Drama brews behind the scenes as Jessica Rowe quits Studio 10
Jessica Rowe has announced her resignation from Channel Ten's morning program, Studio 10.
Rowe - who has received an Order of Australia for her mental health advocacy - told viewers on Friday she was leaving for family reasons.
"I want to be a more present mum for my girls, Allegra and Giselle," said Rowe, who has been married to Channel Nine presenter Peter Overton since 2004.
Rowe became teary as she explained her decision, while co-host Joe Hildebrand sobbed his way through the segment.
"Oh, Joe," Rowe said, clutching his hand.
But as the hosts embraced each other, drama was brewing behind the scenes.
The program's former producer Rob McKnight - who reportedly plans to sue the network after losing his job last year - sensationally claimed his bosses had been plotting to get rid of Rowe.
"Sad to hear Jess Rowe is leaving Studio 10," McKnight tweeted.
"Channel Ten have been planning to sack her for over a year. She blamed me, even though I was trying to save her job."
Rowe's manager, David Wilson, fired back with a tweet of his own.
"Rob McKnight, to be absolutely clear - Ten offered Jess a generous new contract for her to stay," Wilson said.
"Leaving Studio 10 was Jess’s choice for the reasons she so beautifully articulated on air this morning. It takes great courage to make these big decisions."
Studio 10, created by former Sunrise producer Adam Boland, launched in 2013. It is the only program to have survived more than a few years in Ten's morning schedule - with Breakfast, Wake Up and The Circle all getting the chop.
Rowe's media career in Australia spans 25 years, including stints at all three commercial networks.
After making her name at Ten, she briefly co-hosted Nine's Today program with Karl Stefanovic before moving to Seven, then returning to Ten in 2013.
“After much soul searching and discussions with my family, it is with a heavy heart that I have decided to leave Studio 10," Rowe said on Friday morning.
“Stepping back from Studio 10 will give me more time for content creation and public speaking and to be more present with my beautiful family. I am going to miss my wonderful friends and colleagues at Studio 10 and wish them nothing but the very best for the future."
Rowe will remain with the program until the end of this month.
She emphasised that she is not retiring, and will continue her public speaking work and mental health advocacy.