EXCLUSIVE: David Koch has been detained by US Immigration officials in Honolulu, over a possible error with his passport.
The Sunrise host arrived last night, Australian time, with Sam Armytage and producer Michael Pell at Honolulu International Airport ahead of filming in Waikiki on Monday. Sunrise has been feverishly promising a “Mystery Tour” next week, with broadcast sites across the US, voted by viewers.
But after touching down in Hawaii late last night Koch was escorted by Customs and Border Protection officers to a holding room for questioning. The issue is understood to centre around a passport expiration date of less than six months, and unless resolved could jeopardise his appearance on the ‘Mystery Tour’ broadcasts.
Koch is believed to have thought his validity for the one week stay was sufficient, with producers pleading his case and stressing the publicity the show could offer in terms of tourism.
But sources said officials were following President Trump’s hardline border policy and were disinterested in the show’s plans to showcase American cities telling Koch, “This isn’t Oprah.”
Last night lawyers for Seven were scrambling calls to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and the US Embassy to try to free Koch in time for the broadcast, 9:30am Sunday US time. Seven’s top brass, already in damage control over several legal cases on home turf, were privately hoping the drama “did not turn into our 60 Minutes.”
“Contingency plans are being put into place. Larry Emdur is en route as we speak,” a source said. “Thankfully he wasn’t invited to Peter Stefanovic & Sylvia Jeffreys’ wedding and jumped on a plane.”
Calls to influential Sunrise pals Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Sia went unanswered, although Lynne McGranger offered to help.
Meanwhile Sam Armytage has taken to wearing a hessian sack and chaining herself to Nelson Aspen, in sympathy for her colleague.
“Free Kochie now or I will be forced to reprise my Sex and the City sketch!” she demanded.
The Cash Cow declined to comment.
Update 11:55am: Yep, April Fool’s. Thanks for playing along once again, everybody!
Photo: Roberto Parlavecchio.