted to Instagram Stories by Koch at about 9pm on Thursday, was of Koch and Doyle hosting a 2005 Tsunami fundraising concert in the shadow of an imposing granite pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. "Wow… just found this. First major outside broadcast," he wrote.
The second image, shot in the studio, showed the pair in front of the Responses-of-Sunrise Roswall: "Those were great days @melissadoyle7," he reminisced to his 47,000 followers.
Koch may well pine for the days when the competition wasn't so fierce, when the gig was easier, when the media attacks were less frequent and when Doyle sat calmly beside him. Who wouldn't?
Originally published as Kochie's mystery pics leave them all guessing about Mel