Mere months later, she gave an explosive interview claiming the television industry was full of “narcissists” and “sociopaths”. She then made her headline-making exit from Sunrise.
“No-one, least of all Mel, saw Sam coming – she simply came through the back door out of nowhere, and she has been hoping and waiting for her comeback for some time now,” tells the insider.
“Mel’s TV return could soon be overshadowed … you can’t underestimate Sam’s pull with networks,” continues the source, who maintains Sam’s biggest “revenge mission” is yet to come: to topple Sunrise!
“Ideally, Sam would love to send a clear message to her former place of work – that she’s the real queen of morning TV,” laughs the source, before adding that any chance Mel had of returning to breakfast television is likely over.
According to the well-placed insider, Sam, who currently resides in NSW’s Southern Highlands with husband, Richard Lavender, has done her very best to keep the specific details of her TV relaunch secret.
Even Nine’s Sunday night flagship current affairs program, 60 Minutes, is rumoured to play home for Sam, with the insider teasing “there’s whispers that she’ll also be doing the odd special from there in 2022”.
As for Today presenter Karl Stefanovic, the insider says he has become TV’s “cat with nine lives” and that Today’s slow increase in ratings is enough to keep him around.
“Nine plans to let Karl run his course and stick out his contract,” tells the insider, as finding a viable replacement for Karl is in the “too-hard basket”.
If Sam does pull off a move like returning to the small screen on Today, it would likely be Allison Langdon who is shafted from the top seat.
“Ally is just riding it until the end – she can see the finish line after enduring some pretty trying days on-air,” tells the source. Thankfully, if that were to happen, the popular presenter would be “welcomed back with open arms” at 60 Minutes.
It appears to be a case of “win-win” for Nine, as the source points out 60 Minutes is in need of someone like Ally to fill Liz Hayes’ shoes, since the latter stepped in to host Under Investigation.
“Nine is backing Ally to resuscitate the show and bring some credibility back into the mix,” the source says.
However, despite Nine’s convenient plan, the insider maintains Mel, 51, has been left in a tough place by it all.
“Just when she thought it was safely in the bag at Nine, along comes Sam at the eleventh hour. It’s like history repeating itself all over again!”