After quitting the show following a long absence and stint at rehab for alcohol dependency, the popular radio host, 44, has been replaced by Ricki-Lee Coulter.
One of Australia’s biggest music stars, Ricki, 37, said she was ‘so happy’ to be taking over the segment alongside co-hosts Tim Blackwell and Joel Creasey, which has now been renamed Ricki-Lee, Tim & Joel.
‘I love Tim and Joel like the brothers I never had but always wanted, and I have been having so much fun in the studio with them – they are the best in the business!’ she said in a statement to Daily Mail Australia on Thursday.
‘I have so much love for Kate and I’m so happy I’ve been able to help out on the Drive show over the last year. I am pumped to be officially joining the Nova family!’
Kate Ritchie, left, has officially been replaced on Nova FM ‘s Kate, Tim & Joel by singer Ricki-Lee Coulter, right
Tim and Joel added that they are equally excited to have Ricki-Lee onboard, saying her ‘energy gets us all up and about each and every day’.
Meanwhile, Kate said she wishes her successor the best of luck in her new role and was ‘thrilled’ to be moving onto something new, which Nova will soon to announce.
‘I’ve had an incredible eight years as part of Nova’s Drive team, and I wish Ricki-Lee all the luck in the world,’ she said.
‘I’m thrilled to be taking on an exciting new challenge and I can’t wait to share what I’m doing next.’
Last week, it was rumoured Kate was planning to jump ship from Nova’s national drive show to the network’s Sydney breakfast program.
Kate quit the show following a months-long absence and stint at rehab for alcohol dependency
She announced last year she was taking a break from the Kate, Tim & Joel show to focus on her health, but sources at the network said she wouldn’t return.
It was later revealed she was seeking treatment for alcohol dependency, after Daily Mail Australia obtained photos of her outside a rehab facility.
The ex-Home and Away actress subsequently said in a statement the challenges of the past year had led to an ‘unhealthy reliance on alcohol’.
On January 20, the media personality reassured listeners she was ‘doing well’ and would be back on her Nova FM drive show soon.
However, Kate’s return does not seem likely as Ricki-Lee, who was filling in for Kate during her absence, is now looking at a permanent position alongside Tim and Joel.
One of Australia’s biggest music stars, Ricki, 37, said she was ‘so happy’ to be taking over the segment alongside co-hosts Tim Blackwell and Joel Creasey, which has now been renamed Ricki-Lee, Tim & Joel
Meanwhile, Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald and Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli’s co-host Sarah McGilvray faced a ‘brutal’ exit from the show, suggesting she could be making way for Kate’s big debut.
Nova FM staff have spoken of their ‘shock’ and ‘confusion’ over the sudden exit of Fitzy and Wippa’s long-serving co-anchor.
Current and former employees of the radio station told Daily Mail Australia they were blindsided by news Sarah was being pushed aside to make way for incoming co-host Kate, with some only learning about it via the press last week.
One staffer said her departure was ‘brutal’ for someone who had ‘given a decade of her life’ to a radio show and was popular with listeners, adding she was ‘tossed aside without so much as a proper goodbye’.
Meanwhile, Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald and Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli’s co-host Sarah McGilvray (pictured) faced a ‘brutal’ exit from the show, suggesting she could be making way for Kate’s big debut
‘The guys at Nova are baffled. Most people didn’t even find out until the stories broke. They had all been asking, “Where is Sarah?” and were confused,’ another said.
Sarah worked on Fitzy and Wippa for 12 years, spending eight of those as a co-host alongside Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald and Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli. Before that, she was a senior producer for the Sydney breakfast program.
Her exit has not been acknowledged on air since she vanished from the show almost three weeks ago after a blow-up with management about her role at the network.
The Fitzy and Wippa show (team pictured) is taking a ‘business as usual’ approach by not mentioning McGilvray’s absence – despite listeners flooding their social media pages with questions about when she is coming back
A source with knowledge of the discussion said Sarah was ‘upset and angry’ at her bosses for effectively taking her job away from her by bringing in Kate as a third host.
Nova execs apparently tried to offer her a ‘consolation deal’ that would see her take on a ‘managerial-type role’ within the company, but she rejected it and walked out.
The Fitzy and Wippa show is taking a ‘business as usual’ approach by not mentioning Sarah’s absence – despite listeners flooding their social media pages with questions about when she is coming back.
One insider said it ‘feels like she never existed, even though she was the heart and soul of the show’.
Kate’s drive-time co-hosts Tim and Joel are yet to comment on her move to breakfast, but Daily Mail Australia understands there have been tensions between Kate and Tim (centre) for months