ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland has made the shock announcement that he will be taking a break from the show.
Rowland made the announcement live on air just before the close of the show at 9am on Wednesday.
“Hey, listen, I’m off on a break,” he abruptly added just before the final sign-off.
In a sign the departure may be more permanent than he was initially letting on, Rowland took the moment to thank the show’s viewers for their ongoing support.
“I want to use this as an opportunity to thank you, our viewers,” he said.
“You’ve been fabulous in the time I’ve been on the show.
Lisa Millar and Michael Rowland co-host ABC News Breakfast. Picture: ABC
“It’s been great presenting to you and if it wasn’t for you, the viewers, none of us would be here doing what we do. It’s been a real honour.”
Catching on to the tone of his words, presenter Madeleine Miller asked: “That’s sounding final. Are you coming back?”
Rowland smiled but did not respond as Millar replied on his behalf: “Absolutely”.
Well, that escalated quicklyâ€¦
Just taking some long-scheduled leave.
I will be back on News Breakfast in late June. Look forward to seeing you then! ðŸ˜ƒ https://t.co/RJTlLVsg6w
— Michael Rowland (@mjrowland68) May 24, 2023
He sent out a tweet after the show confirming he is “taking a break” effective immediately, but quickly clarified that the break would not be permanent.
“Well, that escalated quickly…,” he tweeted.
“Just taking some long-scheduled leave.
“I will be back on News Breakfast in late June. Look forward to seeing you then!”
Rowland criticised the ABC in a tweet on Tuesday, saying they ‘need to better’ in calling out racism. Picture: ABC
Rowland announced he will be replaced by finance presenter and regular fill-in host Madeleine Morris who will join co-host Millar for the “next little while”.
It comes hours after Rowland shared a public show of support for his fellow ABC colleague Stan Grant who shocked viewers when he announced he would be stepping away as host of QandA after persistent racial abuse while at the helm of the show.
“If you missed this last night, please take time to watch these powerful words from my colleague Stan Grant,” Rowland tweeted on Tuesday.
“Racism is a scourge.
“We all need to do better in calling it out, and that includes the ABC.
“Take care, Stan.”
Rowland has presented the program for 13 years. Picture: ABC
Rowland has presented on ABC News Breakfast since 2010 when he joined Virginia Trioli as host.
After close to 13 years as host, he is a fan favourite on the program where he now shares the lounge with co-host Millar.